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Questions of my education:

 
Everly,
I am a homeschool graduate. Though my math never went higher than geometry, I did 2 math books a year to be sure that I was able to do the subject well enough. I love reading, and was most always doing that in my spare time!

All of the things you listed in your post today, my family has done, while still doing school. We took school books along on trips, we were always required to work together (at chores around the house and such) and we have also done many home improvement projects. As homeschoolers, we have learned (just as you) to learn outside of school. But I still believe that schoolwork is required. Even work that we don’t want to learn. After all, when we are adults, we will have to do things that aren’t always enjoyable.

And if our generation is to lead our country someday, shouldn’t we be equipped with the learning skills to do so?

I hope I am not being offensive at all- I’m just curious! I know that you are very smart- you have wonderful writing skills. I just don’t see how the concept of un-schooling can be all that beneficial?

-A Reader 

Dear Reader,

I expect many people feel the way you do (though not as many as think that I should be in public school,) but you’re one of the few who actually cares to discuss it, which I think is very honest of you.
Let’s see…where to begin? Speaking of honesty, I won’t say that I’m always prepared to answer the questions that I provoke. I always pray before I check email or comments, and even then, there are butterflies in  my stomach every time. I’ve said the wrong thing many times, responded regrettably or let my emotions cloud my convictions, all things I’m trying to grow out of as an authoress and as a Christian. But yet, somehow, I can’t quite regret letting the cat out of the bag about my educational philosophy. We’ll see, I guess. ;)

Also, this may seem silly, but thank you for thinking about my post. Those words mean a lot to me! And for your compliments on my writing, that was very kind.

Similar to the disclaimer you gave me: I hope that I’m not offending you. Your parents seemed to do a  splendid job raising you and your siblings and I respect their choices in education, I really do, but they are clearly not my own (exactly.)

Alright, well I know that we were both home-educated (which is really cool,) but I’ve recently started calling myself “un-schooled” while you sound like a true home-schooler. I know that you can relate to my convictions about children being at home with their parents, learning side-by-side and not being involved in government schools. So we’re off on a good start! But, the place where we differ is in our home-education style.

As I wrote in my post “Home Education: The Terminology,” my parents started off educating us much like it sounds like your parents educated you. But, as time passed, my parents strayed further and further away from that “style” of education. We believe that what you teach your children, encourage your children to learn or teach yourself should be purely based on two things:
1. The leading of The Holy Spirit and
2. Personal interests (which are also from God, of course.)

To place children into grades, grade their work according the “school” standards, test them the way they’d be tested in school and require that they go through the motions of school under the roof of their own home is hardly removed from the idea of “school” at all. We weren’t only avoiding the teachers, the peer pressure, the drugs and sex and cafeteria food when we dropped out of school, but we tossed away the whole idea of “school” and just did our best to learn what we felt God was trying to teach us.

Now, you wrote: “But I still believe that schoolwork is required. Even work that we don’t want to learn. After all, when we are adults, we will have to do things that aren’t always enjoyable.”

To this, I’ll respond to the first half first.
Being required to read a book, perform a science experiment or work through a page of math rarely inspired me to learn, at least not half so much as when let alone, and because we were “let alone,” my siblings and I were all led to do these things anyway. We wanted to learn because learning was no longer associated with requirements and schedules and failure or success. It was just our own minds and spirits eating up books that our parents laid out for us, discussing topics that our parents introduced to us etc. More on this later.

To the second half of the statement, I’d say this: When we are adults, every one of my siblings and I are sure to do things that “aren’t always enjoyable,” as you said. And though we have very few academic requirements, each of us have already experienced things that weren’t enjoyable. Living in a third-world country was no walk in the park. Shoveling gravel for our driveway was tedious, having both babies dirty their diapers at once used to make me cry! But I survived Haiti and shoveled gravel and changed both of those diapers, because acting loving and helpful is a requirement in my family. Now, I am glad for the experiences, and “doing things that aren’t always enjoyable” won’t be so very new to me. The lack of academic requirement never gave me a false or fantastic view of adulthood. As a matter of fact, it has been arguable much more like “the real world” than the lives of children who are educated more formally.

But, as I stated on my blog and will say again, we do in fact have some academic requirements. My three youngest siblings (ages 6, 8 and 11…which I can hardly believe!) still do “lessons” on week-day mornings. This is “required work,” but very flexible and child-specific. I help Willin (8) with his lessons, which involves a little reading, a little writing, a little math and then I read aloud to him. This is not a recipe of perfection. All three of these children were adopted from Haiti, are very unique in emotions and mind and all require different things. According to schools, they are both ahead and behind in different areas, but the point of not being in school is not comparing ones self to those in the school system. I am neither stating that this is The Right Way to do things or that it is the right way for us to do things, but through seeking God’s will, we believe it to be right for our family and are doing our best to…well, do our best!

I too was taught this way as a young child, but rapidly less and less as I got older, because my parents made it easy for us to enjoy learning and therefore teach ourselves at our own paces. As I’ve stated, I want to better my math skills. Unlike you, I did not work through two math books a year (good for you!) I have made the personal decision to do something that “isn’t always enjoyable” and work through a book on math instead of curling up with a good novel. (On a side note, I am glad to hear that you “only went through geometry,” as I think so much of advanced math is unnecessary, unless you want to be a mathematician!)

The basis of my philosophy is that, if you set the table, most children will quickly learn to feed themselves. A skill that will really come in handy in “the real world.” Not every child, I suppose, and certainly you can’t set the table the same way for each child, but children like my brothers and sisters will learn to teach themselves things that will really “stick” and that they will use in the future. My education will, as far as I can tell, remain the same all my life. I study on my own because I like to and feel led to. I think I will always do that.

However, my sister and brother are both in college. My sister is at our local junior college taking her basics and my brother is getting a degree in philosophy at The University of London. Both are doing very well, making good grades in every area, though they were never graded at home (nor tested,for that matter.) They weren’t held back or deprived by the fact that my parents required little of them academically. They grew mentally on their own.

In response to this: “And if our generation is to lead our country someday, shouldn’t we be equipped with the learning skills to do so?”

Yes! I’d say so.
But what would you say were “the learning skills to do so”? Algebra and geometry? The classics?
I’d say it is different for everyone. I’d say that God has a purpose for everyone and will give them opportunities to equip themselves for that purpose. For me, it was chunking my school books for seven months to live at an orphanage. For my brother it was studying the great philosophers. For my sister it was studying linguistics, something that has certainly come in handy (or “into divine use”) as she is now fluent in Haitian Creole and plans to learn other languages. I hope that for you, it was spending time learning what you’ve learned. I’d certainly say that “the learning skills” that it requires to carry out God’s purpose and “lead our country” have been applied to my siblings. They certainly have the skill of learning.

Anyway, I’m sure I have more to say, but I also know that (tada!) it is past lesson-time and my mother is anxious for me to “get busy.” :)


Thank you for your time and interest,

Everly Pleasant

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One Million Arrows



As God is faithful in doing, He recently provided me with a new kind of opportunity. It is an opportunity to both spread good news, donate money to orphan ministry and write! What could be better than that? All I had to do is what I would be doing anyway-read a book. And it is that book that I want to write about today.

One Million Arrows by *Julie Ferwerda is a new guidebook for, to put it simply, changing the world.

The idea behind is this book is based on Psalm 127:4-5 which states:

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!”

This means raising children to be “arrows” in God’s mighty hand, that when they are sharp, they might be “launched” out into all the earth to proclaim The Good News, show others the love of Christ and lead them to salvation. It isn’t just an inspiration or an outlook, it’s the mission. It is The Great Commission in action and the opportunity to save the lives of people all over the world today and also the lives of those who have yet to walk the earth. It is undeniably the most important job you could ever sign up for.

Julie was first inspired by this notion when she wound up in northwest India in 2007 after her writer’s conference was canceled. She divinely met up with a man in his seventies whom everyone calls “Papa,” and for good reason. “A father to the fatherless,” they call this modern-day Abraham and founder of Hope Homes and the One Million Arrows vision. At a young age, “Papa” decided that he wanted to help his country (India,) in a big way. He began starting churches and homes for orphans where they were and are raised to be “arrows” for God. Papa’s goal is to start one million churches through these young arrows, all over India, sending them each in a different direction.

About “Papa” Dr. M.A. Thomas, the man who started this whole movement, Julie writes:

“God gave him the vision of gathering one million orphaned and abandoned children, sharpening them as “arrows for God,” and launching them to start one million churches in the these communities of India who had never heard the name of Jesus. He has been faithfully working toward the vision since, and today he has launched 16,000 orphan arrows as ambassors of Christ into India, and planted 21,000 churches.”

Julie, however, doesn’t live in India. She lives in a house with her family here in the U.S.

So what does Papa’s ministry and vision have to do with Julie Ferwerda, America and you and I?

Everything. Because everyone can and should take a part in sharpening arrows.

One Million Arrows is broken into three sections; Gather, Sharpen and Launch.

This refers to:

1. Finding potential arrows.

For a parent, this obviously encompasses your family, but there are more arrows to be sharpened than those under your own roof. As Julie speaks avidly about in her book, this could include sponsoring a child so that he/she might be raised in a place such as A Hope Home or similar shelter where they will be taught about Christ, hopefully led to a personal relationship with Him and ignited with a desire to spread the hope in Christ they have found with others. This too is “sharpening an arrow”!

2. Sharpening the arrows.

Julie writes about many good, practical ways to incorporate methods of sharpening into the lives of your young “arrows”. Likely my favorite part of the entire book is her true stories of young people who, because they were taught to impact their world for God’s kingdom, have chosen to live revolutionary lives as sharp, strong and useful arrows in God’s hand.

3. Launching the arrows.

This is the “sending out” of disciples, as Christ did with his twelve. In this third and final part of the book, Julie shares how these arrows that have been sharpened are now landing all over the world…and doing exactly what an arrow should. They are penetrating the darkness by allowing God to aim them, and making even more disciples. These stories are absolutely motivational! I loved reading the quotations and stories of people my own age or even younger whom God has chosen to “launch,” use and bless.

So for parents, this book is about raising your children not only to become disciples of Christ, but to go out and make disciples. For you and I (young, single, teenage disciples) we also have a mission, and we too can learn from this book…

Did you know that 3 out of 4 Christians are leaving church for good by their second year in college? And that 85% of young adults who claim to be “born again,” don’t claim to believe in an absolute truth? Today, America is running over with teens (33 million to be exact) and these statistics only apply to those who claim Christianity. What about the other millions walking through the high school halls, down the sidewalks of college campuses and lingering in your favorite coffee shops? What is to become of them?

Though they may have been cheated by their churches and neglected or even ruined by their parents and families, I believe that there is still hope for these young wanderers who need to find Christ, and that is you.

And me. And the rest of their peers. Other young people who, instead of wandering, have found a firm foundation and a rock of salvation to stand upon. The arrows who have been sharpened in Christian homes or churches and are ready to give back, even while we are still young.

Needless to say, this book pretty much is for everyone. The great commission applies to all of God’s children, and this book is full of wisdom for anyone who is ready to be commissioned. Statistics show that the average amount of money going overseas from American churches is 2%. Do you think that our country has it’s priorities straight? Neither do I. We can’t change those statistics, but we can change the statistics of tomorrow.

So what can you do?

Well, for starters, you can change your outlook. You aren’t too young, you aren’t too busy and it isn’t too late to make a difference. Get started by gathering and then sharpening and then launching. Another thing you could do would be buy the book, which will send 100% of the cost to “arrow sharpening” ministries for orphans overseas, give you brilliant advice, staggering examples of arrows and a lot of motivation! I would especially recommend this book to home-schooled families or those interested in becoming involved in foreign missions or international adoption.

I really enjoyed this book, am pumped about the ministries it supports and found unexpected amounts of both conviction and education within it’s pages. So get your own copy, you can’t go wrong!

*Julie Ferwerda is recognized for making the Bible exciting and relevant to everyday life through her writing and speaking. Her articles are featured in many Christian magazines and websites for both adults and teens, and she frequently volunteers her time and talents to international orphan ministry. Learn more at OneMillionArrows.com.



Read the first chapter here!

Watch the video here!

Everly Pleasant

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Tag from Alex… :)

Alexandra at The Value of One tagged me! What fun!
Alright, so I am supposed to list seven awesome things about myself. Well…this. could. be. tricky. 1. I’m a daughter of The King of Kings.
2. I come from a big family and love it.
3. I can tread water for a really long time.
4. I had never taken a test in my life until last Summer in Driver’s Ed. I think that’s awesome.
5. I used to live in Haiti and can speak some Haitian creole.
6. I spent a good chunk of my childhood in a dark-room, playing with chemicals and paper and film.
7. I once watched a meteorite fall into my back yard.

Alright! Glad to get that out of my system… ;)

Now for tagging Awesome People:::

epleasant
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Honest Scrap Award

Alexandra of The Value of One awarded me with The Honest Scrap Award.
In return, I am expected to “tag” seven other bloggers and post ten honest facts about myself.
Here goes:

1. I’ve never been to camp, nor have I been away from my family under any circumstances for more than a weekend.

2. Not including my crib, I have never had a bed to myself. Oh, and I sleep with three stuffed dogs, Blackberry, Vanilla and Fudge. :)

3. I am hypoglycemic which just means that I get hungry very suddenly and become shaky and have trouble thinking clearly.

4. I drink chocolate milk every morning, even if I’m eating something sweet!

5. When I was little, I had a crush on Dimitri from Anastasia.

6. I’ve never been on a roller coaster.

7. I can touch my elbows together behind my back. Go ahead…try it!

8. I didn’t learn how to ride a bicycle until I was eleven.

9. It takes me a moment to read a clock.

10. I once lied to my Kindergarten teacher about why I was crying. I told her that I missed my mom, when the truth was I had a most embarrassing Georgie-Porgie type experience at recess!

Now for the tags…

Neverland!

Cambric and Chamomile and Christ Over Me!

The Dutchess!

Delighting In Grace!

Blueberry Days!

Painter of Words!

A Bowl of Moss and Pebbles!

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Everly’s Fifth: A self-interview

Everly, it is good to be back. I hope you’ve enjoyed this on-going series of interviews…

Oh yes, indeed. What could be more fun than interviewing yourself?

I know, right? Ahem, anyway…let’s carry on. This time we did things a little differently…

Yeah, we accepted questions from readers!

That’s right, so we’ll start off with those. Since I haven’t been able to think of any good ones lately, I’ll just ask the questions from readers as if I thought them up myself.

That doesn’t seem very fair…

Eh, it’s fair enough. They know which ones they asked and we can’t ask them all anyway. We’ll just try to generalize the answers enough to satisfy everyone.

Okay, if you say so. What’s the first topic?

Concerning your education…what percentage of collective wisdom in your life do you owe to the office of good books?

Oh, well that’s rather hard to say. To take a percentage, you really must know the conclusive sum. And I don’t. I cannot judge my own wisdom (though I can say that it isn’t as big of a number as I would like.) To try to answer your question I’d say…very much. But not as much as you may be thinking. I think I owe most of my knowledge of literary things and English to good books. Wisdom is a different matter, and in the end, “good books” wouldn’t do me a speck of good if it weren’t for my parents who set the stage for my education and for the God who called and inspired them to do it.

I see, hmm. That’s very…boring-I mean interesting! Of course…very interesting.
Several other readers queried about your education (and I don’t blame them…it is rather unusual.) Where could they find more information on the topic?

Well, on the sidebar of Clickety-Clack (once you’ve scrolled down a couple of seconds) there is a list of categories under which all of my posts fall. If you click on “learning” I’m sure you’d pick up a bit more about the way things work at Eyrie Park. Also, I’ve talked about it in my previous interviews (under, ironically, “interviews”.) I’ll answer any other specific questions in my comment box.

Yes, very nice, thank you. Um, where do you see yourself in about 10 years from now?

Oh really, I do want to answer these questions! I have the best intentions of doing so, but these questions are just so…hard! Where do I see myself ten years from now? Well, that would make me (wow) twenty-six years old. I have this little issue called Daydreaming which causes me to see myself in the future very often…and in every possible circumstances. Perhaps it would be easier to ask how I would like to be living. Ideally, I’ll be married. I’ll be celebrating my seventh or eighth wedding anniversary (I said ideally, didn’t I?) under a big oak tree with twinkly lights in it with cake and cloth napkins and several little children and a baby (and my husband, naturally.) We’ll be laughing and talking and playing music and thinking about how young we both were ten years ago. We’ll be in our own little spot in the middle of a quite-a-few-acre-wood somewhere not too far away from Eyrie Park and, seeing as it will be June, it will be warm and there will be fireflies and a humid breeze. Thank you for asking, you’ve put me in the best of moods.

Zzz-zz-zz

Excuse me…interviewer! (Nudges roughly.)

What?! Oh, hm. I apologize…you rather lulled me to sleep with that last answer.
Anyway…what’s next? (Shuffling of papers) Ah yes: Do you think it is wrong to go to college?

No, absolutely not. As a matter of fact, I recommend it. For some.
First of all, I’ll be brave enough to recognize some differences between men and women which should effect your decision. A man’s goals should include a career through which he can provide for himself and, if he plans on marrying, for his wife and possible children. This career likely requires a college degree. If you are called toward field which requires a degree, by all means, go to college! However, many women are not called to a career. Many women are called to be stay-at-home-wives and mothers, in which case (thank The Lord,) a degree is not required. If this is the case, don’t force yourself through college. In my opinion, we should all pay attention to God’s whispers and nudging, not to the flow of general traffic. God bless you wherever He takes you!

Thank you!

You’re…welcome?

Anyway, on a different topic, when you have a problem, who do you go to?

Well, that depends on the problem, but most of the time to my older sister Sabrina, my mother, my little sister Birdie or a friend (Rita or Isabella.) Then, around the time my whole circle knows about the issue, I think to pray about it. Though I wouldn’t recommend that order.

What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?

You thought you were asking a simple question, didn’t you?

Uh, yeah. I was hoping so…

Well, I don’t have a favorite verse. For years, I’ve loved Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” I also love Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord…” There have been different verses throughout my life that I have clung to or that have spoken especially to me, but I don’t have a favorite.

When you are all alone (as rare as that may be,) what do you find your thoughts drawn to?

Well, as I answer you, I am sitting at a table with three other people while two others linger within the room. In my house, being alone is about as common as being bit by a spider. It happens…just not too often. Actually, as the kids get older, I get more and more alone time. Funny, I am alone so rarely, I find myself getting lonely very easily if I am ever alone (such as, during my shower.) :)
But my thoughts are usually drawn to stories, either something I’ve heard or read or a story from my own imagination. Then, they’re drawn toward relationships of reality. As a girl, I am constantly watching my relationship with everyone like a regular ambassador. I keep tabs on my relationships with absolutely everybody and am constantly updating the status of each one, paranoid that one will go unnoticed or fall to wayside. Other things are day-dreamier such as my future, etc. Or childhood memories, or Haiti. I want to go back to Haiti very badly. I’m constantly drawing invisible pictures in the air or on the table with my finger.

How many times have you made a real, solemn wish in your life?

Oh, I’d say roughly ten or twelve times. I can think of several off the top of my head, if you mean those moments where you look up at the sky and go “please, please, please!”

Would you ever (if you had the power) change your situation, family or figure? If so, or not, why?

Yes, yes, yes and no, no, no.
Addressing the situation aspect firstly, yes. Oftentimes. Awkward, sticky, sad, discouraging, frustrating or difficult situations are met by wishes for the power to change them. As far as my general situation, no. I am very happy with where I am and what I am doing. I am more satisfied with my childhood than anyone else, I feel, and am happy when I look ahead as well. Would I change my family? No. But I would tweak a few relationships and keep particular bad things from happening to family members. And if you mean my physical figure, I’d have to say “no” again, though at times, it would have been a heart-felt “yes!” I am very small both in weight and stature. The only big things about me are my hands and feet and ponytail. Around Jr. High I felt very uncomfortable about my size (as I hadn’t hit my growth spurt yet.) But in general, I am very happy with it now. I just wish I was more muscular! For anyone who is wondering, I have finally made it to 5′ 3” (ish) but it was a long-time-coming. I think I weigh about 96 pounds, and after every meal, I look like I’m nine months pregnant. I have very long arms and legs and fingers and toes, making me look like potential for a tall person, but the truth is, I’m a full grown lady. I think.

Wow, you’re scrawny!

Yeah…I know.

Oh, I’m sorry…did I offend you?

No! Not at all…it’s just, a little rude to say…er, well…
…I’ve grown a lot you know!

Oh, I’m not denying that!

Next question please…

(Clears throat) Anyway, if you were to suddenly lose all computer privileges (including blogging, email etc.) how would you react?

Well, I’d be very disappointed and I would miss my blog friends a lot. I’d also miss Facebook which has proven itself to be a very useful form of communicating to faraway friends and family. But, for whatever reason that my privileges were lost, I’d try to appreciate the new time I would be gaining. I’ve been working on this interview off-and-on all day. Though I did go out to my garden, clean all of the bathrooms and write a letter, my list of accomplishments would be different without the computer. I’d also have to hand-write things, which would probably double the time spent on each written project. If I lost these privileges for eternity, I’d be very shaken up and probably would make a tribute to Clickety-Clack in marble.

You are a strange little lady.

Look who’s talking!

Ugh, whatever. Next question…once again, this is from a reader:
If you could ask yourself any interview question, what would it be?

Oh, what an exciting question! Hmm, let me think! I can’t decide. If I could ask myself a question…it would have to be something good.

Aw, well you don’t have to answer so soon. Last question: do you ever wonder if you have a psychological disorder such as schizophrenia?

Isn’t that where you talk to yourself?

Yeah.

Psh, no.

e.pleasant

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