Issue # 6  /   April ~ May 2000







EDITOR / WRITER: Barb(ara) Edtl Shelton
PROOFREADER THIS ISSUE:  Donna Heck, and... YOU all!  If you find any errors, please let me know so I can correct them!
    Sharnessa and Tory Shelton
    Luz Marina Lovins
    Oswald Chambers


(which I just know is under one of these piles somewhere!)


Any of you on the Senior High Form+U+la List will recognize herein a few bits and pieces of things I have posted to the list. I wanted to make items of a more "universal" nature more permanent than just posting to a list. (I am in the process of getting all my past issues of Form+U+la Reflections up at my website.) So I apologize for the duplication, but need to also say that if I were to choose just one place for it to go, it would be here ~ for the very reason of this being permanent and therefore potentially able to reach more people. So what it amounts to is that the SHF-L list is getting a "sneak preview" of what's in Form+U+la Reflections.   :-)
And in case any of you were thinking that this publication is anything close to regular, I need to assure you it is not, and what's more, it is not intended to be! :-) I do it as I'm able to write, collect, and put it all together.




Personal, huh?   :-)   Hmmm... Well, with Mother's Day having recently passed, I just happen to have a few *personal* things to share from the hearts of my two wonderful grown children, Sharnessa and Tory. As you know if you've been reading anything from me of late, they are both getting married this August. No, not to each other!   ;-D   And not on the same day! Far from it, they're getting married one whole week apart! (And I just have to add that both fiancÚs are already deeply planted in *my* heart too!!) 
Now, let me precede all that's to come with this: It's Mother's Day; they *have* to say nice things. What God-fearing, parent-respecting child would say "You've been a so-so, run-of-the-mill, fairly average mom, and I'm somewhat thankful for you"? Nay, nay! It's the day to compliment and bless. So please bear in mind that I'm not *nearly* as wonderful as these notes might indicate! (REALLY!) In fact, my goal for the coming year (for my LIFE!) is to actually live up to what they said! But I want to share these little bits from their cards because in the midst of all the forms and frameworks and formulas and charts, I would like for you to see the HEARTS of my real-life children! (They really did NOT turn out to be the regimented militia one might have thought would come from all the charts and forms!)
In light of Tory's upcoming departure from our home to his new life with his bride, he wrote the following to me in his (and Chrissy's) Mother's Day card: "Well, here we are, my final Mother's Day living at home. As we make the transition of you being the main woman in my life, please know that, though you may be moving over, you can never be replaced. Thank you for being there for me whenever I needed you, and for showing me unconditional love. I could never express with just one day a year the love I (we) have for you that you have given me (us). ~Love, Tory
And now Sharnessa: "I have learned so much from you over the years about sacrificing, strength, giving, wisdom, being and becoming teachable, etc., etc., etc.! I truly had the two most amazing parents to give me not only the wings to fly, but the strength, breath, encouragement, excitement, and wisdom to USE the wings, take off, and fly." (By this time I was crying, and then she says...) "I know I've used the wing analogy a few times now, but I sincerely can't find a better analogy." (And here I had the confusing experience of bursting into laughter and more tears at the same time!) "I love you so much, Mom. Know that you have SO succeeded in this thing called 'Motherhood.' 'Her children stand and bless her' in Proverbs 31:28 is for you! (as is the rest of it!)"

And another little "personal" item, just in this morning as I'm getting this issue of FR finished! ... Many have asked me how Tory has done in his first year of college, after homeschooling from age 4 all the way through to graduation, and then having done a year of "in-depth discipleship studies" for a year after that. Well, here's an email he just got this morning from one of his Psychology/Sociology teachers: (This was an "integrated studies" class, and there were 3 instructors.)

Hi Tory -
I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work - even above and beyond the course work. Yes, I'll be sending similar e-mails to other students - but only to those who have really shown so much progress and diligence. I didn't get a chance to tell you any of this - but it is important to me. Your intellect, sensitivity, and people skills all helped to make our class a success. I've so enjoyed having you in my classes. Best of luck (and you won't need it) in your marriage and future education.
Thanks Again!
[his prof]


This is a non-Christian prof, and he knew Tory was a Christian. So no matter what "grade" Tory gets, I feel this is an even-better mark of "success"! ... There's lots more to say about his first year, but another time! (In a nutshell, he has made the transition quite well, and has high B or low A grade point average; grades aren't in for this last quarter, which just ended last week.)




If you have not seen this in either Form+U+la or at my website, you are missing a VERY GOOD THING!!!  Read and be blessed and edified by this:


Misunderstanding the

Lifestyle of Learning Message
by Luz Marina Lovins

Many homeschooling moms "out there" have totally misunderstood the Lifestyle of Learning message. I'm not sure how this has happened because I think Marilyn did a great job on her book. The problem seems to be that many moms think the Lifestyle of Learning approach is about throwing out all curricula, sitting back, and letting the kids do whatever "delights" them.
Now, you know what that will be if these kids: 1) have been in public school before, and/or 2) have not been trained to be "spiritually-minded." These moms, not understanding what the real message is, essentially do nothing to direct the children. Not understanding the difference between "delight-directed" and "flesh-directed," many moms flounder around not knowing what to do because the kids are not interested in any learning things. Husbands, not seeing any fruit, become a bit impatient with the lack of results. Most unfortunate of all, however, the children have no direction.
If our life, our homeschool, is not bearing fruit, we are doing something wrong. But many moms, realizing their lives aren't bearing good fruit, still don't know where to take it from there. Many of us are the product of public schools; it takes time to break out of this mold, and many people need specifics to know how to do so. "How do we implement this?" "What does this look like on a day-to-day basis?" The concept of finding a vision is so abstract they don't know where to begin. I think your work provides them with "eyes-on" examples. I understand that Marilyn does not want people merely copying what she does. And I agree with that. But I also think many moms need to be led by the hand for a little bit, before they can venture off on their own.
Many homeschoolers begin with the best of intentions, but get lost with the worries of this world. Curricula, test scores, and requirements become the focus and topic of every conversation. Marilyn's message ~ and yours, Barb ~ brings homeschoolers' focus back to God. Without a vision the people perish. Right!? But where does that vision come from? God's word! People need to hear what God has to say about education, knowledge, wisdom, and the worries of this world. That's why your work is a ministry. It's not just about how to do high school our way and get away with it.
Aaaamen, Luz!It's about getting back to God's vision for His people.
You, my dear friend, have a wonderful way of making that Lifestyle of Learning vision practical and do-able for those struggling to grasp it, who might otherwise just abandon it. Your articles on Accreditation, Testing, Honors Diplomas, and Dual Enrollment are wonderful examples of how you bring us back down to earth but out of "the world" at the same time and remind us of our real reason for "education".




On Memorial Day I went and visited my brother's gravesite with my parents. John was 13 months younger than me and died of cancer about 8-1/2 years ago. When he died, there was a rift between us that I had not been able to mend before he died. Here's the little story of that, and what the Lord did for me, called "Reunited, Now and Forever." :-)



Lots of stuff! Go to this page at my website for what's been added in the last month or so.



Let's talk about "double and compound" words that can be used any way. 
"any way" vs. "anyway" ~ Ex: "Any way (any being used as "one choice of many" ways) you look at it, the car is broken." (another ex: "I like eggs any way you fix them, Mom!") ... "We're out of milk? Let's make pancakes anyway (meaning "nonetheless" or "no matter what") using water."
"how ever" vs. "however" ~ "You can arrange the flowers how ever (used as meaning "in whatever way") you want." ... "She's my daughter, however (used as a conjunction) she's also my friend."
"in to" vs. "into" ~ "I want to get in to (used as "inside of") the house fast since it's hailing!" ... "If you aren't really into (used as meaning "liking" something) working at a computer, you won't enjoy web design.
"every one" vs. "everyone" ~ "Every one (every used as "each") of those rocks has moss on it." ... "Everyone (used as one body of people) I know is coming to the wedding."




Helen Keller had some VERY interesting things to say about college, many of which expressed my own feelings, and much more eloquently than I ever could have!  Directly below is an excerpt from an article I put together called "Insights on College from Helen Keller."  (Well, the first paragraph is me talking, then Helen.)


Excerpt from

"Insights on College"


Comments by Barb Shelton 

Quote from Helen Keller


"I have created something I call "Shelton's Theory of Brain Receptivity." This is a theory I came up with myself ~  rendering it very "unofficial" ~ which basically just suggests that the human mind has an optimal "functionability," and the schools push you way beyond what's "optimum." I quote a Far Side cartoon in which one student in a classroom has his hand raised and is asking the teacher, "Mr. Osborne, may I be excused? My brain is full now." I think this is so true! Here is what Miss Keller had to say about this:

"There are times when I long to sweep away half the things I am expected to learn; for the overtaxed mind cannot enjoy the treasure it has secured at the greatest cost. ... When one reads hurriedly and nervously, having in mind written tests and examinations, one's brain becomes encumbered with a lot of bric-a-brac for which there seems to be little use. At the present time my mind is so full of heterogeneous matter that I almost despair of ever being able to put it in order. Whenever I enter the region of my mind I feel like the proverbial bull in the China shop. A thousand odds and ends of knowledge come crashing about my head like hailstones, and when I try to escape them, theme goblins and college nixies of all sorts pursue me, until I wish ~ oh, may I be forgiven the wicked wish! ~ that I might smash the idols I came to worship."

Is that amazing or what?!?!? ~ Barb





Q:  I feel the discipline I give my children is just not changing them. I do have to admit I have not prayed for them. (She had also told me the titles of several excellent child training/raising books she'd read.)

A: May I be direct? ~ in love, of course?   :-)  If you have all those books, but there is no fruit, then it is because five possible things are lacking: prayer (as you mentioned); consistent application of what you have read in those books; doing it all with love, grace and patience; repentance to your children for the wrong ways of dealing with them; and a continued humble heart before your children. My "prescription":
1) PRAY!!! Ask especially for SPECIFIC wisdom for each child and each situation, and for God to change your children's hearts. Remember "The anger of man does not work the righteousness of God."
2) consistent application of what you have read in those books
3) do it all with love, grace and patience
4) start with repenting to your children for the wrong ways of dealing with them
5) continue with a humble heart toward your children, fully aware that you created the problem(s) to begin with.
I have done (or attempted to do) "all the above" myself, so I am not suggesting you do something I wouldn't expect from myself!!! :-) May God's blessings and grace pour over and through you!


Q:  My children are younger (7 and 3), and I was wondering what you all used for record keeping in the younger years.
A: I have a couple resources for the younger years. I actually wrote Form+U+la first, and then people started asking "What did you use when they were younger?" cuz we started them at ages 4 and 5. The "Homeschool Jumpstart Navigator for Younger Children" gives the basics, and then my "Real-life Homeschool Record Keeping & Organizing" gives a much much more thorough array of options. As with all my stuff, you NEVER would use all of it! But there's no way that I can dish out the individual items to people that would use. The tape plus thick set of handouts is only $12.95; you will get your money's worth even if you use only a few of the originals. (Write-ups on these are on my "Resources for Parents of Children Age 12 and Under" catalog page.)


Q:  Barb, would Form+U+la work in elementary years for record keeping? ... or is it more specifically for high schoolers? 


A:  No, do NOT use it for younger than junior high!  It's waaaay too much!  Too heavy!  You'll burn them out!


Q:  When should I start reading Form+U+la?
A: I receive many calls from homeschool moms wanting to get this book in August, and then start homeschooling their high schooler in September!!!  I feel so bad for them because they don't have a clue as to what this is all about! They think this book is going to tell them exactly what to do, what text/workbooks to get, how to do it, and then they can start! 
That's not what this book is about! It's about a whole new way of approaching education! It's about moms (and dads too, hopefully) becoming discipled to the Lord so that they can then disciple their children to the Lord!
It is NOT about doing "school at home"! That's the world's way and will only yield worldly results!
If you want God's purposes to be accomplished in your families, you have to find out HOW He wants you to do it!!! And then DO it! He never intended for us to flounder and be fearful through high school. Where He calls us, He equips us! And shows the way! 
But it takes some time to shed our old ways of thinking (which are what cause the floundering and the fear) and discover God's ways, and then start putting them into "rubber meets the road" practice. In other words, you don't start this process one month before you want to start walking in it! You do yourself a HUGE favor by STARTING EARLY!
But don't take MY word for it! If Barb Shelton tells you that you need to get her book early, what's it sound like? Yup, a sales pitch! I have compiled the thoughts of several homeschooling moms on this topic and share them here with you. But hopefully you'll hear what these very sincere homeschool moms have to say about it! (And no, I didn't pay them to say this!)





Q:  Our attempt to homeschool has unfortunately failed. We have a complete set of [curriculum] that we would like to sell.
A: May I be so bold as to suggest that your attempt to "homeschool" did not fail; just your attempt to do "school at home." There is a HUGE difference! :-) This is what my entire message, and those of several others, is/are based on. If you are still open to suggestions, may I suggest that you put yourselves through a "season of re-education." This "huge difference" between "doing school at home" and "truly educating our children" is not just an exaggeration; it is the difference between the life and the death of your entire homeschooling experience, which God never intended to fail. If anything is not working out, that doesn't mean it's time to throw in the towel; it means it's time to seek God as to what is not being done according to HIS plan, which may even mean a complete overhaul ~ of a LOT of things: your idea of and approach to education, your relationships with your children, your own walk with God. That's what this "season" is all about. In my eyes, it's non-optional and needs to be the FIRST thing you do.


Q-a:  I just began reading last night and am thoroughly enjoying the book. We have been blessed with six children (from 2 to 15). Which brings me to my question and dilemma. ... I feel like I need to make some major decisions as far as curriculum goes for next year. I feel that I really have "blown it" this year as far as the record-keeping aspect goes. This was my oldest son's 9th grade year. I am hoping I can put together a "portfolio" and go back to document time, etc. I *hope* we can anyway. 
A: You will have plenty of help and ideas in that area once you get to sec. 5 of Form+U+la. If you need more input, ask on the SHF-L list as these ladies are very good at brainstorming!
Q-b:  One of our options for next year is going back to the Weaver (which we haven't done for about 7 years). I really do like it when we are all studying the same general topics (makes it much easier on mom). I have a number of the Weaver volumes and am considering using that for everyone, but I would need to order a couple more resources (which are on sale through today ~ save 15%.... more pressure).
A: Here's my non-professional, highly-biased, not-claiming-to-be-the-voice-of-God, unauthoritative, totally-off-the-cuff advice: Do not buy another stitch (or page) of curriculum, no matter how good or on-sale, UNTIL you have finished the book (and re-read it at least once, hopefully two or three more times! ;-D ) I have a feeling you have PLENTY on hand to take you miles and miles down the road. You can always get more later if you really need it, and other things (maybe even better) will always go on sale! 

Q-c:  The boys are getting older and are ready to move at a quicker pace, diving into areas of interest, etc.

A: Then save your money for THOSE areas!    :-)
Q-d:  I also purchased Blessed Is The Man (BITM) a couple of years ago because I thought it looked so neat and really did fit more into our "lifestyle". The planning aspect completely overwhelmed both of us though (mom and son). So, we put that back on the shelf. Now that I have this wonderful book (Form+U+La), I actually think we could implement some of the BITM stuff.
A: And that's all you need to do; "some"; a little at a time, until you have a better idea of what you're doing.
Q-e:  I have barely gotten into the book though and am trying not to jump all around looking at everything and getting overwhelmed. I'm trying to follow Barb's directions and read everything "in order".... So....can anyone help me. Any suggestions?'
A:  Yes; follow Barb's (my) directions and READ EVERYTHING IN ORDER, or you can just PLAN on getting overwhelmed! ;-) You are looking at the "externals"; the heart of my book is really the "INternals," THEN the externals. :-)

Q-f:  Part of me would love for someone to say:  This is what you are to do.

A:  There isn't a person alive who doesn't want such specific and personal direction!   :-)  But from WHOM we get it depends on where we seek ~ or are willing to seek.  In Isaiah it says "You will hear a voice behind you saying "This is the way; walk in it" when you turn to the right or turn to the left."  Would you like to have that much direction from the Lord Himself?!?!  The God of the Universe who designed and made YOU, and "knit you together in your mother's womb"?  And knows every intimate detail of your mind and heart and body and soul?  Well, it's one of our most basic "birth rights" of being a Christian!  "My sheep know Me and hear my voice."  There's more on how to get to this place in my "Hearing God 101" article!
Q-g:  My husband is very supportive and said, "What would help you make your decision"?  My answer was "an audible voice from the Lord would be nice."  Well, it hasn't happened yet. 
A:  Ahhh, you obviously haven't read my "Hearing God 101" article!   ;-D   Juuuust kidding!  As if reading one article could get us to the place of hearing God!  This is something that's going to take some TIME, He's speaking, but we are hearing many other voices that aren't His. Part of the point of this season (of re-education and renewing of the mind) is learning to DISCERN His voice in the midst of the others. Our culture has produced a great deal of confusion, only because we don't know which voice is God's, especially since there's so much "good" or "Christian" stuff out there. The curriculum itself may be "Christian," but not necessarily the approach. In fact, much of "Christian curriculum" is merely the world's approach "cleaned up" to be Christian. This is why our THINKING about education HAS to change before we're equipped to LOOK at education differently.


Q-h:  I will continue to seek Him and His best for our family. Praying for a peace to enter my heart in reference to these big decisions.

A: The place you'll have peace is where you are FREE from the world's pressure to do it a certain way. It's also the place where you'll be equipped to make these decisions. My book alone will NOT do this work; it's a work of the Lord, so you need to allow Him to take the lead in proceeding through this "season of re-education and renewing of the mind." I have given my own suggestions for how to do such a season, but the Lord may lead you differently. My Form+U+la book is *part* of such a season, but not all! If all you read is Form+U+la, you'll be much better off than if you hadn't; but if you really get serious about such a season, you, your kids, the way you homeschool, and the fruit in your home and children will be totally different!!!  Marilyn Howshall's books (which are very inexpensive, and totally life-changing) are really at the very heart of this season. If you want God's very best ~ which He has waiting for every single family ~ you need to be willing to "pay the price" (not just money; you may not need to spend much at all if you can borrow or go in with others). I assure you it is worth every single tear, penny, and second that you invest!   :-)



For English / Literature:

COMPACT CLASSICS - (also known as "The Great American Bathroom Books; these are the same exact books, just two different titles for different audiences.) There are three volumes so far. Each of these three thick books is packed with 2-page synopses ~ or summaries ~ of many great classic and contemporary literature. I used these for "Literature" and had our kids do a "Book Synopsis" on each one (he ended up doing over 70!), which is a one-page form I designed specifically to go with these books that gave him a format for doing a concise report on each one. (See my ACS ("Assignment Check-off Sheet," a.k.a. "Class Plan") for "English II: Literature and Speech" on page VI-D-31 of Form+U+la. The "Book Synopsis" is on page IV-31.) Our son did over 70 book synopses and actually enjoyed doing them! I absolutely love them! 

(See the Resources for Sr./Jr. High page at my website for the whole write-up on these, about 1/3 of the way down the page.)




Q: Unfortunately, I did not keep excellent records last year. I know what my child completed by the end of the year but I don't have the amount of time spent. Can I assign credit for work completed instead of 150 hours completed? Especially in math, I don't know that she completed 150 hours but she did complete the textbook.

A: Cindy responded: "Barb covers this in depth in Form+U+la. She gives the different options of giving credit based on actual hours of work, completing a textbook, meeting a certain standard, etc. She has different names for the methods - I don't have my book in arms reach right now! :)"  


A:  (cont'd; Barb now)  It's in section 6-A. There are several styles, each from a different homeschool author, and then samples of how their approach looks on paper, in a form. There are actually lots more ideas and insights woven in throughout the book, so by the time you get to the end, you'll have plenty of "tools" with which to work.


Q: I looked up Home and Life Management Skills and found the one for boys. (very nice) however never could find the one for girls. I feel like we could really use this form especially until we get confident enough to create ones of our own. I looked in section 6 for Home Ec. and could not find it.
A: This isn't just for "boys" in general; it was for Tory, our son. I never finished making the form for Sharnessa as she was done with high school in 96, before I actually came up with these finished forms. It would be much the same for a girl; just take out anything you *wouldn't* want a girl to do, and put in either more hours of the other things, and/or add other activities, like the "Art of Living" form on page VI-D~39. 
My intent in sharing our (Tory's) forms wasn't to present every possibility; just to give basic how-we-structured-what-we-did ideas. Hope this helps!




Excerpt from

"My Utmost for His Highest"


by Oswald Chambers


     "As long as we try to serve two masters, ourselves (which can be "requirements" and/or "our own agenda") and God, there will be difficulties combined with doubt and confusion. Our attitude must be one of complete reliance on God. Once we get to that point, there is nothing easier than living the life of a saint. ... God's mark of approval, whenever you obey Him, is peace. He sends an immeasurable, deep peace; not a natural peace, "as the world gives," but the peace of Jesus."


This is SO good, and so much more TRUE than we think heading into high school. It's too easy (and common) to think we need to FIRST get all our ducks in a row for high school, and THEN press more closely into God! The exact opposite is the TRUTH!




I LOVE this web site,
Helena's Graphic Garden, for e-postcards!  Very sweet and lovely graphics, simple messages (to which you add your own, of course), and easy to do.  It also happens to be where I got many of the graphics at my web site! 



"It is not the greatness of my faith (or my natural abilities or creativity in homeschooling) that moves mountains (or enables me to do a good job of truly educating my children), but my faith in the greatness of God."   ~Unknown (slight revision/additions by Barb)

"All persons ought to endeavor to follow what is right, and not what is established." ~Aristotle  
(from Barb:  Isn't that AWESOME!?!?!)




A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's artwork. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, "I'm drawing God." The teacher paused and said, "but no one knows what God looks like." Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied, "They will in a minute."


"I've been pouring over Form+U+la since receiving it. [BTW, thanks for the lightning-fast turn-around time -- wow!] Maybe I should say that the book has been pouring over me. You're making me think (spiritually)! I was "doing just fine" on my own (faking it). I didn't have fear about high school, but the Form+U+la really helps lay it all out. Thank you for that. Thank you for the spiritual pricking (ouch!). And THANK YOU FOR YOUR WRITING STYLE and your SENSE OF HUMOR!!!!!"   ~Aline Turner; OK



Copyright 2000 as follows: Permission is hereby granted to reprint 

anything in this newsletter in a not-for-profit publication or copy it to give to a

friend (or mere acquaintance) provided that the section copied is used in its entirety

and credit given as follows: Used with permission from Barb Shelton.

Website address:


( Email: )






Wallpaper and tiny heart-check bars are from

Original Country Clipart 


The heart 'n' leaves bar at the very top is from

Helena's Graphic Garden


The red hearts are from

A Touch of Country



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