Erin Rathier

musings of a ragtag heart

We have had a very busy couple of weeks around our house.  Birthday parties, baby showers, work trips and, the start of a new homeschool year!  The start of the school year always seems to sneak up on me.  I know, I know, it happens around the same time every year, but I am never fully prepared.  It is always the Sunday night before we begin, and I am just now looking through curriculum, making an assignment sheet for each of my three kiddos, and realizing I am missing books…sigh.  This is my tenth year homeschooling, you would think I had this thing figured out by now…

What I HAVE figured out, is what works for each of my kids…for the most part…and I thought I would share that here.  I am not saying any of this curriculum is the best, but I have found it is the best for us.  One of the freedoms I love about homeschooling, is the ability to structure the learning around my children as individuals.  They are each different, and most times, what works for one, does not work for another.  Through some trial and error, tears and successes, I have found what works well for each one.

My oldest is 16, and in her junior year of high school.  We found out at a young age, she is highly gifted in language arts.  She loves to read, talk and write, mostly about Jesus.  She is currently managing social media accounts for 3 different organizations, and is co-director for a blog called Devos For The Journey on Instagram, in addition to her own blog (which she is currently updating).

My middle child is 13, and an 8th grader.  He loves to build and has since he could pick up blocks.  As long as he has been on this earth, he has been driven to create with blocks, building, building and building.  But he also loves learning God’s Word, in an expository fashion.  He wants to know the details, the verses, the history…and he remembers all of it.

My youngest is almost 11 and in 6th grade.  She also loves to create, but much more artistically.  She loves to draw, make things out of discarded items, create a variety of art projects, and she loves to cook.  She is mathematically gifted and sees Jesus through people.

As you can see, each one is very different, so I am trying to teach them in ways they can connect with the content, and see their learning come alive.  Sounds idealistic, I know, and they are not always cooperative.  However, this year, I feel like we have found all we need to have an incredibly successful year!

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(This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases you make through my links will provide me with a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for your support! I appreciate it so much!) 

Here are our curriculum choices for 2018:


  1. Math – Math U See Algebra 2 and Generation Change (Dave Ramsey)
  2. Bible – She is driven in this area, so I let her choose
  3. History – We use an incredible site called Ambleside Online which offers a full plan for a classical education.  This year, we chose A History of the Twentieth Century: The Concise Edition of Acclaimed World History.  As well as a variety of the speeches and biographies recommended on Ambleside.
  4. Literature:  Ambleside will also guide us on Literature.
  5. Science:  Nutrition Concepts and Controversies 13th Edition (She already took most of her sciences, but needed one more)
  6. Writing:  She is taking a writing course with our local co-op.
  7. Christian Worldview:  Also through our local co-op.
  8. Student Leadership:  Co-op
  9. Robotics Team Business Manager:  Manage social media, create 500 page presentation notebook for competitions, write and submit grants for team.


8th Grader:

  1. Math U See – Pre-Algebra
  2. Bible – Ambleside reading plan and creating a notebook of learning.
  3. Spelling:  Spelling Workout
  4. Cursive:  Handwriting Without Tears (Yes. Still.  His is atrocious)
  5. Vocabulary:  240 Vocabulary Words Kids Need to Know (found this at used curriculum sale).
  6. Science:  Apologia Physical Science
  7. History:  Time Travelers The American Revolution (Grandma teaches this)
  8. Writing:  IEW US History – with our local co-op
  9. Literature:  Silent Reading – The Gregor Series, Family Reading – The Little House Series
  10. First Lego League Robotics Team
  11. Basketball Team


5th Grader:

  1. Bible:  Ambleside reading plan and creating a notebook of learning.
  2. Spelling:  All About Spelling (I was working too much her first few years and she is struggling a bit.  We needed to go back to basics).
  3. Math:  Math U See – Delta
  4. Cursive:  Handwriting Without Tears
  5. Language Arts:  Abeka 5th Grade
  6. Science: Abeka 5th Grade
  7. History:  Time Travelers The American Revolution (grandma teaches her as well)
  8. Grammar: A Well Trained Mind
  9. Literature:  Silent Reading – The Clementine Series, Family Reading – The Little House Series.
  10. Writing:  IEW All Things Fun and Fascinating (through our local co-op)
  11. Art with our local co-op
  12. First Lego League Robotics Team
  13. Dance


Phew, that list was longer than I thought…looking at it, it seems a bit overwhelming.  However, you can see, the kids all do classes with our local co-op, and my mother teaches the younger two history, which is an amazing help!  I do try to find most of my books used, through, Facebook used curriculum groups, or, to help keep the costs down.  As I said at the beginning, I do not think we have the “best” curriculum out there, there are many great choices.  However, for now, it is the best for us.  I am constantly watching my kids and evaluating when it is time to do something new.


Thank you for reading today!  Please comment below with your favorite curriculum choices.  I always like to explore new things.  Also, please enter your email on the right, so you do not miss a single post, then follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!  I hope you have a great week!

(This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases you make through my links will provide me with a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for your support! I appreciate it so much!) 


Today is the day!  I have the great pleasure of giving away one of my favorite books this year!  Everybody Always by Bob Goff.  A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you, how this book has challenged me to actively love people.  I decided to give one of my incredible readers, a copy of this great book, because I just could not keep it to myself!!

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Congratulations Kelly!!!  I will be contacting you for delivery!!  Thank you to everyone who entered by sharing my posts and tagging your friends!


Don’t miss out on the next giveaway, make sure to enter your email address in the sidebar!  Also, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


Did you know today is National Book Lover’s Day?  Are you a book lover?  I sure am.  I have been known to stay up until four in the morning, devouring a good book…and almost regretting it the next day.  So, I decided today would be a great day to launch a book giveaway!


If you have been following my blog, you know I have fallen in love with Bob Goff’s Everybody Always.  It is a small, but mighty book, filled with story after story of Christ’s love in action, and the ways Jesus uses that love to change lives.  It has challenged me in so many ways, and made my heart long to be more.   Bob writes in an easy, enjoyable manner and his stories are nothing short of inspiring.  I laughed, I cried, my mouth dropped open, and I even cheered at the end of the book!


(I was not paid for this post, and purchased this giveaway on my own.)

So, today, for National Book Lover’s Day, I have decided to give away a copy of Bob Goff’s Everybody Always, to one blessed reader!  To enter the drawing, you will need to do three things:  follow this blog (by entering your email on the right), share your favorite post (of mine) on your social media (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook Instagram), then tag me and two other people on the post.


But that is not all!  For each additional person you tag (more than two), you will get an extra entry!  Also, if you share additional blog posts (and tag me, so I see them), you can obtain one more entry for each post you share!


I will draw a winner on Monday, August 13th, at 2:00 pm (mountain standard time), so don’t wait!!


Thank you for reading my blog!  Don’t forget to follow me, and find me on Social Media! I am praying you have an incredible day, full of love! 

As always, if would like someone to pray with you, I would love to be that person!  Send me a message here, or through social media!

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Did you know yesterday, was National Friend Day?  It is always the first Sunday of August.  I know most of these holidays were created for commercial purposes.  However recently, friendships, and the lack thereof, have been the topic of many conversations, so I thought we should talk about them.  We will have many friends in this life, but today, I want to talk about finding those few, close, “I would do anything for you” type of friends.

Why is it so hard to make friends as adults?  You would think, as we get older, friendships would be easier, but they just aren’t.  I am sure we could list many reasons we are not good with friendships, but who wants to think about anything negative?  Instead, let’s explore five ways we can foster good, strong friendships.

Anytime I think about true friendship, I think about David and Jonathan in the Bible. This account is found in 1 Samuel.   As we jump into chapter 18, David has just killed Goliath, and King Saul has inquired about David.  In verses 1-4, we are told, there is a friendship brewing between the King’s son, Jonathan, and David.  The Bible tells us in, “Jonathan became one in spirit with David,  and he loved him as himself.” (v.1)

As we continue through the story, we find out, David was wildly successful in the King’s Army.  This success, caused King Saul (Jonathan’s father) to become very jealous and angry.  In fact, verse 12 tells us Saul was afraid of David, because “the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul.”  If you have not read this incredible story, I encourage you, open a Bible or google 1 Samuel 18, and start reading.  It is an exciting story, with a great deal of action as Saul begins to chase and hunt David.  David even has a chance to kill Saul, but walks away (seriously, you have to read it).  Through it all, Jonathan remained loyal to David.  Even guarding David’s life at times.  It is an amazing account of friendship.  The question is, what can we learn about friendship from Jonathan and David?

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 1.  Follow God:  Often times, we seek out friendships on our own.  We see someone with a quality we admire and we try to get into their world, and invite them into ours.  We attempt to make friends with people who will fill a need for us, or make us feel important.  While that is not entirely wrong, it can result in disappointment on our part.

As I think about the story of David and Jonathan, I have to wonder if that friendship was designed by God from the beginning?  David was chosen by God to be King, and we know Jesus came from David’s lineage, so David was important.  Without Jonathan, Saul very likely would have killed David…so what do you think?  Designed by God?

As we think about friendships, true, deep, friendships, I think we are remiss if we do not ask God who He has planned for us?  Could the friendships we make today be more than just someone to banter with at work, or make funny comments to on social media?  Could it be that the friends God has planned for us are people He knows we will need, and who will need us?

So #1, ask God to show you who He has planned for you?  Someone could be right in front of you and you have been looking in the wrong direction.

2.  Invite:   I am sure most of you remember the old saying, “To have a friend, you must be a friend.”  One of the things I have ‘heard’, not only with actions, but also verbally is, “If they want me around they will ask me.”  Blech!!  That seriously makes me want to throw up!  No matter how this sentiment is stated, it angers me.

Maybe there is a person in front of you right now, and you feel like you should be friends.  Or maybe you have had a friend for a long time.  If you are always sitting around waiting for that person to invite you somewhere, and never doing the inviting, you are not BEING a friend.

In fact, when people do this to me, I feel like they are actually waiting for me to fail, so they can be a victim…it is not attractive…AT ALL!  I hate to say it, but you will probably not have many friends if this is you.   Being friends means both parties are making efforts.  Both are reaching out and drawing in.  Both are offering invitations and both are accepting.

3. Bring Them Home:  Not only do I believe both parties should do the inviting, but I also believe, if you want to truly be friends with someone, you should invite them to your home.  Our homes are personal, they are the places where we are vulnerable, where our true selves are revealed.  If you want a true, deep, friendship with someone, bring them to your home.  Sit at your dining room table, relax on your couches, and talk for hours.  When we invite someone to our home, we are saying, “I want you to belong with me.”

4.  Do The Hard Things: If you took my advice and read the story of Jonathan and David, you know that by the time you arrived in 1 Samuel 19, King Saul was putting a plan into action to kill David.  However, Jonathan…Saul’s son…the Prince…took David’s side.  Jonathan put his own life on the line to save his friend.

How often do we set ourselves aside for our friends?  How often do we change our schedules, choose inconvenience, or sacrifice for our friends?  I hope often, but the reality is, we could probably do better.

I have one friend, P, who for 20 years, has dropped everything to help whenever something is wrong in my life.  She will come to me, take my kids, invite us for dinner, do anything to help me in times of trouble.  I have often felt I do not deserve her, because I am not as good a friend.  Even today, I wanted to do something nice for a friend having a tough day.  I almost decided it was too hot outside, and the small thing I wanted to do would not really matter.

Being a friend means showing up.  Offering love.  Standing in the gap.  Even sometimes being the voice of truth.  Doing the hard things.

5.  Celebrate:  This is the fun part!  Celebrate your friends.  Celebrate the big things, and celebrate the small things.  Dance, sing, send cards and gifts.   As a true friend, your friends’ wins, are your wins, and you should celebrate!

I strongly believe having strong friendships is more about what WE do.  When we offer love, acceptance, and care, we will usually find it in return.  There are times, however, when we give, and invite, and care, and it is never returned.  Maybe that person needs a little bit more of the Jesus we have to offer, and we need to keep trying.  Every once in awhile though, we may have to acknowledge the friendship we are pursuing, is not receiving.  It may be time to go back to step one and talk to God about who He has planned for us.

I came to that very point a year ago.  I talk about it in my post titled Circle of Influence.  I had been pursuing friendships and not getting anywhere.  Unsettled, I decided to spend some time with God.  He redirected my heart, showing me the people He had for me.  People like Jonathan.

This year, I celebrated National Friend Day.  I hope you did as well.  If not, I hope this year, you find your Jonathan!

Thank you so much for reading today.  Please comment below and let me know what you feel is important in friendship, or how someone has been like Jonathon to you lately.  If you do not know this God of mine, I would love to share Him.  Please feel free to send me an email or message on social media.  I always love to pray with and for people!

Finally, please follow this blog by entering your email address below.  Also, find me on Pinterest, Twitter and now Facebook!!

     Yesterday, I shared with you God’s call for me to fiercely love those He put in front of me, a year ago.  As I was ready to quit using some of my gifts and talents, He put images of those He was reminding me to love in my mind, and I thought I understood. As usual, I had no idea God was not done teaching me on this topic.  Isn’t it crazy that now, a year later, God has continued to turn my heart upside down with a book about loving, Everybody Always???

     One of my pastors shares that the apostle John encouraged us, at the end of his life, that love is the most important thing.  Although I cannot remember his exact quote, my pastor will say something like, “At the end of John’s life, after all he has done and seen, John tells us, above everything, the most important is to love.”

     I thought I understood this idea…Don’t you love how God will show you something new and something deeper when the time is right.

A few nights ago, I had a friend on my couch, broken and crying over some hard stuff in her life.  As I sat and listened, and hugged her, and hurt for her, God said, “THIS is what I mean.”  As I shared in my last post, God broke some ambition in me during that night of worship a year ago, He unbusied me and told me to love.

This night, with my friend, He said, “This is what I meant…although I may give you opportunities to use your gifts and skills they are not most important.  You have been very worried about how I am going to use you, Erin, walking with my precious daughter and loving her through this difficult time, is the most important thing I am asking you to do.”  Yes God, now I understand.

     What makes this call to fiercely love so wonderful?  Love is an equalizer, it does not matter who you are or what you do, you can love.  It does not matter what your title is, where you work, how much money you make, if you are married or single, or how old you are, you can love.

And ultimately, love saved the world.

Greatest of These

God may give us opportunities to do many things in our lives, but loving people will always be the most important.  If we do not truly value and invest in the people God puts in our presence, we will miss the point entirely.  Who is God asking you to love today?

“For God so love the world, He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

If you do not know Jesus and you want to, if you want to have a relationship with this God I am talking about, who loved us so much He gave His life for us, send me a message.  I would love to share Him with you.