Thursday, October 22, 2009

Abcteach: Customizing Your Homeschooling Curriculum!

Ever come across an item or idea and wonder, “why didn’t I think of that?” Well, that was exactly my thought when I was asked to review Abcteach, a website that stands at the ready when you want to do just about anything you can imagine along the lines of enhancing your homeschool curriculum.

Need to make your own spelling test (with a word scramble and word search for practice before the big day)? No problem, Abcteach can help you make your own, simply by plugging in your word list on a form. Would you like to make name cards to label each child’s school supply bin? There’s a form for that too! Need clip art? Got it! Need a multiplication table to take in the car (because the chart on the wall really isn’t conducive to travel)? Bingo, you can make one in a snap! What about a coloring page for the toddler that is listening to big brother’s history lesson? Presto! Need…?

Well, I think you get the idea! Abcteach seems to have thought of everything and then some. All in one location, with one goal in mind: making your homeschool YOUR homeschool! No need to scour websites or curriculum books or worry about making ugly stick figures to make a point, Abcteach likely has what you are wishing you had. And they keep adding more and giving you more options all the time. Just perusing their site will cause you to think about all the things you could do that maybe you weren’t even planning on…just seeing what they offer spurs on those creative juices!

I must admit that upon trying out a word scramble form, I sort of froze up when the computer-ese looking box popped up, wanting to know my words, how hard I wanted them to be scrambled, whether or not I wanted their directions printed on top of the page or if I wanted to write my own…very stale and black and white but necessary, you know? That sort of thing just kills my idea for a second because I think in the artsy, flow-y, colorful realm (with the little gnomes…). However, it only took me a second to recover and start playing with the boxes to see how it worked. Within about two minutes I had a decent word scramble page ready to be printed. Most of that time was spent just typing in the words! So, I found it to be really user friendly.

Furthermore, if you are computer illiterate like me, they have short videos that will walk you through the process of filling out the information, or cutting and pasting or whatever the necessary steps involved in customizing your own page for you children. They also have great customer service if you just can’t seem to figure things out. I had problems getting the videos to play and when I emailed their tech support it was addressed very quickly-- resolved in a short time!

So, how can you take advantage of all the goodies packed into the Abcteach website? Well, stop by for a visit, of course! Go to and just click around and see all the great things waiting for you to enjoy! From handwriting forms to scrapbooking backgrounds and borders, from book report forms to reading comprehension pages, there is something you need, that they have! There are two ways to enjoy their site: they offer about 6,000 documents for FREE at the site above, free is always a great price! However, if you try out all 6,000 documents and realize you need much more, you can become a member and have access to over 30,000 documents. Individual membership is $40 per year or $70 for two years. If you sign up with a homeschooling group, the price can drop to a little as $25 per year, depending on the number of people. I do need to interject that this site is really a great site for anyone working with kids! If you have friends that teach in more traditional school setting, or perhaps even a teen that babysits a lot, or maybe you are in charge of the children’s Sunday school hour…there are so many ways that Abcteach can be of help in all of these situations.

How many times have you thought, “I wish I had (fill in the blank), to go along with this subject”? Well, now you can have THAT, thanks to Abcteach. Then, you’re next thought, after efficiently printing out your needed document will be, “why didn’t I think of that?”!

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.