Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I got out of bed at 2:45 this morning, as I do most mornings, to pour my husband's coffee, pack his lunch, and send him off to work.

The world outside was dark, and my kitchen floor was cold. I could feel the icy air breaking into the house through the leaky door frame.

Chris joined me in the kitchen, and as he put on his coveralls, he called "the weather lady". He set the phone to "speaker", and put it on the counter.

"Good evening," she said (she never says "morning" until it is past the time at which reasonable people get out of bed), "the time is 3--05--temperature--negative--7".


Yikes. The coldest day of the season so far.


He kissed me good-bye, and I handed him his cooler.

"Keep those kids inside today, and try to stay warm..."


I sat on the couch to have my quiet time with the LORD, and then, I crawled back into bed to snuggle my sleeping baby for another hour or two before the rest of the world woke up.

As I drifted off to sleep, I got to thinking...

There are folks who think that, by homeschooling my children, I am being over-protective.

I've been told that my children need to be spending a great deal of time outside of my house, away from me, being exposed to people who think and believe differently than my husband and I do.

And I wonder...

--What would those same people think if I chose to send my children outside today, in the bitter cold, without the proper clothing?


--What if they weren't wearing a winter coat, and hat? No mittens? No snow pants? No heavy socks?  No waterproof boots?


--What if I sent them out after breakfast, and forbid them from coming inside until late afternoon?


--And what if, when questioned, I said that I did all this because I believed that they needed to be exposed to lots of cold air? That not to do so would be overprotecting them?


Would they agree with my logic, or would they implore me to shelter them inside, where it is warm? Would they not admonish me to wrap them up snugly in winter attire before sending them out next time?


The truth is, we live in a world that is cold and uncaring toward our children.


Sending little, fragile souls out into it alone, for long periods of time, without first giving them the covering of a thorough understanding of the Word of God is just as irresponsible as sending them out to play in below zero weather wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea."
Mark 9:42

The only real difference is one of time.

We see the effects of frostbite almost immediately.

...blue fingers, noses, and cheeks...Numb toes...that throbbing sensation...


When frostbite is severe, the results can be permanent. Some people feel pain in the affected areas of their bodies every time they are ever out in the cold again, for the rest of their lives. Some people even lose fingers and toes.


The effects of sending our children away from us, to secular caregivers, teachers, and institutions, are more subtle at first. We may not notice the results of the seeds of doubt that are planted in our children's hearts until much later in life, but we will see them. 75-88% of children raised in evangelical Christian homes walk away from Christianity by the time they reach their freshman year of college. Most of the time, permanently.

We reap what we sow.


So today, I'll keep my little ones indoors. I'll dress them in warm clothes, keep the furnace blowing, and feed them nutritious foods to grow their bodies healthy and strong. Another day, I'll wrap them in their winter outerwear and take them outside. I'll bring them back in before it gets to be too much, and I'll give them warm milk, mixed with honey, and cinnamon, and nutmeg to drink.

More importantly, I'll teach them the Bible. I'll teach them what we believe and why we believe it. I'll teach them about the issues of our day and age, at a level they can understand, and I'll teach them how to think critically about those issues. I'll teach them discernment.

I'll take my responsibility to teach, train, and prepare my children in the ways of the LORD seriously.

And when the cold wind blows, and the wolf comes howling at our door, by God's mercy, they will fear no evil, for He is with them.


And when they leave my house, and go out into the world, if I've done my job they will be strong and faithful, equipped for whatever the World and the Enemy may throw their way.

By His Grace,


Tiana
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Praying for Little Ones

Last week, I was encouraged by my friends At The Well to pray more specifically and intentionally for my husband.
This new way of thinking and praying made a huge difference–in me!–and it got me to thinking about how God has been teaching me to pray for my children.
Life with preschoolers can certainly drive us to our knees. The question is, what are we praying? Are they surface level prayers? Are we pleading to God to just get us through the next 10 minutes?
One passage of Scripture that has helped me to pray for my children in a more focused way is Luke 2:52,
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
Sunday–Their Salvation. We pray that our children would come to Jesus Christ as Savior through repentance and faith at the earliest possible age.
Monday–Their Education. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and understanding.” Proverbs 1:7. We pray that God would give us wisdom as we teach our children, and that they would eagerly receive instruction.
Tuesday–Their Physical Growth and Health. We pray that the LORD would continue to care for and protect our little one’s physical bodies, that they might be healthy and strong for His service.
Wednesday–Their Obedience. We pray that God would teach our children to obey and honor us, their parents, for His sake. (Ephesians 6:1)
Thursday–Their Relationships. We pray that our little ones would learn to love their neighbors, including those in their own household, as they love themselves. We pray that He would bless them with close, loving relationships within their families and the Body of Christ, and that He would teach them to show His love to those who do not know Him.
Friday–Their Protection. We pray that God would place his hedge of protection around our children, and that He would keep the Evil One far away from them.
Saturday–Their Purpose. None of us know what our children will grow up to be. We pray that God would use our children mightily in His Kingdom–that the would be His faithful, lifelong servants–and that He would make His calling on their lives clear to them.
**I noticed this morning, as I went to post this, that this week’s project At the Well is praying for our children! Their list is different, and definitely worth considering.**
By His Grace,
Tiana
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A New Adventure

I am delighted to announce that, as of the beginning of this new year, I will be a regular contributor to At The Well: In Pursuit of Titus 2.







I really enjoyed writing a guest post for them a while back. My first post as an official contributor debuted this morning:

http://www.titus2atthewell.com/prayer-for-a-tired-mom/

Please hop over and pay them a visit!

One of the things I love so much about being "At The Well" is their commitment to encouraging and exhorting women in our roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers. I have been blessed and stretched by the series of weekly practical application projects they are doing each Monday in 2011:



Last week's challenge was to begin each day in the Word of God--a habit that, I confess, I fall in and out of routinely. It was a lot easier to do when I had only myself to care for. Now, there are six of us!

This week's challenge, however, has inspired me on a different level:


I know I don't pray for my husband enough. 

It's not that I don't think of him or care about him throughout the day, but sometimes I have a hard time focusing. I know I should pray, but too often, I don't know what to pray.

So, I took the prayer calendar from this post and put it in my sidebar. It will serve as a reminder to me, as well as to anyone else who'd like to join me in praying more intentionally and specifically for our husbands.

There are so many habits that I'd like to change and improve on in myself. It's tempting for me to get down on myself...to dwell on my shortcomings and allow them to paralyze me--but I'm not really the one who makes the change, am I? Christ is working in me to make it happen.

"for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13

 I am so thankful that God is not finished with me yet.

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you Only let us hold true to what we have attained."
Philippians 3:12-15


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Where to Start?--History with Preschoolers

I dare you.
Ask your preschoolers how old you are. Then, ask them how old grandma and grandpa are.
The answers you get will probably be quite amusing!
I remember when I was about three years old, asking my mother what life was like back when there was no color in the world. She gave me a perplexed look…and then, the light went on.
I had recently seen a old black-and-white movie on television. After we had discussed why there was no color in the movie, I had come to the ridiculous conclusion that the entire world was colorless when my mother was a child–and that God had only recently decided to paint our planet!
I’m sure you can tell similar stories about your own childhood–young children tend to have a warped perspective when it comes to time.
So how do we change that? How do we teach history in a way that will at all make sense?
It all depends on where you start.
Friday, January 7, 2011

Tax Breaks for Homeschooling Families--Carrot or Stick?

Photo courtesy of chatirygirl

With the election over, and the new year begun, it's time to send our representatives to Washington.

Some of our newly elected representatives may think they are doing homeschoolers a favor by giving us tax breaks.

Now, don't get me wrong...I love tax breaks! Don't we all?

However, "favors" almost always come with strings attached...

Strings that homeschoolers would prefer to do without, such as:

  • State involvement in curriculum choice,
  • Standardized testing (based on government school curriculum, of course),
  • Mandating that students who perform poorly on standardized tests be enrolled in public school,
  • Piles of paperwork, phone interviews, or even school official visits, to "prove" that we are homeschooling,
  • A general attitude of distrust that says, "We (the state) have given you so much. Now we expect a few things in return."
Would these kinds of things happen right away? Maybe, maybe not.

However, this is the kind of thing that can give the government a proverbial foot-in-the-door into our lives. If we don't see "sticks" like these show up immediately in "carrot" proposals, that doesn't mean they won't come. Should the LORD tarry, we will have elections again, and the next batch of representatives may not be nearly as sympathetic to homeschooling.

While it would be nice to keep more of our own money, we don't need it in the form of targeted tax cuts that will impose more regulation on homeschoolers.

Finding a way to curb out-of-control, wasteful spending on government education--now that would save everyone money! I can figure out a way to give my children a superb education without spending $9,000 per child per year...why can't the state?

For further reading on this subject, please visit:

SpunkyHomeSchool--Homeschoolers and Tax Breaks --she has some critical words for the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). This is an organization I respect, but it needed to be said. If you're a member of HSLDA, you especially need to read this and let them know what you think about it.

Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA): An Open Letter to Our Legislators --This is very well-written letter from my state's homeschool advocacy group. If you're from Wisconsin, WPA encourages you to print as many copies as you need and send them to your state elected officials. If you aren't up here with me, enjoying 14 degree weather (that's before the wind), please consider using this letter as a template, and writing your own letter.

By His Grace,


Tiana
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Biblical Literacy for Preschoolers in 2011

Happy New Year!!
A photo taken by my sister, at Grandma and Grandpa's house, on Christmas Day. From left to right: Micah (2), Eliora (6 weeks), Tiana, Acacia (4), Christopher, Asher (6)

In 2011, many Christians, including myself, have decided that they are going to read through the entire Bible at least once. If you’re looking for a Bible reading plan to help you make that happen, check out YouVersion.
But, what about your preschoolers? Can you read the Bible, from cover to cover, to them?
Probably not–for a whole host of reasons–not the least of which being that many parts of the Bible aren’t exactly “G-Rated”. (Although, my friends At The Well presented a slightly different opinion this morning that still has me thinking.)
So what’s the solution? Allow me to introduce you to my favorite way to chronologically teach the Bible to young children.

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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

Quiverfull Family

The Modest Mom

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