Friday, May 24, 2013

Alpha-Phonics....A Review!

The Original Alpha-Phonics!

It’s been my pleasure to review the Alpha-Phonics Reading Program. It’s an easy to use reading program for not only young beginning readers, but really anyone who wants to learn to read.

The concept is this: Teach the alphabet orally (by having the student say the letters of the alphabet), visually (by having the student identify letters by name) and kinesthetically (by having the student practice writing upper and lower case letters.) Then, starting with lesson one, move on to learning the sounds of the letters- vowels, consonants, blends, and so forth. There are a total of 128 lessons.

The first thing I noticed about this program is its simplicity. There weren’t pages and pages of instructions and hours of trying to figure out how to use it. There were a few introduction pages in the teacher’s manual, and then you can basically just jump right into the lessons. There is practically nothing to prep ahead of time as far as using the lessons. Your student can work at their own pace. So, if you cover the first ten lessons in one day-great! They are fairly short lessons, but if you need to spend more time, you can do that as well.

Note: If you want to use this as a spelling program in addition, you would need to decide what words from the lessons you want to use as a spelling list for that week. Spelling rules and minimal activity suggestions for the week are given in the Companion Workbook. The workbook pages could be used as an activity to go with the lessons or as a test to see how well your child is grasping the lesson.

The Alpha-Phonics Primer for Beginning Readers also comes with a CD of the entire Primer (with audio instructions) for free, and is very reasonable priced at around $34.95. The Companion Workbook is around $19.95.

The Primer can be used "stand-alone", but if you would like to use this as a spelling program also, I would recommend getting the workbook for the reinforcement activities and spelling rules.

This set of Ten Little Companion Readers are around $24.95. These aren’t really necessary in order to use the program, but are a nice addition.

Thomas said, "Oh!! Do I get to read those?"   (Well, yeah!)

My Alpha-Phonics Bullet List Assessment:

The program could be used with any age. It doesn’t have cutesy drawings and sayings that an older child would feel silly using.

• The book is very no-frills. It is written in very nice hand lettering, and there are no pictures. This would be perfect for the “easily distracted” learner, but would need to be adapted quite a bit for the kinesthetic learner.

• The price is very reasonable for what you’re getting, and is a Cathy Duffy Homeschool Pick.

• This program is for the homeschooler, tutor or classroom.

• The website and blog also offer tips for using the program and more.

Click HERE to purchase your copy of Alpha-Phonics!

*I received an Alpha-Phonics program free for review. The opinions in this post are my own.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Slave by John MacArthur: Week Thirteen-Chapter Thirteen

Well, here we are, finally! The last week of Slave by John MacArthur. This is about the only thing I've had time to post lately. We're going to try and be done with school next week, and Brittany leaves for her mission's trip in a month so I feel like my life will be a little less crazy by that point. Hopefully. Well, you know how homeschooling is- so time consuming, and when you aren't doing school you have time for other things anyway.


What practical steps can you take to learn and understand God's Word better?

     I think that the most important thing about learning God's Word is to be proactive. You have to actually pursue it. It won't transfer to you by osmosis. You, yourself, actualy have to jumpstart the learning and understanding on your own.

     That being said, commit to reading the Word daily. Memorize It. Read commentaries. Look up passages that you don't understand and see what others say about them. Fall under some good Biblical teaching. Join a local church. Bott Radio Network has some great trusted Bible teachers and preachers. Pray often. If there is an area of Scripture that you don't understand, pray that God would give you wisdom and reveal knowledge to you about it.

In your own words degfine what it means to be a slave, how is that different than being a servant?

     It's funny, because right now I'm also reading Francine Rivers' "The Mark of the Lion" series again, about a young Jewish girl sold as a slave to a Roman family after the fall of Jerusalem. So, when I'm thinking through what being a slave means, I'm really picturing the main character of the book. As being a slave she....
-had to remain with the owning family or be punished
-had to serve them in whatever manner they deemed necessary
-had been bought with a price
-had her basic needs provided for

She chose to.....
-serve them faithfully because she wanted to, not because she had to
-remained faithful to God above all else
-always put the families needs above her own

Now, if she had merely been hired on as a servant she........
-could've come and gone as she pleased
-quit if she chose to do so
-would've been paid only for wages earned
-proveded for her own needs


Slavery brings Freedom

     People are stubborn and resistant and do not like to be told what to do (I will include myself here!). So, the idea of slavery- even to God- isn't appealing to them. But, the reality is that you ARE a slave to something period. Whatever that may be in your life- you are a slave to something. If you are not a slave to God, then you are a slave to sin. Period. So, if you are a slave to something, why wouldn't you wntt to be a slave to God in righteousness than be a slave to sin and live under it's burden and death?

How should we treat others?

     We should have Jesus' attitude towards others- compassion, love, mercy, and yes even anger towards unrighteousness. He took the form of a humble slave for us. It makes me think of society's "disrespect" attitude. The "I'm going to hurt you because you disrespected me" attitude. That is so opposite of what jesus came here to do. Love each other to the point of putting others first and yourself last.

What are some of the other "masters" that deter people from submitting to the one true Master?

     I think that peole can make just about anything another master. Matthew mentions money. Also, jobs and hobbies. Especially as a homeschooling mom, it's easy to let homeschooling, a busy schedule and even your family become masters. But one thing is true- you can't serve two masters at the same time. You are either serving God or something else.

Titus 2: 11-14

     God sent His grace to us, in the form of His son Jesus to redeem us from our sin. He also teaches us how to live righteously until Jesus returns.


What does it mean to be a Christian?

     A Christian is a blood-bought slave of Jesus who has the ultimate priviledge of being adopted as  a son of God, and fellow heir to His riches with Jesus, whose duty it is to wholly serve Jesus the Master.

How has the study of slavery to Christ impacted your understanding of the Christian life? What are the implications of that concept in your daily walk with God?

     This study has reiterated the decision I made long ago- that Jesus is Lord. The single most important decision you will ever make in this life is what you will do with Jesus. Will you accept Him as Savior and payment for your sin, or will you reject Him? And, if you accept Him as Savior will you make him Lord of your life? Will you be His slave?

     I'm almost struggling to find the right words to sum up what this study has meant to me. I read this book last year, but I'm so glad that he prompted me to read it again, but this time to think through the study questions and write down my thoughts. I appreciate your joining me for this study. It was really mostly an accountibility for me to make sure I stayed the course and finished, and so I had a place where my thoughts on it were gathered.

     Through this study, God has really drawn me closer to Himself. I already understood the master/slave aspect of my relationship with Jesus, and this study helped me to fully understand it. And, God has also helped me to better understand my relationship to Him, the Father. Not only am I a slave of Jesus, but the Father adopted me- I am his daughter. His beloved child. He is my Daddy. I don't just have to be a slave to Jesus, but I want to be one. I want to please my Daddy. I want to please Jesus.

     I tend to have a wall up in any relationship. I don't know why-maybe as a defense mechanism from a lifetime of hurt. "You can get close, but only this close." That wall was in place in my relationship with God as well. I never doubted that God loved me, or that I was saved or that Jesus was my Master. But, it was a "formal" relationship- how you would expect a slave to relate to his master. Only God can orchestrate events that fall together so perfectly to speak to the hearts of His children. He had me tear down that wall and the funny thing is that I never realized it was even there until it was gone. Now it's no longer "Father", but "Daddy". It's "Master" Jesus, but also "Brother" and "Friend". God brought me into a deeper relationship with Himself. He loves me so much that He sent His Son to die for me. Jesus chose to die for me!

Humbling. So humbling.

     I've been very driven to become heaven minded. This time on the earth is so short. I need to make every minute of my service to Jesus count. In just the blink of an eye, it will be time to stand face to face with Jesus and for eternity. Everyone will one day face Him. If He says, "I never knew you" that is the last time you will ever see His face. Or He will say, "Well done, good and faithful slave!" and you will see His face for eternity. I'm so ready for that day to come. Which will He say to you?

Any final thoughts?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Slave by John MacArthur: Week Twelve-Chapter Twelve

I'm finally getting Chapter Twelve notes up for this week. It's been a little crazy lately!


What are some ways you can do better at investing the resources God has given you for His purposes?

     Just like Paul, I want Jesus to say to me "Well done, good and faithful slave!" This is motivation to "stay in the race". I think we can do better by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. It's so easy to give up or do something more pleasurable in the short term, but keeping our eyes on Him will be that constant reminder that our actions now are choosing our eternity. Of course we'll still be saved if we've accepted Him, but the extent of our rewards will be determined by how we've served and are serving Him now.


Philippians 2:10-11

     One day everyone will confess Jesus as Lord. That is a fact. But, if you wait until judgement to confess, it's too late for you. you will not be able at that point to enter into eternity with God the Father. That's why it's so important to receive Him now by faith. Faith is trusting and believing in something you can't see. Even though there is so much evidence all around us that points straight to Jesus people will still reject and doubt Him.

Whew! These next few questions are really challenging! You really have to go in and get knee deep and evaluate exactly where you are.

The only thing that matters is Jesus and what you do with Him and for Him. So many people do "good" things, but those things are really worthless if they aren't done in Jesus' name. Everything we do is filth without Jesus. But. Once we've received Him as our Lord and Savior, all we do in His name will reap eternal reward. All the service, the mercy, the love, the sacrifice- he will keep an account of , and we will receive back reward from Him.

So am I ready for His return?

I think that there's always room for "better" that we could have done. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? But, at this point in my life, I almost beg Jesus to go ahead and come back. I am just tired of all the junk this world has to offer, and I just long for the day when I don't have to deal with all this junk anymore.

And, today is a knew day. It's never to late to commit to wholly serving Jesus even if you have never really committed to wholly serving Him before.


By what standard are you measuring success?

     By the world's standards, my life wouldn't be successful. I don't have a career outside of my home. I didn't graduate from college. I don't have a wardrobe full of designer clothes. I don't have a Coach purse. I don't have a magazine perfect home. I don't have the standard and convienent two kids. I have ten. That alone keeps me out of the "successful" catagory into the "crazy" catagory.

     But God's idea of success is different. I have a career inside my home taking care of my husband and children (Titus 2). I didn't graduate from college, but I've homeschooled all of my children and am graduating one from high school next month. (Deuteronomy 6: 7-9)  I don't have a wardrobe full of designer clothes, but I wear second hand to make sure the budget stretches so that my husband and children have what they need.  (Proverbs 31)  I have ten children and the oldest seven, so far, have received Jesus and been baptized. I've reaised up warriors for God and aimed my arrows toward Him (Psalm 127:4)    My oldest arrows are heading off to mission's trips this summer. I don't say this to be arrogant or brag, because only, only, only by the GRACE of God in my life have these things been possible. If you knew me before I got married and had children you'd know what a mess my life was. And, even after receiving Jesus there are so many times when I should have and could have done better for Him. Trust me, there have been plenty of times where I've wanted that Coach purse and that picture perfect home.

       It leads right into the next few questions-we have to be citizens of heaven, not the world. There, the things the world deems successful don't matter. (Although, God knows what we women like, so who knows what rewards He'll have for us, LOL!)


What does it mean to "walk in a manner worthy of God" ? ( 1 Thessalonians 2:12)

     While we do have to wait to physically enjoy all the benefits of being a citizen of heaven, we are still already citizens right now. We are already fellows heirs with Christ. He has already defeated death. It is already finished. We are just waiting for the day when we can go to our earthy home. But, our time here isn't up. God still has still set tasks before us in this life. He still wants us to fully and completely use the opportunity of this life to fulfill his tasks and purposes. We still need to fully serve Him with the time we have left in this life and do it with joy knowing what waits for us.

What are your thoughts?

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