T H E H E A R T O F H O M E S C H O O L I N G
When Kids Make
Year Off to
a Good Start
Retreat Recap4 10 18 24
ARTICLES INSIDE THIS ISSUE INCLUDE
2017 IVOLUME 3 IISSUE 99
Refresh....A DAY OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR LADIES PAGE 2
A DAY OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR LADIES
inspiring moms to
grow deeper in their
walk and relationship
with our Heavenly
Father. She's been married to Davis
since 1986, they have seven kids, and
they love to laugh! Davis and Rachel
own Apologia Educational Ministries,
and Rachel is an author and speaker.
She is passionate about helping moms
not only survive motherhood but
draw near to the Father and thrive in
Find rest and refreshment on your
journey. This will be a day full of
sweet fellowship, biblical
wisdom, Christ-centered worship,
and pamperingdoor prizes!
Register at CHEC.org/refresh
Limited space — register soon for the early-bird price of $30!
WHEN: Saturday, February 3rd, 9am - 6pm
WHERE: Embassy Suites - Denver Southeast
CHEC Homeschool Update IVolume 3, 2017 IIssue 99
INTERVIEW WITH THE FITZPATRICKS
10 When Kids Make
BY TODD WILSON
13 The Art of Creation
BY ISAAC RUSSELL
BY BENHAM BROTHERS
18 Getting the Year
Off to a Good Start
BY MARCIA WASHBURN
26 It Makes a Difference
BY AMBER SCHAMEL
11 Casterline Single
16 Rocky Mountain
21 Homeschool Group
24 Father Son
4 Director’s Desk
20 Homeschool Leaders
23 Legislative Liaison
30 Best of Blog
32 Struggling Learners
34 Curriculum Review
36 Partner’s Page
19039 Plaza Drive, Suite 210 Parker, Colorado 80134
720.842.4852 I1.877.842.CHEC (2432) ICHEC.org
Front Cover: Photography from iStock.com.
This page: Photography by Sarah Lee Bryant/www.sarahleephoto.com:
Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference event.
So far as I can tell,
Jesus was not
big about giving out
homework. But in case
you’re a homeschool
student (or teacher!),
let me quickly point
out that I did find one
very clear instance
(possibly the only
one) of a homework
assignment that was
given by Jesus.
The homework assignment that I am referring to
is found in Matthew 9:10 - 13, which says:
And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, be-
hold, many tax collectors and sinners came and
were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when
the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and
sinners?” But when He heard it, He said, “Those
who are well have no need of a physician, but those
who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire
mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners (ESV).
In this passage the Pharisees are perplexed. They
can’t understand why Jesus would be eating and
fellowshipping with sinners. Although the Pharisees
were spiritual leaders in their day, they were blind to
the heart of God and were therefore worse than use-
less to the people that needed their help most.
They clearly needed a change of perspective. And
so Jesus follows up some corrective instruction
by giving them a homework assignment: Go and
learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and
The concept the Pharisees were struggling to
understand was not a new one. Jesus is quoting
from Hosea 6:6. Neither was it insignificant, for it
touches on the very heart of how God wants us to
Sadly, the Pharisees never did the homework. Only
a few chapters later in Matthew 12:1 - 7, Jesus
catches them twisting what it meant to keep the
Sabbath. After correcting them once again, Jesus
pointed out their failure to do their homework when
He said, “But if ye had known what this meaneth,
‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice,’ ye would not
have condemned the guiltless.” In so many words,
Jesus basically tells them that if they would have
done their homework they wouldn’t have gotten so
The homework assignment in Matthew 9:13
was given to the Pharisees rather than to Jesus’
disciples. That said, as parents who are called to
be the primary spiritual leaders and teachers of our
children, we too can lack a proper understanding
of the mercy of God, which in turn can make us
worse than useless to our own children. I believe
that taking the time to learn what God means when
He says, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” has
the potential to completely change the tone of the
A Homework Assignment from Jesus
BY STEVE CRAIG
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 0174
should reflect on constantly. But our need for mercy
doesn’t end there.
We are told that David was a man after God’s own
heart. I suggest that one of the reasons for this is
that he had a deep understanding of and depen-
dency on the mercy of God. This is clearly borne
out by his frequent mention of God’s mercy in the
Psalms. The word mercy appears 276 times in the
KJV. Over 100 of them are in the Psalms. But the
Psalms weren’t just nice poetry for David. When the
rubber met the road in 2 Samuel 24:14, David said,
relationships within your home this year … if you
do the homework!
This passage got me thinking about my own
understanding and practice of mercy, and I’d like to
share a few things that I hope will be a springboard
to your own study on this homework assignment
Christians are first and
foremost those who have
received the mercy of God
I think the first obvious step in learning how
to exhibit the kind of mercy that God desires
from us as a form of spiritual worship is to
get a grip on the mercy of God. The parable
of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21
- 35 highlights our tendency to disconnect
our treatment of others from the reality of the
matchless mercy that the Lord has extended
to us personally.
Webster says that mercy is, “That
benevolence, mildness, or tenderness of
heart which disposes a person to overlook
injuries, or to treat an offender better than he
deserves.” As Christians, we would do well
to continually dwell on the fact that none of
our stories would have ended well were it
not for those beautiful words in Ephesians
2:4: But God, who is rich in mercy (KJV).
Paul defines Christians as vessels of mercy
in Romans 9:23 (KJV), bringing home the point that
we should never lose from our identity the fact that
we are first and foremost those who have received
mercy from God. 1 Peter 2:10 states: Once you were
not a people, but now you are God's people; once you
had not received mercy, but now you have received
Christians are those who
continue to seek and rely on
the mercy of God
The bestowal of mercy is not just a one-time event
in the life of the Christian either. Our justification
through Christ’s atonement and adoption into God’s
family are certainly glorious milestones that we
something that you are actively seeking from Him,
then you are missing the boat.
Christians are those who
exhibit mercy to others
All of this leads us to the conclusion that since we
have received, and continue to rely upon, such great
mercy from our Father, then mercy ought to flow
from the Christian to others, especially those in our
A home of mercy — that is what I want! I desire
“the benevolence, mildness, or tenderness
of heart which disposes a person to overlook
injuries, or to treat an offender better than he
deserves” to be noticeably present. This is
what James 3:17 (KJV) is talking about when
the writer says, But the wisdom that is from
above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle,
and easy to be entreated, full of mercy
and good fruits, without partiality, and without
I hope my children grow to think of home as
defined by these things more than they think
of it as a place where the basic necessities of
life are provided for. It’s a beautiful picture,
and I know I have a long ways to go in lead-
ing our family to this reality by becoming a
more merciful husband and father. But as
I continue to learn what I desire mercy,
and not sacrifice means, it is an attainable
vision. Let me encourage you to make this
homework assignment from Christ your own and to
strive to make your home a place of mercy!
Steve Craig is the
for Christian Home
Colorado. He and
his wife Tara are
second generation homeschoolers and have a
passion to inspire others toward biblical
discipleship in the home. Steve and Tara live in
Parker with their five children: Carson, Christiana,
Angelina, Jewel, and brand new daughter Ariel.
TAKING THE TIME
TO LEARN WHAT GOD
MEANS WHEN HE SAYS,
I DESIRE MERCY AND
NOT SACRIFICE HAS
THE POTENTIAL TO
THE TONE OF THE
WITHIN YOUR HOME.
I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the
Lord, for His mercy is great; but let me not fall into
the hand of man (ESV). David was an example of a
man who pressed into the mercy of God his whole
life. And so should we.
Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to come boldly unto
the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and
find grace to help in time of need (KJV). In a similar
vein, Jude 1:21 tells us to Keep yourselves in the
love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus
Christ unto eternal life (KJV). When your need for
mercy is only something you only look back on, if
it is not part of your current dependence on God or
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 5
From our Family to Yours
INTERVIEW WITH THE FITZPATRICK FAMILY
PLEASE SHARE THE STORY OF YOUR
BACKGROUND, MARRIAGE, AND
A I (Hugh) grew up without Christ and without the
church. When I was in college, I attended a Bible study to get
closer to a girl I'd met. That girl became my wife, Heather.
In those initial meetings I only pretended to understand the
Bible, but I knew that something inside me was changing.
After a few months I was reading the Bible regularly. One
day I realized I believed what it said about Jesus and with
tears streaming down my face, I confessed my sins and put
my faith in Christ. I have never once regretted it.
After marriage, I wanted to finish both of my undergradu-
ate and graduate degrees before having kids. That was a
massive mistake! Six years later we had Colin and loved
every second of being parents. We knew we wanted more
children, but that was the time we began a gut-wrenching
roller coaster of emotional highs and devastating lows with
both infertility and miscarriage. We wrestled with all the
Why? questions. Lord, why us? Are we being punished for
some sin? Why won't You give us another child? We don't
We asked the Fitzpatrick family of Elizabeth, Colorado to share some wisdom
from their decade of home education. Hugh is married to his best friend,
Heather, and is a manager for LGI Homes. Prior to that, Hugh was a pastor and
teacher. Heather is proud to be Hugh’s wife and a homeschooling mother to
their overactive 5-year-old and sci-fi fanatic 17-year-old.
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 0176
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017
children; and second, we have a strong conviction
that parents have the primary responsibility for our
HOW HAS GOD GUIDED YOUR
YEARS OF HOME EDUCATION?
WHAT ADJUSTMENTS HAVE YOU
HAD TO MAKE TO FOLLOW HIS
A Heather was swayed by some nag-
ging fears. Fear that she didn't know enough.
Fear that she would ruin our son. Fear that she
wouldn't have enough patience. Fear that she would
choose the wrong curriculum. But after 11 years
of homeschooling, Heather realized that pleasing
the Lord trumps everything else. She doesn't care
what others think anymore because she came to the
realization that walking obediently with the Lord is
her chief responsibility.
Heather researched curriculum, but finding the right
curriculum also means figuring out what works best
for our children. And if that means ditching one
curriculum for another, then so be it. Not surprisingly,
our oldest child loved Heather all the more when she
was willing to try a different program for him. We
have made our share of mistakes to be sure, but we
try to learn from them and grow from them. The les-
son we learned is that our job is to be faithful to the
Lord, and ultimately, the results are in His hands.
After three years on the emotional roller coaster,
adoption was conceived amidst the grief. And in
2005, we officially began the adoption process. But
adoption is about waiting. Waiting for paperwork,
waiting for the fees to be processed, waiting for the
courts, waiting for a match. After seven years we
finally got The Call! A birth mother selected us
to be the parents to a baby she just delivered. Two
weeks later, we brought home our beautiful little girl,
Abigail. Now we can finally say, it is SO WORTH THE
WAIT! God's plan for our family was worth every tear
we cried, every training session, every fingerprinting,
WHAT LED YOU TO CONSIDER
HOMESCHOOLING AND WHAT
WERE YOUR PRIORITIES AS YOU
A I think some couples have always known
that they will homeschool their children. We were
not one of those couples. Rewind to around 10 years
ago. When Colin entered kindergarten at the local
public school, I started to have a growing convic-
tion that morally and biblically speaking, something
was seriously wrong with public education. What
I saw alarmed me. Even the best public schools in
the state had too many unwholesome influences to
ignore. They couldn’t measure up to the plumb line
of God’s Word.
The problem was that my wonderful wife thought
she was not cut out for homeschooling, so she was
adamantly opposed to it … until the day we met with
Colin’s kindergarten teacher. The way God wired my
wife, when it comes to our children she wants to be
there for all those first moments in life: first word,
first step, first tooth, etc. When Colin’s teacher began
to rattle off all the things Colin would be learning for
the first time, that’s when Heather had her change of
heart moment, and on the drive home Heather an-
nounced out-of-the-blue that she thought we should
That’s all I needed. We pulled Colin out of the public
school immediately, and we’ve never looked back.
In summary we started homeschooling for two
reasons: First, we felt homeschooling was the best
avenue for us to be able to pass our values onto our
EXPLAIN SOME DIFFERENCES
IN YOUR CHILDREN’S LEARNING
STYLES AND INTERESTS;
HOW DID YOU MEET THEIR
NEEDS AS INDIVIDUALS WHILE
MAINTAINING FAMILY UNITY?
A There is a 12-year-gap between our oldest
and youngest, and the gap is even wider when it
comes to how they learn. I think God likes to keep
us on our toes! Our oldest is an auditory learner; he
learns best from hearing. He likes to talk a lot because
hearing himself helps concepts to sink in. From the
very start he's always loved being read to aloud.
Our youngest, on the other hand, is more of a
kinesthetic learner. She learns by doing. She loves to
touch and feel the texture of things. We've discovered
that giving her something physical helps her to con-
nect with what's being taught. For example, when we
read aloud to her she enjoys tracing her finger along
on the page.
Knowing our children's different learning styles has
helped us get past the challenge of figuring out what
we needed to do to get the information to stick in
each child's mind. It has also been helpful to figure
out our own learning styles. It's natural that people
tend to favor their own learning style while teaching,
so knowing this will help us to remember to give
other learning styles some extra effort.
WE HAVE A STRONG
(CONTINUES ON PAGE 8)
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 7
IF YOU COULD START ALL OVER,
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD
DO DIFFERENTLY REGARDING
A First, we would teach our oldest how to
read differently. The problem wasn't the program,
the problem was us. Because we were so green we
thought that if we simply used the right curriculum
and followed it to a T, our child would become an
avid reader in a snap. But that's not what happened.
Instead we got tears, frustration, and failure. The les-
son we learned is don't start too early and don't push
if your child isn't ready. Trust God, not your schedule.
Second, we wouldn't give a hoot about what others
thought. Sometimes we got so worried about proving
to skeptical family members or a nosy church mem-
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Considering Adoption or Foster Care?
ber that homeschooling is really the best choice for
our son, we pushed academics too early and too hard.
Third, we'd be more patient. …
Fourth, we'd major in the majors of life instead of
majoring in the minors.
Fifth, I (Hugh) would have taken a more active role.
We believe that homeschooling is most effective
when fathers are seriously committed and involved.
Sixth, we'd look more at the meltdowns as an op-
portunity to grow our children's character.
And last, we'd stop and smell the roses more.
That expression, “the days go slowly but the years
go quickly” is so very true. It's hard to believe that
we're entering our 11th homeschooling year. If we'd
realized how fast the years would zoom by, we'd have
made an effort to savor the days a bit more.
(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7)
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 0178
2018 CHEC GRADUATION CEREMONY
SATURDAY, MAY 4TH IN ELIZABETH
or SATURDAY, MAY 5TH IN LITTLETON
CELEBRATE YOUR STUDENT’S
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION
WHO Open to all homeschool graduates
WHAT A celebration to thank God and honor the graduates (and parents!)
WHEN Friday, May 4th at 7pm (Elizabeth, CO) or Saturday, May 5th at 10am or
3pm (Littleton, CO)
WHAT’S INCLUDED Traditional graduation elements:
■ Pomp and Circumstance as graduates and parents enter
■ Special music sung during the ceremony
■ Commencement address and charge to the graduates
■ Parents’ presentation of the diplomas
WE TAKE CARE OF ALL THE COORDINATION!
Your registration includes participation in the ceremony, a cap and gown, a printed
diploma and cover, and ceremony programs. (Optional photo/video package also
Plan now to join the celebration!
Register at CHEC.org/events/graduation
Let me say up-front
that as a young adult
I made bad, immoral
choices. I wish I could
go back and unmake
But it was because of those bad choices that I
determined to train my children in such a way
that they would avoid making the same bad
The plan looked something like this in my
head: God would deliver to me a lumpy,
misshapen clump of clay (which is what they
looked like at birth), and I, the parent on a mis-
sion from God, would mold, form, admonish,
encourage, chastise, and CONTROL that little
lump. I would smooth and shape my child until
he or she was perfect upon leaving the shelter
of my home, thereby assuring that he or she
wouldn’t make any of those same bad choices.
It was a great plan.
Unfortunately, God left a few gray areas in
His Word on how to achieve all that, so I was
vulnerable to the first ‘schmo’ who came along
offering a failsafe plan for raising children
who would love God and would avoid making
When Kids Make
BAD CHOICESBY TODD WILSON
bad choices in the future. We bought the plans and
followed some of their advice, but somewhere along
the way we figured out by watching how it turned
out in other people's children that we had the wrong
plan … and, it certainly wasn’t God’s plan.
And then it dawned on me: my lumpy clay thinking
was wrong. In fact, maybe God has lessons — pain-
ful lessons — that my children NEED to go through
and learn so they can be what God wants them to be.
They may have to get fired from a job, or two, to learn
what God wants them to learn. They may have to
experience some terrible consequences to learn what
God would have them learn. I can’t keep that from
happening. I certainly don’t want it to happen and
pray that they won’t need to go down that path … but
I want God to do what is best for my children to bring
them to Himself.
So with that said, just assume your children WILL
make some bad choices along the way. Some will be
worse than others and will have uglier consequences,
but the truth is our children will make some bad
choices. At the same time, some of their choices
won't necessarily be bad, just different than you
The next part is the important part. How do we help
them AFTER they’ve made a bad choice and possibly
strayed from the narrow path? Here’s the answer: you
love your child, because your love is the way back.
I talked to some parents about a week ago who were
going through a hard time with one of their children.
They called me aside so no one could hear, and they
laid out the ugly details. They were baffled by her
choices and were doing everything they could to
get her “fixed” and back on the road to godly living.
Now, they were looking for advice that I could offer to
make the whole situation go away. I listened, and then
offered my only advice: “You’re just going to need to
love your daughter through this. I looked right at the
dad and added, “And your love is the way back.”
I know they were disappointed because they wanted
more. They kept going back to CONTROLLING her
more, COMING DOWN HARDER, sending her AWAY
to a school where she would be whipped into shape.
“There is no easy answer here,” I said. “Your child is
in deep and may go deeper. And there’s just not much
you can do to stop her, but maybe that’s where she
has to go to learn what God would have her learn.”
We talked more and I could tell that the father wasn’t
thinking loving thoughts. He was thinking how to
come down like a hammer — and his words were
harsh. Honestly, I don’t blame him. I’d want to come
down hard too. I’d want to fix the whole situation. I’d
want to keep it under wraps so no one would see what
my “lump of clay” had become. But it’s not the right
way. I’m telling you, LOVE IS THE WAY HOME. Give
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01710
known children who wanted to let others know of the
struggles they were facing only to have their parents
discourage them from doing so. NO, even though it
will probably be embarrassing to you (they may even
post it on Facebook!) you need others to be pray-
ing… and others can’t pray if they don’t know. And
You need to love your wayward, bad-choosing
son or daughter … no matter what. That
doesn’t mean you accept or allow their behav-
ior, but you never stop loving them!! Don’t put
up walls or demand conditions to be met to re-
ceive your love; instead give it freely. You hug
the unhuggable, you smile at those who are
hard to smile at, you love the unlovable! Does
this sound like Jesus in Scripture, or what?
I remember speaking at a men’s event down in
South Florida. The group was small but great. At
one point after a session, an older dad came up
to me and told me through tears that his son had
announced that he was gay. The father replied,
“No, you’re my son, and I will always love you.”
The dad went on to tell me that he continued to
love his son and eventually the son had left that
terrible lifestyle. The dad concluded the conver-
sation with, “My love was the way out.”
So in a nutshell, your child will make bad choices,
but you must keep loving — never stop loving. Oh,
and one more thing: don’t try to hide it or keep it
silent. You need to tell others so they can pray. I’ve
LOVE IS THE WAY
HOME. GIVE IT FREELY.
NO MATTER WHAT.
they won’t know unless you suck up your
pride and tell them. Yes, I was embarrassed;
but you know what? I’m OK with that now. So
don’t be shocked and don’t be silent.
And don’t ever stop loving. I’m telling
you, Dad and Mom, your love is the
way home for your children in the very
same way that God’s love was, and
still is, OUR way HOME. Amen!
Familyman, father of eight,
grandpa, author, and speaker,
Todd Wilson is passionate about
what matters and wants to bring
his blend of laughter, realness,
and practical Biblical encour-
agement to your dads, moms, and families. For
fifteen years Todd and his family have traveled
the country in their big familyman Mobile RV
speaking to tens of thousands of parents. Learn
more about Todd’s ministry at familymanweb.com.
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The majority of people believe artists are weird
people who hang out in their apartment all day paint-
ing and going insane! The truth is, an artist may be a
friend of yours and you don't even know it. I started
becoming an artist when I was 12 years old with just
simple drawings and watercolor paintings. I didn’t
really have much natural skill when I started, but my
art teacher taught me very well from the beginning.
In the years since the beginning of my art career, I
have made countless drawings and some of them I
have turned into colorful paintings. I have been state
champion in a multi-state competition. I have sold
one painting and am planning to sell more.
Over the first year or two I learned to draw animals
by focusing on their basic body shapes as they all
work together to make each animal. I was taught
that mountains were more than just triangles, that
they were rough and rigid even from a distance. I
started off just looking at something and trying to
The Art of
Painting is an art form
that can be whatever you want it to be. You
can paint trees that don't really look like trees
but resemble trees, as long as everything else
slightly resembles common things without it
being too detailed. You can look at a picture of
something and try to paint it, or you can get an
idea in your head and paint that. There are no
real rules to painting; it’s basically only what
you want to paint, with a few skills which can be
learned over time with practice.
I was taught how to see what God created and
incorporate it into a painting for others to see
and be inspired to take a second to appreciate
what God has made for us. If you are young,
old, or just have some time to kill, I recommend
you begin art and at the very least it will give
you something to do in your free time for your
Isaac Russell has been home
schooled from the beginning,
and now, at 18, has almost
completed this part of his
education journey. In addition
to fine art, he also played tuba
in band, ran stage lights for various theater
productions in Salida, ran cross-country and
track, and swam for the Salida Cyclones
summer swim club.
paint what I saw. As the years went on I began to
see the beauty of God’s creation and everything that
I am surrounded by every day. Now, I look outside,
see a mountain, think to myself that I could take that
mountain, put a field in front of it, add some trees,
maybe a river or trail and then soon enough I've got a
new painting started!
At the start of each school year, I had to try to find a
day each week when I would have time for art class.
At one point I didn't know if I would even want to find
the time. I wasn't sure if I would continue to enjoy art.
But year after year, I started to enjoy the calm which
painting brought to me. Even if I didn't know what to
paint when I first sat down, I learned to be patient,
waiting to think of something. I didn't need to make
anything super detailed for my work to be considered
good. All I had to do was make it my own; if someone
else liked it that was a bonus.
BY ISAAC RUSSELL
The Western Governor’s Association (WGA) has selected a painting by Salida artist and homeschool
student Isaac Russell (age 18) as the winning entry for Colorado in their Celebrate the West regional art
competition. The painting was selected from entries of high school students from around the State of
Colorado and represented Colorado at the Western Governor’s Association Annual Meeting in Whitefish,
Montana, June 26 - 28, 2017. Isaac is an art student of Lynn Angelo of Salida.
Christine Ogsbury, of the WGA, says Isaac’s painting was selected because, “(The) beautiful painting re-
ally stood out and captured the beauty and richness of Colorado, and living in the western U.S.”
Isaac Russell wanted to share with our readers regarding his art education and experiences.
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 13
If there’s anything
we need today
in America, it’s
more fathers. Not
just dads who have
children, but fathers
willing to invest in
and lay their lives
physically so that
others might live
And I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but until recently,
I’ve not drawn the connection between fatherhood and
Thanksgiving. Thankfully, we never quit learning!
During the Thanksgiving season I enjoy reading to my
kids the story of the Pilgrims. They (the Pilgrims) didn’t
just sit back and enjoy the comforts of England and
Holland. Rather, fathers chose to suffer that we might
live free. Why? Because that’s what fathers do.
In the words of the Pilgrims’ first governor, William
Bradford, “… they cherished the work of laying good
foundations … and were stepping stones unto others
for performing so great a work.”
Wow, stepping-stones. That’s good stuff.
One of the greatest fathers to our nation was Pastor
John Robinson. He was the Pilgrims’ pastor back in
Holland, and it was he who taught the Pilgrims the
basis for freedom in the New World. It was his teaching
that fueled their journey here and established the basis
for liberty and justice for all. Just one man, acting like
a true father.
Governor Bradford said of Pastor Robinson, “For be-
sides his singular abilities in divine teachings (wherein
he excelled) he was also very able to give directions in
civil affairs and to foresee dangers and inconveniences,
by which means he was very helpful to their outward
estates and so was every way as a common father unto
Read that again slowly and think it all the way through.
Here was a pastor who not only understood the Bible
from a theological perspective, but he understood how
to apply it to all of life from a practical perspective,
including civil matters. And he also acted as a watch-
man to the Pilgrims by warning them of dangers and
inconveniences to their freedom.
When you’re willing to lay your life down for others and
seek to help them in every way, including warning them
of dangers they may not see (and are very unpopular
to speak about), you become a father to them. John
Robinson was a father to the Pilgrims and so was a
father to us all.
BY DAVID AND JASON BENHAM
For though you have countless guides in Christ,
you do not have many fathers. For I became your
father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
(1 Corinthians 4:15 ESV)
Dads, here are some great ideas from the Benham Brothers for
you to put into practice this coming holiday season!
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01714
DAD TO DADDAD TO DAD
Where did he get this incredible picture of fatherhood?
In the very book that this nation was founded upon –
In such a fatherly way the Apostle Paul said to the early
church in Thessalonica, You are witnesses, and so is
God, how devoutly and uprightly we behaved toward you
believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and
encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father
would his own children (1 Thessalonians 2:11 NASB).
Paul also acted as a watchman to the church when he
referenced the prophet Ezekiel (who was called to warn
the people of dangers coming because of their sin) to
the elders of Ephesus, Therefore, I testify to you this day
that I am innocent of the blood of all men, for I did not
shrink back from declaring to you the whole purpose of
God (Acts 20:26 - 27 ESV).
It was Paul’s example in Scripture that provided the
foundation upon which John Robinson and the Pilgrims
stepped up to be fathers at a time in history when the
whole world was about to change – for the better!
So, for Thanksgiving this year I have one message:
when dads become fathers, our land will be restored.
We must never forget that the land is cursed when fa-
thers are absent: He will restore the hearts of the fathers
to their children and the hearts of the children to their
fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a
curse (Malachi 4:6 NASB).
It is a lack of fathers that is hurting this nation today,
and it will be a “father’s heart” revival that will get us
back on track.
This Thanksgiving let’s recommit to being fathers in our
nation, like John Robinson and our Pilgrim forefathers.
The time is now.
David and Jason Benham are
both homeschool dads and
were popular speakers at the
CHEC Rocky Mountain
Homeschool Conference this
past June. First published
November 24, 2015 at
benhambrothers.com, this blog post is reprinted
with their permission.
WHEN: Saturday, January 27,
WHO: Homeschooled students
in 8th grade or below
(exception: Boulder County residents must
participate in their county spelling bee)
HOW: Register for $25/student
Winners advance to the statewide
Denver Post spelling bee!
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 15
DAD TO DAD
Just a few days after
the 2017 Rocky
Conference, a group
moms and daughters
gathered for a Bible
study. As I interacted
with these ladies I
noticed no one could
stop talking about the
They kept telling me, It was the best one we've
been to in years! Having experienced it myself,
I would have to agree.
The passion of the speakers was truly the high-
light of this year's conference. Dr. Joel Beeke
encouraged parents to hold fast to Christ, and
in so doing, make bringing the gospel to their
children a priority. In Friday's General Session
Michael Farris left listeners awed at God's
protection of His people despite the anti-Christian
agenda in our nation; he motivated
attendees to stand up for truth. And,
on Saturday the Benham broth-
ers received a standing ovation as
they told the story of losing their
HGTV (Home Garden TV) show,
by taking a stand for their Christian
principles. Finally, Todd Wilson,
in his humorous and engaging style,
equipped families further for the
task of homeschooling as the conference ended on
As I spoke with families over the course of the con-
ference, I heard over and over how Norm Wakefield,
Andrew Pudewa, Renee Ellison, and many more left
an impact on families. One mom told me, “It was
really hard to choose what workshops to go to. They
were all so good!”
Here's a further highlight sampling of what the
“Model for your children a continual coming to Christ
in your own life. When hard times come let your
children see you go to Jesus, and when hard times
come in their own lives they will go to Him as well.” –
Dr. Joel Beeke
We have hope because
no matter how hard the
days are, we serve the
One True and Living
God. – Michael Farris
If your theology does
not become your biography, your theology is worth-
less. – David Benham
Dozens of young people were also blessed by
the youth features at this year’s conference. On
Thursday, Jenna Ellis, Esquire, taught a multi-faceted
RECAP BY JULIANNA DOTTEN
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01716
course on the Constitution. On Friday, Mike Mc-
Fadden helped youth navigate through the world
of resume-building. That night a group of young
people, who had been
over the weekend
under the tutelage of
the Academy of Arts,
performed a drama on
the life of the
all over the
to investigate cur-
tivities, and more.
Participants of the
ship, Mentorship, and Entrepreneurship) Youth
Vendor program also displayed an impressive
array of goods for homeschooled youth and their
JUNE 14-16, 2018
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Keynote Speakers: VODDIE BAUCHAM IPHIL TUTTLE
KEVIN SWANSON IROB RIENOW
The CHEC conference left me encouraged to
stand more boldly for my faith, live out the gospel
in relationships, and keep on with our high calling
of discipling the nations. And I wasn't the only
one; families across the state and nation left the
conference strengthened for the task of home dis-
cipleship. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
“Thank you!! I received so much great information
and so much encouragement! The love of Christ
was over the entire conference and it was unlike
anything I've ever experienced at any conference.
Can't wait for next year!” – Pine, Colorado
“It was a wonderful conference. The speakers were
fantastic. We left feeling very encouraged; every
workshop we went to and every speaker we heard
were worthwhile! We hated to see the conference
end.” – Colorado Springs, Colorado
May God be praised!
Julianna Dotten feels very
blessed to have been
homeschooled and discipled by
godly parents. She currently
works as the CHEC marketing
assistant and enjoys serving her family and
church. Most of all, her desire is to seek the
Lord wherever He has put her.
Want to join in behind the scenes with
CHEC? We have a tremendous team of vol-
unteers who keep things going—and with
lots of openings now, we'd love for you to
become a part!
Did you know that every Box Top that you submit to
CHEC is worth $0.10 and goes to support the year-
round ministry of CHEC? Simply collect then drop
off at any CHEC event or at the CHEC office.
Action: Collect, then deliver to CHEC.
Do you enjoy typing, organizing, and office work?
We're in need of several volunteers who can serve
at the CHEC Office in Parker on Mondays and/or
Thursdays helping with data entry and preparing for
events. Our office team is a lot of fun to work with
and there's usually some chocolate around to snack
on while you help the team!
Are you looking for a family volunteer project?
We're looking to build our volunteer teams (greet-
ing, event setup, photography, and more) for
Homeschool Day at the Capitol and the Rocky
Mountain Homeschool Conference. It's a fantastic
way to build friendships with others in the Colorado
homeschool community, plus support the year-
round ministry of CHEC!
Are you passionate about home education and have
a desire to help it grow and stay free for generations
to come? CHEC works throughout the year to pro-
tect homeschool liberty and to serve homeschool
families, and as a 501c3 non-profit organization,
we depend on donations from families like you to
continue the ministry.
Action: Make a one-time or monthly recur-
ring donation at CHEC.org/donate.
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 17
Fall is my favorite
time of year. It
is a time of new
projects, and new
hopes and dreams
that “this” year
will be different.
For 43 years, my
fall seasons began
with the start of a
new school year —
either as a student
myself or as a
We selected a room in our unfinished basement for
our classroom. Since six separate desks would have
monopolized the room, my husband installed a pre-cut
laminated countertop along two walls. This desktop was
supported by four legal-size, two-drawer filing cabinets.
The laminated surface was also ideal for art and science
projects (and great for laying out my sewing projects
during after-school hours).
Each child was assigned one filing drawer for his school
materials, and I used the remaining drawers for my
teaching files. Textbooks were placed at the front of each
drawer along with a lunch box (great for portability) filled
with markers, scissors, and small supplies. A jar held
the child’s pencils within easy reach. Hanging file folders
in the drawers held school papers (divided by subject
areas), coloring books, artwork, and flat memorabilia. An
added benefit: my students learned how to use a simple
Each son had a bulletin board hung on the wall by his
“desk” to display his work and to post reminders, mem-
ory verses, etc. When we did group activities, the boys
could easily turn their chairs toward me. Until the boys
Getting the Year Off
Using Wise Business Practices to Improve Your Homeschool
BY MARCIA WASHBURN
As each September rolled around I just “knew” that
this would be the year we would get it all together.
I would find the secret to homeschooling a houseful
of children while living in a magazine perfect home.
Yeah, right! I eventually admitted my name is not
Over the 19 years that we homeschooled our five
sons, we developed some strategies that worked
well for us. We discovered that homeschooling is
much like operating a small business. Essential
to the success of both are establishing a suitable
workplace, prioritizing a schedule, and assigning
Through the years we’ve had school in a variety of
locations: in a spare bedroom, around the dining
room table, in a camper trailer, and from the living
room couch during a difficult pregnancy. Each loca-
tion worked, but as our family grew to include five
sons and we acquired more learning materials, we
felt the need to establish a permanent schoolroom.
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01718
MANAGEMENT FOR MOMS
While reflecting on the past 22 years
of our homeschooling and the associ-
ated changes within our household, we
have come to appreciate the seasons of home
education that come and go. These memories
are a reminder of how God is ever present and
has a journey for each of us — a journey which
is often unseen until revealed on the timeline
that He has for us.
This past June we were reminded of God’s
faithfulness during the CHEC Conference. One
particular speaker we learned from was Norm
Wakefield — specifically his discussion regard-
ing how God is with His people. For example,
God guided and guarded Noah until the day
BY MARK AND AMBER BAUGHMAN
arrived when God made a firm decision to wipe out
mankind through a flood. While Noah built the ark,
God was with him, and his family of eight survived the
Likewise, God was with Abraham. God remained
faithful and built His chosen generations through him.
Jesus Christ, our Messiah and Savior, came from
Abraham’s line. Hebrews 11 details other heroes of
our faith and how their light continues to shine for the
glory of God.
As some of you are facing fears and new challenges
for this next school year, we will be praying that
God would stir your heart to look at how God used
ordinary people to become mighty men and women to
move mountains, shake up the norm, and cast vision
for an unknown future.
Uncertainties and fears are a burden that we don’t
have to carry. Remember, God is with us, sustaining
you and me, being faithful to His own. Thankfully, He
gave us the Holy Spirit so He could be with us always,
faithful through eternity.
One of the ways CHEC works to help ease the burdens
of homeschool families is through our Homeschool
Group Network. Check out CHEC.org/groups to
find a group near you that can provide your family
with the encouragement and foundational help neces-
sary for a successful home education journey.
CHEC also assists Homeschool Group Lead-
ers. We would like to invite group leaders from
across the state to our 2nd annual Leadership
Retreat (see info at right) coming this November.
We will once again be enjoying the splendor and
beauty of Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado Springs! We
hope to be an encouragement to you, come alongside
you, and lift you up in every way we know how. While
we are at it, we want to pamper you a little, too! We
are gearing up to present topics for which you have
asked, speakers that will be be a positive influence,
and provide an opportunity to dialogue that will leave
you yearning for more!
All leaders of groups in the CHEC Homeschool Group
Network are invited to the retreat. Learn more at
CHEC.org/groups or CHEC.org/leadership-retreat.
Mark and Amber
Baughman are the
Directors for CHEC.
They live in Castle Rock
where they are still
home educating their youngest children, having
graduated several older sons and a daughter. They
have also been promoted to grandparents!
Looking for a community
to plug into? CHEC's
Homeschool Group Network
brings together Colorado
homeschool groups to help
families connect with their
local communities and give
leaders encouragement and
support. Find a group or
learn how to connect your
group to the network at
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01720
Learn more at CHEC.org/leadership-retreat
WHEN: Friday, November 10 -
Saturday, November 11
WHERE: Glen Eyrie Retreat Center
Homeschool group leaders are invited to join us
for fellowship activities, networking, round-table
discussions, biblical messages and encouragement,
and time to relax around the beautiful grounds of the
Glen Eyrie Retreat Center.
Register now at CHEC.org/events
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14TH
All single moms who homeschool
are invited to this special evening
including a delicious meal, an
encouraging message, and provided
childcare — all on us.
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 21
Are You Ready for Your Kids to Leave the Faith?
Or Are You Looking for Something Better?
any families do not realize that the curriculum they have chosen for their children
actually conveys the wrong worldview of history, science, life’s purpose, and truth.
It should not be surprising then to discover that 80-95% of teens growing up in
Christian homes are abandoning a biblical worldview.
We don’t think the Christian worldview should be conveyed in a single isolated course.
It must be integrated into every course, every school year, and every day of our children’s
education experience. It must hang like a “frontlet between their eyes” as they study history,
science, literature, and math. (Deut. 6:8-9)
Order Today at Generations.org/curriculum
$100+ Valid through Dec 31. Limit 1 per
Read more about
the four pillars at
8th Grade 9th Grade 10th Grade 11th Grade 12th Grade
Our Core Curriculum sets for 8th-12th grades focus
on five areas of study essential for passing on the faith.
Get a year’s worth of curriculum for five subjects for only $129-$139 (35-40% off)!
History Literature Worldview
Save Big with Our Core Curriculum Packs
Use Code UPDATEFALL17
That’s why we’re pleased
to present the Christian
based on four pillars of
BY CAROLYN MARTIN
Requires Our Sacrifice
We have been given a great trust. This truth
became more real to me as I taught my children the
history of the world while I watched the world around
me elevate immorality and descend into despair.
It is no accident that we were born in this time and
this place. This time, where the gospel is being sent
out to the far reaches of every tribe and nation. This
place, America, where freedom and liberty for all men
was birthed. God has trusted us with the greatest of
responsibilities: to ignite in the hearts of men the true
freedom that is found in the gospel AND to preserve
a way of ordering society that allows men to live out
that freedom fully.
Our first responsibility is to pray for our lead-
ers. In 1 Timothy 2, we are exhorted to pray for kings
and all those in authority. While the first church lived
under Roman rule, we live in a republic where the
people are the authority. We elect people who repre-
sent us. They are not the kings who rule over us; they
are subservient to us. If we are to pray effectively for
them, we must get to know them. A few years ago the
Lord challenged me to go, see, listen, and pray. He
sent me to the Capitol in Denver where my eyes and
ears were opened, and my heart was overwhelmed
with the despair I found there. My prayers have not
been the same since. You can begin by going to your
representative, seeing them for who they are, listening
to their needs, and praying in specific ways that will
lead to transformation.
Second, we need to vote. Living in a republic
means that we are responsible for our government.
We have not been subjected to anything we did not
permit. President Garfield said it well; “Now more
than ever before, the people are responsible for the
character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant,
reckless, and corrupt, it is because people tolerate
ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be
intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people
demand these high qualities to represent them.” Po-
litical rhetoric should not be enough to get our vote.
Demand more of those for whom you vote.
Third, we need to educate ourselves on the
issues. As we pour into our children a solid founda-
tion of Biblical principles, let us use that framework to
explore the answers that Jesus brings to the problems
which face us today. We know the truth, but do we
know how to bring the truth to bear on a desperate,
dying culture which cannot even see the depth of their
own despair? As Christians who value every life, from
conception to natural death, our clarity on issues
like abortion, suicide, and euthanasia is often seen
as harsh and unloving. Digging deeper into the heart
issues that lead to life-ending decisions will better
equip us to give an answer for the hope we have.
Fourth, we need to get involved. When you take
seriously your role as a steward of your government
by praying effectively for your representative, becom-
ing an informed voter, and educating yourself on the
issues, you can’t help but get involved. Seek God’s
direction; I am confident He will show you.
These four responsibilities require our time and
resources, yet the sacrifice is worth it. More could
be said, but I’ve run out of space for this article. If
you need assistance, it would be my pleasure to walk
alongside you and see what God has in store! Please
feel free to email me anytime at carolyn@CHEC.org.
“Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Chris-
tians over the Past 13 Years.” https://www.barna.com/research/
tians-over-the-past-13-years/ (accessed March 5, 2017)
Carolyn Martin and her husband,
Todd, began homeschooling their
three children in upstate New York
before moving to Colorado in 2004.
Her passion is to see
homeschooling remain free from government
intrusion for future generations. For legislative
questions, email carolyn@CHEC.org.
Donate to the Colorado Homeschool
Freedom fund and help CHEC stand
strong with homeschool advocacy, public
policy, and the defense of homeschool
freedom in Colorado. Make your
contribution at CHEC.org/donate.
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 23
Nearly 300 dads and their boys traveled
to the Rocky Mountains over Labor
Day weekend for four days of adventures,
relaxation, biblical encouragement, and lots
of quality time.
Speakers included Bill Potter, Scott Brown, Kevin Swanson, and speakers from Frontline
Missions International. Here are a few comments from men who attended this year:
My favorite part was just playing with my kids. I have such little time to really enjoy
getting to know them and be with them.
My sons and I grew closer together and closer to God.
I appreciated Frontline Mission's program. They challenged
me to be a bolder Christian.
I believe that my son and I bonded. He understood that I
took time to just be with him. I believe that this was very
important to make sure he understands how special he is
I enjoyed the speakers because they were relaxed, realistic, encouraging and fun.
I loved the sit-down, family style meals and getting to know some other father/sons from
across the country.
Next year's event is August 30 - September 2, 2018. Learn more at ColoradoFatherSon.com.
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01724
God used my role as an active leader in the homeschool movement to prepare me for my
15 years of service in the Colorado state legislature. I ﬁght hard for families, defending the fundamental
right parents have to raise their children. I also do all I can to keep state government limited to its
proper role with lower taxes, fewer regulations and more liberty for all.
I am blessed to have a wonderful family where I am a husband, father
and grandfather. My family is at the heart of why I have worked and
served in the public arena. I want to see the very best opportunities and
continued freedom for my children, your children, and their children.
Experience in the legislature has given me both a
broad and a detailed understanding of the intricate
inner workings of our state’s ﬁnances.
As state treasurer I can speak out for the interests of us all with much greater impact, but this will
only happen if you make the decision to help.
We can have a Godly inﬂuence on our state, while giving our children a unique, practical
lesson in their responsibility to be change agents in our constitutional republic.
Paid for by the Committee to Elect Kevin Lundberg
As a 501(c)3 organization CHEC does not endorse political candidates
I am now prepared to take on a larger role of service
and have prayerfully chosen to seek the role of
Imagine us creating a strong team of freedom-loving Christian families who become a
dominant political force, not just for my current race, but for every level of political ofﬁce in Colorado.
Please join our team today! Go to the website at www.KevinLundberg.com, send me an email,
make a donation, display a bumper sticker, sign up to be a county team captain, help organize a
meeting in your area, and plan on being a delegate to the Colorado Republican Assembly next
Contact me today,
For Life and Liberty!
Colorado State Treasurer.
DIFFERENCEBY AMBER SCHAMEL
It Makes A
People considering homeschooling their
children often ask me about my experience as
a homeschool graduate. They wonder if I ever
felt handicapped by my education, or if social
interaction was difficult for me. If they will be
investing all that time into their child, will it really
make a difference?
It did for me.
I’ve never attended a public or private school.
My parents provided me with my initial educa-
tion and even continuing education after home
high school graduation, and I have to say I
never felt handicapped. Au contraire.
I hope that through my testimony in this article,
you will see that the freedom and customiza-
tion of homeschooling and mentorship is an
invaluable asset. I also hope it will help you
understand why “Homeschool Alumni” is a
badge I wear with pride. And if the day and
opportunity should come, I will excitedly
homeschool my own children.
Besides the strong foundation of faith and convic-
tion that my parents instilled in me, I think the most
valuable thing the homeschooling experience gave
me was a unique mindset toward learning. I learned
how to learn. And usually I didn’t have to go to a
class or college to learn. With the research and
communication tools out there today, it is possible
for a person to educate himself in almost every sub-
ject. Because of this I learned many skills through
apprenticeship and informal education. While I do
not hold a certification in particular subjects, I have
learned from CPAs, business owners, CEOs, and tax
attorneys. My parents taught me that determination
and a willingness to learn will get you far. They were
right. This mindset has propelled me further ahead
than any textbook ever could, and it is something I
likely would not have learned in a traditional school
Homeschool also allowed my parents and me to
customize my schooling to fit my interests and call-
ings. Instead of advanced math classes, my parents
chose to provide me with business and practical
math. This allowed me to take over as the bookkeep-
er for our family businesses after my graduation
from home high school.
The freedom of learning outside of a classroom
permitted me to hone-in on certain subjects so I not
only learned them extensively but also experienced
them. Instead of going through a single history
class, I read countless books, attended living his-
tory days, visited historical museums, and walked
many battlefields. It created in me an almost obses-
sive love of history — which led me to one of my
favorite pursuits, historical fiction writing.
I’ve always had a vivid imagination; my brother
claims I was a living musical as a kid! I didn’t con-
sider writing books until I was in home high school,
and it wasn’t something I necessarily aspired to do. I
feel it was more of a calling on my life.
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01726
From a very early age I loved books. I would go to
the library and check out a stack of books — some
fiction, some nonfiction — and I would read them
all! As I grew older, entering home junior and senior
high school, I became more and more frustrated
with the kinds of books available to me. I greatly
enjoy fiction along with many other genres, but it
was getting to where every fiction book I got my
hands on had immorality, rebellion, feminism, or
anti-biblical worldviews. I would look at the book
and think, “This is for adolescent girls?” It grieved
me, but I didn’t know what to do.
My epiphany came a few months later when I was
reading an old book that I had picked up in an
antique shop in Arkansas. In the midst of the story,
in a place that felt perfectly natural, I read this:
How long will heartless, soulless wives, moth-
ers, sisters, and daughters waltz moth-like
round the consuming flame of fashion, whom by
neglecting their duty, and deserting their sphere
drive their husbands, sons, and brothers out into
the world, reckless and depraved, calloused in
heart, and irrevocably laid on the altar of mam-
mon. God help the women of America! (Beulah
by Augusta Evans, 1859 Public Domain)
This is what young ladies were reading in their nov-
els in the mid-1800s! Something that encouraged
them to go back to the Biblical model of femininity
and sincerity. It was then that a vision was cast in
my life to create stories that would be excellently
written with riveting tales, yet upholding the biblical
principles I hold so dear, and promoting the morality
which Christ desires. It was a scary aspiration, but
I said, “Lord, for your servant David you ‘taught his
hands to war’ and you honored his efforts. You know
why I’m doing this; so I’m asking, ‘Please, Lord.
Teach my hands to write.’”
It’s been a long process and I learn more every day.
Six books later, the Lord has proved Himself faithful.
I have been so humbled by the opportunities He
has provided me — from interacting with authors
I admire, to joining those names in the top 5 of the
Amazon Christmas Bestsellers list, to having Dawn
of Liberty named Book of the Year by the Christian
Small Publishers Association (CSPA). I look back
and know that without the Lord’s guidance and the
foundation set forth by my parents in homeschool, I
would not be where I am today. I pray someday I can
recompense them for their investment in me.
Amber Schamel writes riveting
stories that bring HIStory to life.
She has a passion for travel, history
books, and her Savior. This
combination results in what her
readers call historical fiction at its
finest! Her title, Dawn of Liberty, was awarded the
2017 CSPA Book-of-the-Year award in Historical
Fiction. She lives in Colorado and spends half her
time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her website
www.AmberSchamel.com or email her at
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 27
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Putting the Home in Homeschooling
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a home. School room or no school room? Big bedrooms? What
about the ability to look out over the yard and watch your children
Call us today for some sage advice on the kind of house to look for, a
balanced biblical approach to financing a home, and ways to protect
your investment properly. We are committed to helping homeschool
families just like you and we look forward to working with you.
BEST OF CHEC.ORG/BLOG
Only One Director
BY VICKI LEWIS
“God is both our
Director and our Au-
author Jean Fleming
in her book, Between
Walden and the
Whirlwind: Living the
So where, I wonder, is the balance between
retreating from the world and being caught up
in a whirlwind of activities? How much stress is
okay and how much stress is too much?
Handling a certain amount of load in our lives
is a good thing. The problem arises, however,
when there is an overload situation. A coffee cup
was designed to hold a certain amount of coffee;
more than that and the cup will overflow. Four tea
cups stack nicely, but the addition of a fifth cup
causes the entire stack to fall over. Each of us
BEST OF CHEC.ORG/BLOG
Visit CHEC.org/blog for
with articles like:
Homeschool High School
How to Make the Most of
Your Homeschool Time
What a Dad Can Do
Have You Been with
can carry a specific amount of weight, but we cannot
safely carry five pounds more than that.
As homeschooling moms we are (now here’s a news
flash for you!) finite. God has lovingly designed us
with limits: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
What are your limits in these four areas? Physical
limits are relatively easy to discern and measure, but
what about your emotional limits? I can carry one
person perhaps physically, but how many people can
I carry emotionally? How many hundreds of questions
can I answer in a day and how many decisions can I
make before my life starts to topple over?
Take a good look at this page. Do the words all run
from edge to edge of the paper? Is the writing solid
from the top of the page to the bottom? Could you
read it like that? Every page of type has something
called margin: white space with nothing in it that
causes the important words to be easily read.
What does a page from your life look like? Is it margin-
less? Or is there breathing space around your days?
We are not infinite; each day has no more than 24
hours in it; our energy supply is not inexhaustible;
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01730
we cannot keep running on empty. Our limits are real
and are not the enemy. Overloading is the enemy. Our
limits are also uniquely individual. We cannot and
should not exceed these personal limits due to the
expectations of other people.
Consider Jesus. He did not meet every need before
Him; He did not heal every sick person or minister to
all those in Israel. He did not have an alarm clock, an
answering machine, a cell phone, or email. He quite
simply did only those things which God the Father told
Him to do. He only did those things which pleased His
We have only one Director whose job it is to tell us
how to live our lives. And we only perform for an Audi-
ence of One: the Person we want to please the most
with the way we live our lives.
What if, as an experiment, I scheduled only 80 percent
of any given day (rather than 100 percent or 120
percent)? Then there would be plenty of margin in
my life to be available should God assign me certain
tasks. There is time to cuddle with a little one, call a
friend to encourage her, sip a cup of tea, fix a nice din-
ner for my family, rest in a lawn chair and take a deep
breath, read something inspirational, spend some
time in prayer, or just sit quietly with our pug resting
on my lap.
Try leaving a margin in your day and in your week and
in your school schedule. And remember how tenderly
your Director is watching over you!
Because He first loved us.
This was originally published on Vicki Lewis’ blog, Fresh Enthu-
siasm: Growing in Grace and in the Knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Then republished with permission on chec.org. Find her other
edifying posts at freshenthusiasm.com.
Vickie Lewis has a Master’s degree
in Education. She and her
husband, both former public
school teachers, chose to
homeschool their four children
(now adults) to provide them with a
■ An easy alternative to submitting a Notice of Intent
■ Simple online enrollment
■ One low price includes your whole family
■ Report to CHEC rather than a school district
■ Extra assessment options
JOIN THE CHEC
LEARN MORE AT
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 31
BEST OF BLOG
“My child is 10
years old and not
really reading! He
can barely write his
name let alone a
whole sentence. It’s
scaring me because
he’s so far behind!”
This is not uncommon for me to hear. During
seminars and conference talks I often mention
my son — “the most dyslexic person I have
ever met” — who didn’t read a book until
he was twelve! I talk about it because I want
people to ask me about it so I can share with
them that having a child who’s not reading
isn’t the end of the world. I want them to regain
hope and have confidence that home education
is still the best option.
For most of my adult life I’ve been teaching
either music or writing. However, I do have
While these are not exclusive, and children can
experience more than one of these, finding and
focusing on the dominant one can bring break-
throughs. No children are neurologically perfect
— everyone has some degree of dysfunction; it’s
just a question of what, and how serious. This fact
helps us realize that we shouldn’t compare children
based on age or grade (as the modern education
paradigm pushes us to do). Let’s look at these four
possible areas of what is often labeled “dyslexia”
and how to approach each.
The most common problem can be a lack
of information. Many children, especially when
in classrooms, can simply miss basic phonics
instruction — the bits of information that allow
independent decoding. Sometimes this is due to an
inferior instructional model; other times, it can be
the result of a distracting environment, or a physi-
ological condition that makes attentiveness difficult.
If this is the case, intensive phonics instruction,
usually one-on-one, can be tremendously beneficial
for the student. If children lack sufficient phonics in-
formation, decoding will be a struggle, however, this
can be remedied. While most phonics programs are
training in the field of child brain development and
have been blessed with a modicum of knowledge
and experience that allows me to bring some per-
spective to this problem.
NOTE: Non-reading, often called “dyslexia,”
is a symptom, not a cause. The dictionary
defines the word as “a general term for disorders
that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret
words but that do not affect general intelligence.”
The more I’m at this business of teaching and par-
enting, the more I’m quite sure that reading is much
more a brain function than an academic subject.
You can bang your head against the wall trying to
teach a child to read using the best phonics system
in the world and still fail to do so. And you can have
another child (in the same family!) to whom you
don’t have to teach much at all but who learns to
read as if by osmosis. So, it’s important for us not to
beat ourselves up because of having a non-reader;
the causes may be outside our control.
In my experience, there are four general
areas of function that can impede smooth
development of reading and writing ability.
DYSLEXIABY ANDREW PUDEWA
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01732
rigorous enough to be used until high school. And,
it would probably benefit students to go through the
books more than once.
Colleges like to see at least two years of foreign
language on a high schooler’s transcript. In the past,
computer-based Rosetta Stone
has been the standard high school
foreign language program for
homeschools. Students can choose
from 23 different languages to study.
The program is designed to be completed indepen-
dently so students can work without parents needing
to teach. Using pictures and multiple interactive
activities, students are immersed in the language.
Not a word of English is spoken. Students get to
soak up the rhythm and structure of the language by
working with it instead of formally studying it. The
language is absorbed like the student’s first language
was absorbed when he or she was a baby.
The downside to Rosetta Stone, however, is it is
possible to work through the program without actually
learning anything. There are ways to get the correct
answers and move through the lessons without ever
mastering the material. As I was working with Rosetta
languages use different frequencies. The young ear
hears a wider range of frequencies enabling children
to reproduce the sounds of a foreign language easier
than students with older ears.
Classical Academic Press (classicalacademic-
press.com) offers some wonderful foreign language
curriculum for both early and later elementary
students. Song School Latin Books I and II and Song
School Spanish are gentle introductions to foreign
language. Using songs, fun activities, and optional
DVDs, 1st to 3rd-grade students can learn over 100
vocabulary words each year, thereby laying a founda-
tion for their upper elementary programs.
Spanish for Children, French for Children, or Latin
for Children (from CAP) can be started as early
as 3rd grade. There are DVDs,
textbooks, and workbooks
to accompany each of these
programs. The goal is to teach
the students how the language
is structured so they can begin
forming their own sentences. Classical
Academic Press sets the bar very high with these
programs, and young students will need to work
through the books slowly. These programs are
Learning a foreign
language is an im-
portant aspect of
education. It’s great
for brain develop-
ment, it empowers
world travelers, and
it can equip students
for effective mission-
But unless a parent is bilingual, learning a
foreign language can be challenging within
the homeschool. Here are a few programs that
are worth exploring.
Foreign language is best started in elementary
school if possible. The ear loses its ability
to hear certain sound frequencies if they are
not heard on a regular basis, and different
Language OptionsBY CINDY PUHEK
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01734
of Christ. Most of the programs I’ve discussed use
Scripture memory as part of learning a foreign lan-
guage, so our students will be armed with Bible verses
as they go to these community conversation groups.
Learning a foreign language should be part of every
homeschool. Even if mom and dad never became
fluent in a second language, this does not mean our
children cannot. Relying on good curriculum and on-
line resources available to teach all the nuances and
idioms of a foreign language to children and teens,
any student can receive top rate foreign language
instruction from home.
Cindy Puhek resides in Colorado
Springs and has been married to
Peter for more than two decades.
They are well into their second
decade of homeschooling their six
children who range in age from toddler to high
schooler. Cindy holds a masters degree in
chemistry and has written dozens of articles to
encourage others in their homeschooling
journeys. You can visit her blog at www.
Stone in preparation for this article, one of my high
school students came over and showed me how to get
a perfect score even if I totally blew one of the exer-
cises. With the exception of the review lessons, Rosetta
Stone allows a student to retake a section multiple
times, or to click a button to reveal the correct answers
before completing a section. So, while Rosetta Stone
is a fantastic tool, it might not be a rigorous enough
course for some high school students.
I think a good option to supplement Rosetta Stone
is to take an online foreign language course. Online
courses provide planning, record keeping, grading,
and accountability, which can be very helpful when
studying a difficult subject like foreign language.
And, most of them offer the students some form of
access to the subject matter experts. The Potters
School (pottersschool.org) and Veritas Press
Scholars Academy (veritaspress.com) both offer
live, online courses that allow students to interact
with the teacher and other students. They have a
vast selection of foreign language course offerings
that range from Arabic to Russian. On the downside,
these courses lock a student into a schedule in
which they must be in front of a computer screen at a
certain time on designated days. They also come with
a hefty price tag ($488 - $680).
Abeka Academy offers Spanish I and II as self-
paced online courses at a cost of $429 per year. Help
from teachers is just a phone call away. But by far the
best deal for online foreign language is Bob Jones
Distance Learning Online. Access to the online
video lessons for one year, plus books, costs $79.
This is also self-paced. There is no direct access to
the teacher, but students can post questions in an
online forum and have them answered by BJU staff.
While only Spanish I, II and III and French I and II
are offered, the price might make up for the lack of
It’s also important to give our high school students a
chance to converse in the language they are studying,
and this is often lacking for homeschools. In my city,
foreign language conversation groups meet at our
local library. This not only can enhance a student’s
language study, but can also be a unique opportu-
nity to reach out into the community with the love
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 35
C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E I Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 01736
One Family's Partnership
PARTNER with CHEC
Together, we’re motivating parents to disciple the next generation of Christians.
Thank you for partnering with us!
BY IAN SERFF
When we married 25 years
ago, God started my wife,
Stephanie, and me on a
journey we could never
have imagined. Today,
our family is blessed with
seven children, each of
them special in God’s
eyes and our hearts. We
are also blessed by CHEC
as a Christ-centered
organization, which has
become the second center
of our lives.
We began the education part of parenting our first-
born daughter by sending her to a private Christian
elementary school so that she would get a biblical
foundation for her life. But by the time our second
daughter entered our lives, Stephanie did not feel it
was right to have our children away from us for so
many hours during the day, with others directing their
In time, Stephanie attended her first CHEC
Homeschool Conference, telling me me I needed to
join her to “see what homeschooling was all about.”
I was in the beginning of my career and did not know
what God has in store for us, but I agreed we could try
it for a year. Oh, how blind I was at the time! I thank
God for changing my heart to be aligned with Stepha-
nie’s, to see what a Christ-centered homeschool
would mean to our family.
Then God opened our hearts even deeper to love
and adopt special needs children. We were already
homeschooling our other children, so it felt right to
continue with our adopted special needs children to
give them more attention and a better education.
Fast forward to today: we have a very diverse family.
My wonderful wife teaches all our children at home
while balancing developmental and medical appoint-
ments. I operate a graphic design business at home.
We have seen God use us and stretch us in so many
ways. Many days we are very humbled and brought
to our knees before Him. With His grace and strength,
we rise up and press on. …
Over time, we saw the many ways CHEC was as-
sisting our family’s home education, and we wanted
to give back to CHEC. It started with meeting Kevin
Swanson, CHEC’s executive director at the time. He
was just beginning to get CHEC’s affiliate ministry,
Generations Radio, operational. He and I talked about
creating the first visual identity for the program,
and through that process, he introduced me to the
Vo l u m e 3 , I s s u e 9 9 , 2 017 I C H E C H O M E S C H O O L U P DAT E 37
homeschool conference committee, including the
CHEC staff designer, Amy Menges. I started as
designer of print publications. After working the first
year as a volunteer, I realized it was the people I en-
joyed working alongside more than anything. These
peer relationships brought me back for another year,
which quickly turned into many more years.
What really struck my wife and me was how CHEC
functioned so strongly as an organization helping
people. We learned the reason for that strength was
because Christ was at the center of CHEC's mission;
the focus of CHEC was to share the gospel with other
families and provide resources and help for Christian
discipleship. This focus brought unity to a diverse
blend of families from different denominations,
churches, and walks of life. What a blessing this
was to be a part of something beyond ourselves. We
were so thankful to be a part of this ‘family’ within the
Being a part of the ministry of CHEC has significantly
helped us to increase our faith and be covered in
prayer by CHEC staff and committee members. We
are able to stay in the fight with our our whole family
at home, educating our children, and keeping Christ
as the focus in the trials and triumphs of our lives.
After 10 years of being an assistant designer on the
CHEC conference committee, God brought some
unique situations to enable me to become a part of
the year-round ministry of CHEC through my design
work. When Steve Craig came on as executive direc-
tor, it was a pivotal time to expand the reach of CHEC,
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19039 Plaza Drive, Suite 210 Parker, Colorado 80134
For 27 years, CHEC has been at the forefront of the battle for home education and discipleship. CHEC serves thousands of families every year
through our events, Update magazine, widows fund, special needs fund, the CHEC Independent School, and more. We receive phone calls
throughout the week that give us a chance to provide advice, encouragement, and an extra “boost” to homeschoolers when the going is tough.
CHEC depends on your generous donation to both continue and expand our mission.
and we rebranded CHEC’s logo, publications, and
website for more effective marketing and outreach.
CHEC’s strengths come from amazingly skilled and
experienced families who have special gifts and
abilities the Lord has given them. God brings the
right people to the team for a season. And when God
brought a new designer onboard, He led me to transi-
tion to a different role of service with CHEC.
Currently, our family serves meals together at the
Homeschool Day at the Capitol. Our older children
assist at the homeschool conference in hospitality,
etc. I am now also a CHEC Board Member. God has
opened up many diverse ways for our family to serve
others through CHEC, and we are thankful to be able
to serve you and your family.
Have you thought about how or where you could
help CHEC, yet do not know where or how you can
volunteer? There are many ways you can be a part of
serving other home educating families throughout
Colorado. Visit the Volunteer Page at CHEC.org/
volunteer and fill out the volunteer interest form to see
where your household giftings could fulfill a need.
Ian Serff is owner and creative
director of Serff Creative Group, Inc.,
a design firm located in Aurora,
Colorado. With over 25 years
experience in the design industry, Ian
focuses his energy on creative design solutions
for his clients, including print, web, interactive
media, and strategic branding with creative design
implementation. Readers can contact him through
his website serffcreative.com.
CHEC’s Homeschool Introductory Seminars
are held throughout the year to give parents the
vision, legalities, and nuts and bolts they need.
A seminar is coming to a city near you!
▪ CASTLE ROCK: NOVEMBER 4
▪ COLORADO SPRINGS: JANUARY 6
▪ CASTLE ROCK: JANUARY 13
Interested in helping host a seminar in your home town?
Please contact josh@CHEC.org!
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If you are interested to know more about starting a business
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