I always cringe when I hear the phrase “kindergarten curriculum” in a homeschooling context.

free digital stamp_swing silhouette

From a fellow veteran homeschooling Mom:

Some kids really enjoy “playing school,” but at that age – or any young age
– don’t get tied down to a curriculum. Learning is fun – don’t make it
work! Don’t count hours of “work” before you have to – learning is part of

If you do use a curriculum, be sure to fit it to the child, not the child
to it. If your child is crying or throwing fits, or if either of you is
dreading “school,” back off and don’t do anything formal for a while.
Eventually your child will have to learn the discipline of studying
something that’s not always fun, but let them learn discipline and
perseverance first on something other than learning, something like folding
laundry or picking up toys. Keep learning as pure fun as long as you
possibly can.

Read lots of books, all kinds of books, books both you and your child
enjoy. If your child loves a book that you’re sick of, let him or her look
at it without you. But don’t pressure a kid to learn to read – some are
ready at 4, some at 8. Answer all your child’s questions that you can. Look
up the answers to others when you have time. Play with blocks and duplos or
legos – let them invent their own designs. Model the idea of building
things from your imagination. Go to the zoo and fun museums, proceeding at
the child’s pace. Learn at the grocery store. Talk about where food comes
from. Garden or go to a friend’s garden. Play with seeds and plants and get
dirty. Do lots of art. Make letters for your child to copy. Write down
stories they tell you. Write descriptions of their pictures that they
dictate. Play games – whether they’re “educational” games or not, your
child will learn. Let your child help cook, clear the table, wash or put
away dishes. Even a little kid can unload the dishwasher. Cooking and
baking are especially fun and educational. Talk about protein and starch
and vitamins. Teach sewing and handcrafts. It’s so satisfying to make
something. Teach your child the things you like to do for fun and let other
friends and family members teach what they’re good at. Get story and song
tapes or CDs from the library. Sing together. Say nursery rhymes and silly
poems. If you have a baby, involve your child in the baby’s care. Even some
four-year-olds can change diapers.

If you really want to do math, try the Miquon Orange Book. Get Cuisenaire
rods and pattern blocks. Play with them – don’t just do “math” with them.

I know a young mother who has cards with words written on them all over the
house: “chair,” “sink,” “stairs,” etc. In church, when we sing from a
hymnbook, she runs her finger under the words for her child as we sing
them. Her daughter is ready to read – already reading a bit, I think, so
she likes this, but if a kid doesn’t like it, I wouldn’t do it, though you
might try from time to time until they’re ready.

I love it that a kid isn’t official in PA until age 8. Enjoy it while you

Pamela (homeschooling veteran)


Come, Ye Disconsolate, Where’er Ye Languish

birch trees in winter2

1) Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,

come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel:

here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;

earth has no sorrows that heav’n cannot heal.

2) Joy of the comfortless, light of the straying,

hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!

Here speaks the Comforter, in mercy saying,

“Earth has no sorrows that heav’n cannot cure.”

3) Here see the Bread of Life; see waters flowing

forth from the throne of God, pure from above:

come to the feast prepared; come, ever knowing

earth has no sorrows but heav’n can remove.

St. 1-2 Thomas Moore, 1816

St. 3 Thomas Hastings, 1832

Give Me Jesus


African American Spiritual, c. 1860

1. In the morning when I rise,
in the morning when I rise,
in the morning when I rise,
give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
give me Jesus,
you may have all this world;
give me Jesus.

2. Dark midnight was my cry,
dark midnight way my cry,
dark midnight was my cry,
give me Jesus. [Refrain]

3. Just about the break of day,
just about the break of day,
just about the break of day,
give me Jesus. [Refrain]

4. Oh, when I come to die,
oh, when I come to die,
oh, when I come to die,
give me Jesus. [Refrain]

Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me


Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law’s demands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989



Grief With Hope

A Ministry to and with the Grieving

October 1998

by James Alexander


Heaven is God’s Dwelling Place

Even though God’s presence extends without end, the Bible presents God as having a definite place of dwelling. This dwelling place, called heaven, should not be thought of as a location in the physical universe, but as the fullness of God’s revelation of Himself in a way that breaks through our temporal limitations. Those in this place, heaven, enjoy an environment composed of the perfection of God’s own nature. The atmosphere of heaven shines with His glory. Those who dwell there feed upon the life of God. No sin can enter to darken the glory, and no misery can bring suffering and pain into this house of blessing. Those who dwell in heaven with God live an unmarred experience of these joys.

Heaven is Where Christ Is

After his resurrection, Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father. The right hand of the Gather speaks, not of a coordinate on a grid, but a position of kingly honor and power. The Father has granted to the Son all authority and power to rule and govern. From this heavenly position, Christ even now rules over all things. Sin brings death, but Christ rules over death.

Those who die in Christ leave their bodies to be kept, even in decay, by Christ until the resurrection of the dead at the return of Christ. Their souls immediately enter into heaven into the presence of Christ. There they do not exist as floating spirits, but are clothed with the white robes of Christ’s own glory as they wait for the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan. While waiting, they enjoy the full activities of the heavenly life. The potentiality of being in Christ reaches toward a new and richer fulfillment summed up by the following:

  1. The heart no longer sends out streams of depravity, but now reflects the unbroken image of God’s own character. Perfect holiness brings perfect rest from struggles with sin and from life’s stresses and strains.
  2. The miseries of life are gone forever. Pain, sickness, suffering, heartache, loneliness, sadness, and grief melt away in the sunshine of heaven.
  3. Man is at his best when worshipping, so the endless theme of worship is interwoven into all activities.
  4. Family life reaches perfection in the fullness of security, care, love and fellowship with Christ and all the saints.
  5. No longer thwarted by pride and selfishness, the saints serve God and each other with an endless joy.
  6. The light of God’s presence penetrates every place bringing to all His children continuous newness in the revelation of His love.
  7. Heaven’s temple reverberates with happiness and joy that go on undiminished through eternity.

Scripture for Meditation: Revelation 6:12-17; 7:9-17

Being Dead They Still Speak

Now while they were thus drawing near towards the Gate, behold a company of the heavenly Host came out to meet them; to whom it was said by the other two shining Ones, “These are the men that have loved our Lord, when they were in the World, and that have left all for his Holy Name, and he hath sent us to fetch them…that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with Joy.” Then the Heavenly Host gave a great shout, saying, “Blessed are they that are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” …But Glorious it was to see, how the open Region was filled with Horses and Chariots, with Trumpeters and Pipers, with Singers and Players on stringed instruments, to welcome the Pilgrims as they went up, and followed one another in at the Beautiful Gate of the City….these two men went in at the Gate; and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured: and they had raiment put on that shone like Gold….Now, just as the Gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them; and behold the City shone like the Sun, the streets also were paved with Gold, and in them walked many men with Crowns on their heads, Palms in their hands, and Golden Harps with which to sing praises…and after that they shut up the Gates: which when I had seen, I wished myself among them.

– John Bunyan in The Pilgrim’s Progress

What is heaven: A glorious and happy place, where the righteous shall be forever with the Lord.

– Children’s Catechism

One breath of paradise will extinguish all the adverse winds of earth.

– A. W. Pink

– In memory of Matthew James Alexander by his father, James Julian Alexander

Grief with Hope is a ministry established by James Alexander in memory of his son Matthew James Alexander, who died in the crash of TWA Flight #800, July 1996. Grief with Hope ministers to and with the grieving through the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship.

Why is the kitchen counter so clean?

Now what kind of a question is that?

My oldest asked me to please find the lid to the blender. It was at the bottom of the dish drainer, with a whole bunch of other stuff just sitting there waiting for someone to put away…which I did. And then I saw how dirty the drain board was, so I put it in the sink so I could scrub it. Under that, I saw how dirty the counter was, because how often do you move the drain board, anyway? As I scrubbed the counter, the circles got wider, more useless objects were removed, more dirt revealed itself… Wow! That looks great – let’s not put any of those cluttery things back out, let’s find an actual place to put them away! What a novel idea – you don’t have to have everything out in full view at all times.

My husband was pleased. I have “permission” to do this to the whole house – LOL! I’m wondering just exactly how long that will take, considering I still have 5 pairs of mittens to finish knitting; a Super Mario Brothers mushroom afghan to crochet; several other scrap blankets in the workings; a newsletter to print, fold, stuff, and mail; oh yeah, and the trip to Canada to plan…..

I lost a sock needle yesterday, so I made a new one out of a skewer. Just saying.

Grief’s Sinful Anger

beach bench

Grief With Hope

A Ministry to and with the Grieving

September 1998

 by James Alexander

Grief produces powerful streams of emotive force. Often this deep emotion will manifest itself as sinful anger. Sinful anger can quickly lead to bitterness, hatred and a desire for vengeance. When such anger takes control of you, the lives of many are shattered and many relationships are ruptured. Instead of these destructive expressions of anger, you may be seeking to restrain anger by leaving it smoldering dangerously beneath the surface. This internalized anger eventually leads to self-destruction through various forms of sinful, irrational, or morbid behavior.

Every form of sinful anger has as its source anger toward God. The unexpressed thoughts of your mind may be, “How could God do this to me? Why did He allow this to happen? If He is going to treat me this way, then I will not serve Him.” In fact, some turn openly upon the God whom they once professed to love. This anger toward God cuts off the very source of help that comes in the living God. When this occurs, the comfort of the gospel no longer brings strength and hope to the broken-hearted griever. You must repent of sinful anger. God does not owe you anything. God has a right to govern His world in the way that pleases Him. The Scripture says, “He brings down to the grave and brings up.” (1 Samuel 2:6) Were mistakes made and sins committed by others in relationship to the deceased loved one? Yes! But that will always be true as long as we live in this sinful, fallen imperfect world. Yet God did not surrender his authority to secondary causes. He is the primary and ultimate ruler of all things. You will have no peace until you confess to God your sinful anger, seek forgiveness from those whom you have sinned against, trust Christ for forgiveness and seek His help to submit to the sovereign God who disposes all things for His own glory.

Grief’s Righteous Anger

The Bible says, “Be angry and do not sin…” (Eph. 4:26) The powerful emotive force associated with grief does not have to be sinful. As Jesus approached the tomb of Lazarus, He groaned with deep inner emotion. Anger may well have been an element of that emotion. Death is an enemy because it is the ultimate temporal misery brought on by sin. You ought to be angry with death, and that anger must drive you to the remedy provided in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This anger must lead you to believe, proclaim and live the gospel which overcomes death and will soon, once and for all, bring God’s world back into order and harmony. Do not reject the blessing that lies on the backside of grief, and do not deny that blessing to others.

Furthermore, the gospel is not contrary to justice, but the gospel demands justice. Righteous anger must become a motivating power for achieving social and civil justice. Personal vengeance is wrong, but civil justice is a blessing to any society. In the case of a wrongful death there should be accountability and justice rendered. Under the grace of Christ’s forgiving love, you may benefit your society by seeking to bring about just accountability not only in your personal case but for others who may suffer from the wrongs of society. So, dear grieving one, “be angry and do not sin.” Give your life to Christ for the gospel and for making this world a better place for all.

Scripture for meditation: Ephesians 4:25-32

The Griever’s Question

How can I become free from thinking constantly about the wrong that I have suffered in the death of my loved one? The desire for justice is not wrong, but when that desire begins to consume your life, it is sinful, idolatrous and destructive. Confess your sin to God and seek forgiveness through Christ. Christ has promised to send the Holy Spirit to help you become free. As you ask for the Spirit’s help, remember that God is not enslaved to secondary causes, but He rules over every event to bring glory to Christ and blessing to His people. Often in this present world justice will not be done, but the day will soon come when He will correct all injustices. In the meantime, you must set your mind on the “things of the Spirit.” Vengefulness and bitterness are contrary to the Spirit. Think upon the sovereign goodness of God, begin to love those who sinned against you, and then you will have peace.

Being Dead They Still Speak

“But, when we resist Him with our brass necks and will not bow for the corrections which He sends us, we do nothing but continually double His strokes. On the contrary, then, if we feel our sins, so that we ask pardon for them and He knows that we are rightly touched by them; then He makes our afflictions to turn into a wholesome medicine for us, and there upon, He delivers us from them…. So then, let us not murmur any longer when we see that God sends such troubles into the world; neither let us be offended as it as if He has His eyes closed. For He well knows what He is doing, and He has an infinite wisdom which does not appear to us at first sight; but, in the end, we surely see that He has disposed things in good order and measure.” (J. Calvin)

– In memory of Matthew James Alexander by his father, James Julian Alexander

Grief with Hope is a ministry established by James Alexander in memory of his son Matthew James Alexander, who died in the crash of TWA Flight #800, July 1996. Grief with Hope ministers to and with the grieving through the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship.