George Orwell’s book “1984” painted a grim picture of society.   One aspect of that Orwellian society was a pervasive surveillance that existed everywhere.  “Big brother is watching you,” was a theme of that society and book.  Orwell told his story as a warning against totalitarianism and the total dominance of the police state. In 1949, when it was published, no one had envisioned the internet, Wi-Fi, Facebook, or Google.  In fact, to many people computers were still a thing of science fiction.

It is now nearly 60 years later.  Today we live in a society where there is a tremendous amount of interconnectivity.  We can phone, text, or Skype, etc., with almost anyone anywhere in the world.  One of our pastors recently did a short-term mission trip to Nepal and was a bit embarrassed to find that most of the kids on the streets in the cities he visited had better smartphones than he had.  Both as individuals and as society, we have incredible technical tools at our disposal. 

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Teachers, child psychologists and parenting “experts” have told us for decades how children ought to be raised and educated. Although their advice has varied through the years, most people are happy to accept whatever happens to be the current prevailing wisdom. It is so much easier to just trust an expert. Parenting can be challenging, confusing, and even frightening. Self-doubt, second-guessing, and fear of failure are feelings every parent is familiar with. Advice from experts feels like an anchor in the storm or a GPS in an unfamiliar city.

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Summer is a great time to fit in an extra-special field trip.  Many families take off time from school, but that doesn’t mean that kids have to stop learning.  The South Carolina Upstate is within a reasonable drive of mountains, lakes, beaches, museums, and even a few zoos, so the options for day trips are outstanding.  For those who enjoy longer trips and overnight stays away from home, the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter in northern Kentucky are excellent choices to expand students’ understanding of how well the Bible fits into science and history.

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What makes a great writer?  Over the years, we've used a number of different activities and texts.  What helped the most?  I polled my students--who range from college age to teens--to see what they thought.  The results were interesting.

While the early activities we shared and the texts we used probably had at least some role to play, our students credited other things for their success: developing strong reading skills, getting to write on topics that were important to them, having a writing buddy for advice and encouragement, analyzing others' papers, and studying a foreign language. 

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School time is here! Why wait? Start planning now if you want to have a Perfectly Miserable Homeschool this year! Cranky kids, lost tempers, stress, discontent, an unhappy marriage and plenty of complaining can be yours with very little trouble! Just follow these ten easy steps! (Start by leaving your sense of humor behind and taking this tongue-in-cheek article Very Seriously.)

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Recently, a bill was introduced in the South Carolina legislature that would have severely curtailed homeschooling. I was pleased to see the rapid response of homeschoolers to this threat to our freedoms. Based upon some of the questions and concerns that we fielded during this time, I thought it would be helpful to review how to respond to those who attack homeschooling.

Over the years, I have found that people who oppose homeschooling, or who want to severely regulate it, fall into one of three categories. There are those who oppose based upon ideological principles. There are those who oppose based upon ignorance of homeschooling. And there are those who oppose because of insecurity about their own educational decisions. Our response to each of these three groups should be different.

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ADHD is a controversial subject in America today.  Is it just a discipline problem?  Is it just a gender issue blown out of proportion?  Does it really exist at all?  Part of the misunderstanding lies in the definition of ADHD itself.  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not really a single disease with a set course of treatment, but rather a collection of symptoms that may point to different underlying problems.  One of the advantages of a home school setting for students with ADHD is that it offers flexibility for parents to explore the underlying issues that may be contributing to the out-of-control behavior they observe.  Drugging ADHD students in school to make them compliant is like putting a band-aid on a compound fracture.  It may keep the outward symptoms covered up during the school day, but it fails to cure the underlying issues.

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Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:12 that if we think we are standing firm, we must be careful that we do not fall. Recently I was saddened to hear bad news about several old friends. These friends were conservative Christian home-schooling families who seemed to be the “model homeschoolers.” So when I heard that their families had been broken apart, I was somewhat stunned. I began to ponder how easy it is for even a “model family” to fall off the path. I believe it starts when we stop putting our faith in Jesus for grace to serve Him each day and instead begin to rely on other things. They may even be good things, but a reliance on them is a reliance on externals, not internals. Following are some externals that may become substitutes for Christ.

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"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." (I Timothy 4:16)

It was Wednesday at 4 pm. Three mothers and their teenage boys walked into the orthodontic offices of Doctors Fearing, Payne and De Mise. Well, what actually happened was Mrs. Homemacher, Mrs. Hopewell, and Mrs. Hidebound walked into the office. Their three boys followed ten paces behind as if they had no clue who had driven them there.

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Integrity is a difficult concept for many people to understand.  Some people claim it, even though they can’t define it.  You can’t go down to the corner store and get it, but you can lose it at the corner store.  You can’t get a degree in integrity, but you can lose integrity getting a degree.  It is more than what you say.  It is more than what you do.  However, it is directly connected to what you say and do.  Proverbs 10:9 tells us, “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”

When I attended the US Air Force Academy we had an honor code, “We will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate among us those who do.”  This may not be a textbook definition of integrity, but it is a pretty good working definition.  It embodies the two key principles of integrity. What you say and what you do are consistent and they are honorable.

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