Portions of this newsletter

have been edited from the original

version to prevent confusion and subsequent

extra work for myself and/or my

"list shepherdess," Donna.




Volume 1 - No. 1 ~~~ July 1999








Barb(ara) Edtl Shelton

Sharnessa Shelton  /  Oswald Chambers

(I have deleted the Y2K related stuff that was in here.)



(which I just KNOW is under one of these piles SOMEwhere!)


WELCOME! the first issue of "Form+U+la Reflections"! My hope is that this publication will be of interest, help, and maybe even inspiration to you as you attempt to implement the ideas and philosophies in my book, Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la.  Because my life is full of variables, (as is just as true for you as well) I would be foolish to any promises as to the frequency of this publication. Therefore, "sporadic" is exactly how often you can expect to see it in your e-mail box.   :-)
This idea was suggested to me by Donna Heck, my "right hand (wo)man" for this list!  Because of how closely she works with me, she sensed a need for me to pare down my online time (perhaps my whining and moaning and my close calls at going crazy were what clued her in), and so she got the idea for me to get off the list and instead do a sporadic newsletter! It seemed like it might be a good way to pare down my online time, and yet still give something substantial to those on the list.  So I will be "unsubbing" from the list, and Donna will be the official "List Shepherdess" -- a term borrowed from Sherri Rimmer on the Wisdom's Way list! She has already been functioning in this capacity, but now it will be more "official" and she will take more of a front seat.   ;-)   She will keep me connected to the list, and will send me any posts she feels I should or would like to be aware of, and/or that might be appropriate for me to answer in my "Form+U+la Reflections." (I'll still pop in and out though.)  Discussion will still be encouraged on the list, so don't feel you're losing that aspect!  There are now many who have read my book and applied it to their own homeschools, so I hope that you will all stay, even after your kids graduate, to share your expertise with others coming along behind you!  [Note from Barb, later:  I didn't end up staying off the list after all!  Donna has actually made it much easier for me to stay on!  I don't participate a lot, but I'm still around and read all the posts. I enjoy keeping in touch and often use the questions and comments in future issues of this newsletter.]
There is a possibility of getting a list-serve(r) just for this purpose, so we may end up with a SHF-L list and a newsletter list! I will let you know if and when that works out. For now, I will just send the newsletter out on the SHF-L list.
Each issue will have various and varying components, possibly (but not necessarily in every single issue) including the following columns: 
 Personal Notes from Barb - such as what you have been finding in my "Sporadic Updates"; just juicy (or boring, depending on how you feel about it) personal stuff out of my life. ;-)
 Excerpts from Form+U+la - I'll just cut and paste something from the book; whatever I want, or in answer to something someone has written to me about.
 What's New at My Website! - As Somer and I continue to add to my website, I'll keep you updated on what's new!  (There's a TON of fun new stuff coming!!! Just takes TIME to get it all together!)
 Featured Quote - anything I want to share that I've come across
 Q and A's - me (and others) answering Q's on the list (or privately)
 Featured Article - most likely something I've already written; or maybe something by someone else that I think you'll be interested in
 Featured Products - anything we sell that I want to highlight (not sales; we don't do those. See my article "Frugal" Versus "Cheap" in the last section of the Homeschool Guide-a-log." I may even include that in a future issue of the newsletter!)
 Thought from My Utmost For His Highest - I'm always finding neat stuff in there that I think would be good for homeschooling high school parents! These will just be little tastes; for the "full meal" you need to get the book!   ;-)
 Suggested Websites - that I find or that others bring to my attention
 Words of Wisdom - edifying and/or humorous quotes that I want to pass along to you
 Comments from Readers - I frequently receive comments from readers that I think you would enjoy reading too!  And if not, skip it! ;-D
      By the way, I think the hardest thing about doing a text-only newsletter (which is what I put out directly to the SHF-L list) will be my greatly limited ability to FORMAT it nicely! I'll learn to live with it, but it won't be easy!   ;-)   [Note from Barb, later:  This sentiment does not apply to the edition you are now reading which IS very much formatted and decorated as I'd like, thanks to my wonderful web graphics artists and modern technology which enables me to utilize them!
Hmmm, you know, this is a good question, one that I hadn't thought of until I just now thought of it!   ;-)   I don't know. None of you onliners really need it cuz you already have this.  (And you're welcome to print out your own hard copy!)  I guess it would depend on if I get enough interest from those who express an interest coupled with a willingness to pay for a subscription. When you get into putting something into "ink and paper" form, and have to send it out, you're talking a lot more time and money; well money period, and a lot more time. (No money is involved in doing it online; just time.)  So I'll just wait and see. :-)





Last Wednesday (July 7, 1999) Dave and I left on a week-long to LONDON!!!  We were blessed with the WHOLE trip by one of my sisters, Pat.  We were just blown away (all the way to England!) by her generosity!  (She has the "gift of giving"; I have the "gift of receiving" from her!!!!   ;-D )  We got home two nights ago (Thursday night), and are getting settled back in, recovering from the eight-hour time difference. But "jet lag" has been a minimum thus far!

The "official" reason for this trip was to see our oldest daughter, Sharnessa, graduate from the School of Creative Ministries which is at I.B.I.O.L.; International Bible Institute of London! But we also had a lot of fun sight-seeing as well! Sharnessa was in a performance that her school puts on at the end of each term. This was the first one we have gotten to see her in! 

We did all sorts of sight-seeing around London "on a shoestring," and were just amazed at the beauty of the city!  Everything we have seen in postcards and books is so much bigger and more amazing in real life!!! We also went to Oxford for one day, and that was just as amazing!  Big Ben is SOOOO much bigger than I had thought, and St. Paul's Cathedral is breathtakingly beautiful! The subways -- "tubes" as they call them -- are complex, modern, and very efficient. History abounds in the city, and it is *very* international! We probably saw more people from outside England than in. The whole trip was an experience that will remain with us forever as an unforgettable memory -- at least until my memory goes out on me!  ;-D
I'm so excited to finally have the new revision of Form+U+la in hand! I didn't get to see the finished copy until we got home from London, so some of you probably saw it before I did! I'd love to hear any comments on it!  (Publicly if good; privately if bad!   ;-D   Ha! ... I don't care; I'd just love to hear what you think! I'm so excited to have PICTURES in it!  Both on the front and back covers (full color even!), and black-and-whites inside!  A big step for a small-time author!)


The following was written by our oldest daughter, Sharnessa. Many wonder how being a "pioneer" in the homeschooling movement affects the children of those pioneers. I can't tell you how it affects ALL of them, but I can share with you what Sharnessa, had to say about it. In fact, as you'll see, Sharnessa (rightly) considers herself a pioneer as well!    :-)   There's a picture of her 'n' me on this page (the back of the title page of section 3, opposite page III-1) in the new book! ;-)  (The same article -- and the same photo, but in full-color -- is on the "Pioneer Girl" article page here at this website!  It's accessible from the "Article Chart" under "Homeschool Issues & Concerns.")




By Sharnessa Shelton

(This is an excerpt from from a letter Sharnessa wrote
when she was 19 and "nannying" in New York (to earn money to attend

the School of Creative Ministries in London, which is what she's

doing now, as of May of 1999.)


[Note from Barb, later: She has now graduated from IBIOL

and is living in Manchester, England, in the "creation stage" of a new

Christian pop band called V-enna, which has a five-CD contract with a record

company and will be touring England and the U.S. starting spring

of 2000. More on that as it unfolds!]


I was on the phone with my mom, and we were talking about Eric and Leslie Ludy's "Romance God's Way" seminar.  And for some reason, I started, just in my mind, getting upset. Not about the seminar, or anything my Mom was saying!  But I started thinking to myself, "Why do I always have to be such a loner in the major areas of my life? In starting a "weird" church (Shekinah Christian Center), we were pioneers. In homeschooling, we were pioneers. Then the whole "courtship" thing, we were pioneers. (I don't really like the term "courtship." It's just "purity and God's timing in relationships.") 


So for all of my life, I've dealt with people constantly questioning me, and thinking I was "not the norm." (Which actually doesn't bug me! I know I'm weird!)  All of this was going on in my head!  And then all of a sudden I was overwhelmed by this feeling of total exhilaration, total joy!  This thought then popped in my head, "But God has given me the right character, the right attitude, the right spirit to be a pioneer! I'm my mom's 'Little Joan of Arc'! I love to be different! I love to be challenged!  (You could say, without sounding too weird, that I "get off" on challenges!)  I'm a "fighter!"  In fact, a quote from "My Utmost For His Highest" that I highlighted and double-underlined was: "Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them." Isn't that incredible! I just freaked out when I read that, because that is SO me!


Anyway, back to the point. Well, later that day, I read my little daily saying calendar thing, and guess what was that day's quote?  "It is not easy to be a pioneer, but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, not even the worst, for all the riches in the world." Can you believe that! I just started bawling! I called my mom and read it to her, and of course, she started crying! That was one of those "Whoa, God! You are so awesome!!!" things!..."  





All sorts of things are currently being worked on, but there's nothing new there yet. However, you will be the FIRST to know when we have something NEW for you to go see! And in the meantime, I am open to suggestions and ideas. One from Donna was to have these newsletters there! (Great idea!) Feel free to give me others! (It's at: Click on the blue house on the left.)   [Note from Barb, later:  If you are reading this at my website, then, guess what!  Our wish came true!!!]



This quote is on hearing God, though the title in the book is "The Dilemma of Obedience." (for Jan. 30). It actually continues what I shared a few weeks ago about seeing God's hand in the details of life.
"God never speaks to us in dramatic ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand. Then we say 'I wonder if that is God's voice.' Isaiah said that the Lord spoke to him 'with a strong hand,' that is, by the pressure of his circumstances. (Is. 8:11)  Without the sovereign hand of God Himself, nothing touches our lives. Do we discern His hand at work, or do we see things as mere occurrences?

"Get into the habit of saying, 'Speak, Lord,' and life will become a romance. (I Sam 3:9) Every time circumstances press in on you, say, 'Speak, Lord,' and make time to listen. ... As we listen, our ears become more sensitive, and like Jesus, we will hear God all the time..."



 The online 1828 Webster's Dictionary, which is great to use with "Word Alive" or "Scripture Verse Studies," is available online!  Click here
 Separation of School & State Alliance: This is a really important issue! Please take a few minutes to check out their website!  By the way, this is very important to talk about with your high schoolers!  (It would go under "Social Studies" or "Current Events")


"Discipline without freedom is tyranny; freedom without discipline is chaos."   ~Cullen Hightower
"If you haven't much education you must use your brain." (Author Unknown)


This was in a letter I received last month and was just a delight to me! I've never heard it said this way(!): "Your Form+U+la book has opened my eyes to a bright colored landscape; I was living in black and white."  ~Nancy F.
And this came on a postcard:  "I'm loving your Navigator books. It's taken me 13 years of homeschooling to find the simplicity I've wanted all along (and need now that I have 10 children). Please send info on your (other) materials. Resting in Christ, Suzie H."
(a mom in FL)




Copyright 1999 by Barbara Edtl Shelton; as follows:

Permission is granted to reprint anything in this newsletter in a

not-for-profit publication or to copy it to give to a friend (or mere acquaintance) provided that

the section copied is used in its entirety and credit given as follows:


Used with permission from Barb Shelton.

Website address:





Wallpaper and tiny heart-check bars from:

Original Country Clipart 


The heart 'n' leaves bar at the very top is from:

Helena's Graphic Garden


The red hearts are from:

A Touch of Country





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