Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Time To Learn

As one year comes to a close and a new year dawns, I am struck by just how much God has taught our little family in 2009.

We have learned, through the experience of my husband's time of unemployment, that God seeks an attitude of humble gratitude from us on a daily basis. Realizing that our provision truly comes from Him and Him alone--accepting little, blank envelopes of unexpected blessing, with nobody to thank but God--set us on our heals, and made us realize that we still have so far to go in our recognition of our dependence upon Him.

We lost a long time friend and his teenage son in a plane crash this summer. During the weeks that followed, heaven and eternity seemed to be closer than ever, worship became more honest and meaningful, and our view of God's care for the fatherless and the widow changed forever.

Before I became a mom, I used to think that as God blessed us with children, we would teach them things. I have since learned that the Lord more often than not, uses our children to teach us. There is nothing more refining than being a parent, and nothing makes my shortcomings more glaringly obvious than teaching and training up children.

As parents--and especially as home educators--we need to be constantly learning.

  • What plans do you have for reading this year? Do you have a plan for Bible reading? What about other worthy books? In 2010, I plan to read/finish reading:

  1. Family Driven Faith by Dr. Voddie Baucham, Jr.
  2. When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling by R.C. Sproul
  3. Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacey McDonald
  4. Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul
  5. Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade
  6. Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

  • For auditory learners, what do you plan to listen to? My MP3 player has become my new best friend in 2009. A few resources that I access frequently are:

  1. sermonaudio.com -- I download and listen to sermons from pastors all over the country from this website--all for free
  2. bluebehemoth.com -- This is Vision Forum's download site for audio and visual media. If you are interested in their materials, this is less expensive than buying the CDs and DVDs from their website. Additionally, they give away two free MP3 downloads daily to everyone who has an account with them. An excellent resource!
  3. christianaudio.com -- A great place to find Christian ebooks and other audio materials. They give away a free ebook each month, so be sure to sign up for their newsletter.
  4. ncfic.org -- The National Center for Family Integrated Churches has an extensive download library of free audio and visual materials of interest to Christian home educating families.
Hoping that your new year is filled with God's richest blessings!!

Tiana
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Do You Mean, "Unsocialized?"

Earlier this week, Mr. J. Michael Smith, president of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), wrote a Washington Times Op-Ed about the "socialization" of home educated students. I encourage you to take a couple of minutes to read his piece yourself:

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/washingtontimes/200912140.asp

In the article, Mr. Smith cites recently concluded, long-term research, that proves what homeschooling parents have long known to be true:

Home educated children grow up to be well adjusted, economically productive, community minded, responsible adults.


The study measured issues such as gainful employment, satisfaction with having been homeschooled, participating in community activities, and voting.

While these findings are important, and I appreciate Mr. Smith's article, I don't think it is going to silence the critics who are screaming,

"But what about socialization?!"


This is because, when the critics play the "socialization" card, they are not talking about well adjusted, economically productive, community minded, responsible adults.

Not at all!

What they really mean when they question the "socialization" of homeschooled children, is that they don't have the opportunity to have their attitudes and behavior affected by the "herd mentality" of their peers.

In other words, they don't act like kids their own age.

To clarify, the socialization contingent is worried that homeschooled children will not:

  • Have the chance to tease or be teased, bully or be bullied,
  • Learn to dress, talk, or act in ways that make them "cool" to other kids,
  • Make choices based on what "everybody else" is doing,
  • Go through a stage where their parents are "stupid" and "just don't get it",
  • Be exposed to popular media that their parents might find offensive,
  • Become tolerant of bad behavior and faulty ideas in the name of "diversity",
  • Learn to believe that their parents' religious and/or political views are "narrow minded",
  • Spend large portions of their time involved in competitive sports,
  • Become obsessed with members of the opposite sex, date, and go to the prom,
  • Have their hearts broken, or worse, a few times, because, "it's just part of growing up",
  • Learn to accept mediocrity and become dependent upon others for their identity and self-worth.
I could go on, but I think you get my point.

If you don't believe me, next time someone asks you the dreaded "socialization" question, ask them to clarify,

"What exactly are you worried about?"

Chances are, they will mention these very things.

If you start talking about economic independence, stable, happy marriages, making responsible choices, being involved in community and church activities, having respect for authority figures, or voting, they will probably look at you like you are speaking Martian.

For them, it has never been about whether or not you will raise well-educated, responsible adults

It has always been about whether or not your kids will act in the same silly, cliquey, immature way that every other "normal" kid they know acts.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Real or Pretend?

Try playing this game with your little ones...

Tell me, children, which of these stories are real and which are pretend?

  • God sent a great flood to destroy all life on earth, but kept Noah and his family, as well as two of every kind of animal, safe on a big boat called The Ark. 
  • A poor young lady named Cinderella was transformed into a beautiful princess by her fairy godmother, and went to the palace to dance with the price, riding in a pumpkin coach. 
  • When Moses and the children of Israel were trapped by the Red Sea and being chased by Pharoah's army, Moses raised his staff and God parted the waters, allowing the Israelites to cross over on dry land.
  • When you lose a tooth, you should put your tooth under your pillow. If you do, in the middle of the night, the tooth fairy will come, take your tooth, and give you a present in it's place!
  • Wise men, from the east, saw a bright, shining star in the sky. The star meant that a new king had been born. The wise men journeyed from their faraway land, all the way to Bethlehem, where they saw the Baby Jesus, worshiped Him, and gave Him gifts.
  • On Christmas Eve, a jolly man in a red suit named Santa Claus travels from his home at the North Pole in a sleigh pulled by flying Reindeer, and visits all the children on the earth. He lands on the roof tops, slides down the chimneys, and leaves behind presents for them to open on Christmas day.
Did you do it? How did your kids do?

If your kids are young, chances are they had a hard time discerning which stories were real, and which were pretend. This is because little children, by nature, are not good at telling the difference between fantasy and reality. Children generally believe what adults tell them--especially people they trust--and one miraculous sounding story doesn't sound much different from the next. Unless, of course, we as parents tell them, "This story is true--it really happened!" or, "This story is pretend. It's just a fun story."

As a mother, one calling that I take seriously is to teach my children discernment. I am admonished to lead them to Jesus, and to not do anything that would cause them to turn away from faith in Christ.

"And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 
But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, 'Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 
'Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.'
And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them."
Mark 10:13-16 NASB

Childlike faith--it's what makes it easy for little ones to believe the message of the Gospel. It is also what makes it so easy for them to be deceived.




"But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."
Matthew 18:6

In our family, these truths have lead my husband and I to make the decision to be honest with our children about Santa Claus.

From the very beginning, they know he is not real. 

We aren't scrooges about it, and we don't attempt to cut off all exposure they might have to the concept. We simply tell them the truth. Santa Claus is just a fun, pretend story. Not real. St. Nicholas, to be sure, was a real person who lived long ago--and we tell that story!--but the North Pole? Flying reindeer? Sliding down chimneys? Nope. Not real.

We read our children the Word of God. We want desperately for our children to believe the wonderful, miraculous, hard-to-believe truths of the Bible. We have seen that inauthentic faith and unsound doctrine is often linked to a rejection of the more "supernatural" portions of the Scriptures. Therefore, we think it unwise to lead our children to believe that Santa is real, only to tell them otherwise at some later point in their childhood. We don't want them to assume, after we've burst the Santa Claus bubble, that Jesus--the reason we celebrate Christmas!!--is also not real.

This decision seems so obvious and logical to me, that I've almost gotten myself in trouble a couple of times with other children's parents. Once again, I am dumbfounded by Christian parents who seem to have a vested interest in having their children believe that Santa Claus is real.

I completely understand it from non-Christian families--for them, the "pretend story" of Santa Claus is far more fun than the "pretend story" of a baby being born on a cold, dark night in Bethlehem and being laid to sleep in a feeding trough.

But, from Christians? What could the possible benefit be for believing parents to have children who believe in Santa Claus just as strongly--if not more so!--as they believe in Jesus Christ?

While I haven't done any definitive research on the subject, I can think of a couple possible reasons:

"We don't want to rob them of childhood."

Maybe it stems from watching Miracle on 34th Street too many times, but in our culture, a child who does not believe that Santa Claus is real is seen as having been deprived of something. Most of us grew up believing in Santa Claus. Admittedly, one of the reasons I am able to soundly reject the notion of deceiving my children in this way is because my parents had similar sentiments when I was a young child. 

Now, this is not to say that we never pretended about Santa Claus. We certainly did! We watched the classic television programs like Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. We put out cookies and milk "for Santa", but I was pretty sure that Dad ate them. There were always a few presents under the tree that were labeled "from Santa"--but "Santa Claus" obviously had grandma's handwriting! Nonetheless, I always knew it was pretend.

In our home, my husband and I do a lot less pretending about Santa Claus than I did growing up. There are many who would argue that pretending about Santa Claus at all detracts from the celebration of the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ--and frankly, I lean in that direction most of the time myself--but we do accept the fact that Santa Claus is ubiquitous and therefore allow our children some exposure to the stories, songs, and poetry about Santa.

Santa Claus as a Reason for Children to Behave

Sing it with me,


"Oh, you'd better watch out,
You'd better not cry!
You'd better not pout!
I'm telling you why,
Santa Claus is coming to town!"


There are plenty of parents who use the impending arrival of Santa Claus as a reason for their children to be on their best behavior. Most deplorably, some parents will actually tell their children that, if they don't really believe in Santa Claus, he won't bring them presents.

While I will be the first to admit that raising well-behaved children is difficult, I am not allowed the luxury of  inventing stories to manipulate my little ones. Moreover, my children are commanded to obey me as unto the LORD, not as unto Santa Claus.

Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.
HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise),
SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1-4

My children are to obey their father and I because God commands them to, not because they may or may not be brought gifts on Christmas Eve. If I need to use Santa Claus as an incentive for my children to obey me, then I probably need to re-evaluate what I am doing as a parent to win the hearts and attention of my children.

Ouch.

Additionally, I can think of more than one example of children who were "provoked to anger" when they discovered--through one method or another--that their parents had been lying to them about Santa (and the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc.) for all these years.

From the parents' perspective, it was harmless fun. From the children's perspective, it was nothing more than a bold-faced lie.

How long will it take for those parents to win their credibility back with their children? More disturbingly, will those children ever look at the real stories of Christmas and Easter with anything but doubt ever again?

"He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake,
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!"

Don't we tell our children similar things about God? Why should we assume that they will not lose their confidence in Him--and in us--when they realize that we have not been honest with them?

When it finally comes down to it, more children in America worship--yes, I said WORSHIP--Santa Claus than worship The Lord Jesus Christ.

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen.
Romans 1:25

Dear friends, let us be careful with the hearts of our little ones this Christmas. St. Nicholas was a real man who lived long ago and loved and worshiped Jesus Christ. He was even imprisoned for his faith. The good that he did during his life was for and because of Jesus.

We can have all sorts of fun with pretend stories, but the modern day insistence of parents on telling their children that Santa Claus is a real, magical being, smacks of idolatry.

So, the next time you see a man in a Santa Suit, please, please, tell your little ones that he is just "A nice old man with whiskers."...

And remind them that our Lord Jesus Christ, who is Emmanuel, God with us, as preached to us by the Holy Scriptures, is the reason that we celebrate Christmas.

And He is very real indeed.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Most Important Thing

If I teach my children to speak Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, and Japanese, but do not teach them to love God, I have nothing.

If they know how to tell time and have their times tables memorized, but do not know the God of time and all eternity, it profits me nothing.

If I teach them all about psychology, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy, but they do not love the LORD their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, I have gained nothing.

If they are well versed in William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Edgar Alan Poe, but do not delight in the Law of the LORD, their learning has come to nothing.

If they know about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln, but do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior and LORD, their knowledge is meaningless.

If they are champions at spelling bees, get perfect scores on their SATs, and get accepted into the best universities, but reject their Creator, I have accomplished nothing.

If they are successful beyond my wildest dreams, if they have huge paychecks, giant houses, and lavish lifestyles; If they gain the whole world, and yet lose their souls, I am an utter failure.

So now I see that reading, writing, and arithmetic are important, literature, languages, and history are all valuable, science and social studies have their place,

But if I my children do not become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, I have merely educated them.

I must do more than educate them...I must disciple them.

I must teach them to love the LORD.

"Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?"

And He said to him, "'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'

This is the great and foremost commandment.

The second is like it,

'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'

On these two commandments depend the whole law and the prophets."

Matthew 22:36-40 NASB
Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for the Responsibility

Yesterday, I overheard a mom say,


"I don't know how I'm going to survive the next few days!"


I was confused at first, but as the conversation continued, I finally understood her point:

Her kids were going to be home from school for five whole days, and they were already driving her crazy. She was counting the days until school started again.


How sad.


Yes, I said it. Sad.


Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am nowhere close to a perfect parent. My kids drive me crazy on a regular basis, too. And yes, I do lose my cool, lose my victory, lose my patience, and yell at my kids. It is a constant, ongoing battle against sin in my heart, and in the hearts of my little blessings.


But, here's the thing...it's worth the effort!

The responsibility to bring up children who will love, honor, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with all their hearts is a weighty one, and it has moved me to tears and dropped me to my knees on more than one occasion....


...but I'm thankful for the responsibility...


                             ....and it's my responsibility, whether I like it or not!



These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NASB



Sending my children off to government schools isn't going to change that responsibility, nor help me to fulfill it. All it might do is give me a temporary "break" from the presence of my children, allowing me to shirk my responsibility and serve myself.

Worded differently, it gives me an excuse to delay my obedience and someone else to blame for my children's poor habits and bad attitudes.


So, thank-you LORD.


Thank-you for the responsibility.

Thank-you for the privilege of being Christopher's wife, and Asher, Acacia, and Micah's mother.

Thank-you for the opportunity and the freedom to educate our children at home, in accordance with our faith and values.

Thank-you for the blessing of being able to study the Scriptures, attend church, and fellowship openly with other believers.

Thank-you for this home that you have given me to keep, care for, and serve my family in. Thank-you for teaching me and refining me in the daily, mundane things of life.

Thank-you for making it clear to me that I can do none of this on my own, and that I am woefully inept, totally inadequate, and completely lost without the saving power of your Son Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection.

I'm still learning this stuff every day. I have no where near "arrived" at the picture of ideal motherhood, but I am so blessed by the road I have been given to walk.

I have so much to be thankful for.


Happy Thanksgiving!!
Saturday, November 21, 2009

Operation Christmas Child--Pack Your Shoe Boxes!!



The deadline for dropping off boxes for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child is this Monday, November 23, 2009. Are your boxes ready?



Having spent all of last week out of town with my hospitalized grandmother, I put off getting ours turned in until the last minute. We packed, labeled, and dropped off our boxes at our local Christian book store yesterday. Thankfully, we had already done all the shopping weeks ago!

You can find a drop-off location near you here: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Drop_Off_Locations/


The kids had a lot of fun packing their boxes!


This activity did not cost us much money, and it was a great way for us to teach our children about giving to others who are not blessed with the abundance that we have become used to.

Start with a standard sized shoe box.

Since I buy shoes to last a long time, I almost never have an actual adult-sized shoe box in my house! I decided this year that we would use shoe box sized plastic containers with lids.

This also eliminated the need to wrap the boxes, which I am all in favor of! (Just ask my husband--he is the official gift wrapper in our house!)

For a complete guide to packing your shoe boxes, check out this .pdf document from Samaritan's Purse.

Some gift ideas include:

  • small toys (no war related items or glass, please)
  • school supplies such as paper, pencils, crayons and markers
  • hygiene items such as bar soap, toothbrushes, combs, and washcloths (no liquids)
  • socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips or barrettes, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)
  • a photo of your family and a personal note--if you give your address, the child who receives your box my write back!
My children also decided that they wanted to draw pictures to put in the boxes. They love to draw, and giving pictures is one of their favorite ways to show love--just ask their grandparents!

Acacia seems pleased with her masterpiece!


Once your boxes are packed, it is time to make your donation to Samaritan's Purse. You can write a check for $7 per box, made payable to Samaritan's Purse (with "OCC" in the subject line), and put it in the top of one of your boxes.

Better yet! Make your donation online using EZ-Give!

This is a secure way to pay with your credit or debit card, and it allows you to track your boxes online! You and your children can find out what country your boxes went to, and learn about the ministry of Samaritan's Purse in that part of the world!

Once you've made your online donation, you will receive a receipt and printable box labels. These labels contain the bar code that will be used to track the shoe boxes. Click on "view in .pdf format" for the easiest printing.

Print enough labels for the number of boxes you have packed. Choose whether each box is for a boy or a girl, and be sure to check the "age range" box in the upper left hand corner: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. We like to have our children each pack a box for a child their own age and gender.

Tape the label securely to the top of the box, wrap a rubber-band around the box, and you're done!

All that's left to do is to take your boxes to your nearest drop-off location!

Here's a picture of my kids with their boxes in front of the Operation Christmas Child trailer behind our local Christian book store.

(It was like pulling teeth to get them both to look at the camera and smile at the same time that day.)

The trailer was being loaded while we were there, so the kids had a chance to see and talk to the man who was getting the boxes ready to ship. Asher loves making conversation with new people--especially when it comes to asking grown-ups about their work--so he really got a kick out of this!

Have fun packing your boxes! Remember, the deadline for dropping off your shoe boxes is this Monday.

(If you are participating in Operation Christmas Child, I would love to hear about it, so leave a comment! If you blog about it feel free to post a link.)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And What is My Mission Field?

Wow, are there a lot of good bloggers out there!

I've been doing my best to visit the blogs of all the other nominees for the 2009 Homeschool Blog Awards this week. I must say, most of the other blogs that have been nominated look a lot more professional and polished than my own! Once again, I am humbled by the honor.

Yesterday, I visited one of the nominees in the Best Encourager category, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.
She wrote a powerful post entitled The Mission Field. What a timely reminder of the high calling we have as wives, mothers, and home educators! I would encourage you to visit her blog and read this article. And, if you get the chance, when you visit The Homeschool Post (to vote for my blog in the "Live What You Believe" category, right?),  be sure to give her your vote, too!

This article reminded me of something I wrote this past spring, after my church's annual missions conference. I have always pictured myself as doing something "great" for God, but I haven't always realized that this "great thing" would be my roll as a God-honoring wife and mother. Even after five-and-a-half years as a stay-at-home mom, I still have a lot to learn in this regard.

Nevertheless, God continues to patiently teach me about my value to Him and the importance of the work that I am doing in my home. So here, posted on this blog for the first time, is an insight into a hopeful, but often perplexed, homemaker's heart.

SEEDS OF DISCONTENT
March 6, 2009


Why does Missions Conference always do this to me?

On any given, normal day, I feel pretty confident that I am fulfilling God's purpose for my life. It may not be the most glamorous job in the world, but hey, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, right? I love being a stay-at-home-mom, and consider it to be one of the most noble professions there is. In a day and age where women largely scorn the domestic life in favor of occupational equality with men, I have embraced domesticity whole-heartedly...with, perhaps, the exception of my perpetual ineptitude in the areas of clutter management and house-cleaning.

For some reason, however, Missions Conference causes a stirring within me--a feeling that my life could be so much more than it is. My husband would call it "feeling guilty that I'm not doing enough or giving enough". I guess that's one way of putting it, but I must admit, it is hard to shake the feeling that I should be doing more or giving more. I'm a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, for crying out loud! I believed for years that I was supposed to be in full-time, vocational ministry. By the time I was writing my Philosophy of Youth Ministry paper in Senior Seminar, the calling didn't feel quite so clear. The one year that I did spend in vocational ministry was probably one of the two worst years of my life. Ever since I accepted the call to full-time motherhood, I have experienced a level of peace and contentment that I had yet to experience in my adult life. These would all seem to be indicators that I am in the will of God. So why does Missions Conference leave me with a sense of dissatisfaction?

Do I really still believe that vocational ministry is the only way that a person can be of any real service to God? I don't think so. At least, I thought I had gotten over that lie a long time ago. Maybe I really do desire glamour and excitement. World travel, Bible translation, the thrill of telling those who have never heard. Maybe it's my lust for importance--a desire to matter, to be noticed--as if that has ever been a good reason to be in missions. That is probably the nail-on-the-head, though. My dissatisfaction stems from that lie from the deceiver that I am so prone to believe. The lie that says that I am not important, not special, not loved. If I were to do something really big for God, then I would be.

So here I am, home with a sleeping baby in my lap. I may never lead multitudes to Christ, but maybe he will. Maybe he will win them over with his engaging smile and his gentle, patient demeanor. Maybe my Asher, with his charisma and his way with words, will preach the gospel before thousands. Or maybe his will use his creativity and mechanical aptitude to come up with the next technological breakthrough that will make Bible translation faster. Or maybe he'll make so much money as an architect or an engineer that he will be able to generously support several missionary families. Maybe, he'll be a godly husband and father.

And maybe my daughter, who plays in the dirt, will eat virtually anything, picks up bugs with her bare hands, and doesn't flinch when the nurse pokes her finger...maybe she will be a missionary. Or maybe she will choose to follow the example laid out for us in Titus 2:4-5. "so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."

Either way, I don't think I could be more proud.
Monday, November 16, 2009

Thank-you!

I am so blessed...far beyond what I deserve!

Some of you may have noticed that it has been an inordinately long time since I last posted anything. I am happy to say that I have not fallen off the face of the earth!

A week ago Friday I received a phone call telling me that my 85-year-old grandmother was very sick in the hospital, and things were not looking good. My husband was out of town, so the next morning I gathered everything together that the kids and I would need to make the four hour trip north (not the simplest task in the world, by the way!) and packed up the mini-van. Thankfully, my mother was able to ride along with us to keep us company and to help keep my emotions in check as I transported my precious cargo into the north woods.


When we arrived, Grandma looked weak, pale, and very sick. A new heart regulation medication had poisoned her liver, and it was shutting down. Because of the weakened state of her immune system due to the low liver function, she contracted a virus (which we later learned was H1N1) and had developed severe pneumonia. The ER doctor who admitted her said she believed Grandma had 1-2 weeks to live. The children spent the whole next day drawing pictures and posting them all over her hospital room wall. We all thought we were there to say good-bye.




What has transpired over the past week has been nothing short of miraculous. My grandmother's liver has completely healed. Praise be to God!

She is still fighting the pneumonia, which her doctor says will be a long road to recovery, but he believes she will make it. My grandma is a strong woman and a fighter--always has been!--however, without the gracious hand of God and the prayers of the faithful, I don't think she would be with us any longer. So, thank-you to all who have been keeping her and my family in your prayers!

Once again, homeschooling has proven to be a blessing as well. We were able to spend a whole week with grandma without the worry of falling behind in school. We brought a few books with us, but truthfully, we spent most of our time learning about care and compassion for the sick, love for our families...and maybe a bit more than we wanted to know about infection control! Yet another blessing is the fact that, despite exposure to H1N1, thanks to prayers and natural immunity boosters, the kids and I have not developed symptoms. My husband joined us a bit later in the week, so there is still a chance that he might get sick, but we are praying that he stays healthy as well.

So here I am, home, trying to get back into the routine of everyday life. I'm at my computer, trying to weed through hundreds of emails (a sure sign that you are on too many mailing lists, by the way). In the clutter of my inbox, I discovered another little blessing...


I've been nominated in the "Live-What-You-Believe" category of the 2009 Homeschool Blog Awards!!

WOW!!

As a new blogger, I am humbled by this honor, and I owe it all to you folks. So, thank-you! Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and thanks for telling your friends about this blog. I know this means that God has given me something valuable to say, and that it is resonating with other homeschooling families.

I am so blessed...far beyond what I deserve.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Over-Protected, Under-Sheltered



  • In the state of Wisconsin (and probably your state, too), children now have to be in car seats until they are 8 years old,
  • On playgrounds across America, games such as tag and dodge-ball are being banned because "someone might get hurt",
  • Several days ago, I received a phone call from my insurance company, telling me that it was time to bring my one-year-old in for his "well baby" appointment, so that he could receive a flu shot. Let me get this straight--I'm supposed to bring my healthy baby to the doctor's office in the middle of flu season so that he can get a flu shot? What sense does that make?
As home educators, we are often accused of "over-sheltering" our children. Might I suggest that it is the rest of the world that has their priorities backwards?

Not long ago, a friend of mine made the decision to remove her child from public preschool. Her daughter was clearly not doing well in this environment. The class size was huge, she claimed to have no friends, and came home upset nearly every day. The bus ride was one hour long. For a four year old? Seriously? Who is supervising those kids for a full hour on the bus?...and what happens when one of those little ones needs to use a bathroom? 

Anyway, her mother made the wise decision to take her out of that school. Any "preschooling" her daughter needs she will receive at home. For most reasonable people, this would seem to be a no-brainer. But you should have heard some of the comments she received from "friends"! Comments like:
  • "She'll get used to it," (really? that's a good thing?)
  • "She needs socialization," (don't get me started...)
  • "You can't shelter her forever!"
Come on people! No one is talking about sheltering her "forever"! She's four years old! There was a time when mothers wouldn't dream of NOT sheltering their little ones. The human spirit was considered sacred and precious, and the heart of a child was to be kept pure and undefiled by the world.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Proverbs 4:23

"But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."
Matthew 18:6

The way I see it, the reason that the "Safety Nazis" have gained such a profound foothold in American culture is because we, as a society, are utterly failing at guarding our children's hearts

And we know it.
  • It begins when we ship our tiny babies off to day care when they are just 6-8 weeks old, 
  • Continues year after year as we abdicate our responsibilities as parents and hand them off to an endless stream of teachers and babysitters (who spend more time with our own children than we do),
  • And ends when our teenagers completely ignore everything we say, cut us off from their lives, and we wonder why we have no relationship with them.
Since we are totally unwilling to alter our lifestyles, live on one income, and accept responsibility for our own kids, we take all of the legitimate parent guilt we feel and warp it into a psychologically unhealthy mixture of worry and irrational overprotection.

I mean, think about it! What's wrong with this picture?
  • Parents freak out when their kids climb trees or hang upside down from the monkey bars, but they have no problem with using cable TV or video games as a babysitter,
  • We provide our 12 year olds with cell phones "to use in case of an emergency", but we don't monitor their text messages or which websites they are accessing on the internet,
  • Parents who wouldn't dream of teaching their teenagers the appropriate handling and use of a firearm seem to have no problem allowing the school system to teach them how to use a...oh, wait, this is a family friendly blog, but you know exactly what I mean...
  • Mothers weep and lament when their 19 year old daughters decide to get married and have babies, but have no qualms about sending their daughters off to college with a Gardasil shot and the phone number for the nearest Planned Parenthood office...just in case.
No wonder our kids are confused! We refuse to protect them from the things that can cause them real harm, while coddling them into an existence that consists of nothing more constant, mindless entertainment and self-indulgence. They learn how to regurgitate the right answers when it comes to test taking time, but they have no idea how to work hard, get their hands dirty, or accept responsibility. When they graduate from high school, they know how to psychoanalyze their parents, but they don't know how to balance a check book. They know how to rephrase their speech so that it is "politically correct", but they don't know how to think for themselves.

We must face reality. The government-run public education system is not preparing our children for real life. Isn't it ironic that we, as home educators, are so often accused of "sheltering" our children from real life?

The opposite is true!

The public school system is an artificial social construction at best. At no other time in your children's lives will they be surrounded by a large group consisting solely of their peers...

Unless they decide to become cogs in the industrial machine--and anyone who has spent any time working in a factory will tell you that many of the people who work in factories have never outgrown the high school social mentality!

Home-schooled children, on the other hand, have all sorts of opportunity to experience real life. They have the world as their classroom. They aren't just taught what to think (although, we surely must impart our values to our children), but also how to think. They have plenty of opportunities to socialize with people of all ages--peers, older children, babies, grown-ups, and grandparents. The have free time where they can learn autonomy. They can be given responsibilities in the home, at a job outside the home, or in a family run business.

As someone who went to public school from Kindergarten through 12th grade, I can assure you that there are a lot of things that I "learned" in school that I wish I hadn't...and a great many that I wish I had.

So, yes, I do shelter my children. But no, I do not over-protect them. There is a difference.

A BIG difference.
Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Makes Us Different?

"On October 31 the people returned from another observance. This time they fasted and dressed in sackcloth and sprinkled dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of the ancestors. 
The Book of the Law of the LORD their God was read aloud to them for about three hours. Then for three more hours they took turns confessing their sins and worshiping the LORD their God."
Nehemiah 9:1-3 (NLT)

I told myself I wasn't going to blog about Halloween. After all, I've already annoyed enough of my Facebook friends by calling it a dark holiday filled with evil and posting this link:


However, the LORD put the above passage literally in my lap this afternoon, as I was flipping through my New Living Translation Bible searching for something else that I had intended to read to my children. I would highly recommend reading the entirety of this chapter--it is a powerful example of corporate confession of sin and the patience and loving kindness that God shows to His people.

We, as Christians, bemoan the decline of our culture. We see the violence, abuse, and moral decay around us, and we wonder, "What happened? How did we get here?".

The people in the book of Nehemiah were in similar straights. Here they were, in the land the LORD had promised to their forefathers--Abraham, Issac, and Jacob--and they no longer possessed it:

"So now today we are slaves here in the land of plenty that you gave to our ancestors! We are slaves among all this abundance!  The lush produce of this land piles up in the hands of the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They have power over us and our cattle. We serve them at their pleasure, and we are in great misery."
Nehemiah 9:36-37 (NLT)

The reason for our decline is the same as theirs: they, as a people, had neglected to obey God's laws.

I am continually amazed by how American Christians have sought to justify practices that do not line up with what the Scriptures teach, simply because "it's part of our culture".

Guess what, people? God has no intention of His People "blending into" the culture! He wants people that are set apart for Him!

"So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober."
I Thessalonians 5:6

No, this does not necessarily mean "being weird", but it does mean that "We must obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29
If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that there is disobedience in the name of "our culture" surrounding us, even in the church:

  • Christians, allowing their children to spend more time filling their minds with secular and even blatantly anti-Christian media than they do filling their minds with things that are good, honest, just, pure, and of good reputation (Philippians 4:8),
  • Christians allowing their daughters to dress in ways that are immodest, unfeminine, and unbecoming, (I Timothy 2: 9-10),
  • Christians amassing huge amounts of consumer debt when the Bible clearly calls debt a curse (Proverbs 22:7),
  • Christians having surgery done on themselves to prevent them from having more children, when the Bible clearly calls children a blessings (Psalm 127:3-5),
  • Christians continuing to hold onto and pass down to their children the "fun tradition" of costumes and candy on Halloween, completely disregarding the pagan origins--not to mention the current evil--of the celebration. This is the one "holiday" that Christians celebrate without caring what they are celebrating, and frankly, I just don't get it,
  • And yes, Christians continuing to send their children off to the secular humanist indoctrination that is the government public school system (Colossians 2:8).
Now, let me be clear that I do not write these things to shame anyone or to make anyone think I am better than they are. Far be it from me to pretend to be perfect. I know I am hopelessly flawed and lost apart from the saving work the Christ accomplished for me when he died on the cross and rose again the third day (I Corinthians 15).

I also recognize, again, that for the most part, we are all such slaves to our culture that we don't even realize the evil that we do. Myself included.

But, that doesn't give us an excuse to remain as we are! We must always be seeking God's will--seeking to become more like Christ in every aspect of our being!

"We urge you, brethren, 
admonish the unruly,
encourage the fainthearted,
help the weak,
be patient with everyone."
I Thessalonians 5:14

This is a good summary of why I have written what I have written today. Some of us could be categorized as "the unruly"--we just don't seem to know any better, and we need to be straightened out!

Many of us could be categorized as "the fainthearted"--afraid to step out in faithful obedience to God's Word.

Still others might be classified as "the weak"--knowing that they should obey, but not really knowing how to do it.

Please understand that what I have written here is with a heart of utmost patience for my brothers and sisters in Christ. 

I know that swimming against the cultural flow is hard.

Temptation is everywhere,

Ridicule is always forthcoming,

and Sticking your neck out is libel to get it chopped off!

However, I fervently believe that when we stop going it alone--when we surround ourselves with the encouragement and admonition of like-minded believers--that biblical Christian community will start to change us. When together, we devote ourselves to the Scriptures and prayer, God will be at work in us! (Acts 2:42)

"For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst."
Matthew 18:20

"Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, 
and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
The effective prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
James 5:16
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spoiled! (And Something You Can Do About It)

It's already happening...


October is not even over yet, and my mailbox is filled with...

"Holiday Catalogs"!


How is a mom to help her children to understand...

being content with what you have,

giving to others, and most importantly,


the real meaning of Christmas

when the retail machine jumps the gun on me like this???

You might be saying, "Come on, Tiana, you don't seem like an idiot. Don't you know any better? Couldn't you see this coming?"

And, the truth is, I do know better...for the most part. We don't get many catalogs at this house anymore. I've done my best to get our family off of the most annoying and offensive mailing lists. The majority of what's left finds the trash can before any little hands can get to it. But, the Fleet Farm Toyland catalog--that presumably innocent tool to help Grandma and Grandpa know what the children would like for Christmas--Oh! It is the bane of my existence these days! I'll think I have hidden it where little eyes couldn't possibly find it...and then it comes back again! I keep telling myself that, when they are asleep, I'm going to pitch it. Of course, I never get around to it, and so, I find myself doing my best to appropriately parent my way through a chorus of...

"Mom, could I have...?"

"Mom, look at this...!"

"Isn't this cool...?"

"I really like this one...!"

"Don't you think Grandma would...?"

"Now, THIS is what I REALLY want!"


Good grief!! Have I really raised my children to be this materialistic? I'd like to think that we're a frugal family, but even with the level of consumer restraint we exercise, my children are still...spoiled. Ouch.

"What should we do, honey?" I lament to my husband. "How can we get them to stop thinking they're deprived and start to realize just how blessed they are?"

He suggested that we volunteer as a family at the Salvation Army Christmas Castle. Great idea...but that happens, like, 1-2 weeks before Christmas...and I need something we can do now.

So, yesterday, yet another catalog arrives in the mail--but this one is different, and it stops me in my tracks.

Many of you are probably familiar with the ministry of Samaritan's Purse, a compassion ministry to needy and lost people throughout the world, headed by Billy Graham's son, Franklin Graham.

Through our AWANA program at church, we have participated in Operation Christmas Child for the past several years, preparing a shoe box full of school supplies, hygiene items, and toys for a child in another country who otherwise would not receive any Christmas presents.

I had already made up my mind that, this year, in addition to donating items to the "group box" for each of their AWANA teams, that we would make two boxes from our family--one for a boy about Asher's age, and one for a girl about Acacia's age. Because it is from our family, the kids can draw pictures, we can write letters, and include a photograph of our family in the box.

There is one cool new thing available this year: If you make your shoe box donation online through EZ Give instead of in the box, you can track your box online, and find out exactly what country your box went to! You will also receive information on the ministries that Samaritan's Purse conducts in that country!

Okay, so back to the catalog. I think this is finally the resource I've been looking for, to help my children get outside themselves and think about others who do not have the abundance that we do.

Samaritan's Purse offers us the unique opportunity to give tangible, real, life-changing gifts to needy families across the globe. Here are just a few examples of the kinds of gifts you and your family can give together:

  • A week's worth of hot meals for a hungry child: $7
  • One month of safe, loving care for an orphan: $35
  • Rescue a child from bondage and abuse: $75
  • Seeds, tools, and training for a subsistence farm family: $45
  • A mosquito net to prevent a child from malaria: $10
  • One dozen baby chicks, that can be raised to provide eggs: $14
  • Family Survival Kit for victims of a natural disaster: $45
  • Provide one month of care for AIDS orphans and widows: $45
  • A water filter to provide clean, safe water for one family: $100
  • Bible school education for Sudanese pastors: $25
  • Copies of the New Testament for 10 children: $40
See what I mean by "life-changing"?! Most of us would spend at least this kind of money--and probably a lot more--on toys and gadgets for our kids for Christmas. If you're like us, your kids probably have a slew of grandparents, aunts, and uncles who also shower them with presents. If we want any kind of hope that our children will survive this self-centered age we live in with their compassion intact, we must provide them meaningful opportunities for real giving.

So, here's my challenge to you:
  1. Visit www.samaritanspurse.org and follow the links to their Gift Catalog. There is an online interactive catalog with video clips, as well as a PDF version of the print catalog. If you would like to receive a print catalog in the mail, call 1-800-353-5957
  2. Spend some time talking as a family about the different giving opportunities available. Prayerfully decide as a family what you would like to give. You might consider getting together with another family, or with grandparents, to give one of the more costly gifts.
  3. Another option would be to pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child. Remember, if you make your donation online, you can follow your shoe box and learn about the ministry of Samaritan's Purse in that country!
  4. Post a comment here saying that you plan to participate. When you're finished, post a comment again telling what you did. If you will email me your story and maybe a picture or two at Titus245Mama@gmail.com, I may post it on my blog.
  5. If you are a blogger, would you please let your readers know about this challenge and link here? My goal is to see at least 100 families participating in this challenge! I would encourage you to post about your giving experience with your kids on your blog as well. If you do, post a link here and I will be sure to leave a "Thank-You" comment on your blog.
  6. I'm working on a "button" for this challenge--as soon as I have a chance to talk to my favorite technology guru, Andy Traub--so stay tuned!
Thanks in advance for participating...and happy giving!!

"He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy." Psalm 72:4a(NIV)

"You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuse for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm." Isaiah 25:4a (NIV)

"He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing." Deuteronomy 10:18(NKJV)

"We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done." Psalm 78:4b(NIV)
Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mom...Unplugged

It has been one of those weeks.

It has been a week of half-completed projects, sidetracked thinking, discouragement, and questioning my abilities as a mother. I haven't spent nearly enough time outdoors, and have spent way too much time on the computer. My children took a couple of opportunities to royally embarrass me in public. The house is a mess. I love my babies dearly, but I haven't done a great job of showing it.

Where is the disconnect? What happened? A week ago Sunday, I was feeling so encouraged--so inspired! I had the chance to sit under some amazing teaching at church, and it was so timely and so applicable, that I felt like I could take on the world! So, what went wrong?

If I am honest about it, I admit that I have been "tuned in" to the wrong things. I have been paying attention to the noise--the radio, and especially the internet--and not paying attention to the LORD and His Word as I should. How will I ever accomplish what He has set before me to do in this life if I am not immersed in the Scriptures and Prayer?

I tell myself that I don't have time to spend alone with Him...but it's just a lie. I seem to be perfectly capable of justifying the time I spend alone on the computer while the children play by themselves. There's no good reason for me not to seek to be in God's Holy Presence.

So here I am, at 5am on Sunday morning, alone in the dark. I am about to turn the computer off. Short of an emergency, I will not turn it back on again today. I am about to take a shower and spend some time alone in prayer. I will go to church with my family in a few hours. I will encourage my children to take a Sunday afternoon nap, so that we can observe the Sabbath Rest. I will attempt to do what my pastor suggested last Sunday, and start writing in a prayer journal again. I am unplugging from cyberspace, and plugging back into my Creator.

Perhaps, after unplugging for a day (or two), I will be more capable of keeping things in their proper perspective. Perhaps I will be a better mother, a better wife, and a better homemaker. Most importantly, perhaps I will be a more fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.

"I am the vine, you are the branches;
he who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing."
John 15:5
Monday, October 19, 2009

"Being Equipped" and the Will of God

"Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him and He will do it."
Psalm 37:3-5

I have been amazed and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of positive feedback I have received for last week's post. I had prepared myself for the likely-hood that I would receive a lot of criticism for what I had written. Instead, I learned that there are many more like-minded parents out there than I had imagined. What a blessing it is to be among friends. Thank-you!

I have had a couple people share with me a concern, that I wish to address here today. Some people worry that, with all the voices out there calling for Christians to remove their children from government schools (mine not being nearly the loudest nor most influential, of course), that some people who are "ill-equipped" or "not committed to homeschooling" may feel obligated to do so, and do damage by (a) not being good enough teachers for their children and (b) giving the rest of us home educating families a bad reputation. While I can see where this concern is coming from, I think it is a worry that can be easily put to rest.

First off, I have little concern that people who are "not committed to homeschooling" will try it. People are skilled masters at justifying their own actions. If they really don't want to do it, they aren't going to be guilted into trying it by me, Voddie Baucham, or anyone else for that matter. Again, let me reiterate that, for many Christians, a quality Christian school will be the right avenue for providing a Christ-centered education for their children. If parents are convicted by the LORD that they ought remove their children from the public schools, but are not wanting to educate their children at home, a private Christian school is a valid and worthy alternative.

So, Why am I not wringing my hands over the possibility that well-meaning parents may leap head-long into homeschooling without really knowing what they are getting into? For one powerful, and profound reason:

If God convicts a believer's heart and leads him or her to act in obedience to His Word, He will provide the resources to bring it to pass. Do the Scriptures not teach us this?

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3

Do we not believe that when we "Trust in the LORD and do good"...when we "Commit our way to the LORD" that he will honor our obedience? Indeed, many times in my life I have found that my ability to obey comes only after my willingness to obey. As I step out in faith, and act on what I know to be true from the Word of God, He teaches me what I need to know. He provides the resources, the people, and the stamina I need to accomplish what He has set before me.

Remember Noah? Did God say, "You know, there's a big flood coming. It's going to destroy all life on earth. If I were you, I'd think of something...fast!" Of course not! He gave Noah specific instructions as to how to build the Ark, and provided the resources he needed to do the job--measurements, material specifications, brain power, man power (read: three strong sons), and a packing list. When it came time to fill the boat with animals, he didn't have to wander the fields and forests and gather the animals himself--they came right to the door of the Ark, two by two. God gave the command and the resources to obey. Noah acted in faith.

"And without faith, it is impossible to please Him,
For he who comes to God must believe that He is
and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen,
in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household,
by which he condemned the world,
and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."
Hebrews 11:6-7

There is a misunderstanding, I think, about what it means to be "equipped" to educate a child. No doubt, this misunderstanding stems from the profound control the government-run educational establishment has over the argument. We have been conditioned to believe that anyone that teaches children ought have at least a college degree--probably a teaching degree!--and should have a similar personality style and skill set to the typical classroom teacher.

I completely disagree with this line of logic. I have actually argued the point that our government schools would be in better shape if we would lose the teaching-degree requirement nonsense and start hiring teachers based on their understanding of the subject matter and their ability to communicate it to the students. There are plenty of people out there with teaching degrees who are lousy teachers--and there are plenty of people out there who would make excellent teachers who cannot be hired by schools because they do not possess that ever-important teaching degree.

But I digress...

I have seen many parents--from many walks of life--become successful at  homeschooling.

  • People who are wealthy by the world's standards, and people who are quite poor compared to other Americans, 
  • People who are mature in their faith, as well as newer believers who see the way that they educate their children as one more thing about their life that needs to change because of Christ,
  • Former classroom teachers, yes...but also factory workers, farmers, carpenters, ballerinas, truck drivers, nurses, accountants, waitresses, librarians, physical therapists, pastors, midwives and mail carriers. Homemakers who have no formal education beyond high school are often the most qualified people to teach their own children--and the vast majority of them do an excellent job of it.
While there will always be "bad parents" who homeschool (just as there are "bad parents" who send their children to government schools, and "bad teachers" in those schools), I think there is little concern that people who are removing their children from the government schools to give their children a Christian education will do damage to their children. In most cases, if these people had their children do nothing but read the Bible and play outside for their first full year of homeschooling, they would be better off then if they had left them in the public schools. That being said, if you are concerned that there are people within your circle of influence who are jumping head-long into homeschooling without much forethought, there are a few things that you can do:
  • Invite them to join your co-op. If you don't have one, start one. A good co-op of Christian home educators is one of the most excellent resources for a new home educating family. I have been immeasurably blessed by mine. It has allowed me to connect with other like-minded moms, to learn from their successes and mistakes and to grow in my abilities as a mother and educator far beyond what I could have done on my own. It has also helped to answer the dreaded, "What about socialization?" question when asked by concerned friends and family members. We get together with other families from our co-op at least once a week--more than that when you count Sunday School, AWANA on Wednesday nights, our nature club, and various other field trips that we participate in as a group. The "everybody's doing it" argument can be surprisingly powerful when taken from the other angle. "Why, so many of his friends are also homeschooled! If I sent him to the public school, he wouldn't know anyone!"
  • Become a Mentor and Friend. Titus 2:3-5 commands older women to teach younger women how to be godly wives, mothers, and homemakers. You may be in your 20s or 30s and not feel in any way "old", but if you've been successfully home educating for any length of time, you qualify as a mentor to a mother who is new to the concept. When my eldest was three years old, a woman from my church whose home-educated children were all over the age of 11 instituted a "girlfriend lunch" at her house every other Friday. Several homeschooling moms would come over and bring a light dish to pass. The kids would play in the basement or the backyard, and we would talk about the issues we were facing as wives, mothers, teachers, and children of God. I learned so much from these conversations, and was strengthened in my resolve to "love [my] husband, love [my] children, to be sensible, pure, [a]worker at home, kind, being subject to [my] own husband, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." (Titus 2:4-5)  What a blessing! How could you do something similar for those within your circle of influence?
  • Share Resources. Solomon warned that, "Of the making of books there is no end," in Ecclesiastes 12:12. This is notably true of homeschooling curriculum. The vast array of available choices for home educators can be dizzying. One of the most compassionate thing you can do for a new home educator is to allow her to look through your materials, so that she can see what is working for you before she spends a lot of money. Pointing her toward resources that are available for free at the library or over the internet is another way to be helpful. Offer to look through your favorite curriculum catalog with her, and point out what you like and why you like it. If you need a good starting place, check out the Elijah Company Resource Guide. A dear friend handed me a copy of this inexpensive gem when I was first starting out, and I've yet to find a better primer for the beginning home educator. It discusses a basic philosophy of homeschooling, introduces each major "style" of home education, and recommends the "cream" of available books and resources.  The Elijah Company no longer sells curriculum themselves, but their guide is a useful tool to help a parent navigate the endless curriculum listings on Homeschool Classifieds, Rainbow Resource, or Christian Book Distributors.
  • Pray for them. Maybe this should be obvious, but it is often overlooked. As a home educating mother, I welcome all the prayers I can get. My job and my calling are not easy ones--especially in a day and age where motherhood and the domestic arts are spit upon in some circles and all but forgotten in others. So, pray for the parents who are being led by the Holy Spirit to remove their children from government schools. As James 5:16-18 states,
"The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Elijah was a man, with a nature like ours,
and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain,
and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.
Then he prayed again,
and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit."

Let us pray that the LORD will pour down his Spirit upon those who are being called to educate their children at home, and that their obedient labor will produce abundant fruit in the lives of their children.

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About Me

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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

My Writing Elsewhere...

Fixing Your Heart on Titus 2

Did you pray for your
husband today?
Monday--His Work
Tuesday--His Integrity
Wednesday--His Mind
Thursday--His Purpose
Friday--His Health
Saturday--His Protection
Sunday--His Faith

Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of Homeschooling
Features God Made, Home Grown

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

2009 Nominee!

2010 Nominee!

My Wired Style

My Wired Style
Success is not learned. It is discovered and nurtured. What was your child born to do?

Our Curriculum 2010-2011

Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
Math--Math-U-See Primer (Kindergarten) , Math-U-See Alpha (1st grade)
World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*

Disciple Like Jesus

Disciple Like Jesus

Raising Homemakers

Raising Homemakers

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