17 Jul

Spirit Led Homeschooling Planning

Spirit led planning

After a week of plans that went awry and trips to the ER (yeah everyone’s okay…just life with peanuts!), I’ve settled in on the couch surrounded by books, planners, highlighters, pencils, stickies, my laptop and big ideas!!

That’s right mamas, I am connecting the dots of our homeschool year.

Spirit led planning

I must admit when I get to see it in little snippets and piles I get so excited. SOOOO excited. Think of their worlds being stretched, the concepts they’ll wrestle with, the history they’ll breathe in. I could nearly bust and I get soooooooooooo full of ideas. I put big plans on paper. Stickies of field trips. Lists of books and videos. All kinds of things to supplement our already great curriculum and busy schedules.

And then God whispers….

And I look at the piles and wonder. Am I planning God right out our lives? Do I fill our days with stuff and concepts and take out room for Spirit-led discovery and simple moments of joy that are essential to our life?

I’m a planner. I like lists and books, calendars and guides. God knows that…He made me that way. But He’s teaching me to use my powers for good! To use the gifts He gave me to honor Him, not allowing them to become a substitute for Him.

I don’t know what the picture of our year will look like, until its over. It is like every day is a puzzle piece, and we only know what it looks like when the whole picture comes together. God knows what it is supposed to look like…if I seek Him all the rest will come together. (Matthew 6:33)

5 steps to help plan a Spirit-led school year:

1. Pray. Seems simple. Often overlooked. Essential to success. Not only praying as you plan, before you plan, after you plan…daily, moment-by-moment. God is in every detail of our lives and we need to seek Him as we plan our days, start our daily lives, and balance family, home, school, life and more.

2. Leave blank days. Um, not just leave them…schedule them. There are days where I know we will do independent work, but that does not take all day…there is room to grow, to play, to discover. These days are the days we can follow what God puts before us — opportunities for service, following our peanuts’ interests, time to find the joy of our home and life.

3. Seek. God is with you. He’s all around you. But often we let the hands on, immediate needs, squeaky wheels part of life direct our steps. A small quiet time with God, in the Word, can change the course of a whole day. Even if you don’t see it on the page. God gives us what we needed when we need it, and if we start the day with our hearts toward Him God can use those moments to whisper to our hearts all day.

4. Grace. Jesus pours into us and whispers to our souls, and then we get caught up in our own ideas. We push to become super mom or live up to the ideas on Pinterest and Facebook. It is easy to become hard on yourself, and your kids. But, if we are focusing on the goodness of God, the grace of God, we can give ourselves grace in our shortcomings, in our undone to do lists…and we can pour out grace on our children as we guide them through the exploration of life.

5. Playdough not rocks. Your plans, your ideas, your life….let it be mold-able, changeable. Leave room, and be ready for the Spirit to whisper, to open doors for you and show you how to reach  your children hearts.

I’m still here. My stack of books. Praying and seeking. Planning and dreaming. But in it all I hope, I pray, I’m ready for God to put our puzzle together. That at the end of the year we can look back and see Jesus and lil hearts growing toward Him.

13 Nov

Light Bulb Moments

You know the moment…

…when they get it.

When the lightbulb goes on…when it clicks.

One of the coolest things about being a homeschooling mom, I think, is getting to share these moments with our peanuts. Seeing them really figure things out and take hold of ideas. Watching that lightbulb come on!

Well, I suppose this year I had my lightbulb moment about homeschooling. (Light Bulb!! — love how Gru says it in “Despicable Me”…watch it —>>> Light Bulb)

I’m not an expert. There are women who have done this years (and years and years) longer than I have. There are women with degrees, businesses, books and blogs. They are the experts in homeschooling. But this year, for the first time, I think I am becoming an expert in something…my kids.

With my calendar, my planner, and piles of curriculum around me I sat just a few short months ago. The puzzle of our school year coming together — workbooks, reading, field trips, videos, crafts — they were all becoming boxes to be checked off. And even while I planned I knew something was different….but I didn’t know the what.

To tell you the truth, I’m not sure when I figured out what was different…sometime between day one and day whatever this?? (we are in the ninth week so you do the math…I don’t do math before coffee)

The difference isn’t really the what I planned…well it sort of is.

The difference isn’t really in the how I planned….well it sort is.

The difference was in my understanding of what I’m doing and why. The difference is my understanding of my children. Of how they learn…what they like…where they struggle…their strengths…their weaknesses opportunities for improvement (ha!)…what drives them.

I prepared for our lil man who has to move even when sitting still…coloring sheets and small activities while we are reading our zillions of books.

I prepared for our girl who needs to read it and write it before it locks in her brain…her response to reading or listening to information is to journal it out and read it back to me when she is done.

There are piles of library books, stacks of math manipulatives, bins of lapbooks, and now a whole stack of already completed crafts that accompany our subject matter. And let me just tell you…this is so not for me. I learn best with simple book, some notes and to recopy the notes later. I don’t need my hands on things or to work it our in clay, but my kids do. They are hands on learners — exploring the world with every sense and putting the pieces together with everything we do. The more they can touch, play and hear what it is…the more it becomes theirs.

I have spent the last few years leading Bible studies. Teaching women to dig deeper into God’s Word — to really see what each verse says…about the Biblical story and about God. This past summer I stepped back from teaching to just focus on things at home (you know like being a wife and mother, preparing to be a foster-mother, oh and tackling that ever-growing pile of laundry). I have felt a little lost. Like I no longer had a calling or a purpose (cuz those things I stepped down to take care of don’t count??). And then one day I saw it…yep, another, lightbulb moment….I could teach my kids to study God’s Word…to fall in love with God verse by verse.

So, we started the year with Joseph. Each day we read a couple of verses and talk about what they mean. What it tells us about Joseph, the people in his life and God. We’re in week nine and Joseph is hiding silver cups and still hiding his identity. It has been so cool to watch my kids own this story — to retell it, to ask question, to feel for Joseph, to look for where God is even when life’s circumstances don’t clearly show Him. This morning they acted out Joseph’s story so far — laughing, playing different parts, using invisible people, chasing each other through the house like some Keystone Cops show — and they knew it. Every details. Every dream. Every circumstance that seemed unfair. That God stayed close. Watching my kids this morning made me feel like a Bible study teacher again. Gave me a dose of what I’ve missed — watching people fall in love with the Bible…with God.

And really, this is the lesson I’m learning this year. God called me to homeschool…this challenging, humbling, giggly adventure with my family. He has never asked me to be an expert in anything more than what He has given me — my family…my kids.

I wonder if God is as excited about my lightbulb moments as I am about our kids’??

01 Nov

Homeschool Top 10 Things

prayer sticks

I was thinking about how Facebook changes, momentarily, in November. Many people are counting blessings, grace…things to be thankful for. And here it is November 1st.

I have a lot of things to be thankful for…more than a months worth, by far. But today I thought I’d bring you my top ten list.

My Homeschool Top 10 Things (to be thankful for) that make our days easier.

1. pencil sharpener – I don’t think I would have purchased one, as they seem to be kinda spendy. But my grandfather died last year and this was one of the things we got out of his house. Who knew our daughter would take after me in her belief that a pencil only writes well when it is very sharp. The whirring sound is the sound of school work and writing…music to my ears!

2. paper cutter –I can’t draw a straight line and I’ve learned since trying to become this crafty-we-can-make-anything mom that I can’t CUT a straight line either. For a little under $40 we bought one a few years ago. We use it all the time…crafts, projects, ministry, you name it. Great investment, especially if you find yourself wanting to cut more than one of anything.

3. laminator – Another one of those things I didn’t think I would need or buy, but!!! I bought a simple little Staples brand laminator when it was on sale — like super  on sale a few years ago. I’ve been laminating anything I feed through it ever since. It is best to try and find a deal on the pouches and sheets, but you can or just by in bulk (a way to save) because you know you are going to use them. We laminate charts, certificates, worksheets, and all kinds of stuff for school. I have laminated recipe cards, signs, bookmarks and more.

4. dry erase board, crayons and markers – We didn’t buy this one. The board and markers we sort of inherited after a ministry project. And someone along the way gave the kids the dry erase crayons. We use them mostly for math “class”. This year fraction practice for our lil man has been all kinds of fun on the board with different colors and the ability to erase.

5. computers – We have two in our office/school room. This year we have instituted game time after school work is complete — the kids are learning to type, read, navigate a mouse and keyboard all while playing and having fun. We also have formally started using Rosetta Stone for Spanish.

laptop

6. prayer sticks – Admittedly these might be one of my favorite things we do. In an attempt to engage the children in prayer every morning we began prayer sticks last year. I had no idea how much we would all enjoy them. We update them periodically adding new people in our lives or taking out family members that pass away. Each morning we each pick a stick (or two) out of the jar and take turns praying for who we draw. The kids ask to do it everyday and are excited to see who they will get. It is a simple, colorful way to make prayer an active part of our homeschool day.

prayer sticks

7. our “school room” – Half office, half school room — it used to be our dining room (which is now in what used to be a formal living room). Shelves, computers, a keyboard, globe and boxes and bins full of everything we need. There is no table in here because the kids choose where to work; sometimes on the floor, on the couch, at their desks or at a table.

homeschool room

8. room to run – Oh! How important it is for them to stretch their legs. To run, giggle, screech, roll, chase and just play. It isn’t recess for us…it is life. We have school time throughout the day punctuated by periods of play in yard or walks to gather things or investigate nature. The best part of homeschool is all the school stuff that happens along the journey not in a book or in class.

come back to you

9. Paper, Paper and more paper – there are shelves of paper in the school room – white paper, lined paper, construction paper, cardstock, you name it. Creativity is never hindered by lack of material or color. It is fun to see what they make when they get an idea and have the room to cut, glue and create on their own.

10. Chalkboard breakfast table – A few years back we got this brown(ish) little breakfast table with two chairs. I never really liked the color, so this year when we decided to add two more chairs to the set I jumped at the chance to paint it all white. How cute and crisp it all looked…while it dried. Then life began to be lived on it and soon there was nail polish on it, koolaid in the cracks, and some mysterious person drew on it in pencil (that didn’t erase!). My cute white table became a pain the backside and daily chore….it was cute but this mama doesn’t need ONE more thing to clean or look after.

Chalkboard paint to the rescue…..

breakfast table

 

It was so cute!! I began to leave love notes for the family and write scripture on it daily. And when it was all clean (not chalkboard looking) it was quite stylish.

Then our daughter started cursive. The little lines in the workbook weren’t the easiest place to get a handle on the motions. So cursive practice began on the table…big, easy and erasable (3 things I like in ALL homeschool materials!). I had no idea how much we would use it for when I painted it — games (like dots and tic-tac-toe), lessons and school work practice, love notes and planning.

chalkboard table

 

There are many other things that make our days easier and are blessings in this homeschool process, but what I’ve found as I wrote as the list is that many things that I use and rely on I stumbled on. That is why I wanted to share. I would love to hear your top ten or even the number one thing that you use the most or rely on the most in your homeschool life.

21 Aug

Why I Hate Homeschool

The door was closed. And locked.

The fan was on.

And still I could hear him.

Standing on the stairs, our sweet little boy was telling me how he was waiting for me so I could see what was in his hands and he was going to hide it behind his back so that I couldn’t see it when the door opened but maybe he would just put it on the top parts of the stairs so then I couldn’t see it when I came out but I still could see it and it wouldn’t break cuz he had worked a very long time on it and had I ever worked a very long time on anything did I like legos cuz he liked legos did they have legos when I was a kid because that was a long time ago and maybe girls didn’t like legos back then but….. (oh, it went on, but I am sure you get the point)

Here I was in the bathroom. I wasn’t hiding. I was, well, using the bathroom for its intended purposes. And, yet, there was no peace.

In that moment I hated homeschool.

(please, don’t lecture me about all the moments I’ll miss when they are older or they grow up so fast or blah, blah, blah…I’ve heard. I know it. But let’s be honest, it’s hard this motherhood thing…no matter how fleeting or sticky sweet the memories seem in the rearview mirror…it is hard. And sometimes a girl just wants to pee in peace.)

I had been up since 5:30. Saw hubby off to work with fresh brewed coffee and a kiss. I had my Bible time, showered, gotten dressed in real clothes (knew I was gonna rock the day when even had on matching bra and undies….okay, I know TMI but you and I both know that makes a huge difference and somehow don’t you feel more like a grown up?) and reviewed teacher’s guides. As I unloaded the dishwasher, I prepared a hot breakfast. The kids helped unload the dishwasher and chatted excitedly about the first day of school. We ate breakfast together (even remembered to pray over it!). We took first day of school pictures. We did our prayer sticks, devotion and Bible study. The kids were excited to investigate their new school supplies (especially the super big eraser that said “Oops!” on it).

crayons

The morning had gone perfectly. Sure there had been a few shed tears over drawing arms on a self-portrait and the fact that there were no breaks for the Wii in the middle of our first lesson of the day. But hey, the end of summer vacation is a shock to their systems and I could shrug it off. I was “Big Mama” (yep, totally still rocking that Superhero thing) able to homeschool, keep a neat home and look after my man…all while looking cute, keeping up with my girlfriends and blogging!

And suddenly I was in the bathroom wondering why there is no peace, even in here.

This hating homeschool feeling welled up in me.

I felt angry.

Then I felt sad.

Then I felt guilty for feeling sad and angry.

Then I just felt numb.

I should pause here and tow the party line that homeschooling is a delightful experience for your family. Learning becomes the heartbeat of your family — discovery and relationship guide your days. The chance to influence our children’s character by teaching them and surrounding them with love in a godly atmosphere is a blessing.

And really all sarcasm aside, it all totally is, but…

Right now. I’m sitting numb in the bathroom. Hating homeschool.

I see those moms at the street corner waving goodby to their smartly dressed scholars as they ride away on the big yellow bus. I see them high-fiving as it turns the corner. I can taste the mimosas they toast as it roars out of sight. Do they go home and jump on the bed? Or nap? Or eat ice cream for breakfast? Or wander every aisle of Target just looking at all the cuteness with no runs to the bathroom and never once uttering “don’t touch”? No, I bet they enjoy a trip to the bathroom in silence and wonder what their children are doing at school.

The curse (and ultimate blessing) of homeschool is that I’m with my children ALL day. We do life together. And we enjoy it!!! Last week, during that mirage called summer vacation, there were video games, movies, outdoor adventures, sleeping in, and lots of other things that occupied their minds and time. I was invisible, except for when the phone rang and summoned them inexplicably to my side to talk incessantly. Oh, yes, there was even peace in the bathroom….sometimes.

But this week, when the school bell rang it shifted the atmosphere in our home. It was time to learn and it is my job…as mom…as teacher…to help keep those little brains turned on. Funny thing about our kids (maybe all kids?!?!?) is that the more you engage, the more they engage. They soak up all we pour out and they seek us out…and follow us to the bathroom.

The numb feeling begins to subside and I begin to realize that the kids aren’t the only ones that have to adjust to school being back in session.

“…and I didn’t use special blocks on this one cuz (oh, he really did talk the WHOLE time I was in there) I didn’t have the right colors you know I had to search through lots of boxes to find the pieces I want we sure do have a lot of legos mom but I can never find those flat ones you know the ones that are flat that have…” (bathroom door opens) “…oh, you are FINALLY out of there!! Do you want to see my creation mom?”

His blue-green eyes are so full of pride, and rocking back and forth on the step he is so squishably cute.

I tussle his hair and climb the stairs with him to investigate his latest creation.

“Mom can kids play legos during reading time at public school?” “No probably not, pal.” “Oh? Well, I love homeschool mom.” (yep, he totally did say that!!) “Me too, buddy, me too!”

 

12 Aug

I’m a Super(hero) Mom

Last year I had big plans.

Summer reading.

Field trips.

Playdates.

A summer full of fun and memory making.

Two surgeries, a family emergency and a death in the family most assuredly took the wind out of all those sails. The kids watched movies all summer.

They were bored. I was bored and summer crawled by at a lame snail’s pace. (upside we ALL looked forward to school starting)

So this year, I was determined to do better. For summer to be better!

With my calendar by my side and all my ideas rushing around in my head I did what any woman who needs direction and inspiration does.

I took to Pinterest.

And inspired I did get. Overwhelmed too. (oh and a little distracted cuz there are some killer desserts and some super cute outfits on there too!!)

So I pinned.

And planned.

And before long there were three weeks of “Summer Camp at Home” on the calendar.

(the first two weeks were themed for animals and water. We played some games, ate some snacks and did some crafts. They were good weeks, but the third week was blog worthy!!)

The third week (drum roll please) was Superhero Week.

The weekend before the camp started I gave the kids homework. Think up a superhero  identity.

Monday morning found us bound for Wal-Mart on a mission to get costume supplies.

superhero supplies

Hours later, covered in glitter, hot glue on my finger tips, we had reinvented ourselves….

superhero mama cape

…my cape…

superhero gear

 

Jester Man (our son) and Water Cheetah Archery Girl (our daughter) – gear is set out for Tuesday’s activity

While the peanuts slept on Monday night, hunky hubby and I decorated the house with lots of inflated villains. Tuesday was Superheroes and Villains day. Armed with nerf guns the kids hunted down and shot bad guys all over the house.

superhero villain balloons

superhero shooting villians

And then…Wednesday was Superhero Olympics. We invited some friends over, set up some games, and played.

superhero beanbag toss

beanbag toss

superhero obstacles

obstacle course

superhero medals

superhero medals

superhero league

elite league of superheroes

It was an incredible week and we ended it by making a movie. Yes, a movie!!

Totally the highlight of the week. I grabbed my camera and the kids and I invented scenes as we went along. When hunky hubby got home he dawned his best bad guy costume (complete with cape that we made) and we shot the “Bad Guy” (that was his name) scenes. After some editing (read hours and hours of me trying to figure out how to add music and make it cool), we sat down to the premiere on Friday night (complete with movie snacks and orange soda). It was a blast.

So, despite some diva moments (mine and theirs) and glitter on every surface of the house (even days later) summer camp at home was a smashing success. At the very least we made some awesome family memories….and a movie. (hey remember that time I produced a movie!)

16 Jul

I really, really, REALLY didn’t have a clue

We had our reasons. And they were well rehearsed.

I could spout off an impressive list…a God-centered education, overcrowding in schools, exposure to worldly concepts and issues and so much more.

And today, surrounded by piles of notebooks, planners, and books I realize….

I didn’t have a clue.

Don’t get me wrong…I still aim for a God-centered home (& education)…and while there is validity to all the reasons I thought we started to homeschool I really, really,  REALLY didn’t know the reasons we would keep doing it.

I’m a planner. I love to plan {sometimes I think I might love to plan the how better than I like the what but that’s another blog post for another day}.  But this year as I outlined topics, read through school books, planned field trips and searched the library online catalog I began to get excited. As the weeks began to lay out in front me, I saw all the places where little minds were going to get excited and engaged.

I began to see a small boy marching around the house with his shield and sword….made as we study the crusades and what the true armor of God is. I saw the small girl who gets googly-eyed over Robin Hood {have you watched the BBC version????}, light up with scissors in hand as we put together the lapbook filled with some of England’s greatest literature and myth all wrapped up in one bow wielding philanthropist. There are samplers to be made as we study colonial times and chances to walk in the footsteps of amazing real-life heroes for freedom and our liberty on field trips.

As I spouted off my list of reasons and well rehearsed speeches about socialization and living on one income, I couldn’t see the realities of homeschooling. The days when we’d forget to pray and read the Bible…um, God-centered, what?? The days when my children spent more time trying to scratch each others eyes out then breathing…family bonding, healthy socialization, what??? The days when math ended in tears, reading was more grumbling then sounding out and I forgot to plug in the crockpot to actually cook the roast. Quality time, healthy meals and what????

There are hard days and then there are even harder days. But even, then through the tears and prayer {really, God, I don’t think I can do this!??!?!} the truth of why we homeschool comes sparkling through. It is in the Bible character “go fish” games, it is in the cuddling on the floor reading library books, it is in the backyard safaris and celebrating the lightbulb moment in math. It is in science lessons with daddy and sharing our unit work with family and friends. It is talking about Egypt over dinner or taking a field trip as a family in the middle of the week.

The glory and grunt-work of homeschool all come down to the same thing.

Family.

We play, learn, laugh and live as a family. We dig into the riches of God’s Word, discover the beauty and wonder of creation, and grow…together.

There are other reasons too, of course, that I didn’t know would become so important…like tayloring their education to their learning styles, talents, passions and weaknesses; like building godly character and new skill sets; like allowing natural sleeping cycles dictate when we get started.

I had a list and plan on how to do this homeschool thing, but what I found on this incredible crazy journey filled with markers on the wall and dog hair on handwriting pages, we’ve found that homeschool isn’t something our family does…it is the heartbeat of this loud, book-filled home.

14 Aug

The Rhythm of Normal

answers

The school year was ending and I pictured summertime full of lazy reading days with the peanuts. Water. Beach. Fun.

Somehow this summer didn’t quite meet those expectations…wasn’t even in the ballpark. Instead it was a summer full of illness, surgeries, excessive heat, changed plans, and juggled schedules. The kids watched more movies than books read. I took more pain pills than vitamins. And we seemed to scramble from one drama to the next holding our breath. Although while I fought to keep my emotions in check.

Summer was a bummer.

Last week I began to gear up for the new school year. The homeschool bell was fixin’ to ring (if we had one, of course). And school would be back in session.

Instead of a lazy weekend getting ready to start the new year we were hours away saying goodbye to my loving grandfather as his life ended. I was a mess.

Through texts and emails friends and family urged me on Sunday not to pursue the start of school on Monday. “Take a few days off.” “Rest.” “It will wait.” And while their worries and sentiment were appreciated no one understood.

We needed school to start. Because that is our normal.

Crayons. Glue. Storybooks. Projects. Laying on our bellies in the living room discovering far off lands in the pages open between us. Reading Bible stories and singing scripture. Homeschool is the breath of our family. And we needed a deep breath. We needed normal.

Over-tired and overstimulated from the weekend. The kids slept in. That’s okay, they’ll be well rested.

Trying to take some fun back to school pictures. The kids began to cry because the sun was in their eyes…everything was too bright. When I called off those pictures. The kids began to cry, again. That’s okay, I’ll find a way to turn this around.

We had tears pictures. Arguments over who wanted to sit where or how they looked at each other. There was wiggling, complaining, back talk. This is not okay, I want to throw the book across the room and just cry.

This was not our normal. This is not what I craved. Longed for. This was hard.

But normal is a rhythm. Not a goal. I breathed deep, spoke softly and kept going.

And then somewhere in the middle of the afternoon, it came. A few minutes where I taught, they listened. We laughed and poured over books together. Like a cool drink of water on a hot day it felt refreshing all the way to my core.

The phone rang. The moment was broken. But it was there.

Romans 5:4 tells us that perseverance builds character and character builds hope. Yesterday God helped me over a huge hurdle and I began to teach my children a lesson. We don’t quit when it is hard or not what we expected. We were buildin’ some character, let me tell you!!

Life isn’t pretty. And it rarely goes as we’ve planned. If I had stopped we’d never of had those moments of peace, those reminders of why we do this.

As I write to you to now, my little man is laying on the floor next to me (flanked by our dogs) working on his phonics. Happily. Our sweet princess is sitting in the living room singing praise songs while chipping away at her math. Joyfully. Contentedly.

Normal.

Father, I thank you for the normal days of life. For the rhythms of family, home and life that whisper your grace to burden hearts and tired bodies. Amen.

22 May

So Many Shoulds, Just One Meant

dusty abcs

 

There is a mountain of laundry.

There are squiggles drawn by tiny fingers in the dust on the entertainment center.

There are dishes in the sink.

There are weeds waging a battle for space in the garden.

 

There is so much I should be doing.

 

There are dust bunnies sneaking out from under the couch.

The dogs smell like….well, they stink.

The cobwebs have grown bold and are mocking me.

The “to be filed” pile has outgrown the file cabinet.

 

Oh, there are things that I should be doing.

 

Across the carpet that needs to be vacuumed there is a trail of school books crayons, pencils and scissors. Little feet kick in the air, while little brains wrestle with numbers and letter sounds. Foundations of lives of learning and hearts for God are being molded this minute.

I wish my house was spotless. I wonder what it would be like to be a woman who cleans and organizes all day long. And while I suddenly feel the need to tell you that we aren’t living in filth and that I DO clean, the truth is it is not my primary goal.

 

This moment.

The walls echo with counting and reading.

“Look mom, I wrote 12 just like Jesus’ 12 disciples.”

“Mom, for my reading time can I read the Bible?”

 

It is these moments that I know this is what we are here for. When life weaves together and they chose to see life through the lens of Jesus. Where numbers equal details of Bible stories and hearts long for a little more Jesus instead of Ramona or Junie B.

I started a new addiction today….pinterest. And as I was browsing for the first time I saw a scripture reference.

 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

Our children are young, and I often hear, “when they get older, you’ll see” “or they are young, you don’t know this yet, but…”.

But this much I know.

Our children are young. Their little feet aren’t even dusty yet from walking the path of life with Jesus. But right now, as we walk together as momma holds their hands, they are learning to hold onto Jesus. That this world is designed to live for Him…with Him.

There will come a time when they are older…we are older…that momma will have to let go. And when they look back, they will see a momma waving them on in life and when they look ahead they will find Jesus holding their hand and leading the way.

Today, I choose homeschool and lovin’ on my babies. We’ll write our ABC’s in the dust, ignore the bunnies peeking out from under the couch, and the laundry can wait.

Oh, this is what I am meant to be doing!

21 Feb

When We Demand the Answers

answers

I don’t give her the answers. There is nothing new about that. Her job is to do the work, my job is to help her get to the answer and correct her work when she is done.

Yet she sits across the room clutching her pencil, scowling at her math workbook. Salty trails of disappointment stain her face.

I almost give in…just give her the answers….calm her down, hold her close, protect her from disappointment and discouragement. But I don’t.

I know she can do this. This will stretch her, grow her, make her wiser, smarter.

We do this too, you know. We demand answers from God. Our hearts writhing in self-inflicted anguish as we pray over and over for answers….

…because we want them.

…because this is too hard.

…because I don’t want to do this, God, and maybe You will do it or take it away.

…because I can’t do this, and You must have the wrong woman.

…because I need a clear sign, not this feeling or peace, but a clear sign the undeniable answer from you.

And there we sit clutching life, scowling at the world…waiting for God to rescue us or relieve us or to change His mind.

Not to say that sometimes God doesn’t give us clear answers when we ask, but, at least in my life, more times than not there’s no clear answer. God wants me to grow into the answer…move and seek Him…the journey is the answer…the thing of faith stretching…growing more like Christ.

Isabel went on to finish her math work. Teary eyed and angry she trudged her way to perfect pages…not one mistake or wrong answer. I knew she knew it. I knew she could do it. And in the end, I hated that she tortured herself (and the rest of us) on her way there.

I know I do this. I pout and carry on and ask God over and over. Does He shake His head, waiting for me to move…to get it…to grow? How many times have I missed the joy in the journey, the heavenly kisses and divine appointments along the way because I am busy being angry?

Oh, yes, it is easy to miss the things of God. When we are “me-centered” and finite. When look through our clouded, childish earthly eyes. But when we search for holy…when we hit our knees and seek to see things through Him, from Him, for Him. When we know that whatever the problem, Jesus is the answer….faith in Him, love for Him and from Him, trust in Him…just Him.

 

10 Feb

Little Hearts

sugary love

Tomorrow little fingers will turn them over and over. They will dissolve on little tongues and crunch against little teeth.

Today they are just candies. Tomorrow they’ll taste like love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I pick through the bag and lay truth on the table. Little red words, on little pastel hearts. Little red words…whispers of Jesus. Whispers of truth.

Today, as you read this I will be sitting on the living room floor criss-cross applesauce with a gaggle of homeschooled darlings. Squirming little bodies. Hands open and reaching for sugar. Hearts open and reaching for love.

And as their little hands grasp little teaching objects, what will their little ears hear?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where does love come from, I’ll ask. And I’ll wait…

And after answers ranging from God to pets to moms and back again. We’ll read the Truth together….

For God so love the world… (John 3:16)

We love, because He first loved us… (1 John 4:19)

God is love. (1 John 4:8)

Together we’ll walk through 1 Corinthians 13 reading what love looks….what God looks like.

God is patient.
God is kind.
God does not envy.
God does not boast.
God is not proud.
God does not dishonor others.
God is no self-seeking.
God is not easily angered.
God keeps no record of wrongs.
God does not delight in evil.
God rejoices in the truth.
God always trust.
God always hopes.
God always perseveres.
God never fails.
And in the fleeting moments of candy hearts, paper love notes and sticky glued together crafts may they hear the truth echo in their hearts. God’s promises of love. God’s commands of love. God’s model of love. Little girls that will find security in a love that never measures them or walks away. Little boys who will hear of a love that is bold, strong and truth seeking. Little hearts all sweet and full of the possibilities of life…waiting to be molded and stamped with Jesus’ red words.
URS 4EVR (Romans 10:9)
Got Luv? (Romans 5:8)

Just One. (John 17:3) 

Be Mine. My Love. (For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16)

Will you join me in prayer today for these sweet little people that I get to share God’s love with this morning. That theirs would be lives of bold, courageous faith. That His love becomes their reality…their truth…their love.

 

09 Mar

Organization is my Peanut Butter

Have you ever eaten a peanut butter sandwich with really crumbly bread. Somewhere toward the end of the sandwich the peanut butter is really the only thing holding it all together.  It isn’t pretty, but you get through it and enjoy it for what it is. A sticky, crumbly mess of yumminess.

Well, yesterday was totally a crumbly peanut butter sandwich homeschool day for our family. It seemed like everything we tried just didn’t come off quite as planned. You know – grumpy kiddo, not “fun” subjects, interruptions, allergies…all sorts of things were off.  And yet, we held it together. Actually, what held my day together was the fact that I was organized. In the midst of chaos I could keep my eyes on where we were and what was next. Organization was my peanut butter. (okay, yeah, I know…but you get the picture)

So today, let’s talk about it. Organization. Keeping your homeschooling pointed in the right direction, hitting your goals and keeping on top of the details. I want to hear from you…your pointers, your ideas, your troubles. I’ll share mine, and, of course….

...we have a GIVEWAY today. Actually not just a giveaway – 5!! I’ll pick five winners randomly from the comments and you’ll win ListPlanIt’s Home Education eplanner.

{total side note here — go visit ListPlanIt.com. It is an amazing resource. It has lists for projects, trips, events and more. Not to mention great advice from professional organizers. You know, I love lists. I love lists of lists so this is totally my kinda place, but really if you are a person who is struggling in this area and are looking for resources, check it out, they’ve got ya covered!!}

Now, this eplanner is full of useful pages…

~ record sheets for attendance and grades
~ goal setting sheets (by subject and student)
~ a daily planner
~ monthly unit planner
~ a hourly schedule for each day
~ resources list
~ book report pages
~ books read
~ inventory
~ field trip log
~ portfolio contents
~ and so much more

I have been privileged this week to review and use the planner myself. The curriculum I use (Sonlight) comes with a great plan, however I find that often need to write (or try to make) supplemental pages for added subjects (ie. math). The eplanner totally solved it for me. I just added the “home education plan” page to my notebook. Filled in all the added stuff for the week right there. One page. Nice.

 I love that I can open it up on the computer and just fill out the pages right there in Acrobat. I do think some of the boxes might be kind of small if someone was to print them and try to handwrite it, but that might just be my big crazy handwriting.

It also got me thinking about inventorying what we have in the classroom. I never know what I have, although I think I might have an idea. One page…or two…and I’ll be able to track what we have. Then I can keep my eyes open for sales and opportunities to restock!! Love it.

Seriously I could go on and on, but I want to hear from you too!

Want one? I hope so! It is great. Easy to use, customizable, and ready to go. How great is that??

So, now it is your turn. Tell me about how you are organized.

Do you have a planner? Does your curriculum/teacher’s guide lay it out for you?

Do you set goals for your year? How do you record them and keep track of progress?

For those of you who are homeschooling multiple children how do you keep organized (btw, the eplanner has a page for that, too!!)?

This is my first official homeschool post and discussion starter. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to hear from you and glean your knowledge.

I pray that God blesses your efforts richly and that you find ways to have peanut butter on your crumbly bread kinda days!

08 Mar

Giveaways Tomorrow!!

Okay, so I love planning…anything. But I especially enjoy planning our homeschooling. Day. Month. Week. Year!
Well, tomorrow I am so excited to be able to offer the Home Education eplanner (from ListPlanIt).

It will be a homeschooling organization party!! Woohoo!! Great timing to winner one of five eplanners, as I know many of us have started to plan next year or begin to look for our supplies and curriculum. 

So, comeback tomorrow. Be ready to share your homeschool organization tips and enter to win!
Cya Wednesday!!
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