All posts by Heather Walton

We wish you an imperfect Christmas

Photo by Vinu00edcius Vieira ft on Pexels.com

By Heather Walton

Today likely has not been your perfect Christmas. Many families are not meeting together because of concerns over transmitting or catching the virus. Some are meeting virtually, or driving by and social distancing. Some are getting together but wearing masks. Many are spending Christmas alone or only with their household.

The season may not have been near perfect either. Shopping was a challenge for some, and buying was prohibitive for many, especially those whose small businesses closed this year, or whose employers laid them off.

For some, the loss of a family member during the past year has made Christmas more of a time to dread than to welcome.

There was a young couple who could identify with a less-than-picture-perfect holiday. Mary and Joseph had no relatives gathered around to celebrate the first Christmas. In fact, they weren’t even at home or among family. And likely their family and friends were a little off-put by the “out of wedlock” pregnancy.

And then came the order that would take them on a grueling journey for an expectant mother, as the Roman soldiers announced the order that would take the couple several days journey near the end of Mary’s pregnancy. Once they got to Bethlehem, perhaps they could find lodging and rest. That would be perfect. Yet, that was not to be.

Weary from travel, yet without time to give in to fatigue, Joseph found himself scrambling to find lodging in a town that was packed beyond capacity due to the decree of a tyrannical ruler, Caesar Augustus, who really wanted to know how many people he could push around, tax, and disrupt. Nevertheless, this journey had been in God’s plan and provision. Though Jesus’ family lived in Nazareth, it had been foretold that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem.

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

    one who is to be ruler in Israel,

whose coming forth is from of old,

    from ancient days.

Micah 5:2 ESV

So here was this young, poor, possibly misunderstood young carpenter on his own with his very pregnant young wife, and as they arrive in Bethlehem, she goes into labor. She is not among the ladies of her town — her midwife is several days’ journey away. And on top of this, there’s no place open to them. Don’t you wonder if Joseph was panicky or if he calmly went about looking for shelter? I’ve always pictured him knocking on every door, begging someone take him seriously, but perhaps he simply trusted that God would not allow His Son to be born in the street. Either way, he got the job done, and the babe was born … in a barn.

Did your mother ever fuss at you, saying, “Child, were you born in a barn?” If so, I guess you could have told her that you were in good company, because Jesus was too.

But who would have expected the Lord of the universe to be born in a barn?

The first Christmas wasn’t what most people would have considered anywhere near perfect. However, it perfectly fulfilled God’s plan to save humanity.

This year has defied all the expectations we had on January 1, and the 20/20 hindsight is painful for many of us. Yet as this unconventional Christmas draws this unanticipated year to a close, let us remember that, if God could use a poor carpenter and his betrothed to bring His Son, the very representation of Himself, into this imperfect world, certainly He can reach down into our circumstances and work them for our good and His glory.

May we appreciate our perfect Lord and His perfect sovereignty over the affairs of humanity, and trust Him to work it into His tapestry of grace that reaches from the moment He said “Let there be light!” till the moment He invites us to the wedding supper of the Lamb.

Merry Imperfect Christmas to All!

New Day Academy announces 2020-21 programming

New Day Academy is a cottage school program for homeschooled middle and high school students in Louisville. Students attend Monday-Thursday, 9-12:30, and take classes in English, math, anatomy, U.S. government, communications, and character. Class size is limited to 12 students. Students will complete most reading and writing assignments at home, and engage in discussion and projects in class. New Day Academy is located near the Louisville Zoo. Tuition is $2000 annually, and families will be responsible to purchase supplies and curriculum. Extended day options are available at an additional cost. New Day Academy is run by Heather Walton, a certified teacher with diverse teaching experience, as well as a school administration background. Ms. Walton previously founded a full-time school, and has teaching experience in public, Christian, and homeschool education. For more information, visit https://apluseducationalsolutions.com/new-day-cottage-school-program/ or call 502-438-4680. There are currently a few spots left for the coming school year.

Creative Writing Classes Start Jan. 13

Live Writing and Pen with Notebook.jpgDo you have a budding writer or a reluctant composer in your home? Would you like a way to get your young author to the next level? A+ Education Solutions is offering a creative writing class Mondays, 12:30-1:30. Students in middle or high school may participate in person or online. Classes take place at A+ Education Solutions. Online classes are offered through this service. Students will learn from models of good writing to compose original work in various creative writing projects. Classes cost $15/student weekly and meet from Jan. 13-May 18, excluding March 30. Tuition is paid at the beginning of each month. Students need a composition notebook, and should expect to work an hour or two outside of class each week. For more information, call/text 502-438-4680 or email heatherpwalton@gmail.com.

Word for the Year: LESS

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By Heather Walton

For a few years I’ve had the tradition of picking a word for the year, a single word that could serve as inspiration and keep my priorities in check. This year my word is LESS. Why? Because I’m continually drawn to MORE, as is our entire society. But this year, I’m determined to try out the idea that LESS is MORE.

Here is my “Less-is More-List”:

  1. Less busyness. More intentionality.
  2. Less stuff. More open space.
  3. Less buying. More progress toward financial freedom.
  4. Less computer time. More relationship time.
  5. Less worrying. More appreciating.
  6. Less fragmentation of my time. More focus in areas where I’m called.
  7. Less medicine. More natural health.
  8. Less striving. More trusting.
  9. Less outside the home. More in the home.
  10. Less of me. More of the Lord.

Most moms, whether we homeschool or send our kids to a traditional school, whether we earn income in or out of the home or are primarily homemakers, whether we have a diploma or a doctorate, whether married or single, most of us moms second-guess ourselves. I want to do that less, and I want to enjoy the journey more.

Mid-year homeschool blahs? It may be time for a “New Day”

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By Heather Walton

January is traditionally a time of new beginnings, new resolutions, and for many, new vision. However, in the academic world, it’s not the beginning of the year, but rather the half-way point. Whether you approach this time of year as the beginning or the middle, it is an excellent time for reflection, assessment, and realignment.

Perhaps you aren’t as enthusiastic about your homeschool goals, curriculum, or routine as you were in August. Maybe you don’t homeschool at all … yet. Or, if you’re like me, you generally take this time of year to consider which things you’ve been doing you want to continue and which you’d like to change.

For example, in reflecting on my homeschool year, there are parts that I believe have gone very well, such as converting from some workbook-type activities to almost 100 percent reading real books and requiring narrations in all subjects (except math, though that may be coming). Another thing I am satisfied with is our “together time,” in which we sing a hymn or two, read Scripture, read classic literature, and do picture study.

However, I feel we could do better in a few areas. For instance, I have not incorporated composer study well into our “together time,” and I need to do a better job of keeping our environment tidy. As a result, I have developed a plan for the children and me to tidy as we go, attending to a few problem areas and regular chores at various times throughout the day. After all, education isn’t just about academics; if my children can’t keep an orderly house or understand that they need to contribute to the home, they won’t be prepared for life.

I am a homeschooling mom, but I don’t only homeschool my own children. I have two additional full-time students and one part-time student. As an educator by profession, I have been called to teach. I know not everyone who would like to homeschool is able to do so, so I enjoy being able to partner with families to educate their children according to a Biblical worldview. If you find yourself needing a full-time homeschool solution, I would be glad to discuss that with you.

If, on the other hand, you would simply like your middle or high school age student to meet with other students a couple mornings per week to discuss real books and do some hands-on learning in a group setting, check out New Day Academy, a cottage school program I’m starting Jan. 14. This program features Charlotte Mason philosophy and a Biblical Worldview. Students will have assigned readings from living books, and they will complete written narrations. We will meet on Tuesday and Thursday meetings for discussion and activities. Students may attend Tuesday or Thursday or both. The days compliment each other while being independent of one another. If you are interested in joining New Day Academy’s cottage program this school year, please let me know by Jan. 6. Those who enroll this year will have first option to enroll again in the fall.

January may be a great time for you and your family to make an educational change that will breathe energy into your homeschool and into your home.

For more information, contact Heather Walton, 502-438-4680, heatherpwalton@gmail.com, or complete the form below.

Natural Remedies: Do they really work?

By Heather Walton

MagnesiaPhosphoricumI have had restless legs syndrome since I was a child. As a result, I’ve been on Gabapentin for about 20 years. I recently learned that Gabapentin has some nasty side effects, including many that I personally have experienced. Apparently, you’re only supposed to stay on it for a short time. Therefore, I decided that I wanted to wean off. I do not recommend doing this without a doctor’s supervision, by the way.

I did not expect this process to be pleasant, and I didn’t know whether or not to expect it to be successful. I had learned about some natural remedies that intrigued me, so I decided to try it and see if it would work. I have been very pleasantly surprised. I have been using a homeopathic remedy called Magnesia Phosphoricum, manufactured by Butterfly Express. Every time my legs started to bother me, I put a few drops under my tongue. After a few days, I no longer needed it because I haven’t had any issues with my restless legs. So far, I’ve gone three nights in a row on half the gabapentin dosage I usually take (600 mg) without restless legs and without taking the magnesia phosphoricum. Soon I’ll try going down to 300 mg. I’m optimistic about the potential results.

Butterfly Express has many products, all reasonably priced, including essential oils, homeopathic remedies, salves, and more. I’ve signed up as an affiliate, and I’m trying out several of their products on myself and my family. I will update as I learn more. If you want to try any of their products, please visit https://butterflyexpress.shop/?beid=HWalton.

Discipleship: The Goal of Education

By Heather Walton

water-ripple-d-blue-splash-ripples-drops-free-60988“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40 ESV)

Education is not a neutral activity, disconnected from the rest of life. Instead, it is a system of discipleship. The goal of education is to bring about change and to mold the student in some way to be more like his teacher. We cannot simply instill knowledge into our students;  we leave with them an impression of who we are, of our very essence. I believe that’s why James said that teachers are to be held to a higher standard (James 3:1); they bear a high responsibility for their students’ outcomes. They are disciple-makers.

Who do you most want to influence your children? What qualities should that person have? Can you hand-pick every person who has a part in the discipleship of your children? Perhaps not, but you likely have much more control than you think. Why? Because parents are responsible to be the primary discipleship-agents in our children’s lives. We can be our children’s primary teachers. And, for the most part, we can dictate what other influences are allowed in our children’s lives.

How is this possible? Through home educating our children. Home education equals home discipleship. There is no distinction. The term homeschooling can be somewhat misleading, because it carries an academic connotation. However, it is much more than that. Home discipleship is primarily about training our children up in God’s ways. Academics are important, but so are life skills and talent training, among other things. Above all, we should desire to instill in our children a love for God and for other people (Deut. 6:1-7; Matt. 22:36-40; Mark 12: 30-31).

We may delegate a portion of that responsibility to the church and to others, even to Christian schools, but we need to be careful to make sure that everyone we allow to influence our children is worthy of that privilege. Even the best intentioned teachers can steer our children wrong, and though we shouldn’t expect perfection, we should expect those who want to influence our children to have a holy and humble reverence for God’s Word. Those who don’t can inflict great damage.

The Lord had harsh words for hypocrites and for those who would harm the innocent (Matthew 18:6; Luke 17:2). We must be vigilant in the care of those entrusted to us. Our children will be disciples; the only question is by whom?

New Day Academy cottage school program begins Jan. 2020

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By Heather Walton

The new year can be a fantastic time to make needed educational changes. While some parents may be ready to pull the plug on public school, those who already homeschool may be ready for some new opportunities in the homeschool community.

If you have a middle or high school student, check out what A+ Education Solutions is offering, beginning Jan. 14. New Day Academy, a cottage-school program based on the principles of 19th century British educator Charlotte Mason, will operate Tuesdays and Thursdays. This program features real books, narration, Socratic discussions, and short lessons. Students will do the bulk of the reading and writing at home, and will meet to discuss the material, complete hands-on learning, and receive their assignments. Tuesday offerings include science, worldview/apologetics, literature, logic, and social time. Thursday features science, worldview/apologetics, writing, geography, and social time. Students may participate one or both days, as material on both days will compliment, rather than depend on, each other. Each day will cost $25/weekly.

Students will be taught in a small group by a certified teacher. Classes take place in Louisville near the zoo. This is a drop-off program, so parents are not expected to stay.

Those who register for this initial program have two advantages: They will get the first opportunity to enroll in the fall, and they will not have to pay a registration fee. They will be required to pay a deposit that will go toward their tuition. Tuition is due monthly on the last school day of the preceding month. A deposit of two weeks’ tuition is due to enroll. There are currently 5 spots open for each day for students in grades 6-12. Response will dictate whether additional classes are added.

The course schedule is as follows:

Tuesdays: $25/week

9:30-10:15 Science 

10:20-10:50 Worldview/Apologetics 

10:55-11:25 Literature

11:30-12 Logic 

12-12:40 Lunch/Break

 

Thursdays: $25/week

9:30-10:15 Science 

10:20-10:50 Worldview/Apologetics 

10:55-11:25 Writing 

11:30-12 Geography 

12-12:40 Lunch/Break

 

For more information, contact Heather Walton, heatherpwalton@gmail.com, or 502-438-4680.

Defining education then and now

By Heather Walton

alt-5b51feb34c621-5439-8e988795982d8b2f6e682380a3b0adb6@1xEDUCA’TION, noun [Latin educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties. (http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/education)

This is how Noah Webster defined education.

Today’s dictionary defines it this way:

Definition of educate

transitive verb

1a: to provide schooling for
//chose to educate their children at home
b: to train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession
2a: to develop mentally, morally, or aesthetically especially by instruction
b: to provide with information : INFORM
//educating themselves about changes in the industry
3: to persuade or condition to feel, believe, or act in a desired way
//educate the public to support our position
What stands out as you examine these definitions?
There are quite a few differences, but what I notice most are two things, and I would venture to say that these are two sides of the same coin. First, there is a not-so-subtle shift in the view of education. In 1828, education included all aspects of child training, but today it is primarily limited to schooling. I am pleasantly surprised, though, that today’s Webster used the example, “chose to educate their children at home.” The fact that people can choose to educate their children at home, versus not educating their children at home, is telling. There was a time in our country’s history when all parents were expected to educate their children at home, and some outsourced the academic portion of education to the local school. Today the norm is to expect the school, and sometimes the church, to do the educating, and some parents also consciously choose to educate their children at home for some things, such as character training.
Another standout is that Noah Webster assumed parents would provide a “religious” education for their children, and what he meant by that was a Christian education. Often Webster employed Bible verses as examples in his dictionary.
Today’s definition does include moral training, but it’s not presented with the same importance as it was in the 1828 version. The older version seems to include academics but the emphasis is on child-rearing and formation of character. Today the emphasis is on academics, with an eye on career readiness. It’s not until the second part of the definition that moral training is referenced.
There is no accident here. These two facets are intertwined. As America gradually traded Christianity as its primary religion and basis of ethics and morality, for another religion, known as humanism, many words and concepts were redefined. It has been said that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” The signers of the Humanist Manifesto I would likely agree. In 1933, this group, which included the father of modern American education, John Dewey, set out to transform the culture, and they were successful at redefining the American way of thinking. These men, and their disciples, have successfully banished Christian ideals from the public square, and traded them in for the new religion of humanism. With a new paradigm comes new vocabulary.
Today’s idea of education typically brings up images of academics, which are relegated to their own sphere of life, and thought by most to be best left to professional educators. Students and families who practice religions other than humanism are to keep their ideas out of the schoolhouse, especially if their ideology is Christian. But this wasn’t so in the past. For the vast majority of Americans, everything fit within the paradigm of faith. Even those educated at school learned religion at school — yes, even at public school. Even more importantly, families understood the Deuteronomy 6 mandate for parents to teach their children diligently as they went about the business of daily life. Education was a natural part of life, and it didn’t merely incorporate academics. Character and habits were the top discipline, the Bible and life were the key curriculum, and the parents were answerable to God alone for their children’s upbringing.
There has been a dramatic shift in our culture’s definition of education, and this is reflected in the change in the dictionary entry.

Come Alive Summer Camp

Come Alive Logo

Louisville Creative Arts Academy is having a summer camp, called Come Alive, and it’s only $100 for 2 weeks of amazing instruction in the arts, if you register by July 1. I am teaching a creative writing class, and there are classes in jazz dance, drama, music theater, opera theater, music video, visual art, and videography. Students get to choose two disciplines to work on during the camp. For more information, click the link below.

Registration Information