We Thought We “Hung the Moon”

By | March 26, 2024

My kids’ history and science lessons recently coincided to study the landing of the first man on the Moon on July 20, 1969. It was fascinating to again read about and then re-watch Neil Armstrong’s first “small step for man,” and “giant leap for mankind.”

Armstrong’s famous first footprint in the fine dust of the Moon’s surface is a visual representation of the amazing technology and scientific advancement that man has developed over the past two thousand years or so.

Wiktionary defines the idiomatic phrase to hang the moon as “To consider or think of someone to be extraordinary or exceptional.” I suppose we could (rightfully) say that man’s walking on the moon was pretty extraordinary and exceptional, as were the people who made it happen. But it didn’t come without a lot of time, effort, and money. According to history.com, “The Apollo program was a costly and labor-intensive endeavor, involving an estimated 400,000 engineers, technicians and scientists, and costing $24 billion (close to $100 billion in today’s dollars).”

As I thought about all the money required and effort made to simply take a step on the Moon, I was struck by the contrast of what was necessary to actually “hang” the Moon—God’s spoken word.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:14–18)

It was an amazing feat for a human to walk on the Moon, but it was a feat. God, by simply speaking, formed Earth’s only natural satellite to provide light indirectly and to guide the day/night cycles, seasons, and tides.

He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. (Psalm 104:19a)

Nature itself can sing God’s praise. The psalmist commands the sun, moon, and stars to praise him.

Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away. (Psalm 148:3–6)

If nature praises God, how much more should we praise him when we see God’s works in the sky? It should amaze and humble us that the Creator of the heavens should care for us, his creation here on Earth, over 200,000 miles away from the Moon.

We should especially be grateful for God’s creation of the Moon and other heavenly lights, because they remind us that the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:3–9)

And when we see that Moon hanging in the sky—and the laws of gravity and physics that keep everything in its fixed order—we can be reminded that the God who created the Moon and that fixed order will keep his word.

Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name: “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” (Jeremiah 31:35–36)

NASA claims that “The Moon was likely formed after a Mars-sized body collided with Earth several billion years ago.” If such were the case, then man’s walking on this cosmic accident points simply to man’s ingenuity and capabilities to explore beyond our home planet.

But if we view the Moon as an intentional creation of an all-powerful Creator, then man’s first steps on the Moon (though amazing and scientifically incredible) should actually make mankind feel his powerlessness and vulnerability. We, along with the Moon, are created. We, along with the Moon, praise the Creator, the One who actually “Hung the Moon.”

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3–4)

(If you would like some more fodder for praise, check out the Hubble Telescope’s Amazing Top 100 Images. God is amazing!)


Full Moon Image by Pexels from Pixabay


Joy in the Midst of Unexpected Trials

By | March 21, 2024

James 1:2–4 states, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

James’s main command is, “Count it all joy,” “it” being “when you meet trials of various kinds.” While the pain of a trial lasts as long as the trial itself and even lingers in its memory, there is a deep-rooted joy that we can have nonetheless—the joy of knowing that God uses these trials to mature our faith in Him.

To “meet” these trials has the idea of encountering them unexpectedly. This same verb is translated as “striking” in Acts 27:41. Paul and others attempted to sail to land in the midst of a storm. However, their boat unexpectedly hit an obstacle along the way—“striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground.” No one looks for trials. We sometimes meet them unexpectedly.

However, even when we unexpectedly meet a trial, joy can still be ours. We can have joy as “brothers,” those who have a fellowship with the Lord and one another, helping each other through these times. We can have joy, knowing “that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” “Steadfastness” is “the capacity to hold out or bear up in the face of difficulty” (BDAG). And, as we “let steadfastness have its full effect” (literally, “its completed work”), we will be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” The idea is this—as we encounter various trials and respond in faith, we eventually reach a point of consistent Christian maturity. If nothing else, that we see that maturity when we have joy in the midst of trials.

Remember our greatest example of joy in the midst of trial—“Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). In this passage, Jesus looked to “the joy that was set before Him,” “endured the cross,” and did so “despising the shame” that it brought. “The joy set before Him” was to be at the Father’s right hand, ruling a blood-bought church that would be His spotless Bride one day. “The cross” was the worst of trials that one could experience—immense, undeserved physical pain that led to death, becoming sin for us, and being forsaken by the Father above. “Despising the shame” meant thinking little to nothing of the shame of the cross when compared to the joy that would soon be His.

Are you in the midst of trial right now? If not, you might unexpectedly meet one soon. When it comes, count it joy to know that God is using this trial to make you more like Jesus Christ in whose presence you will be one day.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

The Wing of Abominations in Daniel 9:27

By | March 7, 2024

What is “the wing of abominations” in Daniel 9:27?

As a starting point, whatever this phrase may mean, I believe that the “one week” is seven years, the “one who makes desolate” is the Antichrist, “a strong covenant with many” is his covenant with Israel, and “for half the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering” refers to the Antichrist breaking this covenant in the middle of these seven years to allow Israel’s sacrifices and offerings no longer. Also at this time, the Antichrist comes “on the wing of abominations.” What does that mean?

Of its 109 instances in the OT, “wing” (kānāp) overwhelmingly refers to the wing or wings of a bird or angel. It can also refer to the edge of a robe (e.g., Num 15:38; Deut 22:12; 1 Sam 15:27). Closer to the meaning of Dan 9:27, it can also figuratively express how something overwhelms another like a bird covering something with its wings. For example, Isa 8:8 pictures the Assyrian army as a bird who covers Israel’s land with outspread wings. So, here in Dan 9:27 could be a figurative use of “wing.” Only, rather than soldiers, Jerusalem and its temple are overwhelmed with the Antichrist’s abominations. He demands that all worship him as God (2 Thess 2:3–4).

For a narrower understanding of this phrase, some tie “wing” to the temple’s “pinnacle” where Jesus was tempted by Satan (Matt 4:5; Luke 4:9). “Pinnacle” is translated from the Greek pterūgion (“edge”), the diminutive form of pterūx, “wing,” thus meaning something like “little wing” or the edge of a wing. If “wing” in Dan 9:27 spoke of a location within the temple, it could refer to its edge or a wing.

Along with this understanding, Jesus refers to “the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place” (Matt 24:15), a place “where he ought not to be” (Mark 13:14). Dan 9:27 is thus taken literally to refer to the edge of the temple, and “the abomination of desolation” is also taken to refer to the image of the Antichrist in Rev 13:11–17 (cf. Dan 11:31; 12:11). The abomination on the wing is an image of the Antichrist set up at the edge of the temple. It comes to life and enforces its worship and the Antichrist’s by execution and extortion.

The context of Dan 9:24–27 does involve the Antichrist, Israel’s sacrifice and offering, and thus the temple at this time. It is not immediately clear, however, that the phrase “on the wing of abominations” refers to an image that comes alive on the edge of the temple. At the same time, the passages above indicate that this image and its actions are certainly among the Antichrist’s many abominations that overwhelm Israel at this time. As I understand it, this phrase thus refers not to a literal location but figuratively to the manner in which the Antichrist desolates Israel in the second half of these seven years.

Image: “Jerusalem, Historic center, City wall image” by Christine Schmidt from Pixabay

Charts and Timeline for the Book of Daniel

By | March 6, 2024

I’ve been preaching from Daniel for my church every other Sunday afternoon. I’ve developed my own charts and a timeline that have been helpful to me, and I’m putting it here as a resource for our folks and anyone else. At the end of this post are links to other Daniel-related posts I’ve written.

Comparison and Interpretation of Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 11

Daniel 2 (603 BC)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Daniel 7 (553 BC)

Daniel’s Dream

Daniel 8 (551 BC)

Daniel’s Vision

Daniel 11 (536 BC)

Daniel’s Vision

Head of gold (2:31, 37–38)


Lion with eagle’s wings (7:4, 12, 17) N/A N/A Babylon led by Nebuchadnezzar (605–562 BC)
Chest and arms of silver (2:32, 39a) Bear raised on one side with three ribs in its mouth (7:5, 12, 17) Conquering ram with two horns, one higher than the other (8:3–4, 20) Three kings and a fourth rich king would provoke an eventual response that ended this kingdom (11:2–3). Stronger Persia with weaker Media, initially led by Cyrus (539–336 BC); Xerxes/Ahasuerus stirred Greece c. 480 BC so that Alexander the Great responded 150 years later.
Middle/thighs of bronze (2:32, 39b) Four-winged, four-headed leopard (7:6, 12, 17) Swift male goat with one horn who smote the ram; one horn broke to be replaced by four (8:5–8, 21–22) Greece’s conquering king is broken into four kingdoms (11:3–4); two of them (north and south) battle for 150 years with Palestine in between (11:5–35) Greece led by Alexander the Great (336–323) who conquers Persians and Medes; Greece split four ways after his death; the northern Syrian Seleucids battle the Ptolemies in Egypt (323–167 BC) .
Legs of iron with feet of iron and clay (2:33, 40–43) Beast with strength, iron teeth, bronze claws, ten horns and an eleventh (7:7–8, 11, 17, 19–21, 23–26) Little horn who comes from one of the four, grows great, does evil (8:9–14, 23–26) The final northern king exalts himself above all, rules with force, invades Palestine, but falls in the end (11:36–45) Rome gradually came to power in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC; Antichrist rules in the end; the church lives between Rome’s rise and fall.
Stone into a mountain (2:34–35, 44–45) Everlasting dominion given to the one like a son of man (7:13–14, 18, 22, 27) Sanctuary restored; end of the little horn (8:14a, 25b) Deliverance and resurrection; then the righteous shine like the sun (12:1–3, 12) The Kingdom of Christ


Daniel’s 70 “Sevens”

Just as Israel failed seventy times to keep the Sabbath year of rest for the land for 490 years, totaling seventy years (every seventh year), so also God exiled Israel for seventy years (605–536 BC; cf. 2 Kgs 24:10–17; Ezra 3:8–9) and prophesied of 490 years to come (Dan 9:1–2, 24–27), years “decreed about your people [Israel] and your city [Jerusalem]” (Dan 9:24).

Of these 490 years, 483 began in 445 BC (cf. Neh 2:1–8) and ended with the death of Christ in AD 33. Seven years remain, which Dan 9:24–27 describes as a time involving the Antichrist and great upheaval for Israel. Each year is a Jewish year of 360 days each, 30 days per month (cf. Gen 7:11; 8:3–4).

There are several reasons to see these “sevens” in Daniel 9:24–27 as seventy groups of seven years, totaling 490 years. For these five points, see Rolland McCune, A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, vol. 3 (Allen Park, MI: Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, 2010), 380.

  • Daniel was repenting for Israel’s exile of 70 years, a punishment for forsaking every seventh year of rest for the land for 490 years.
  • That being said, the Jews were already familiar (or should have been) with life according to a seven-year cycle (cf. Exod 21:2–6; Lev 25:1–7; Deut 15:1–18).
  • So, corresponding to what has been, Israel’s exile of 70 years related to an area of neglect for 490 years, Daniel 9:24–27 tells us of 70 future sets of seven years, totaling another 490 years.
  • Daniel even clarifies immediately after in Daniel 10:2–3 that he mourned (literally translated) “three weeks of days.” This language gives us another indicator that the “sevens” or “weeks” of Dan 9:24–27 were “sevens” or “weeks” of years.
  • When comparing Daniel to Revelation, matching terms for time describing this time indicate that the final “seven” is seven years (cf. Dan 7:25; 9:27; 12:7; Rev 11:2–3; 12:6, 14; 13:5).

Period of Time

Activities During This Time

Dan 9:25a seven sevens, 49 years, 445–396 BC Dan 9:25a – The word would go out to restore and build Jerusalem. This was probably the word of King Artaxerxes to Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem and rebuilt it (Neh 2:1–8).
Dan 9:25b sixty-two sevens, 434 years, 396–33 BC Dan 9:25b – Further rebuilding would take place—“it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.” This time ends with the death of Jesus—“an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing.”
Dan 9:26b–27 one and final seven, 7 years, future Dan 9:26b–27 – Jerusalem and its sanctuary are destroyed. A flood comes. War. Desolations. The Antichrist begins these seven years with “a strong covenant” with Israel to reestablish her calendar (“sacrifice and offering”), but breaks it halfway through and “shall put an end” to it all, replacing peace with “abominations” and making things “desolate.”

Dan 9:24 – As terrifying as these final years will be, they end the entirety of the 490 prophesied years. With reference to Israel and Jerusalem, God finishes transgression, puts an end to sin, atones for iniquity, brings in everlasting righteousness, seals of vision and prophet, and anoints a most holy place.


The Future Seven-year Tribulation, 75 Days, and 1,000 Years

The Tribulation: The Final Seven of 490 Years

Just as Israel failed seventy times to keep the Year of Jubilee for 490 years, totaling seventy years (every seventh year), so also God exiled Israel for seventy years (605–536 BC; cf. 2 Kgs 24:10–17; Ezra 3:8–9) and prophesied of 490 years to come (Dan 9:1–2, 24–27). Of these 490 years, 483 began in 445 BC (cf. Neh 2:1–8) and ended with the death of Christ in AD 33. Seven years remain, which Dan 9:24–27 describes as a time involving the Antichrist and great upheaval for Israel. Each year is a Jewish year of 360 days each, 30 days per month (cf. Gen 7:11; 8:3–4).

Daniel’s 75 Days

The 75 days between the Tribulation and Millennium seem to be further divided into an initial 30 and a final 45, the 30 completing purification (Dan 12:10–11) and the 45 bringing who remains into blessing (Dan 12:12). Perhaps God purifies as He judges the nations in the first 30 days (cf. Matt 25) and then blesses those who remain by readying them and the world for the kingdom of Christ in the following 45 days.

The Millennium and the Eternal State

The prophets foretold future events but did not always gaps of time between these events (cf. 1 Pet 1:10–12). The gap between Christ’s first and second comings is a prime example, the time between “the year of the Lord’s favor” (Christ’s first coming) and “the day of the vengeance of our God” (Christ’s second coming – see Isa 61:1–2 with Luke 4:18–21). Another gap sometimes not made clear is that between the Millennium and the Eternal State.

Though these two times are not exactly the same, many aspects are similar between the two, leading prophets like Daniel to see them together as an everlasting kingdom (Dan 2:44; 7:25; cf. Isa 65:17–25)—a kingdom ruled by Christ which gives way to a kingdom in which He eternal sits on the throne with the Father (1 Cor 15:24; Rev 3:21; 22:3).

Tribulation (Daniel 9:27 one week) 1,000 Years
First Half of Tribulation

Matt 24:9 tribulation

Rev 11:3 1,260 days

Second Half of Tribulation

Matt 24:20 great tribulation

Dan 7:25 a time, times, and half a time

Dan 9:27 half of the week

Dan 12:1 a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time

Dan 12:7 a time, times, and half a time

Rev 11:2 forty-two months

Rev 12:6 1,260 days

Rev 12:14 a time, and times, and half a time

Rev 13:5 forty-two months


~Daniel’s 75 Days Between the Tribulation and Millennium~

Dan 12:11 1,290 days (1,260 + 30)

Dan 12:12 1,335 days (1,260 + 75)

Dan 2:44 a kingdom that shall never be destroyed

Dan 7:27 his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom

Matt 25:33 the kingdom

Mark 14:25; 15:43; Luke 22:16, 18; 23:51; et al the kingdom of God

Luke 22:30 my kingdom

Luke 23:42 your kingdom

1 Cor 15:24 the kingdom

Rev 20:2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (2x) the thousand years


Significant Dates from the Book of Daniel

  • 1095 BC (or earlier): Israel neglected the Sabbath year of rest for the land for 490 years (9:1–2)
  • 605 BC: Daniel is taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah (609–598 BC). Israel’s 70 years of exile begin (1:1; 9:1–2).
  • 605–530’s BC: Daniel lived in Babylon from a teenager into his 80’s.
  • 605–602 BC: Daniel received three years of Babylonian education (1:5).
  • 605–562 BC: Nebuchadnezzar ruled Babylon—the greatest of four, successive earthly kingdoms in his and Daniel’s visions; head of gold; lion with eagle’s wings (2:31, 37–38; 7:4, 12, 17).
  • 603 BC: Nebuchadnezzar was given a prophetic dream in the second year of his reign (2:1).
  • 556–539 BC: Nabonidus ruled Babylon; he was son to Nebuchadnezzar and father to Belshazzar.
  • 553–539 BC: Belshazzar ruled Babylon (co-ruled with his father Nabonidus; cf. 5:7, 16, 29).
  • 553 BC: Daniel had a prophetic dream in the first year of King Belshazzar (7:1).
  • 551 BC: Daniel had a vision in the third year of King Belshazzar (8:1).
  • 539 BC: The Persian Cyrus conquered Babylon. Belshazzar is killed (5:30). Cyrus placed Darius over Babylon (5:31). An angel (Gabriel?) assisted Michael in fighting a demon over Persia (10:20–11:1).
  • 539–336 BC: This is the period of the kingdom of the weaker Medes and stronger Persians—chest and arms of silver; bear raised on one side with three ribs in its mouth; ram with two horns, one higher than the other (2:32, 39a; 7:5, 12, 17; 8:3–4, 20)
  • 538–537 BC: During the first year of Darius the Mede, Daniel came to understand that he was living towards the end of Jeremiah’s prophesied seventy years of exile (9:1).
  • 536 BC: Daniel received a vision in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia (10:1).
  • 445–396 BC: These years were the first 49 (seven sevens) of Daniel’s prophesied 490 years (9:25a). These are Jewish years, 360 days a year, 30 days a month.
  • 396 BC–AD 33: The years are the next 434 (sixty-two sevens) of Daniel’s prophesied 490 Jewish years, a section of years ending when Christ died on the cross, when “an anointed one shall be cut off” (9:25b).
  • 336–100? BC: Greece swiftly rose to power under Alexander the Great (336–323 BC) and then divided into four kingdoms—middle and thighs of bronze; four-winged, four-headed leopard; swift male goat with one horn that is broken and replaced by four (2:32, 39b; 7:6, 12, 17; 8:5–8, 21–22; cf. 11:2–35).
  • 100? BC—Future: Rome gradually rose to power in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC; this kingdom continues presently as it does not end until the return of Christ; the Antichrist rules it in the end—legs of iron with feet of iron and clay; terrible beast with horns; little horn who rises to power (2:33, 40–43; 7:7–8, 11, 17, 19–21, 23–26; 8:9–14, 23–26). Christ began and builds His church during this time. He will rescue the church before the final 7 of Daniel’s prophesied 490 years.
  • Future Seven Years (and 75 days): The final 7 (“one week”) of Daniel’s prophesied 490 Jewish years are yet to come (9:26b–27). The Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel halfway through this time (9:27a) and sets up an abomination in the temple (9:27b; cf. 11:36–45), initiating the 1,290 (12:11) and 1,335 days (12:12) that apparently outlast the second half of these seven years (1,260 days) by an initial 30 (1,290 minus 1,260) and eventual 75 days (1,335 minus 1,260).
  • Future: When the 490 years are complete, the kingdom of Christ shall come—the stone that crushes Rome and becomes a mountain (2:34–35, 44–45; 7:13–14, 18, 22, 27; 8:14a, 25b).

Other Posts Related to Daniel

An Overview of Daniel

The Premillennial, Pretribulational Rapture of the Saints

The Coming Tribulation: The Math of the Matter

A Chronology for the Events in Daniel 9

Jeremiah’s Prophecy of Judah’s Exile in Babylon for Seventy Years

How Daniel 9:24–27 Helps Us Understand Mark 13:14–23

Gabriel: A Messenger of Christ and Things to Come

The Wing of Abominations in Daniel 9:27

Who Does Daniel See and Hear in Daniel 10:5–9?

These are a Few of My Favorite {Homeschool} Things: History (& Literature)

By | February 24, 2024
This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series These are a Few of My Favorite {Homeschool} Things

I very loosely follow a classical method for teaching my kids. This is mostly applicable for me in how I do history and corresponding literature picks. For 1st-4th grade, then again in 5th-8th grade, we have progressed from ancient times, to the middle ages, to the early modern age, and finally to the modern age.

History is also one of the subjects that I teach to all of my kids at once. I have different expectations and work loads for them based on their age, but they all listen to me read. If they don’t get their ancient history the first time, they still have two more go’s at it! 🙂

The first time we went through, we used The Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer when my oldest was in 1st grade. I bought each book, along with the accompanying book for each year. The activity book gave options for activities that we could do to accompany our lessons and make them more hands on. We chose to do some and skipped others. There are student worksheets, maps, coloring sheets, and lists of books to read for each age level.

My kids and I especially liked the first few years of this curriculum. Those especially read more like stories and were more engaging for my younger ones. The modern age book became a bit heavier for my 2nd and 4th graders at the time. Though the author claims to be a Christian, her history is not overtly “Christian.” She states history as it is without really interpreting it in writing from a Christian perspective.

The second time we went through history (5th-8th grade for my oldest; the rest are each 2 years younger than each other), we chose to go through The Mystery of History curriculum. Because this is what we have most recently done, I will probably have more to say about this curriculum. We have really enjoyed this. The author, Linda Lacour Hobar, incorporates Scripture and the gospel message throughout all her texts, and she incorporates biblical history into her ancient history text as well.

The newest editions of her texts are hardcover with numerous color illustrations. Each one has an accompanying companion guide that you can purchase with suggested activities for different-aged students, review work, mapping exercises, etc. I also purchased the super supplemental collection in pdf format for each year. This included challenge review cards, coloring pages, various notebook pages for taking notes (depending on the style of notes your student prefers), and a folderbook.

Usually my youngest (currently 2nd and 4th grade) will color while they listen to me read. My oldest (6th and 8th grade) take notes using the notebook pages. Each week has a pre-test just to see what the kids know (really short) and then a cumulative post-test (varying in format from quiz, to game, to crossword puzzle). There is a big, quarterly worksheet for the kids to do and then 2 semester exams.

I love reading the Mystery of History, and it is especially engaging for my oldest. The chapters, however, can be a bit long and less engaging for my younger kids. I don’t require them to take any of the quizzes or tests, just to listen and then draw or play quietly while they do their best to listen.

As we will be completing Modern History for the second time this year (for my oldest at least), and as my oldest is entering high school this next year, I will have to modify things a bit for the next year. My plan is to at least begin again Story of the World. My youngest are mostly in view here. I think they will enjoy and benefit from the shorter, story-like lessons.  I’ve also purchased a review questions pdf and test pdf for my daughter (rising 7th grader) to make the curriculum work for her as well.

My oldest (rising 9th grader) will be using Susan Wise Bauer’s History of the Ancient World. I also purchased the accompanying study and teaching guide, as well as the map supplement. I plan on his being more independent this year, tying in his literature reading into his ancient history studies, and incorporating his literature/history into some writing assignment. That’s the tentative plan, anyway! 😉

As I mentioned above and in other posts, we heavily tie our history into our literature, especially as the kids grow older. Their writing programs (especially Writing with Skill) also teach how to analyze and write about literature. I am personally not really into literature programs (even though I’m a huge reader—and always have been—I actually disliked book reports and a lot of my literature classes in school and college. Here’s an interesting link if you’d like to hear more about that kind of thing from another homeschooling mom: https://readaloudrevival.com/196/ ). We talk a lot about books in and “out” of school, and I think that is really helpful for helping them think about what they’re reading and analyze it informally.

This is what we’ve done so far, and it has worked and been enjoyable overall for everyone. Perhaps I will update this post once we’ve completed another round of Story of the World for my girls and Ancient History for my son in high school.


Stonehenge Image by Zdeněk Tobiáš from Pixabay

Books Image by Debbie EM from Pixabay



Evaluating the Hearts of our “Church Kids”

By | February 20, 2024

Christian parents have the responsibility and privilege to bring their children up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:1–4). One of the challenges—perhaps the most difficult—is teaching our children not only to obey, but also to love God.

Children who grow up in Christian homes and churches are somewhat similar to children who grew up in the covenant community of Israel. Jewish parents were to circumcise their sons at eight days old as a sign of the covenant between God and Israel. They were to love God themselves and teach God’s word to their children.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut 6:4-9; cf. Deut 11:18-21)

God also required that each Israelite born into the covenant “circumcise” his heart through personal faith evidenced by love for God and obedience to his word.

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. (Deut 10:12-16)

As New Testament believers, with the law having been put aside (cf. Gal 3:23–29), we are not required to circumcise our sons. The New Testament does not require any rite that places our unbelieving children in the “church community.” Only a believer with a credible profession of faith and repentance is baptized and added to the church in the New Testament.

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. . . . So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:38, 41-42)

The difference between the Old Testament covenant community and the New Testament church is clear. But the similarities in bringing up children in both of these contexts are notable. In both, parents love God, and they teach their children about God and their responsibility to love and obey him as well. Children must then individually respond to God in love and obedience.

Our children are taught to believe that the earth is round, that George Washington was the first president of the USA, that a noun is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea—and they believe it. Our children are also taught to believe that God made them, that Jesus came to earth as a baby, and that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead—and they usually believe that too.

Our children go to church with us weekly. They may help their parents serve in the church. They memorize Scripture. They are taught to obey, to be kind, to read their Bible. . . to look like a Christian. But they too must “circumcise their hearts.” They must not just believe what they’ve always learned is true; they must love the One who is the truth.

Many of our children have mentally and verbally assented to the truths of the Gospel (e.g., God is Creator, I am a sinner deserving punishment, Jesus lived the perfect life I could not, and Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead) from a very young age. But are there any indicators that can clue us in to our children’s love for the Lord beyond this necessary belief in the Gospel?

Obviously, all believers must continue to persevere and grow in sanctification for their entire lives (cf. 2 Pet 3:18; Jude 20). But what about our children who are in our homes now? What if they want to be baptized? Does the Bible give us any guidelines by which we can try to gauge true conversion, especially in children and young people?

What does the New Testament tell children? The apostle Paul directly addresses children one time (in two letters) in which God tells children that they are to obey their parents.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (Eph 6:1–3)

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Col 3:20)

Nearly any child can be forced to “obey.” Children can do the things they are told and not do what they are told not to do. But a child who loves God will progressively grow in true obedience to parents—generally quick to obey (without the persistent eyeroll, sigh, or stomp) because he or she desires to please the Lord. This child (though certainly not perfectly) will show honor for his or her parents through facial and vocal responses, as well as actions, in an increasingly God-pleasing manner.

The Proverbs give more clues as to what a wise child may look like. A wise person is one who fears the Lord (cf. Prov 1:1–7), so when we see our children exhibiting growing wisdom, we may be seeing true love for the Lord.

One oft-repeated characteristic of a wise son is that he listens to his parents.

A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.(Prov 13:1)

Many Proverbs speak to listening and hearing (cf. Prov 1:5, 8-9; 4:1-14, 20-22; 5:7, 11-14; 7:24; 8:32-34; 12:15; 13:1; 15:31-33; 19:20; 23:9, 19, 22). Though children may respond differently when hearing loving instruction or rebuke (especially at different ages), often a parent can discern when these words are being truly heard and not tuned out, willfully ignored, or scornfully received.

When these instructions to listen are paired with John’s words in the New Testament, an additional criterion can help us discern our children’s hearts.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8–10)

Most children have the tendency to deny that they have done wrong (actually, don’t we all?!). “It’s not my fault!” But John says that this repeated insistence that we have not sinned reveals a heart that doesn’t truly hold to the truth. As our children listen to our rebukes and increasingly admit and confess their sins, we can have more confidence that their hearts truly have grabbed hold of the truths that their minds believe.

With salvation comes freedom from the power of sin (cf. Rom 6). For children, key sin issues often revolve around obedience and response to their parents. But any sin that a child struggles with (e.g., unkindness, selfishness, lying, stealing) will have less of a hold on a child as the child grows in his or her true faith.

Along with John, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). May all of our children love God with all their hearts and walk in the truth which they have been taught.


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These are a Few of My Favorite {Homeschool} Things: Math

By | February 15, 2024
This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series These are a Few of My Favorite {Homeschool} Things

For elementary math, I use Singapore Math.  I really like this curriculum (but I also really like math). What I most appreciate about the program is that it teaches the students to understand how the math works. It encourages the use of math manipulatives (connecting blocks, place value charts, etc.) for the child to use to make connections.

I started using the program in K-4 with my kids using Earlybird Kindergarten Standards Edition Textbook A. This was a simple, no-stress way of introducing my kids to math (I think we did it just 2-3 days a week). In kindergarten we did Earlybird Kindergarten Standards Edition Textbook B. Both of these books are consumable, so a new one will need to be purchased for each student.

In 1st-6th grade, we use the Primary Mathematics U.S. edition series. Each year has an A and B set, with a textbook and a student workbook. I also purchased the home instructor’s guide, which I highly recommend. So for first grade, for example, you would purchase Textbook 1A and 1B, Workbook 1A and 1B, and Home Instructor’s Guide 1A and 1B. For subsequent children, however, you only need to purchase the workbooks (as long as you don’t write answers in the textbook).

The home instructor’s guide for each level gives  recommended lesson plans, aids for teaching lessons, game ideas to help students, mental math exercises, and an answer key for workbook and textbook problems.

The concept of teaching mental math strategies and methods for doing algebra-type problems without doing actual algebra was new for me. I was taught (to the best of my memory) to write out math problems and figure them out the old fashioned way. I like a good formula, so I can just plug in numbers and get the right answer.

I believe a strength of this program, though, is to teach how the math works, so that it makes sense and can be figured out without just plugging numbers into a formula. The curriculum really builds up the student (and the parent!) to think this way. It was initially a little bit of a learning curve for me, but I have seen the benefit in my kids, as they learned to do this from the get-go. I think they have the ability to do math mentally almost better (if not better!) than I do.

For 7th grade last year, my son used Dimensions Math 7 A & B, a middle school program through Singapore Math. I only purchased the textbooks and the teaching notes & solutions for this. My son and I did fine with this curriculum, but I will explain why I don’t think I will continue to use this.

First of all, the layout of Dimensions Math is completely different than the Primary Math 1-6. This in and of itself wouldn’t be the biggest deal, but Singapore Math only offers math through 8th grade, so at least by 9th grade I’d have to figure out another option anyway and learn a new format.

Second, I also realized that Singapore Math is actually a little advanced. By the time my son completed Dimensions Math 7, he had basically completed a course in Pre-Algebra. I have been told that Dimensions Math 8 is pretty much Algebra 1.

Since I was going to have to find another curriculum for Algebra 1 anyway, I decided to switch over in 8th grade. I was planning on doing Saxon Math, but a friend loaned me the books to look through, and I just couldn’t handle how boring they looked to be honest. I saw in front of me a bunch of black and white text that—if it looked boring to me—I knew would appear boring to my son. But I had heard many good things about how solid Saxon Math was, so I searched the internet for reviews.

In my search I stumbled (providentially!) on to Shormann Math. I was hooked almost immediately. Dr. Shormann is a Christian who is a well-qualified math and science teacher. His passion for both the Gospel and math/science is very evident. He encourages his students to know the Gospel and to pray for God’s help in understanding their schoolwork.

The classes are pre-recorded and can be done at any time within the number of months allotted for the class. He teaches the students on a virtual whiteboard, so the students see him writing out the problems as he teaches. He allows the students to correct math problems and get partial credit on corrected answers. He teaches students how to study for quizzes and exams and how to take notes during class.

So, this year my son is doing Algebra 1 with integrated geometry. He will receive 1 credit for Algebra and a half credit for geometry. When he completes Algebra 2 next year, he will have received 3 math credits—2 for algebra and 1 for geometry. My son has loved his math this year. He has learned note-taking and listening skills that he just wasn’t quite getting under me. I love too that he can listen to another teacher who is passionate about both the Lord and his subject.

The cost for the course is very reasonable, and siblings who take the course in the future receive a discount as well. I have decided—along with input from my upcoming 7th grader—to try Shormann Math for Pre-Algebra next year. My daughter likes to be independent, and she seems excited about trying online learning. I will have to post in the future about how we like that course, but I anticipate it will be a winner, like Algebra 1 has been.

I was a little hesitant about my son’s jumping in to Algebra 1 in 8th grade without a formal Pre-Algebra course. However, he is about ¾ through his Algebra course at the moment, and he is doing extremely well (and enjoying it!). Singapore Math prepared him very well for Algebra, so I am confident in going forward with it with my other kids.


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These are a Few of My Favorite {Homeschool} Things: Handwriting, Keyboarding, Computer, & Logic

By | February 11, 2024
This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series These are a Few of My Favorite {Homeschool} Things

Both the handwriting and keyboarding curriculum I use for K-5th grade is through the company Learning Without Tears. I actually began handwriting in K-4 using the Handwriting Without Tears student workbook. You can purchase a small chalkboard to help teach writing letters, which I found helpful. I also bought lined paper from the company that is spaced appropriately for different-aged writers (which I used for spelling). I never purchased the teacher book or journals, as I did not feel they were necessary. The website provides an online dashboard for digital teaching that can be helpful.

The program starts cursive in third grade, but you can purchase an additional Cursive Kickoff workbook along with the second grade print workbook if you would like to introduce your second grader to cursive earlier. It’s a pretty simple program to use. (I’m also not terribly picky with handwriting or cursive, as long as they’re putting some effort in to make it relatively neat. I also don’t care if they modify their cursive letters a bit, as long as the letters are recognizable. I’ve done that with my own cursive, so I don’t mind my kids personalizing theirs as well.)

Keyboarding Without Tears has been mostly an enjoyable way for my kids to learn how to type. It starts out with the basics of using a mouse, teaching proper fingering for typing, and it progresses through the years until the students are typing paragraphs. There are speed and accuracy checks to monitor the student’s progress. There is no textbook for the course; you purchase a digital license for each child per year.

I bought Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook for my son to read through on his own during 6th grade. He read a chapter a week. I also let him start to work on a little bit of coding on Scratch once the book discussed that. He really enjoys this, and it gives him some basic coding practice. My daughter is now enjoying doing the same.

I also bought a book that I’m not even going to link here, because it is pretty out of date. But the basic ideas have been helpful. Basically, they give projects that require various computer programs, like powerpoint, creating a pamphlet, writing a poem with properly centered text, creating various graphs, etc. We do a (small, easy) project about once a week. Beyond this, they continue to work on their typing skills as they type their papers for their writing program.

In 5th grade, I start my kids with critical thinking and logic. For 5th grade we use Building Thinking Skills Level 2 (I’m linking to what I’ve used; apparently there is a newer edition that I have not used). It is a workbook that my kids just work through on their own (answers are in the back). It is a good foundation to ease kids into critical thinking.

In 6th grade I use The Basics of Critical Thinking. This too is a workbook that I have my kids independently work through one day a week. In 7th grade we move on to The Art of Argument (I purchased the old edition, but I am linking to the revised edition that I will probably purchase this next year). This teaches informal logic. Again, I only purchased the student edition.

The final logic program that I have purchased is the most intense, but my 8th grader is doing well with it. Traditional Logic I is an introduction to formal logic. It is quite a step up from the other logic, but my son seems to have been prepared for it with the others. I did not purchase the dvd’s, but I did purchase the text (which the student reads), the workbook, the text booklet, and the key. I am unfamiliar with many of the terms, as I never took formal logic, but the text explains things well. If my son was not doing well, I would definitely have to do the hard work of learning alongside him to help him out.

The workbook is set up for 4 days of work, followed by a quiz on the 5th day. I chose to do logic every other week, rotating that with Vocabulary. This has worked well for us.

Again, I hope this is helpful for someone looking for ideas for their homeschool curriculum!


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These are a Few of My Favorite {Homeschool} Things: Middle School Vocabulary and Reading

By | February 8, 2024
This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series These are a Few of My Favorite {Homeschool} Things

I mentioned in this post that I finish formal reading education with All About Reading level 2, which ended up being in between kindergarten and 1st grade for my kids. After this, we continued reading using McGuffey’s Eclectic readers, beginning with level 3. We always do 3 days of oral reading a week, and then the kids always do a bunch more independent reading on their own.

I continued through the McGuffey readers until level 6, but neither my oldest nor I enjoyed level 6 very much, I admit. As anyone who homeschools knows, that poor first child can be a bit of a guinea pig. At some point during 6th or 7th grade, we decided to switch the oral reading to a fictional book/poem/play that coincided with the time period we are at in history. This was much more enjoyable. My second now joins us in oral reading, and we three take turns reading out loud from the passage. The other two are still using the McGuffey levels 3 and 5.

I haven’t decided how much longer I will have my oldest continue with oral reading (he is currently in 8th grade). I may have him bow out next year as I look at other options involving speech, debate, or practicing speaking with his dad. I will say that my kids have really benefited from  oral reading. I model for them inflection, speed, pronunciation, etc. I take the time to remind them to sound out words, to pause appropriately at punctuation, and even to teach them how to breathe properly when reading orally. I have seen great improvement in them. It’s been fun as well to read plays together. We just had a lot of fun reading The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. Right now, we’re reading Sherlock Holmes.

Besides this, I have a list of books, again corresponding to the time period we are studying in history, that my older two (6th and 8th) can pick through and read. They can pick anything on the list, and they must read at least a chapter a day before they can read their other books. This is something new I started this year, and I think it’s really helped to broaden my kids’ reading. I think I’ll do the same for my upcoming 5th grader this year.

I already mentioned that I have my kids complete All About Spelling all the way through the final level, level 7. This last level introduces Greek and Latin roots and paves the way for vocabulary. Once they have completed spelling (usually about halfway through 6th grade for us), I have them begin Vocabulary from Classical Roots 4 (which starts out pretty easy). I have only ever used the student book, although there is a test booklet and an answer key available, I believe. For the most part, I’m usually able to easily grade their answers without the key. The nice thing about vocabulary is that I have the kids work independently. The first day they make flash cards, and the next couple of days they fill in the exercises. We keep it pretty simple.

We are big readers in our home. Both my husband and I love to read. We’ve been reading to our kids since they were babies. We talk a lot about books. The kids all love to read, and they enjoy writing their own stories as well. It’s so much fun to hear them use the words they read about or even interrupt us when we read aloud to ask what words mean. One of my favorite things is when I see and hear my kids use what we’re reading (especially our whole-family read-alouds) as fuel for their imaginative play as well. Words are a gift, and so is the ability to read them, write them, and use them well. I’m so thankful I’ve had great resources to be able to teach this to my kids!


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These are a Few of My Favorite {Homeschool} Things: Grammar and Writing

By | February 4, 2024
This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series These are a Few of My Favorite {Homeschool} Things

I’ve already written here about the reading and spelling programs I have used/am using. In this post I will address grammar and writing.

First Language Lessons

This is a 4-year grammar curriculum from Well-Trained Mind Press. I have used this for grades 1-4 for each of my kids three days a week. The first 2 levels only have an instructor’s book. Levels 3-4 have a student book to go along with the instructor’s book for each level. The press gives copyright permission for copies of student books (whether hard copies or pdf’s) to be made for siblings within the same family. This is a huge help and benefit that this company allows for most if not all of their consumable books.

The instructor’s manuals are all very simple to use and scripted, making them very easy to teach from. Teaching grammar is not necessarily exciting, so it may feel monotonous to repeat the same definitions, lists of prepositions and helping verbs over and over again. (Do you know how many times I’ve said “Aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at. . .??) However, I have seen my older kids do extremely well with a lot more complicated grammar and diagramming because of the solid (but boring) foundation offered in the first four years.

There are poems to memorize throughout the year, along with times of review. It teaches both oral and written grammar, how to write addresses and letters, diagramming, and lots of memorization. I always skip any dictation or narration exercises, as we cover that in our writing program.

Writing with Ease

This is a 4-year writing program, also from Well-Trained Mind Press, that I use for grades 1-4. Again, this program can feel a bit monotonous to get through, but it does prepare children very well to be good writers. Each level has an instructor’s book as well as a student book (that can be copied for siblings).

Each year is very similar, following mostly the same 4-day-a-week pattern. Level 1 does include some copywork, in which the child is imitating writing a good sentence. Eventually, one of those days of copywork is exchanged for dictation, in which the same sentence will be dictated to the student, the student will repeat the sentence, and then the student will write the sentence down (with all necessary spelling help given).

The other two days are narration exercises. When the children are in the first few years, I read the excerpt orally while the child listens. I then ask questions about the story (the questions are in the teacher’s manual). A few more questions are asked that guide the child towards giving a 1-3 (-6 as the child progresses to later levels) sentence summary (their “narration”) of the story.

The thing I really appreciate about the program is that for the first 4 years, the student is never required to write their narration. They simply speak their narration, and the parent/teacher writes it down and reads it back. The goal is to get them to be able to summarize and narrate well; the focus is not the actual handwriting process (which can really bog some kids down). I’ve found that with some of my kids it has also really forced them to be better listeners.

Sometimes the dictation exercises can be a bit long and frustrating—especially with some kids. One of my kids really struggled with remembering the sentences, whereas most of the others had no problem. While I think it is a good skill, I did drop all dictation exercises during level 4 for all my kids. Technically, the author said that level 4 is not strictly necessary if the kids are doing well at narrations. I found the narrations to be good practice, as the portions of what they read in level 4 are often more related to history and science, which is a good challenge to be able to read and summarize.

I also use the 2 narration days in level 4 to double for my child’s oral reading for that day. I’m all about killing 2 birds with one stone when it comes to doubling up subjects to work more efficiently.

Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind

This is a fabulous grammar program. This is the program that follows First Language Lessons by Well-Trained Mind Press. I start this in 5th grade with my kids, and it goes all the way through high school. It can feel a bit confusing at first to understand how it works, but I will do my best to summarize.

There is one instructor’s manual, and there are four different student workbooks—red, blue, yellow, and purple, each with its own answer key (if you buy them, you may copy the workbooks for siblings). The idea is that you pick any color workbook to start with. You teach with the scripted instructor’s manual, and the student follows along in his workbook (all of this section of the workbooks will look the same). Once the lesson is over, the student will have exercises to complete on his own. These exercises are different in each color of workbook.

The reason this works so well is that I can go as far as I want to through the lessons for the year with each student. Once I feel that the material is getting too challenging I stop and start over again with a different color workbook. That way the students can review the same material, but when they practice, they have new exercises and examples.

So say, for example, I have been doing school for 12 weeks, and I’ve gotten through lesson 36 in the red workbook, and I notice my kid is starting to struggle. I can go back to lesson 1 in the yellow book if it would be helpful. If my kid had been breezing through the first couple weeks, maybe instead I would choose to start the yellow book at lesson 9. Maybe this time we could continue a little farther than lesson 36 or maybe we just stop there again and start another color workbook.

Once you start, it all makes good sense. It also personalizes the grammar program for your student. You can focus on what the child is struggling through or you can move ahead if you want. You just have to keep track of what lessons in what books you are doing—especially if you have multiple children in different workbooks.

The author (Susan Wise Bauer) has a good sense of humor, and she tries to make grammar as enjoyable as possible. She also makes good use of literature in her examples. It is much more enjoyable to work on sentences that are related to each other instead of a bunch of boring, unrelated sentences.

Although the books are set up in 4-day weeks, I continue to do grammar just three days a week. There are regular reviews throughout the workbooks, which are helpful. I also use these reviews at the beginning of each school year to help my kids refresh what they’ve forgotten and to gauge where to start them for the new year.

Writing with Skill

This writing program from Well-Trained Mind Press follows Writing with Ease. However, the author actually recommends not starting this program until 6th grade (and maybe 7th if the child struggles). So, I’ve always taken a little bit of a break from writing in 5th grade. I have had my kids just write a narration about once a week from their history or science, which was still good practice. I may add something new next year for my 5th grader (but she doesn’t know that yet! 😉 ).

This program is three years, and I have really loved it too. Again, each level has an instructor and student book (free to copy for siblings too). But for this curriculum, there is a lot more independent work that the student engages in, although the instructor still checks much of the student’s work and sometimes engages with him. Right now, I have a child in the first level (in 6th grade) and in the last level (in 8th grade), and I can really see how the program does a great job in slowly building the student into a good writer.

The text models good writing from literature to scientific and historic papers. The student is taught how to look for information, research, and write interestingly. There are sections on analyzing literature and poetry. This is not so much a course on creative writing, but the publisher does offer a separate book on that if your child is interested.

The instructor’s manual will always give a rubric as to what to expect for your child’s work. It does require your reading their written work and helping them improve, but the student’s instructions actually do much of the teaching.

When your child has completed the third level he will have learned how research and write a 1500-word, interesting paper on a chosen topic.

Each week is a 4-day week. The time spent on this writing course is much more than Writing with Ease. It also requires a lot of independent work. This is a good thing developmentally for the kids, but some may need more supervision and reminders to be disciplined than others.

All in all, I have appreciated and heartily recommend all of the grammar and writing curricula I have chosen. Again, I hope this is helpful!


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