Although the women of the United States are confined within the narrow circle of domestic life, and their situation is, in some respects, one of extreme dependence, I have nowhere seen woman occupying a loftier position; and if I were asked... in which I have spoken of so many important things done by Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply, To the superiority of their women.

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dealing with Dyslexia

Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive dyslexia post. This is broad brush look at what homeschooling with a special need such as not being able to read affects your life.

Background: My husband and I are extremely academic people. Straight A's, technical, scientific degree-holders, early readers, and self-professing nerds. We met on the school bus to math team competition, and found we both knew Rush Limbaugh's call-in number by heart. Get the picture?

My oldest daughter learned to read at five. I didn't want her going to kindergarten and getting screwed up with whole language, so I thought teaching her phonics before she went would head all that off at the pass. She learned to read without much effort on my part. When I pulled her out of school a couple of years later, I thought homeschooling would be a breeze. Teach them to read, then they'll teach themselves everything else. Simple. Easy Peasy.

Unless, your kid cannot read no matter what you do. I mean no matter WHAT you do. My next kid was the most motivated to read child you've ever met. If I told her to stand on head and chew bubble gum to learn to read, she would have done it with  zeal. I started trying to teach her like my older kid in kindergarten, but it was obvious that she wasn't ready. I said, hey this is what people must mean when every kid is different. So I tried again when we started first grade at age six. At first I tried A Beka, but she just didn't get it. Then I tried Explode the Code, then Hooked on Phonics, then just a random phonics workbook, then just flashcards, then just one word one day. We sculpted the word out of play-doh, we wrote it on paper, we said the words individually over and over. At the end of the day, I held up the word and asked her what it was. She acted like she had never seen it before. That's the moment I knew that there was something highly unusual going on here. Something that I was ill-prepared to deal with.

As a member of HSLDA, I took advantage of the Struggling Learner help-line and emailed my situation to one of their Special Education teachers. They emailed me back a plan. I went to the pediatrician and explained what was happening, and they basically said, yep, sounds like dyslexia all right. Here's a place that will charge you $75 and hour to do stuff you can do at home that specializes in treatment that one of our physicians that makes six figures uses for her daughter. My insurance would not pay for speech therapy, which she needed for a few sounds she still didn't have. So I had to formulate my own IEP, based on what the special education teacher at HSLDA advised me.

Background on this child: she was a late-talker, which has been the pattern for most of the rest of my kids. She would put together these 48 piece jigsaw puzzles over and over again, and for awhile I was wondering if she was autistic. When she began talking at 3 1/2, it was very garbled and remained so until she was five. By first grade, she was just down to about four sounds she couldn't make: f, v, th, and zh. Her hearing was fine, and the audiologist office informed me that a auditory acuity screen would be $500 which my insurance wouldn't cover. I asked what do you do when you find they have auditory processing problems? They said we tell them to do Earobics, a computer program that costs $60 at the time. I just bought the program, assuming something inside her head is not picking up on the differences between sounds.

So I put together a custom IEP just for her half way through 1st grade.

Speech Therapy - Straight Talk, a speech therapy program for home.
Earobics-  a computer program that supposedly trains the ear to distinguish between sounds, it has mixed reviews.
The Secret Stories - a visual phonics program, which is key when you can't hear the sounds accurately. Each sound comes with it's own story and the letters are like people who "do" things. Like the letter O, when not saying his name OOOOOOOOO long superhero sound, is in disguise and doesn't like to go to the doctor and doesn't want that tongue depressor to touch the sides of his mouth when he says ooo, and that's the short sound he makes. It forces the kids to do a motion with each sound, which is important for dyslexic kids, who tend to be very kinesthetic in their learning style.
McGuffey Readers - free and downloadable online. I like them because they have the new words introduced at the top and you can make flashcards and just work on those words for awhile before diving into the story. I would keep our Secret Story book and every time we came to a Secret Story, we'd look it up, remind ourselves of the story and continue with the word.
Brain Integration Training - I'm not sure if it helped, but I tried writing eights and the whole slew of exercises as often as I could. She hated it and it was hard to get her to do them. I did get some helpful advice from Dianne Craft's website about putting pictures behind the words to stick them in the memory. I took the reading lists from the back of the Secret Stories book and made flashcards out of them, putting the picture behind or incorporating into the word, always making the phonics sound in the list we were focusing on in a different color. These word lists gave us some words in her memory banks to work with.
Saxon Math - I used the Saxon Math worksheet pad things to get her math facts in. Fortunately, math is a language she understands and has always done well at math. Of course her numbers are all backwards, but she gets the right answers.

Of course, I had already spent my budget for the year and this stuff came to about $300, where am I going to get the money to pay for all this? I pondered this as I walked to mailbox, and found a letter from my mom that contained a check for $500 that she sent for absolutely no reason except to answer a prayer I hadn't even had time to make yet. So I'm anxious for nothing.

Anyway, I kind of dropped my older kid, who could read just fine. I told her she's going to be ok in this life and gave her a basic of list of stuff to get done while I worked with her sister. Having a kid who could not read was a major crisis for me, MAJOR. I executed the plan above like  a drill sergeant. Think Full Metal Jacket without the swearing. I chewed a hole in my tongue to keep myself from yelling "the word is happen, HAPPEN, HAAAP -PEEEN,  AAUGGHHH!!

Brain scan showing difference. Please don't tell me about "phonics" when I tell you my kid is dyslexic. I know about "phonics", okay? The brain scan shows why phonics doesn't work for my kid the way they teach it with sounding it out.

It was torture for me to watch her struggle with the obvious. We schooled through the summer and it took an eternity to work though that first McGuffey reader. My goal became the Fourth McGuffey Reader by Fourth Grade. It seemed like a reasonable goal if we kept at it. I'm happy to say that we met our goal and that the fourth reader blew me away with how tough it was. She was reading the Song of Hiawatha and Dickens, etc. I thought, man, I didn't read that stuff until 11th grade American Lit. Well, come to find out that the McGuffey Readers don't correspond with our modern grade system at all. Let me tell you how she bounced around the house to find she'd been reading on a much higher level than she thought she could. She started reading the American Girl books on her own, and this past year (a sixth grader) has been reading the Narnia books and more sixth grade stuff. Praise God. She still doesn't do well on standardized tests, and I may seek an official diagnoses for her so that she can take the ACT with dyslexic accommodation.

Of course, while I was putting my all into getting her to read, I totally dropped the ball with her little brother, who eventually  learned to read kind of sort of with the 100 Easy Lessons. He still doesn't like to read because he's a boy or something. I try to make him read a chapter from a Magic Treehouse book a day. He's very quick with his math and while he talked late too, he hasn't had any speech problems that would indicate auditory processing issues.

The next kid, my redhead boy, is six years old and not very intelligible with his speech. He goes to the early intervention preschool and probably kindergarten next year due to the amount of speech therapy and occupational therapy he needs. I know when I'm out of my depth and don't want the pride of saying I homeschool ALL of my kids to keep one of them from getting the help they need. He loves school very much because of the routine. Whenever he does learn to speak intelligibly, he's probably unbelievable dyslexic underneath all that. Everyone who works with him says that he's bright and no, he doesn't have autism.

The next kid. my little ball of cute, also has speech issues. I can understand what she's trying to say, but she deletes the ends off of most all of her words. Her speech eval revealed she's 1%, as in 99% of 3 year olds speak better than her. So she does speech therapy once a week, and most definitely qualifies for pre-K. She can write her name and loves to color, cut and glue, etc. We were playing around with reading and she seems to get it except she can't pronounce many of the words right.

The next kids, my second redhead girl, seems to actually be talking on time. It's been so long (15 years) since I had a "normal" talking kid, it's kind of freaking me out.

So my initial vision of homeschooling with everyone reading silently while a cross-stitch and keep an immaculately clean house didn't happen. Schooling takes way more time than it does for most homeschool moms. We do a lot of things together and out loud. Many times, I do the writing and she does the talking because doing both will stress their systems to where nothing will happen. Learning is what's important and not comparing what you're doing to what "school" is doing is critical to moving forward with confidence.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Took Voice of Martyrs off the Sidebar

This is kind of old news, but I'm trying to honor the request of Richard and Sabrina Wurmbrand's son, Michael who claims that the organization that his father founded has been 'jacked by unscrupulous persons.

I used to get the newsletter and thought it represented a sound organization. That was in my more naive days. It is public knowledge that when the police opened up a child molestation case against the president of VOM, Tom White, he proceeded to OD on prescription meds and alcohol at VOM headquarters. A suicide note was found in his car. The VP of the organization has a history of embezzlement. Michael wrote a letter to Lighthouse Trails, a great discernment ministry, detailing the shenanigans he's witnessed inside the organization that his parents founded.

Here are some of Michael Wurmbrand's issues with VOM:

Donors should be aware that:
*  Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) spent $28 million dollars — not on the mission field but to build its own headquarter thus in economic times difficult for us all, encouraging construction in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, USA, a town of only about 32,000. To my knowledge, the previous headquarters of VOM in the same town cost in the neighborhood of about $90,000! To read more, [click here]. The present chairman of VOM is a former mayor of Bartlesville and was part of the city leadership.
Voice of the Martyrs headquarters in Bartlesville, OK
* This was done in secret, until the buildings were erected. Neither I nor the donors were told of such grandiose projects. It is hard to believe this could be done, but correspondence I display on the web (see link below), should convince you. I worked with VOM from Los Angeles, California, USA and never was part of the VOM board of directors. The donors only saw money spent for projects, and they trusted that the word “projects” referred to missionary work, like helping widows of Christians killed in Nigeria!
* A repeated offender 3rd degree felon, who as of 2013 was STILL UNDER A-10-YEARS CONVICTION SENTENCE AS AN EMBEZZLER was named the Voice of the Martyrs Vice President. Tens of thousands of dollars out of contributions for supposed missionary work were extended as a loan to him to pay back some of what he stole and escape parole supervision. To read more on this convicted felon, [click here or here].
*All of the above occurred while, at the same time, without any reasons proffered, they sent a termination of employment letter to me, Richard Wurmbrand’s son, who founded the mission, four days only after I asked for an independent investigation of the expenses and travels of the suicidal and suspected pedophile past chairman of VOM, USA.
* Voice of the Martyrs had agreed reluctantly in 2001 to help about 100 believers who were imprisoned 5-10 years for their faith in communist prisons in Romania, currently destitute in their 80s and 90s, with less than $1 (yes, one dollar) a month. As outrageous as it sounds, considering tens of millions of dollars solicited from you, it is documented. It was raised in the following year to the value of about 2 tanks of gas/month worth of help only because I wrote feet of email messages and renounced a total of over $100,000 of my salary over four years (I accepted being paid only $500/month!) just so these Christian martyrs would be helped. To read more on the “VOM claims of pretended lack of money,” [click here].
*A fundraiser for VOM was promised to be paid a percentage or cut of the funds he raised! We are far indeed from charitable actions through which one sacrifices for the interests of others.
Check out the whole article at Lighthouse Trails, Perilous times are indeed here.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Free Kent Hovind

Regardless your opinion on evolution, fundies, or things of that nature, you need to know that Kent Hovind is being persecuted by the government disproportionately to anything wrongdoing that was initially charged against him. If they can do it to him, they can do it to you.

The original charge had to  do with tax evasion or mishandling money. Got news for you, they could charge any one of us with the same thing if they don't like you. I first saw a Kent Hovind video in Sunday School while I was in college. What he said about commercial bread not having any nutrients was something I filed away as interesting. What he said about seeds containing anti-cancer nutrients has also shown to be true. That goes along with what the Bible says about eating the seed of the field for good health. He's a very entertaining speaker, but when he speaks at the heart of the matter like this, you know that the eye of Sauron will soon be upon him:

Here he is doing a libertarian Christian rapid fire explanation of what's going on in this crazy world, as in everything a Christian needs to know in less than half an hour:

Needless to say, he's not BFFs with the US Gov.

Today he's going to trial again. Here are the details. The man has been in prison for several years now and its obvious its politically motivated with the money they've spent to prosecute him.
Boots on the Ground RALLY March 2nd 2015 During USA vs Kent Hovind/Paul Hansen Trial
United States Courthouse
One North Palafox St.
Pensacola, Florida 32502
Facebook event has 260 people that will show up for Boots on the Ground RALLY
If you can’t show up to the Court House in Pensacola FL on March 2nd to demand Kent Hovind and Paul Hansen are set free, please pray and go to: up to this point:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Getting Rid of Your TV- With a Vengeance

I have cut the cord on cable and satellite, but still have my TVs. I still found this entertaining, though. When your Sunday needs some spicy preaching:

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. - Matt 5:29-30

TV's are less painful to cut up because their not attached to you. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Churchianity Makes Me Sick

First off, there is becoming apparent, even to unbelievers, of a huge divide between a New Testament church fueled by the Holy Spirit and this counterfeit that is driving actual believers out of church. Spurgeon predicted this all over 100 years in his sermon: Churchianity vs. Christianity. 

Whenever Churchianity has ruled, revelry and wantonness have been winked at, so long as saints' days, sacraments, and priests have been regarded. God's law is nothing to the high church, so long as church forms are scrupulously and ostentatiously observed. We should see maypoles erected and danced around on a Sunday afternoon within a year, if Churchianity had its way; the Book of Sports would be revived, and the evening of the Lord's day would be dedicated to the devil. Leave the church open, observe saints' days, decorate the altar, sing "Hymns Ancient and Modern," put on tagrags, and all goes smoothly with Churchianity: preach the gospel, and denounce sin, and straightway there is no small stir.
Can you disagree with any of that? Of course he's calling out the Anglicans, but one could also apply the same to Hawaiian shirt preachers and the forms that they all follow. Wantonness surely has been winked at in our time, just as the Bible prophesied about the ear ticklers that would be prominent in the last days.(2 Tim 4:3)

When I am looking for a church, I always strive to find the most Bible-believing one I possibly can. Even so, I have witnessed some of the craziest/sick stuff in church that I would never have thought possible. I've seen my Sunday School teacher's mug shot on TV while getting my five year old ready for kindergarten. He had a baby-sitter club going on in the youth group. I've visited the church of a close relative whose pastor was busted by the FBI for arranging dates with middle school boys via the internet. I can't believe I shook his hand - yuck. I've seen a middle aged woman who was supposed to be keeping the church's records literally run down the hall and screech out the parking lot when I asked for them. This only scratches the surface of what I've seen at church in the last 15 years. I could write a book, but it would be like Peyton Place.

And if anything like the above happens near or around you, you're not supposed to talk about it, because that's gossip and we don't want to spread unpleasantness do we? If you get hurt in these situations, just pray that God will help you suck it up and be quiet about it. Whatever you do, don't make waves, don't confront anyone because that is division. Remember your public school training about getting along, right? Well, the Bible actually tells us differently. I had to employ a Matthew 18 confrontation to resolve a situation in church before and it works beautifully. But the thing is, you have to be willing to go all the way with it -even before the church, which can be kind of scary. I realize now to fix the problems in that church, I may have had to do a couple more such confrontations to get the leaven out. Why me? Because no one else would and I just couldn't take it anymore.

One thing I've noticed in Paul's letters is that he usually either begins or ends with calling someone out on the carpet. He lists their name for us to read today and tells that church to mark and avoid that person because of bad theology or some other major problem. These verses never get preached on.

This is in large part due to the fact that people are "running to and fro" (Dan 12:4)   Throughout most of human history, ordinary folk did not travel far from where they were born, giving you roots and your family a reputation. You couldn't just move to another town and start all over again easily. The early church was a community of believers in a fixed area and except for missionary types like Paul and his cohorts, they weren't moving around every 3-5 years as is now common nowadays. A pastor told me that once upon a time in countryside America, churches had sergeants-at-arms and church discipline was a serious thing. You went to the church you could walk or ride your buggy to, so this church "choice" phenomenon wasn't a factor in how the church operated.

Fast forward to the motor car era and now your choices of churches opened up quite a bit. Pastor too dry at your family church? Well, just go a few miles over to the next church, it only takes about 10 minutes. And so it began. With all the moving around, people became a lot less accountable. Whereas before, you lived your whole life in the same community of people, now just as your new church gets to know you, you might be transferred away or choose to go somewhere else. It's hard to gauge spiritual growth of someone in these circumstances. So we're left with this consumerist church as Spurgeon describes with the same introductory to Christianity pap that bores to tears those of us who have actually read our Bible through more than once. (Yes, we're the few, but proud - am I right or what?)

All this moving around creates a perfect storm where false teaching and chaos can breed. There's nothing new under the sun, however. Going back to Paul's letters, we see that the early church had issues as well. The difference is that Paul addressed them publicly so that the church would not get led into error. There are a few today who are filling that role, so I thought I'd share some discernment sites that I enjoy that keep tabs on error in the church - particularly the New Age/emergent/contemplative spirituality that is/will be a precursor to the Antichrist one-world religious system. aka coexist.

From the Lighthosue
Noise of Thunder 
The Berean Call
Understand the Times
Fight the Good Fight
Worldview Weekend
The Lion of Judah
Kjos Ministries
Spiritual Sounding Board
FBC Jax Watchdogs
Musuem of Idolatry - A Little Leaven

Disclaimer: (Because most people can't do critical thinking) I do not necessarily share all the viewpoints of those sites linked, because I'm not a mind-numbed robot.

So anyway, I see two different camps in Churchianity: the seeker-sensitive feel-goods and the hard-core reformed types as personified by John McArthur (who denies the blood atonement-yikes). It is the dialectic at work- you have these choices and no others. Reformed churches are becoming popular as an alternative to the Rick Warren model. Both turn into a works-based system. In the former, you give your all to their organization, I won't call it a church. In the later, their Lordship Salvation is really a very Catholic understanding of grace, making one think that their "reformation" was not complete, but that's a post for another day.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Chuck Baldwin: The American Church Has Major Problems

This article is a great summary of why many Bible-believing Christians don't go to church anymore. Although Baldwin doesn't bring that up, he makes some great points on why the American Church has lost the First Love. For those who don't have time to read, I'll just summarize:

I. Major Problems
    A. Success Orientation
    B Statism - Misreading of Romans 13 - fear of feds
    C Ignorance of Natural Law and Law of Nations
    D Church is Filled with Hate 

Here is an excerpt:

The American Church has focused on being “successful” instead of being righteous; it has capitulated to the lordship of the state; it fears the IRS more than it fears God; it has stopped preaching the “hard” messages of the Bible; it is popularity-driven, entertainment-driven, and comfort-driven; it has abandoned the fundamental principles of Natural Law and liberty; it has replaced genuine patriotism with statism; and it has used Romans 13 as justification for idolatry.
I've seen all the above and it rings true to me. I was considering visiting a local KJV church until I saw that the pastor enjoys taking selfies with Lamar Alexander and every other flag-waving holiday is a chance for idolatry of America. Uh, no thanks. So many churches have now equivocated being hard-core with being ultra patriotic, playing into the hands of the L/R dialectic.

I hope Pastor Chuck can get some traction with this conversation.

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