Creative Writing Class for Homeschool Students

Creative Writing for Homeschool Students

“Worried about your kids’ writing skills as the school year winds down? Let me help your child finish strong!”

Published writer Margie Sims teaches fun and affordable Creative Writing classes beginning February 22, 2018. Classes will meet every other Thursday for seven weeks from 11 AM – 12 PM at Mars Hill Cafe in Mobile.  Age range is fourth grade to high school. Cost is $10-$18 per class, depending on number enrolled. Limited spots remaining.

To ask questions or register your student, email Margie at mrgsms@gmail.com.

Syllabus

February 22 – Four elements of children’s stories

March 8 – Copy Writing/Travel Brochure

March 22 – News Writing

April 5 – Book Reports

April 19 – Speeches

May 3 – Poetry and Greeting cards, Review for exam

May 17 – Final Exam

© 2017-2018 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Original photo by Dan Counsell on Unsplash

2018 – Off and Running

Happy New Year, home-educating families and friends!

End of Year Collage 2017

NGCHE got off to a fantastic start in the fall of 2017. We attended shows put on by two student theater groups, volunteered in the garden at an urban teaching farm, learned a ton at the Mobile Medical Museum, said “Thank You” to the veterans at a Baldwin County nursing home, and were the first homeschool group to tour the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama. Not bad for our first four months! We made many new friends in our community and are excited for what’s to come.

Our volunteers took a much-needed break over the last half of December and have hit the ground running. We are expecting a fabulous year in 2018. We don’t want to spill the beans until all the details are worked out, but here are a few things you can expect this year.

Field Trips: Several field trips are currently in the works for sites in and around Mobile, Gulf Shores, and Pensacola. As always, our field trips are open to any homeschool family regardless of where you live. We sometimes have donors who make scholarships available to certain of our field trips. If your student needs one, please ask.

Community Service: NGCHE will be working with select agencies and volunteers from the Mobile – Baldwin area to beta test a community service program that matches homeschool students and their families with projects and special needs that arise in our community.

Classes: Nature Connect Alabama is partnering with us to offer a nature skills class for elementary students in February. Details will be posted very soon. We are also entering into negotiations with several parties which we hope will result in quality high school science instruction with scholarships for low income families. Send your prayers and good thoughts for this one. We will post updates as they become available.

Information: NGCHE was asked late last year by staff from the Mobile County District Attorney’s office to assist with information regarding local coverings. We love to share information about homeschooling with the general public. We are happy to make additions to our website that will help Gulf Coast officials and those doing research on homeschooling in our area. We look forward to input from our friends and followers on this project.

Graduation: Our first community homeschool graduation ceremony will take place in May at Robertsdale Church of the Nazarene in Baldwin County, Alabama. Pastor Melissa Aaron has indicated a willingness to offer this ceremony next year as well for homeschool families who do not use a covering or whose covering is out of town. We love and appreciate our friends at Robertsdale Naz!

Meetings and Special Events: We are working towards regular quarterly meetings for all homeschoolers; support groups for homeschool parents who are disabled or widowed; quarterly activities just for parents and grandparents. We are very excited about a new event coming in August, but we’re sworn to secrecy and would have to enter the witness protection program if we spilled the beans on this one!

Articles: One of our volunteers is working on a blog series entitled “Homeschooling: The Dark Side.” This won’t be your typical feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy series, but we hope we can all learn some valuable lessons from it. Homeschool parents will share real-life experiences and honest opinions about the times things didn’t turn out as planned. The series will tackle topics such as field trips, co-ops, curricula, printables, and more.

These are just some of the offerings and projects we’re working on at NGCHE this year. Drop us an email if you have any questions. Keep your eye on our website and facebook page for details. And don’t forget to share us with your friends. We look forward to this new year together.

© 2017-2018 Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

 

Engaging the Community Through Accurate Information

Engaging Through Information

Original photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

One of NGCHE’s primary goals is to foster positive relationships between homeschoolers and our local communities. We encourage homeschool families to reach out and engage with others in meaningful ways. Sharing information is often a wonderful first step in developing long-term relationships not only with individuals but community organizations as well.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a website featuring a series of articles on homeschool laws. Each article was written by an author who had lived and homeschooled in the state about which she was writing. I’m not sure what made me stop and read the entry on Alabama. Maybe it was a bit of nostalgia.

I thought back almost 15 years ago to the time when I was on the internet eagerly researching homeschooling and how important accurate information was to our family. We knew maybe two homeschoolers back then, but not very well. All that we could tell you about homeschooling at that point would fit on a postage stamp, and a small one at that.

Back to the present day… The aforementioned article pertaining to homeschooling in Alabama was published in late October 2017. It was written by a mom who had left the state in 2013. Tutors and cover schools (aka church schools or “coverings”) were the only legal homeschool options she gave as those were the only available at the time she left the state. The article made no mention of our third choice.

The owner of the website meant well by publishing a series of posts featuring homeschool law in all fifty states. Though done with good intentions, that’s a grand plan. The content had not been vetted for Alabama, and the article gave out incomplete information.

In 2014 the State of Alabama declared that a private school could be established by any legal entity, not just a church. This included parents. Families who wished to homeschool their children could declare their home to be a private school, register with the Board of Education, and begin teaching their children without enrolling in a cover or hiring a tutor. The BOE has since stopped accepting private school registrations from homeschool families. At this time, it appears to be unnecessary to register with the state BOE to homeschool using the “private school” option.

Long-time residents of Alabama have come to associate homeschoolers with coverings. Despite the fact that the law changed over three years ago, many people in the general public still don’t know that coverings have become an option. This includes a significant number of the local professionals with whom I’ve made field trip reservations or group enrollments.

At first I was a tiny bit surprised that word of the change hadn’t spread much outside the homeschool community. But I quickly came to see this lack of knowledge as opportunity to open dialogue about homeschooling. NGCHE volunteers have been delighted to advise directors, education curators, and even a state coordinator on how to adjust sign-ups and enrollment procedures so that those without coverings are not excluded or inconvenienced.

What are the morals of this story?

For those considering homeschooling: Don’t take for granted that every bit of information you find on homeschooling law is current. Always check trusted, reliable sources. HSLDA is our go-to for issues pertaining to the law.

For veteran homeschoolers: Take each opportunity you are given to pass on accurate information to those interested in learning about homeschooling. Reach out to others. Be relational. Be gracious. A knowledgeable, well-behaved family who receives people with kindness and consideration makes the very best ambassadors.

© 2017 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Veterans Day Thank You Project

Thank You Veterans

Homeschoolers, Friends, and Family

Monday, November 6 from 9 AM – 11 AM: Join us at Municipal (Langan) Park (4901 Zeigler Blvd) in Mobile as we work on a project to say “Thank You” to our local veterans. We will meet at covered tables 9 and 10 near the water to work on cards and goodie bags for the residents of the William F. Green Veterans Home in Bay Minette. The goodies will be delivered in time for Veterans Day, Nov. 11th.

Come and go as your schedule permits. All ages are welcome. Family and friends, too! We’ll have something for everyone to do. Painting, hand lettering, coloring, cutting, pasting, folding, assembling bags, etc. Wear old clothing to guard against stains from markers, Sharpies, or paint.

What to bring?

1. Writing utensils. Adults & older kids – Black sharpies or ball point pens. Younger kids – Crayons.

2. If you have school or crafting supplies such as glue, scissors, construction paper or stamps, and you can bring them, please do. The more of these we have to share, the more cards we can make.

3. Bags of candy or other small treats like raisins, crackers, or cookies. This is a GREAT opportunity to take advantage of post holiday sales. Please no peanuts, items that tend to melt (like chocolate), or treats with Halloween themed wrappers.

4. Picnic lunch to eat when we are done.

For a sneak peek at some of the card concepts we’ll be working on, see NGCHE’s Art Project Pinterest Board.

If you can’t join us but would like to donate to the project, email us at NorthernGulfCoastHomeEducators@outlook.com.

EDITED TO ADD:

NGCHE has been invited to attend the Veterans Day public celebration at the William F. Green Veterans Home in Bay Minette to pass out cards & goodies, and meet the veterans. See details in invitation below. Please email us if you plan to join the group!

Veterans Day Invite

© 2017 – Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

Original photo courtesy of Kai Kalhh, Pixabay.

Time to Read

The lazy days of summer… Time to pause, slow down and catch our breath. Time to recharge our batteries and think about the year behind and the year ahead. Time to read!

Photo Courtesy of Kathryn Lynn

Although “lazy” summer reading is the best, we are entering a season where it is time to be more intentional and more sophisticated in both our required and independent readings. High school is here, and what we read matters now more than ever.

Part I – The Required Reading List

The foundation of literature in high school is our required reading list. These are the works that we will take extra time to study or analyze for high school credit, or works that support our study of another subject, like World History. Most of our required readings are considered classics or traditional in nature. What’s on our required reading list?

For late summer and early fall: The Giver by Lois Lowry,  Mythology by Edith Hamilton, The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas, Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam, selections from The Thousand and One Nights. 

As wonderful as classic literature can be, if that is all I allow my student to read, or all that I note in our records, I have done her a great disservice. Her independent reading is crucial to building on the foundation begun with our required reading assignments.

Part II – Independent Reading

Reading for pleasure is encouraged in our home. We have very few rules as far as what my daughter Kathryn picks to read during her personal time. I am not a fan of censure when it comes to literature, especially at the high-school level. I enjoyed the freedom my school-teacher mother gave me as an adolescent to find my own niche in books. Some she recommended to me have become life-long favorites, like Where the Lillies Bloom. Others, like The Hobbit, have come from genres and authors that I discovered entirely on my own.

This year I am introducing a bit of structure to independent reading. It is relatively easy to be more intentional and sophisticated with required reading assignments as a student gets older. The big question is how to achieve that goal during independent reading and still call it “independent”… and without taking away the student’s desire to read altogether. We will attempt to accomplish this goal by requiring independent reading to include a wider range of genres. This year we will use the following guidelines to help us be more intentional with our independent reading.

Independent Reading Guidelines

General or Modern Fiction – 2;  Historical Fiction – 2;  Non-fiction – 1;  Biography – 1;  Drama/Play – 1;  Fantasy – 1;  Mystery – 1;  Poetry Anthology – 1;  Science Fiction – 1;  Short Story Anthology – 1

At first I was tempted to allow required reading assignments to count toward these goals, too. But I think that would stifle self-directed reading by discouraging Kathryn from reading outside of academic pursuits. After all, the goal is to raise life-long independent readers. Though she is required to meet the independent reading guidelines, she is free to pick the individual books or works in each genre.

If we need suggestions or hints for something to read, we can always refer to our master list. It contains novels, short stories, bios, poems, plays and non-fiction. This is always a work in progress as I’ve added to it over the years. Following is a shortened version of that master list sorted by genre. We are studying World History this year, and this has influenced the works that I listed in several of these categories. When we study American History and Government in future years, we can pull from other works on our master list.

General or Modern Fiction: 2

  1. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  2. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  3. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  4. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  5. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  6. I Heard the Owl Call My Name – Margaret Craven
  7. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  8. The Member of the Wedding – Carson McCullers
  9. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
  10. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
  11. The Pearl – John Steinbeck
  12. The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
  13. The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
  14. The Silver Star – Jeanette Walls
  15. Sold – Patricia McCormick
  16. Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
  17. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
  18. Watership Down – Richard Adams
  19. Where the Lilies Bloom – Bill & Vera Cleaver
  20. White Lotus – John Hersey

Historical Fiction: 2

  1. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  2. Anna and the King of Siam – Margaret Landon
  3. A Bell for Adano – John Hersey
  4. The Bridge of San Luis Rey – Thornton Wilder
  5. The Bronze Bow – Elizabeth George Speare
  6. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  7. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  8. Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
  9. Cry, the Beloved Country – Alan Paton
  10. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Vicente Blasco Ibanez
  11. Gods and Kings – Lynn Austin
  12. The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck
  13. Gunnar’s Daughter – Sigrid Undset
  14. The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo
  15. The Last Days of Pompeii – Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  16. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  17. The Robe – Lloyd C. Douglas
  18. The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  19. A String in the Harp – Nancy Bond
  20. The Trumpeter of Krakow – Eric P. Kelly

Non-fiction: 1

  1. Born Free – Joy Adamson
  2. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America – Erik Larson
  3. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide – Nicholas D. Kristof
  4. The Hot Zone – Richard Preston
  5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
  6. Lords of the Earth – Don Richardson
  7. Sophie Scholl and the White Rose – Annette Bumbach
  8. The Travels of Marco Polo – Marco Polo
  9. South: The Story of Shakleton’s Last Expedition 1914-1917 – Ernest Shakelton
  10. When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals – Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Biography: 1

  1. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier – Ishmael Beah
  2. All Creatures Great and Small – James Herriot
  3. Beyond the Land of Narnia: The Story of C.S. Lewis – Joyce McPherson
  4. Bruchko: The Astonishing True Story of a 19-Year-Old American, His Capture by the Motilone Indians and His Adventures in Christianizing the Stone Age Tribe – Bruce Olson
  5. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
  6. The Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boom
  7. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness – Alan Burgess
  8. Nicholas and Alexandra – Robert K. Massie
  9. Night – Elie Wiesel
  10. Something Beautiful for God – Malcolm Muggeridge

Drama/Play: 1

  1. Antigone – Sophocles (translated by J.E. Thomas)
  2. Birds – Aristophanes (translated by Nan Dunbar)
  3. Cherry Orchard – Anton Chekov
  4. Cyrano de Bergerac – Edmond Rostand
  5. A Doll’s House – Henrick Ibsen
  6. Doctor Faustus – Christopher Marlowe
  7. The Elephant Man – Bernard Pomerance
  8. Incident at Vichy – Arthur Miller
  9. Murder in the Cathedral – T.S. Eliot
  10. The Emperor Jones – Eugene O’Neill

Fantasy: 1

  1. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
  2. In the Hall of the Dragon King – Stephen R. Lawhead
  3. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  4. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
  5. The Last Unicorn – Peter Beagle
  6. Lilith – George McDonald
  7. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. On a Pale Horse – Piers Anthony
  9. The Thirteen Clocks – James Thurber
  10. This Present Darkness – Frank Peretti

Mystery: 1

  1. The 39 Steps – John Buchan
  2. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – Mark Haddon
  4. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  5. I Am the Messenger – Markus Zusak
  6. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
  7. The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
  8. A Morbid Taste for Bones – Ellis Peters
  9. Rebecca – Daphne du Marier
  10. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

Poetry Anthology: 1

  1. Carver: A Life in Poems – Marilyn Nelson
  2. The Complete Collected Poems – Maya Angelou
  3. The Complete Poetry – Edgar Allan Poe
  4. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices – Paul Fleischman
  5. Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman
  6. One Hundred One Famous Poems – Roy J. Cook
  7. Poems and Other Writings (Library of America #118) – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  8. Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry – Billy Collins
  9. The Road Not Taken and Other Poems – Robert Frost
  10. Sonnets from the Portugese – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Science Fiction: 1

  1. Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne
  2. Dune – Frank Herbert
  3. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
  4. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  5. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  6. Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
  7. The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin
  8. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
  9. The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
  10. Unwind – Neal Shusterman

Short Story Anthology: 1

  1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
  2. The Best Short Stories of O. Henry
  3. The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain
  4. The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe
  5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Tales from the Jazz Age – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. The Grass Harp – Truman Capote
  7. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories – Washington Irving
  8. The Lottery and Other Stories – Shirley Jackson
  9. Smoke and Mirrors – Neil Gaiman
  10. Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories – Sholem Aleichem

We may tweak these guidelines over the course of the year. For now we will start with this as it amounts to one book or work per month in addition to required readings.

So here’s to summer break, lazy days, and reading with purpose.  What are your favorite things to read?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to normal…whatever that is

I hesitate to say that things are back to normal in our household because I’m not quite sure just what “normal” is.  At any rate, the disruption caused by Hurricane Isaac is over, and Labor Day has arrived.  As usual we don’t have big plans for this end of summer holiday.

Labor Day jam session

Kat enjoyed a morning jam session at Brewer Music Studios.  Starting later in the month, her sessions will be taped.  She’s been working on several songs, and I can hardly wait until we get to hear them!  Ms. Lynn Brewer is the awesomest teacher!  🙂

Sam’s trying out a new BBQ rub, and I’m tickled to have a recipe for homemade sauce that doesn’t taste like ketchup mixed with dishwater.  I stumbled across it on the internet watching videos of Paula Deen.  The sauce is meant to be used on chicken, but I’ve had great success with it on pork chops, pulled pork, and in baked beans.  We’re trying it out on ribs today.  Here’s the link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/the-deen-brothers-bbq-chicken-recipe/index.html

There’s not too much on the calendar for the first two weeks of September, which will help us get a good homeschool rhythm going.  For the short term Kathryn is preparing for a quizzing competition at Dadeville Church of the Nazarene this coming Saturday, September 8.  The following week gets a bit busier.  Co-op starts on September 13, followed by a field trip with our covering on the 14th and community service on the 15th.  This week we’ll get on the ball with several homeschool projects: geography fair presentation on Germany, journaling, and photography for the 4-H fair competitions.

Looking forward to resting for the remainder of the holiday and eating BBQ later.  Happy Labor Day everyone!

Building up Steam

This new homeschool year, we’re doing things a little differently.  We’re working our way up to a full homeschool schedule.  Starting everything at once can be a little overwhelming.  Beginning with a few subjects and adding slowly is helpful to us in more ways than one.  This approach takes away the stress of going from lazy summer mode to school mode almost overnight.  Starting at a walk and working slowly into a run is less tiresome than beginning at a full sprint. We should be able to quickly pinpoint our trouble areas in terms of time and interest, and make changes accordingly.

Fresh off the momentum from Kids’ Crusade at church, Kathryn’s home school year began with guitar lessons at Brewer Music Studios courtesy of Mrs. Lynn Brewer, who plays the piano at our church.  Her music is absolutely stunning.  Listening to her praise God on the piano and taking part in that worship is something we and our church family look forward to every single week.

Having homeschooled her own children, Mrs. B is very intuitive to the individuality of each of her students.  She works with their personalities and strengths as much as possible.  Kathryn is at that age where she is establishing her own identity.  I was a bit concerned that Mrs. B would not know quite what to think of Kathryn.  My fears were laid to rest when I learned that Mrs. B’s own children had in their youth worn their hair nearly every color of the rainbow.  (If you don’t quite get why this would make me feel better, refer to the red fin tuna post!)

As an aside, if you live in the Foley area and are interested in piano, violin, guitar, bass, drum or voice lessons e-mail brewermusicstudio@yahoo.com and tell Mrs. B we sent you.  She is awesome and loves homeschoolers.  🙂

Our next activity was the first quarterly meeting of our 4-H Club, the Alabama Gulf Coast Guardians.  Kathryn will serve as club treasurer this year.  We are looking forward to fall activities with the club: Alabama Water Watch recertification; Greater Gulf State Fair booths, exhibits & competitions; Veterans’ Day fall campout.  If you’re searching for a fun, active 4-H club, I can hook you up with an awesome group of families led by Mrs. Lisa Brazelton of Chickasaw.  This club’s perfect for public, private, or homeschooled kids.  It meets once a quarter in the late afternoons, and many of the field trips and activities are held on the weekends or school holidays.

The next activity to pick up was youth Bible Quizzing.  One thing I am proud of the Nazarene Church for doing is keeping the quizzing program going past 6th grade.  Children’s Quizzing was great, and the kids learned so much of the Bible.  Youth Quizzing is all that AND a bag of chips…  Not only do they continue to delve into God’s Word regularly, but they get to travel while they do it.  Stops on the Alabama South Youth Quizzing circuit this year include Dadeville, Dothan, Millbrook, and Roanoke.  Several out-of-state trips are also a possibility.

Later this week we will introduce Social Studies, Reading, and possibly Math at home.  Social Studies will consist of a year-long study of American History.  I’m excited about the set of books we’ll be using: A History of Us by Joy Hakim.  This is an eleven-volume series that covers everything from The First Americans (my favorite topic) to Colonial America, The Civil War & Reconstruction, and continuing through most of the 20th century.  These volumes are a cross between traditional history texts and storybooks.  The information is presented in an engaging way.  The illustrations, sidebars, and enrichment articles are beautiful. My favorite section comes at the end of each volume — More Books to Read.  This gives lists of additional fiction and non-fiction books related to the topics covered in each volume.  Love, love, love!

Math does not bring the joy in our house that reading and artwork do.  But we’ll take that one step at a time as well!  Science is one of my favorites, but it is so easy to get bogged down in the planning.  There are so many possibilities with science…field trips, experiments, hands-on activities.  I almost always wind up leaving science for last because it takes me the longest to wrap up.  I was hoping to do a year of middle school earth science, which usually includes a unit or two on astronomy.  However, the focuser on Sam’s big Meade telescope is broken.  🙁  We’ll have to get that fixed if we want to do any worthwhile stargazing this year.  Kathryn will probably mutiny if I make her study plants again.  She’s not too cool with life science in general.  Perhaps if I came up with something to blow up to kick off science…hmmmm.

To be continued…

The Red Fin Tuna

This has been a year of new experiences and change for us.  In February Mike, Kathryn, and I went to Washington, D.C., with the 4-H Club.  In March I took the job of secretary at our church after being out of the workforce for roughly three and a half years.  (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & fibromyalgia will do that to you.  But I’ll save that for another post.)  Last month we lost our eccentric old cat Jesse.  He was 15 years old and, along with his brother Frank, had been a present for Michael for his 5th birthday.  But Jesse got along best with Sam, and we came to call him “Daddy’s cat.”  We complained at how loudly he meowed and how he got under everyone’s feet, but I think even the dog misses him.  Last week Kathryn was promoted from the Children’s Sunday School Department to NYI — Nazarene Youth International.  Mike is considering a career in the U.S. Army, which isn’t exactly new information.  What is new about this is my slow acceptance of the fact that Mike is a young man and I can’t keep him home and “safe” forever.

None of us changed outwardly as a result of these new experiences — except for Kathryn.  As she counts down the months to her teen years, Kathryn is determined to enter adolescence with a style that is all her own.  Gone are the pink crocs and pastel colors of childhood.  They’ve been replaced by boots, Converse and dark T-shirts.  Gone is the dark blonde hair, first darkening to brown on its own, then warming to a brilliant shade of red-orange thanks to jars of semi-permanent dye.  I did draw the line at blue, green, purple, and anything that couldn’t remotely be considered a color that hair would normally be.

The Red-Fin Tuna

Don’t let the world mess with your head!

Kathryn got the opportunity to show everyone more of her outgoing, vibrant personality, and that awesome red hair, at Kids Crusade.  This summer our church hosted Pete Hutchinson and his exceptional, Christ-centered ministry to children with Team Extreme.  If your church is looking for an alternative to VBS or an extended outreach event to the kids in your congregation & community, I highly recommend Team Extreme.  The hardest group to engage, in my opinion, are pre-teen boys.  Our church members’ children of all ages participated actively in what was going on.  But even more touching were the older unchurched boys from the nearby apartment complex and neighborhood.  They were so engrossed the night Pete gave his skydiving testimony that the moving around on the back rows stopped and all eyes and ears were tuned in to what Pete had to say.  The blessings from Kids Crusade are like ripples in the water, flowing outward touching not only our church but the community, not only the children but the teens and adults as well.  Here’s a link to the Team Extreme facebook page if you’d like more information: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Xtreme/121675167865760.One of the lessons that begged illustrating from Kids Crusade was how the world is just waiting to steal away the joy, encouragement, and blessings that God gives us.  We have to remember not to let the world “mess with our heads.”  Enter Delilah’s barbershop.  Each “contestant” picked a friend to be his or her own personal barber with the goal of creating the wildest shaving cream hairdo onstage.  Seated on the left-hand side of the stage is Kathryn, with her friend Ashley Hardy as the barber.  Words cannot adequately express the masterpiece that Ashley created.   Suffice it to say, the hairdo won the contest and earned Kathryn a new nickname courtesy of Pete Hutchinson — “the red-fin tuna.”