Volume 1 - No. 2 ~ 8-27-99









Barb(ara) Edtl Shelton


Kelli Sears (and if you find any mistakes,

they're not her fault! I just missed entering an edit!)


Sharnessa Shelton  /  Oswald Chambers  /  Chris Day


(which I just know is under one of these piles somewhere!)


Welcome to the second edition of "Form+U+la Reflections"! I'm going to eventually have these ~ and all past issues at my website where they'll be easily accessible. If anyone would like to volunteer to put the main sections into a "table of contents," I would surely appreciate it!  



Well, summer is almost over and I hope yours has been a good one! Mine sure has! We got to have Sharnessa home three weeks longer than planned! Her visa took longer to process than hoped for (not by me! I hope it'd take forever!), so she will go back to England this coming Tuesday. She graduated from the School of Creative Ministries in London 
(which is part of IBIOL = International Bible Institute of London)  on July 11th (which I shared in the last issue) and goes back over to be part of a two-gal singing group that is about to sign a 5-CD deal with Essential records. (a Christian recording company.) They still need to meet Sharnessa (who has been over here!), so the Essential rep. (the pres. of the co., I think) is going to meet with them all in London next Wednesday! Yes, the day Sharnessa gets back. She will be wiped out from the looooooong trip, and this will be the rep's first impression of her, so please pray for divine revitalization for Sharnessa!    ;-)

Tory and I have been attending Toastmasters meetings and I absolutely love it! In fact, I just joined! It is an excellent and inexpensive means of improving one's speaking skills, no matter what arena you might be in! A local English teacher even sends kids in her class who are not doing well to these meetings for "extra credit"! Too bad the rest of the class is missing out! It is extreeeeemely well organized (the whole organization AND our meetings), very friendly, good values, and an excellent way to improve your communication skills! And it's a fun thing for Tory and I to do together.

Speaking of Tory... He's going to our local community college this fall. After his year of "in-depth study" we feel he's ready. He's also trying out for the basketball team, a passion that he laid down for the year last year! So he's preparing for that. The coach, upon finding out that Tory helps with the youth group, asked him if he'd consider leading a Bible Study for the team! YES! This is at a SECULAR community college! I told Tory that even if he doesn't make the team, he'll get to just serve! -- them and Jesus! :-)


...Which reminded us of the movie "Rudy." If you haven't seen that, it's great! This guy's heart to serve was amazing! (It's the true story of a boy who wanted to be on the Notre Dame's football team.)

I'm SO glad I've still got Carlianne to homeschool!  She's almost 13, and we have all sorts of fun stuff planned!  (And we get each other all to ourselves!)   ;-D   She's junior high age, so I'm sure I'll have more to share in that arena as we go along!




Here's an excerpt from a Mother's Day card I received from Sharnessa
(which is also in Form+U+la). I share it to give a glimpse of the personal side of our relationship amid all the forms and frameworks!  I hope it'll encourage any who may be discouraged to KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON!  Stay steadfast in Jesus! It's worth it ALL!  (And yes, I do feel VERY blessed!)

Dearest Momma, (I love it when she calls me that!)
I want to thank you for being a totally amazing Momma. You truly are. [She's a bit biased!] And I realize it more and more as the days go by. I am so blessed that you are not only a brilliant mom [I've trained her well] but an awesome friend as well. I know you've worried at times that you've made mistakes, but firstly, all parents make mistakes. And secondly, you have both been so good at apologizing when you've been wrong, and taking time to explain and talk things out when either of us had been wrong. That's one of the many things I have learned from you guys. And a very vital thing at that! So thank you, Mom! Thank you for doing the best anyone could ever do. Thank you for taking so much time with me. Thank you for giving me room to grow. Thank you for leading me to Jesus' feet. Thank your for being my friend. Thank you for being such a beautiful example of what a mother should be. Thank you for admitting your faults, and in turn teaching me to do the same. Thank you for not compromising and settling for the easier route. Thank you for teaching me to be a pioneer. Thank you for the freedom to be who God called me to be and to go where He's called me to go. Thank you for not letting ME settle for anything less than God's best. Thank you for your precious hands – the hands that rubbed my back stroked by face, wiped my tears, disciplined me, held me. I love you, Momma!

Sincerely, Sharnessa




Instead of featuring one item this time, I'm going to just suggest that, as you are all considering curriculum for the coming year, you consider the Senior High section of my Homeschool Guide-a-log! There's enough wonderful stuff in there to take you MILES into high school!  (Personal note from Barb: We are still working hard to pay off the new revision of Form+U+la (our deadline is coming up soon), so any orders you place with us now, besides being wonderful stuff for your own children's education, will also help us pay off this HUGE order of books! :-) )

Because that section is so big, I'm going to send it in four separate posts.   :-)   I hope you'll print it out (unless you already have the Guide-a-log) and sit down with a cup of tea and study it. It's FULL of wonderful treasures!




The following came from Chris Day, a sister-friend I acquired through a speaking engagement in Bellingham, Washington. She was the one who got me to come and speak there. She had asked me if there was anything she could get me that morning before speaking, and I told her "a mocha" to which she asked "Is that all?" implying "Is that ALL you're going to have for breakfast before speaking?"   :-)   I answered "a cinnamon roll!" ~ thinking she'd just pick one up for me at a Minit Mart. But noooo, she made a whole batch of them from scratch, despite the fact that she wasn't feeling too well! Turned out she was pregnant with baby # 7 and didn't yet know it!    ;-D   Here's what she shared with me...

Dear Barb,


In reading through your newsletter, I realized that you've gleaned as much wisdom through Oswald Chambers as I have lately, and wanted to let you know that this year I'm enjoying the sequel to "My Utmost" which is "Still Higher for His Highest." Are you familiar with it? 

This very week I'm still "chewing" on a convicting thought, which I've "known" but hadn't applied to homeschooling or parenting before now (when the Spirit convicted). On July 15th in reference to John 13:13-17 (Jesus washing the feet of His disciples) he said: 


"The curious thing about Our Lord is that He never *demands* our obedience. When we begin to usurp authority and say, 'you must' and 'you shall' it is a sure sign that we are out of touch with the Supreme Authority. If you are in a position of authority and find you are not being obeyed, the greatest heart-searching you can have is the realization that the blame does not lie with them, but with you; there is a leakage going on spiritually. Get right with God yourself, and every other one will get in touch with God through you!" 


Ouch!, as I read that in the context of the above scripture, it reflects a parent's role of "modeling" once again, but what "freedom" from the "must's and should's" too if we're truly teaching our children the way that Christ taught His disciples!  Just an "Oswald insight" for your afternoon."

~Chris Day



This issue I'm featuring the websites of our list members!  I sent out request for sites on 7-22-99, and here's what I received: (I have no idea if these are still operable, and don't want to take the time to check them all out; let me know if any are not working!)
This first one is from Barb Miller:
"My website is called Sumfun, The Trail of the Mathslug.  It is a collection of links to fun and useful math sites all over the world."
This next one is from Kelli Sears:
"Foundation for Online Learning (Kelli Sears): http://www.infinet.com/ñdonald/links/fol.html 
Foundation for Online learning is a cooperative learning environment comprised mostly of Christian, homeschoolers. We offer a wide range of courses in every subject area. All courses are free, and they range from pre-school through high school. In spite of the fact that there is no charge, the classes are high-quality, and extremely educational. The courses run in six week semesters. Your children may take as many classes as they can handle in any semester that you are willing to teach. Simple, step-by-step instructions are provided for all new teacher/parents who join FOL. Co-teaching with a veteran FOL teacher is encouraged for your first semester. This will give you valuable training as well as confidence. Our website will give you the details. Come and join our wonderful journey in education.
[Note from Barb: Even if it were a business, and they were actually (gasp!) making MONEY at it, I would not hesitate to share this info. ;-) ]
And this last one is from Tracy Gibson:
"The Gibson Family Website is at: www.geocities.com/heartland/lane/5715/  Info on our family, including interests, girl's pages, links, articles on homeschooling and my recent cancer experience, and "My Little Mall" page with merchant links.


I thought this might be a fun little addition to the newsletter! Well, fun only for those who, like me, are sick enough to think that grammar and language arts can actually be FUN! These columns will be in the area of grammar, usage, spelling, or vocabulary. This issue's tip is on the...
One author I know of does not capitalize pronouns in reference to God in his writing because, as he says, these words are not capitalized in the Bible, so that's *his* standard too. I appreciate his heart, but the reason that these words aren't capitalized in the Bible is because they are just that -- IN the Bible. And the Bible IS God's word(s). Outside the context of the Bible, it's not only proper, but easier to clarify that, indeed, God is being referred to. It also shows respect for God to capitalize any pronouns that refer to Him. 

What I mean by "easier to clarify" is this... Let's say I was writing a paper and said this: "Whenever God spoke through a prophet in old testament times, he spoke with authority." It's not clear WHO is speaking with authority, is it? It could be either God OR the prophet who is speaking with authority. Capitalizing the "h" of "He" makes it immediately clear that it's GOD speaking with authority, while leaving it lower case indicates it's just one of the prophets.

As for respect and deference, capitalizing a word indicates that the author places greater than usual importance upon the person, God being the only one we'd capitalize a pronoun for. ;-) Notice how the capitals in the following sentence lend a greater reverence for God: "The Lord has redeemed many situations in my life; over and over He has given me His comfort and peace. I can't thank Him enough!"
And two other "deity" words that are commonly wrongly capitalized are "godly" and "divine." "Divine" is capitalized ONLY if it is being used as a NAME for God, like the "Divine Healer." Otherwise, as in "she had a divine look on her face," it's not capitalized. And "godly" is never capitalized as we would never use it to describe God himself.

One last thought... It's probably more proper to not capitalize "heaven," but for reasons of deference, I do so when referring to the place. If I capitalize the name of any city here on earth, I will SURELY capitalize the name of the residence of God himself!!! However, when just referring to the skies or the firmament, another of its definitions, as in "the stars in the heavens," it is not capitalized. 



These are really good questions!  Wish I'd had them sooner so I could have included them in the new revision of Form+U+la! :-)
Q: What forms from the book have all of you found to be the most beneficial? I love paperwork and have a tendency to use too many forms instead of the most efficient ones.

A: What's "efficient" for one mom/student won't be for another because of differences in style. It's fine to share what's helped us and why, but only so that we can further understand our own needs, not so we can copy anyone else, including me!    ;-)
Q: I have ordered the book because I am so intrigued by the ideas that I have read on this book. It looks super helpful. I am just entering those high school waters, but I have an unusual situation. My son is 11. So that is a whole different story than most. He is an extremely brilliant guy and he has just worked his way up to high school. Not in all subjects, but a lot. We are doing Latin, Science (8), Algebra, Literature (8), Art, Music, Critical Thinking, Logic, and History (9). I would be interested to hear what others are doing and if there are any other young high schoolers out there.

A: I can't answer either of your actual Q's, but wanted to say that what I present in the book is a system or framework that can be adopted to ANY needs. At 11 you don't want to overwhelm with requirements (or at ANY age for that matter!), and he's probably already doing a lot of things on his own. Incorporate these into the framework. Kids with "recordaphobia" don't even need to know you're doing it! :-) And remember to make it serve your purposes, not you serve it!
Q: Do you or anyone else have suggestions for becoming re-educated? Has anyone else done it? And why is it so important - so I can answer questions out of my head and not have to look it up in a book?

A: You're confusing becoming "re-educated" with becoming "be-knowledged." They're not the same -- at all.   :-)   There's only a slight overlap. Knowledge is only ONE aspect of true education. And if it isn't rooted in God's idea of "education" it will only produce shallowness of soul. My suggestions for such a season are extensively explained and outlined in my book, The Homeschool Guide-a-log.
Q: Should I study a grammar handbook (I'm serious)? Or study Strunk & White's Elements of Style? IS it important to learn to diagram sentences?
A: You will get many differing answers on this.   :-)   I personally think it's a good idea to know how to diagram a sentence once you get to high school (not any sooner unless they like it and get it), only because it's a very effective means of helping to identify and visualize the parts of a sentence. But here again, one asks "Do I really need to know this?" ALL should know enough grammar to speak well, but there are only three reasons one might need to know how to diagram a sentence (that I can think of), and they are:

1) For taking an SAT (standardized achievement) test of any kind.
2) If the student is going on to college.
3) If the student is going to be a writer. This skill has helped me tremendously; I still use it all the time -- in my head. :-)
So again, and as usual, YOU get to decide what's best for YOU and YOUR student! :-)

Q: My son has said he wants to go to public school because he would have more friends and do more things. I told him I don't think that's what God wants me to do. I'll pray about it when that time comes. Did your child ever request that of you? If so, please let me know how you handled it. 

A:  Very few, even spiritual-minded kids, don't enjoy the public school scene. It's a setting that any normal kid is going to love, unless they are either socially or academically ill-equipped for it. (Which explains why *I* didn't like it!) I never based our decision to homeschool on whether or not my kids were excited about the idea. Kids do not typically choose wisdom. (Just take a child down the cereal aisle and ask them what they want!) It's only after our "faculties are trained" that wisdom emerges and comes into play in our thought processes and decisions; until then they will "walk by the flesh." This is actually true of all parents as well!    ;-) 

I would begin by reading Parenting Adolescents which will help you get to the heart of some things, both in you and in your son. You do realize home education is more about the parent than it is the child(ren), don't you?   ;-)   Kids, yes; but what's going on in the mind of the ONE bus driver is going to impact the entire busload of people. (Yes, I do sell this book, but it's also pretty generally available at Christian bookstores.) Intersperse your own reading with talking with him, using his walk with the Lord as the focal and motivating point. Does he love the Lord? If not, that's where you need to start; if so, then he's going to want to follow Him and His way. You, as the parent, have been placed over him for this season of his life for a reason -- a GOOD reason. What you are feeling in your heart did NOT come from the world, but from God. Talk about what he wants in life and how he thinks he's going to get there. I'm not just talking about "submission to parental authority" here; this is important, but you want to engage is HEART AND MIND; not just "righteousness." God will honor that, but he needs to be discipled and to gain understanding, not just walk in what he feels he wants. 

I don't remember if you've read Wisdom's Way of Learning but that, along with just about ALL of her new books may help even more than Parenting Adolescents at this point. (They will all come into the picture, I believe, but let God show you how to proceed.)

You might also read our daughter's letter at my website! (Go here.]
Q: (cont'd. from previous question) Am I supposed to give up my ideals for his education [for homeschooling through high school] and concentrate on my other children now?

A:  NO!    :-)    At least I don't think so! You'll just need to proceed differently than if he were younger. Read, pray, talk with him, pray, read, talk with him some more, pray... Really get into his mind and heart. Find out what his true motivations are. Don't put him on the defense, but be open to hearing what he has to say. "Gently correct those who are in opposition to the truth," which means don't blow him out of the water even if his heart is wrong."  As his parent and "discipler," graciously, gently, and lovingly lead him to see his heart (and yours), and bring him around to seeing the truth about education -- God's purposes for it. Appealing to his relationship with God is The Key! 
Q: (cont'd from previous question) What if I myself don't know God's heart on education???

A: The "Season of Re-education and Renewing of the Mind" would make all the difference in the world for you. I can't stress it enough. If finances are tight, pray for God to bring about people who have the books that you could borrow. (Just to let you know, very few of them are going to be found in a public library; they are "off the beaten course"). Pray also for someone who would want to go in with you and do it together so that you can share -- and split the cost of -- the resources. (By the way, I did not start out thinking "Hmmm, how can I sell something to homeschoolers?" I have been counseling people -- one-by-one on the phone, and at my seminars -- in the direction of such a season for many years now, and have now *finally* come up with a basic (generic) outline for it, and a syllabus to use as an "alongside guide" and journal. I decided to start selling the books for this season -- which include several of mine and several by other authors I admire and have learned much from -- when I realized how many people were having a hard time locating them, or were overwhelmed at having to hunt them down from so many different sources.)

Let me add that you will want to enter this season with a sense of going through it with God, not ahead of Him, seeking Him for order and direction. It can feel overwhelming at first, especially when you look at the outline. Keep in mind that several of the resources are smaller booklets, some tapes. There *is* a lot of reading to do, but you don't have to do it all NOW. Let God pace you, and walk you through everything that He deems as being needful for *you,* and in *His* timing. I put together what I felt was "generally needful," but God is very personal and specific, so the more you hear His voice, the more tailor-made such a season will be for YOU.


It has been lovingly pointed out to me that I missed putting the "Commune With Me Guide" into the new revision of Form+U+la, in the Jumpstart section!  (:::GRRR:::)  Many of you have probably not even read that section because you aren't needing to "jumpstart," but this is something that ANYone, parent and high schooler, might find helpful! It's just a little list of ideas for what to do in your quiet time with God! Not law. Not "the best way to do it." ;-) Just my own ideas.

It says under the first item in the Biblical Studies jumpstart plan that this "Commune With Me" guide directly follows the class plans, but, alas and alack, 'tis not there! It IS in the old Jumpstart booklet, but that doesn't help you here! So I have cut and pasted the text for it right here. It's actually in a little bookmarker-size box, but I can't send tables through the newsletter. So if you want it to be a bookmarker, just cut and paste this text into your own box, (mine is about 2.5" wide by about 6" long), making the font much smaller too fit. Mine is 6 point, but it'll vary according to the particular font you use. Keep in mind that, when going that small, you don't want a font that's fancy or it's very difficult to read -- which is the whole point!   ;-)   Use something clear and simple. ... Here's the content of...


(which now has its own page at my website!  Click here.)

SIT IN JESUS' LAP - and let him speak words of love to you. "Daddy God, I rest in your arms; Jesus just hold me against your heart; Spirit, enfold me within your wings; You are my place of contentment and peace." (To the tune of: "Jesus, How Lovely You Are" – or just make up your own! )
GIVE THANKS - Thank Him for specific blessings. "I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart..." 
PRAISE HIM - "...I will enter His courts with praise!" for who He is and everything He has done for you!
ASK FORGIVENESS - "Forgive us our sins..." Be specific as the Holy Spirit reminds you of what you need to ask forgiveness for. Consider this verse: "Who shall stand in God's holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart." 
SET MY WILL TO FORGIVE - "...as (meaning: "in the same manner as") we forgive those who sin against us." Help me give grace and mercy to those I live with, "neighbors," the Body, slow or rude drivers, waitresses, anyone who hurts, offends or sins against me. 
WORSHIP - He doesn't care how I sound or look! He says (in Song of Sol.) "Let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely." Just worship God in Spirit and truth for who He is!
ASK FOR MY DAILY BREAD - "Give [me] this day [my] daily bread": which is whatever needs You see that I have spiritually, emotionally, physically, health-wise, time-wise, etc.
PRAY for family, friends – saved and unsaved – the Body of Christ, etc. as Jesus prayed in the garden: "Keep them from the evil one... May God's joy be fulfilled in them... Keep them in God's Name... Sanctify them in the Truth." Pray favorite Scripture verses over them.
PRAY A HEDGE OF PROTECTION around all the preceding and our home, our health, our "stuff," etc.
PUT ON MY ARMOR - as set forth in Ephesians 6:10–17.
"EAT" THE WORD OF GOD - Read out of Psalms and/or Proverbs and/or the New Testament. Ask God to give me His "rema" out of His "Logos."
JOURNAL - Refer to my journal for specific lists for/of any of the above. Write in journal out of my heart, during the good and the bad times. Listen for God to speak, and write down what He speaks to me.
ROTATE DEVOTIONAL MATERIAL: a good book, ongoing prayer lists, further journaling, time in other areas of the Bible, communing with God... how ever He leads!




Justice: getting what you deserve
Mercy: not getting what you deserve
Grace: getting what you don't deserve
  (Author Unknown)

This next one's funny, but there's an element of wisdom it it, I think!
Top Ten Things Only Women Understand:

       10. Why it's good to have five pairs of black shoes.

      9. The difference between cream, ivory, and off-white.

      8. Crying can be fun.

      7. FAT CLOTHES.

      6. A salad, diet drink, and a hot fudge sundae make a balanced lunch.

      5. Discovering a designer dress on the clearance rack can be considered a peak life experience.

      4. The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.

      3. A good man might be hard to find, but a good hairdresser is next to impossible.

      2. Why a phone call between two women never lasts under ten minutes.


      1. OTHER WOMEN!
           (A man just HAD to have written this!! ;-D ) 



This quote is of John Taylor Gatto, author or "Dumbing Us Down" -- one of my all-time favorite books, which also happens to be one of the books in our "Educational Foundations" class, and also happens to be an excellent book for an unsaved husband or relative to read -- especially ones who won't read "Christian books."  (There's actually no such thing as a "Christian book" because books can't accept Jesus as their savior, but you know what I mean!   ;-D )

"Independent study, community service, adventures and experience, large doses of privacy and solitude, a thousand different apprenticeships... These are all powerful, cheap, and effective ways to start a real reform of schooling. But no large-scale reform is ever going to work to repair our damaged children and our damaged society until we force open the idea of ‘school' to include family as the main engine of education. If we use schooling to break children away from parents – and make no mistake, that has been the central function of schools since John Cotton announced it as the purpose of the Bay Colony schools in 1650, and Horace Mann announced it as the purpose of Massachusetts schools in 1850 – we're going to continue to have the horror show we have right now. The ‘Curriculum of Family' is at the heart of any good life." 



Here are a few I've received just in the last few weeks...
"I have just purchased your Form+U+la book and wanted to express my appreciation for this wonderfully encouraging resource. My daughter will begin 8th grade this year and I have been experiencing panic attacks when thinking of high school. I know I want to continue our "real life learning" approach through the high school years, but feel increasing pressure (aka in-laws!!!) to formalize our high school courses. Your book has encouraged me to follow my heart and God's leading as we continue our homeschooling journey. Thank you for relieving my fears and motivating me to stick with the lifestyle of learning approach." ~ Beth H.
"Yesterday I received your book, it's beautiful - everything I expected and MORE!!  My family enjoyed the personal touch of added photographs (and I'm pleased to have all the forms indexed alphabetically, so I can locate them easier.) I'm also enjoying re-reading it, never seems to be repetitive (like God's Word) when you realize there are things that fit some "seasons" that may not have sunk in the first time through!
As my son (who is VERY into basketball) read through the ideas about Tory's Basketball Notebook, he was inspired! THANKS for including that. We've felt it difficult to pursue sports without compromising character issues and godly values but you've shown us an opportunity to use his interest/passion for lifestyle learning!  Our oldest (girl, 16) was as thrilled as I was to see the book with pictures too, her first comment was "Sharnessa looks just a sweet and bubbly as she sounds in her letters, just like I pictured her to be!" You can imagine her EXCITEMENT at reading your news of Sharnessa's future husband...like a love story unfolding with God's big blessings for honoring Him. She said she's hoping they'll write a story like the one of Ludy's - God's Perfect Faithfulness. She has given Sharnessa's letter of advice (re: waiting on the Lord vs. dating) to several friends who can't understand her "position" and now she's eager to share the continuing story with those same friends, but I told her we should check with you/her first about it, is this confidential? Is what you've written supposed to stay within our homes in case/until you write more?
And just as a footnote to the above daughter, she said she's praying for a future husband to come from a family "just like the Shelton's!" Did you ever imagine that your family would touch so many lives? [No!] You're all having a ministry and influence for the Lord that is "exceedingly, immeasurably beyond what we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within" (Eph. 3:20)



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: http://www.homeschooloasis.com

Email: beshelton@aol.com




Wallpaper and tiny heart-check bars are 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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