the joy of choice

“Are you taking PSEO classes – you know you don’t want to miss out on FREE college! What are your plans? Where are you going to go to college? What are you going to do with the rest of your life? What? You don’t know? Oh well, you can have the year after you graduate to figure it all out.” I can feel her angst – the barrage of questions stripping her of her usual mature composure.

I want to stuff a sock in the questioning mouth. Instead I wink at her and bite my tongue…besides, they’re well meaning, I remind myself.

“It’s okay, kiddo,” I send the message with my eyes. “You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life right this moment. You were just 10 years old, 7 short years ago. You’ve only been legally old enough to drive for a few short months. You’re still accountable to your dad and me. You can’t even sign any kind of binding legal agreement without us signing, too. It’s okay if you’re not ready to adult full-time yet. It will come – don’t rush it.”

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FAQ! What Makes Math Lessons for a Living Education different?

When Master Books began releasing their newly updated editions of the Math Lessons for a Living Education series, the questions started pouring in. It soon became clear that I needed to create an updated Frequently Asked Questions post. I’m so excited to be able to talk to you about these books! God has been doing amazing work through Master Books for years, and it thrills me exceedingly to be part of it. I asked Kristen Pratt, the head of curriculum development at Master Books, to help me out. Since she has worked in curriculum development for a number of years, she has agreed to interview me about these newly updated math books. 

Hi, this is Kristen. I am married to Randy, who also works for Master Books. We have 9 children and 2 grandsons. We have been homeschooling our children for 20 years, graduating four so far. We owned and operated Pennywise Learning, where I helped thousands of homeschool families make curriculum decisions.  After selling our business to CBD, the Lord opened up opportunity for me to work with Master Books.  Using my own experience and the feedback from thousands of customers, I help design Biblically-based curriculum that is not only engaging for students, but easy for parents to use. It has been a delight to work with Angela.  All of us at Master Books are excited to release Math Lessons for a Living Education. 

Here is an easy-find index for the following questions. (But please take the time to read through this FAQ page in its entirety; it may answer questions that you didn’t know you had!)

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The Middle Ages supplementary activities

When I released the first edition of The Middle Ages, and its matching journal, I had planned to publish a post on my website with a variety of activities to go along with the study. Life happened, and this plan was pushed to the back burner. Recently, I have had several families implore me to help them out with this. I promised that I would finally follow through with my original plan by creating a Pinterest board for this time period. Currently, you will find several great supplemental activities, links to recipes, videos, etc, on this board. Please note, the history channel movie that I pinned there is more appropriate for older students. Enjoy!

“If we don’t talk, the devil will!” by Steve Lambert

Father’s Day is this Sunday, June the 19th, so I asked Steve to say a few words on the importance of fathers in their families’ lives…

But first a note from me:

Some of my friends reading this may be single moms, and I want to talk to you specifically for a moment. You may be thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me. My children don’t have a father. And I just hate this whole ‘Father’s Day thing’ anyway.” Dear friend, I want to give you two words of encouragement…

  1. I’m praying for you. Life on this earth can be hard and, sometimes, oh so painful, but no matter who we are, and no matter what cross we have been chosen to bear (and the very nature of crosses are so painful!), God has promised to be all that we need. No, I don’t know your story, but He does. I don’t have what you need, but He does. In his message, Steve says that father’s speak life into their children’s lives. This is what God does for you. Listen to the words He says to you. Teach your children to listen to the words He speaks to them. He is a good good Father.
  2. If you are a single mom in need of encouragement, please email me at I have a special “Parent’s Day” gift for you. I love you!


“My wife and I were talking the other day about the importance of communication. There were some areas where I had failed to speak clearly regarding my love for her and the enemy had begun to creep into our relationship with doubts and uncertainty on her part. She said something profound…

‘If you don’t talk to your wife, the devil will.’ 
Instantly I knew she was right. I purposed to express my love and commitment more often and with greater urgency in the future. After 45 years of marriage it’s easy to ‘assume’ that some things no longer need to be said. They do… even after 45 years. 
As I’ve reflected on our conversation I’ve been thinking about other relationships as well; specifically our role as fathers. If we don’t talk to our children, the devil will.
I don’t mean the kind of communication that we do on most days regarding allowance, or chores or reminding a child to practice their piano or finish their homework. I’m talking about conversations from the heart. 
If we’re not telling our children how much we love them, the devil is telling them that nobody loves them. If we’re not talking to our children about the nature of God, the enemy is lying to them about God’s nature, just like he did with Adam and Eve in the garden. If we’re not listening carefully when our children ask the deep questions, Satan is telling them that their father doesn’t care about them. 
If we don’t talk to our children about the things that really matter in this life, the devil will. It’s that simple.
Either you or the enemy will define the terms, lay out the boundaries and shape the values that help determine your child’s future. Someone’s going to do it. And it ought to be you. 
Perhaps you don’t know how to talk to your child. Perhaps you never had a role model in your own life. Ask the Lord to help you. Put down the television remote. Put the cellphone on ‘do not disturb.’ Turn off the Xbox. Sit down and talk with your children about the things that matter. Talk to them about the things you wish your own father had talked with you about when you were their age. Tell them you love them… and look them in the eye when you say it.
The years are hurtling past and your children will be gone all too soon. Then you can play video games or watch baseball games or scroll through Facebook without interruption. 
But right now, you have the most important job in the world. Don’t let the devil do it for you.”

About Steve:  A busy working father of two, Steve found himself “along for the ride” when Jane first began homeschooling more than 30 years ago. But he quickly saw the benefit to Jane’s unique approach to teaching and became an enthusiastic cheerleader as he watched his children’s love of learning blossom. By the mid-nineties, Steve had become a popular author and speaker at homeschool conventions nationwide. Today Steve remains involved in a variety of family-related ministries, public speaking and writing while enjoying the wonderful role of grandfather. [Steve and Jane Claire Lambert are the founders and publisher of the much loved curriculum, Five in a Row.]


Part 2: doable resources for peace and sanity

Hey, friends, we are going to talk about the next item on my list of doable resources for peace and sanity. My goal is to encourage you in your life, and hopefully, to enable you to have courage to tackle some of those areas that may have you backed into a corner. First, I want you to remember that I’m a mom just like you, and my life can get pretty nutty at times! I may be the one writing this, but that doesn’t put me in a place above you at all. In fact, God usually appoints the one who needs to hear (repeatedly!) the message, to be the one to deliver the message. I know this to be quite true! So, look over to your “fellow soldier in the trenches” and wave hi!

Let’s enjoy a little chat about success and sanity…

We humans are always looking for ways to make our lives easier and bit less crazy. At times, we spend more energy on trying to find a shortcut or a organizational tip than if we had just gone ahead, dug in, and persevered with a task in its original form. If you are visual like me, you even want your day planner to be attractive because that will help me stick to the plans inside its covers. I’m laughing at my self as I write this. I wonder how much time and effort I have spent trying to make my life look less crazy to myself!


So, how can we tame the crazy, keep our lives organized to a sane degree, keep a healthy balance, without turning our organizing and planning into a major life focus. (You may actually want to spend the majority of your time planning, organizing, and cleaning, and if you do, bless your heart. I love you!)

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