Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

January 2014 Newsletter

Happy New Year, THEO Families!

As I have considered what I would like to share from my heart , it is the deep truths that I have experienced  within the  time I spent with our Lord in this past year.

Reflecting on the passing year can often be for some a bittersweet recollection of joyous moments and for others a welcome readiness for departure from challenges and eagerness for new.  There are many of us that have had wonderful experiences and many that have depths of pain that words cannot describe.  For me, there has been a mixture of both amazing and painful, and in all His goodness, our Gracious Father has shown me that one is not of greater value, nor does one set of experiences reflect a greater life.  In reality, I have discovered that it is in the depths of my pain, rather than the heights of my glory, that I have seen Jesus more and been blessed most richly.

We were blessed to watch our oldest graduate from Naval Basic Training earlier in the year and slowly become a man as he figured out how to work through challenges and difficulties, now independent from his parents.  We proudly watched him board a plane to take his place in Japan as he does his part to defend our freedom.

We graduated our second son this past spring, proudly handing him his diploma. We then began the task of helping him prepare for his wonderful journey toward his dreams in the future.

Letting go of what we have always known or the way that we think something should look is key in our growth as children of God. He has made promises to us in scripture—these were not one time deals, but eternal, generational.

Deuteronomy 31:8 – “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Revelation 15:3 – “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.”

God has also, in all of His majestic Grace, shown me that it is in my brokenness that I become more like Him. When I think I have it together or that I am “doing it RIGHT”, those become dangerous places, because those attitudes remove my need for my Redeemer.  As I have moved through this past year, I have come to the end grateful and blessed.  He has every detail in His perfect, sovereign scarred hands caring for me, for each of us in ways that our minds cannot imagine. Isaiah 40:28 – “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”

Happy New Year my Dear Fellow Home Educators, Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Davine Calkins – President


This is Dale Strasler.  Many of you might know my children Luke (17) Noah (15) and Bailey (13). After teaching US Economic History last year, I came to realize that there was a basic lack of workable knowledge of basic Economic thought and principles. I am considering teaching a 12 week class starting in January on Economics 101.

This class is targeted for 10-12 grades.   I believe this class will be more targeted for the 10th graders than the US Economic History, and I am viewing it as a prerequisite to that class if I was to teach it again.

The course is going to be constructed like the Constitution 101 class I taught last year and the Western Heritage that was taught this fall with:
-Video lecture homework assignment
-Supporting reading materials
-Once a week class discussions
-Written quizzes
-Written final exam
-Final Oral presentation to parents.

Since a major part of the learning process for this subject is class discussion, I feel it would be best if we had a small group of less than 16 students to participate. We will be using the materials from Hillsdale College found at the link below. An outline of the subject matter is at the bottom of this webpage.

Right now I am looking to see if there is enough interest in this class.  I plan on arranging the meeting day and time of the week around the Home School Basketball schedule and the schedule for any up coming Home School Play. We are planning on starting sometime mid January 2014. Location is currently planned to be right off US31 at my office:

Edward Jones & Co.
1076 East Sternberg Rd.
Norton Shores, MI 49444

It is short notice, I know, but if you are interested in attending this class and have questions, please email me at or you can call me directly at 616-292-6010.

I do have a little flexibility in the day, time and location, so if you are interested in this but the primary times or locations do not work, provide me feedback as to what well. I hope to have this finalized by Saturday January 4th, 2014. Please feel free to pass this information along to others.


Organized Living – Heart of Order

January 23rd from 6:30-9pm at Davine Calkins’ home, 442 W Pontaluna, Norton Shores

Join us for a time of fellowship and learning as I share my story of overcoming incredible challenges in our finances and in the process learned a life long lesson of living with a heart of organization.  In our journey, the Lord revealed His heart of order to me, and I now purpose to share this journey to benefit others and encourage them to gain order in their lives in the following areas:
-home school
-orderliness in the home
-teaching your children to manage their time
-having fun as a family
-much more

If you have heard this before, come for a refresher. Feel free to invite other home school moms.

Coming up:
February 27: A Night with Linda Nikkel


It’s ski season again! We have a couple of dates on the calendar for ski field trips to Cabarfae Peaks.
When: Wednesdays – Jan 8, Jan.22, Feb. 5, and Feb 26, 2014
Time: 9:30 am – 5 pm Lifts actually open @ 10 am, but for $ collection we need everyone there by 9:30 unless you let me know ahead of time. For an additional $5 at the time of lift ticket purchase, you can extend your lift ticket until closing (9 pm)
Cost: $12 lift ticket, with complimentary ski rental, $8 snowboard rental, helmets (which are strongly encouraged by Cabarfe’) $3. So, if skiing, total cost is $12 with or without rental, if boarding, it’s $12 if you have your own equipment, $20 if you need to rent.
Who: Anyone who wants to join us. We need at least 15 people to secure this price.
Deadline: RSVP the Sun. night prior to the trip ( 1/6/2014, 1/20/204, 2/3/2014, and 2/24/2014) by 10 pm. I cannot take RSVPs after this, as we need to confirm #’s and rental reservations by 9:30 am Mon. Please RSVP to Robin Wilcox @ or 616.607.9823
Additional info: In order to facilitate getting out on the hills, please have info for ski or snowboard rental for me when you RSVP. This info includes: gender, shoe size, weight, height, age, and level of proficiency at skiing. (You can talk to me about this or check Cabarfe’s website for classifying which type skier you are. Also, free lessons are available for beginner skiers with any lift ticket purchase. Let me know at time of RSVP if you would like one of these. There is a restaurant available for food and beverage purchase in the lodge, or you can bring your own food. There is a microwave available and outlets for heating food and picnic tables in the lodge for day skiers.


Starting January 2014, we are excited to offer our 14th annual drama production for Muskegon/Lakeshore-area homeschoolers in grades 6-12!  Our Christian-based organization is made up of homeschool students from a large geographical area including Muskegon, Grand Haven, Fruitport, and Spring Lake.  Each year, parent volunteers partner with a director and production team to help their students gain knowledge of the theater arts, learn life-long communication skills and develop their God-given talent. Our goal is to bring wonderful literature to life on stage.  Hence the name: Living Books Theater!

New this year! Because of increasing numbers of interested students over the years, we are dividing our students into two age groups:  middle school and high school, with ninth graders having the option of choosing either group. This way we can keep up the educational quality and give maximum exposure and stage experience to each student.

Please check the Living Books Theater website for all the exciting details, including shows and rehearsal times. Make sure you forward this announcement to any other homeschooler that might be interested.

Faith Hinken


Dream It  Build It
Opening March 1, 2014 at Grand Rapids Public Museum

Dream it, Build it will house 13 LEGO© bricked recreations of some of the most famous architectural structures, including Burj Dubai, the Empire State Building, the Jin Mao Tower, and the Gateway Arch.  As part of the exhibition, Tucker will also be creating a scaled model of the Van Andel Museum Center building.

The exhibit will include areas where visitors can create their own brick masterpieces while taking inspiration from the architectural artwork surrounding them.


I am a trained teacher and school counselor; and a home school mom of fifteen years.  I have worked both in private and public schools.  After graduating our youngest daughter from our home school high school in 2006, I dedicated myself to encouraging and helping parents who choose to home school.

I offer educational consulting/counseling.  I will answer your questions about education and I will help you determine the best educational choice for your child.  I will be happy to meet with you in person or arrange a phone meeting.

I offer testing:
Achievement – Educational Testing
Cognitive Ability – Intelligence Quotient or IQ Testing
Neuropsychological – Sensory and Motor Testing
I offer help with creating High School Transcripts

My daughter Allison (Nikkel) Hughes has joined me in offering Achievement Testing and Tutoring.  Allison earned a BS in Biomedical Science and she is very good at helping your child in the areas of math and reading.

We look forward to helping you accomplish the task of teaching your children at home confidently and successfully.
For more information see our web site at
For questions or to schedule a consultation, testing, transcript or tutoring please call or email.
Home School Testing Plus                                                                                          
Linda Nikkel MA –
Allison (Nikkel) Hughes BS –


Save the date! The THEO High School Prom will be on May 9 at Watermark Church in Grand Haven. More details to come!