Tag Archives: Homeschool

Courage is not the absence of fear….I hope

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I am a planner by nature. I enjoy the process of making lists, executing tasks in an orderly fashion, organization is one of my favorite areas of study. All too often I make the ability to plan for every eventuality a god in my life. Change is hard for me. Especially since I crave change and have the tendency to freak out when it actually happens. I am impatient. I resist fast changes and ones that take forever. I like change to come within my (planned for)control. I am a control freak. Why am I saying all of this? It probably qualifies me for entrance into some kind of institution. Oh well.
We are in full nesting mode here at the Andersen abode. With in the next two months we should be ready (ready?hmmmm can you ever be ready for this? Ok fine we will be as ready as possible) to take in foster children.
Our desire is to open our home to a sibling group under three years old. I am so excited. I am so excited! I am terrified!!!!
This is not like getting ready for company. It isn’t like preparing for a baby. There really isn’t anything I can compare it to.
I am attempting to acquire baby gear. I have no idea what the sex of the baby or babies will be. I also don’t know if we will have a toddler too, or two, and what their age and sex will be.
When I think of these children that I don’t yet know my heart yearns to give them everything I can. Some things I am struggling with today as I make my lists are as follows:
It breaks my heart that I can’t give them brand new beautiful only-for-them things like I did when my biological babies were born. I want them to feel like we have been waiting for only them when they come. I want to create a special place in our hearts for them. A place that remains open to them even if they have to go. A place that includes their biological family regardless of the kind of relationship we will or won’t have with them. They will be a part of our story and us a part of theirs.
It breaks my heart that in order for them to come to my home they have to be abandoned, neglected, abused or all of the above.
I want each child who comes here to know that they are loved,wanted, planned for, supported, and cared for.
I am scared of the pain that is coming no matter what happens for them and us.
I am enjoying the planning to be ready for anything. Yet I am yearning to personalize these things for the individuals who will be in our care. I want them to leave with way more then they came.
I don’t want to make rookie mistakes and have rookie expectations. (Yeah I am doomed in that department huh)

Most of all I am praising God that he will lead and guide us as he has been doing throughout the last two years of this journey. I am thankful for my husband and I can’t wait to dive into these deep waters with him hand in hand. I am thankful for my children who are willing and eager to share their rooms, parents, space, and hearts in ways they have never had to do. I pray God will protect them. I trust that God has brought us here and I can’t wait to see this all play out. I am also good with waiting. Wow that is really true?!How uncharacteristic of me!
A song comes to mind……ūüé∂there is a happy dale far far away…ūüé∂. #iamcomingwithyouteddy. If you know what that is from I will give you an imaginary medal and be your best friend lol

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We prayed for these children…

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For the past two years John and I have been following God’s plan to expand our family. There are so many different avenues to pursue, and at one point or another we have been on the path of just about all of them. We have talked through our desires, our needs, the needs of our kids, our future plans, and how more children fit into those things. It’s been a roller coaster and sometimes I just don’t think my faith is tall enough to ride it.

Matthew 25:14-30English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Talents
14 ‚ÄúFor it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‚ÄėMaster, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.‚Äô 21 His master said to him, ‚ÄėWell done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.‚Äô 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‚ÄėMaster, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.‚Äô 23 His master said to him, ‚ÄėWell done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.‚Äô 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‚ÄėMaster, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.‚Äô 26 But his master answered him, ‚ÄėYou wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.‚Äô

Investment is a risky business. Just like the servant who hid his talent in the ground, I want to keep what God has already given me safe. Yet, somehow, I am not at peace with that. God gave us a wonderful family. Our kids are so looking forward to having a little brother and sister to mentor , love, and be friends with. John is longing to spend his vast amounts of fun, love, protection, relationship, and strength on them. I feel that denying these new children the chance to know them is a disservice. I cannot wait to hold them, love on them, take care of them, homeschool them, and share all God has given me with them.

The aspects I struggle with are the when, the how, and protecting my kids from hurt, and negative influence. No matter what we do, our lives will change forever. I want to ensure that change is good.

I have seen God change and recharge my heart through all the twists and turns he has taken us through. Each new situation brings growth. Amazement overtakes me when I consider all he has done, and peace has come in the waiting.

Isaiah 40:31English Standard Version (ESV)
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

All along, the one thing I have refused to let go of is the protection of my children. Funny, I prayed for my kids from before they were conceived, prayed with them through each stage of their lives. I stood before God at church with their father and gave them back to him. And every time I feel the tug of my heart to do something risky (like be a foster parent),I start running to “bury my treasure” under the reasonable excuse of “I have to protect the kids I already have”. And today God said to me “you prayed for these children, you gave me these children, now let me take care of them the way I see fit” Wow, touch√© God!

Now, I’m not saying that I believe that we are definitely called to be foster parents. What I am saying is that I believe that God doesn’t want me not to be a foster parent just because I refuse to allow him to dictate my children’s lives. I have marveled at his ability to change my heart and open it in a split second over and over again. Why would I expect him to do any less for my kids? Who am I to say “God you are just an honorary parent, I am the one who has to protect them”? God is the best “banker” I could ever entrust my treasure to! He will make sure it is protected and grown the proper way. After all, the servant who was given the most, invested the most, and reaped the most reward. He didn’t loose his treasure, he multiplied it. Speaking of multiplying: didn’t God tell Adam and Eve to do just that?

For those times after much change….

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Almost a year ago my son went through a period of depression. For almost two months I was in his room every night, sometimes for hours, encouraging him, counseling him, praying with him and for him. We cried, we even laughed a little. The days were filled with erratic behavior. There were highs then lows. John and I prayed together and shared the burden with our parents and some close friends who were all on their knees for us all. I would describe it has the most difficult time of my mommy career, and yet, looking back, I can see it was a sweet time also. It presented me with an opportunity to share with my son my history with depression as well as my family’s. He listened and I could see first hand him putting into practice what I taught him.
During that time, I was spending a lot of time by his side, and John wondered why it was me he called for every night. It broke my heart, and I encouraged him to talk to his daddy too. I am so thankful that my husband loves our kids and is a man of wisdom and integrity. He has much to give! One night he asked for John, I didn’t find out till later what he said.

He finally did come through that time of struggle, and praise the Lord I have seen him stay on a more even keel ever since. I see him begin to struggle, then without going to extremes he returns to “normal”. The things God has taught us about our depression have really helped and have changed our lives drastically.

Times of rapid change have a tendency to bring depression into our world. The last few months have brought many twists and turns and our life today looks very different that it did a year ago. One of those changes was a recent opportunity to take in two children. My kids were so excited! We were all excited! We had a home study and got the house ready and waited only to hear that they were not coming . We were devastated. I came out after sobbing on the phone to John, knowing I needed to tell the kids. I told them. Johnny just went to his room, got his bible, and started writing. He showed me later. It was the entire chapter of Matthew 6. About how worrying will not help and how we can trust God for what we need. He had given a very long devotional to us around the fire about that passage just a week before. I had seen him struggling a little and I wasn’t sure how this would affect him, but he was fine. He was strong. He was relying on the Lord. I was amazed at this. I am so Thankful to God that Johnny is learning now, as a child, how to handle his depression and triggers. It means that when he grows up, depression will not have the stronghold in his life as it has mine!

Here is the absolutely mind blowing part. Matthew 6:25-57was the verse John shared with him that night during his depression. Matthew 6:25-27 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? It was that passage that has become his life’s verses. That passage that God has used to be the foundation of his ability to work through those hard times. Each lesson learned is like another brick built on top to construct a staircase of escape from depression!

Yesterday John preached at our church from Matthew 6. He was able to share the story of how Johnny broke his arm last week and in the ER he had reminded Him of that verse and how Johnny had just shared it with us around the fire the night before. It was a major bonding moment for father and son, and a tremendous testimony of God’s grace!

Through all the changes in the past year, (this was just one example)our roles have evolved. The growing pains have been intense. John preaching yesterday and my opportunity to be a music leader in our church, combined with recent opportunities to build relationships like never before, has been amazing! When I married John 12 years ago I never would have even guessed that God would be allowing us to serve together in this way. Working together as husband and wife, parents, and leaders in our church;These are the times that I stand and look at all God has brought us through and where we are now and I can say as David did: for the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.

Thank you God for all you have done! It is worth the pain, the change, the struggle, and everything! Thank you for letting me see your marvelous works in me, my husband, and my children!

First day of school

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This post should actually be titled first 9 weeks of school, but oh well. The 2014 part of the 2014-15 school year has progressed admirably. It has been quite eventful. Many changes needed to occur to make it a success, and I praise the Lord for all we have been through.

Because of the need to school the kids separately this year, I decided to close our back porch school room, in favor of a huge-wicker-trunk-chalkboard-in-the-living-room combo. It is working out fabulously! We school in the living room, dining room, and sometimes Kait and I snuggle in my huge bed and do math and English together. Here are some pictures of how our school trunk is laid out.

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In my last posts, I shared Johnny Boy’s journey and our discovery of dyslexia. Our change in curriculum has been such a blessing. For the first time ever Johnny isn’t struggling miserably through every day of school. We have actually giggled together while doing his Barton System, and he is almost completely independent in Math! “Don’t worry Mom, I got this” has been his mantra. It is wonderful to me to see this growth and happiness in him! He still rather be doing anything else but school work, but it is mainly because he’d rather be in the woods or climbing his ropes, or practicing his sword skills. Every day I learn something new about him or discover a way to meet his needs. It blows me away to think of God’s work in his life and I am so thankful to get a front row seat!

With Johnny now being so much more independent and being able to do Barton with him separately, I am free to really interact with Kait in a way that has been a struggle in the past. We sit together and do her work and spend a lot of time discussing books and art. She is a veracious reader (just like her Mama). She is on the A-B honor roll at Andersen Academy and is loving school so much she asked to do it on Saturdays. On Friday, while Johnny is at SAINTS (a P.E. Program) Kait and I go shopping and hang out together. Our routine has solidified and it has been really fun.

We have also been attending a creation science based co op where we are studying human anatomy and physiology. That has been so fun! The kids have participated in quizzes, games, and experiments to reinforce our study with their friends at co op. This has also given them the opportunity to experience a class room setting and multiple teachers. We all really enjoy it!

Sorry this post is so long, I am shutting up now. Here are pictures from our year so far!

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Otherwise known as Andersen Academy

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20130912-184302.jpgLet me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. (in best Indigo Montoya voice) Our first few weeks of school have flown by and have been very exciting! Johnny finished four Math tests receiving a 100% on each one! Kaitlyn has learned about grouping numbers together in addition, and she has learned how to alphabetize words. We started Co Op again! I have learned to relax and enjoy every day (so far) savoring each moment of school time with my kids, and that has spilled over into our regular life as well. We have been so blessed!

This week, on Wednesday, we welcomed a new student: My nephew, Preston! Johnny attended Turner’s Tutoring to get ready for his math test with his Aunt Cheryl. Preston joined Kaitlyn and I for his first official day of K5. A fun time was had by all! Kaitlyn held the title Assistant Teacher for the day and thoroughly enjoyed reading Preston’s Bible lesson to him, as well as writing his math problems on the board for him to solve using pennies, and watching him pull prizes out of the prize box!
Through all this God provided several needed experiences. Kaitlyn got to be the big sister, Johnny got to relax and learn math in a fun and hands on and different kind of way that is showing him how to think in a new way, Preston got to go away to school and have fun at our house with out his siblings!
Homeschooling really does enable us to meet our kids’ needs based on their individuality. They learn self reliance (aka self discipline based on depending on God) working well with others, appreciation for the friends God gives them, a safe platform on which to learn how to deal with bullies or those who they have personality differences with, and a trust for their parents and love for their families. Their strengths are supported, their interests encouraged, and their needs met. They are sheltered and protected but not hermitized. It isn’t conventional but the tradition is special. I have seen God provide my kids with everything they need with out subjecting them to the laundry list of pitfalls and hardships that can come with conventional school careers. It’s extremely efficient and I thank God for it!
Now, I am not saying no one should put their children in school, nor am I saying mine will never go to school. What I am saying is that for our family this is such a blessing! I love it! We are happy happy happy (in best Phil Robertson voice).
Here are some pictures from this week. Oh and by the way…Johnny aced his word problems on this last test using his critical thinking skills. That is HUGE!!! Thank you Aunt Cheryl!!!
On a crazier note: Kaitlyn nailed her spelling test this week and I promise it had NOTHING to do with the fact that I gave her the last word on the test, and instead of giving her a sample sentence to illustrate, I accidentally spelled the word FOR her. “Ok Kait, your next word is “that” T-H-A-T that” mmhmm best teacher EVER! Oh Man!!

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A blast from the past

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My husband is out of town, and to console myself I ate some chocolate covered almonds and I have been watching hours of Gilmore girls episodes, and I was looking through an old blog and I realized that not much has changed in my little life since last year at this time. I could totally tweak this a tiny bit and make this currant. But I also realized that what I take as original thought isn’t exactly original. I mean it is all mine, it’s just that I tend to say the same things over and over. As I take a moment to laugh at myself and also enjoy this little trip down memory lane (which is much shorter than I thought hahaha) I invite you to join me. Here is my blog from the beginning of our school year 2012:
Today begins day three of our second year of homeschooling. I know I should have started writing about it three days ago, but I’ve been more than a little bit busy, and unusually wordless. For those who know me personally, that fact is debatable, however, my ability to talk “the hind leg off a mule”and my ability to translate that particular talent to paper (or in this case blog) is a different story altogether.
John, my husband of nearly ten years, traveled out of down on business, driving to the airport in the middle of a tropical storm on day one of school. (He’s so brave!) So, naturally,in my “free time” I have been taring the house apart and putting it back together in an attempt to not only make our little house and the always to much stuff in it, work for our life, but also to keep from missing him so much. I have considered living vicariously through the dog. She demonstrates her displeasure at being alone by ripping an entire roll of paper towels to shreds all over my toy room/school room/porch. (every room in our home serves multiple purposes). But, since I don’t want to get beat down by the proverbial newspaper roll, I have found other, more productive ways to spend my time. the living room is now clean and the furniture re-arranged, as is our bedroom. The kitchen sink as been full constantly since he left because I have been too busy, no, actually, that is a lie, it’s been that way because I haven’t wanted to do much dishes. I have to tackle that today….ok I digress.

Anyway, school is going well. Johnny boy is on 3rd grade now, Kaitlyn in 1st. Time rushes past and I reflect on the life I’ve been given, and my heart swells with humility and joy. My kids continue to amaze me. They both have grown into fascinating people. I love them, respect them, and admire them so much. I believe they teach me far more every day then I could possibly teach them.

Homeschooling provides opportunity. Here in this town, the homeschooling community is huge and there is always something going on within it. My kids are exposed to what is good for them, yet protected from things and or people that could be a constant source of negative influence in their life. They are more social now then they would be in school because the time they spend with others isn’t just spent in a classroom. And their friends are actually friends not just people they are trapped in a classroom with. It’s a beautiful thing, my kids are happy and secure and they want to be homeschooling. Bottom line? It works for us!

I’m really looking forward to this year! John is still doing seminary classes online, so my nights will be spent getting ready for school the next day or cleaning or relaxing. My goal is to take everything in stride. This is it. The end of my rambling. I’m done for today. Bye ūüôā

Homeschool Challenges!

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There are times in my life where I see God teach me something, one truth that blows my mind and makes me see it in every situation in my life.  Then there are the applications of that truth.  Sometimes, that truth is applied to my life and I am then prompted to encourage my children to see God to apply it to their life.  Those are not easy times.  They are bitter sweet, difficult, gritty and God uses them to do some pretty interesting stuff.

I am standing in front of Johnny’s desk. ¬†The words “Take out your English book.” have suddenly plunged us into a fierce battlefront. Pitting him against me, me against him, him against the Lord, and me fighting to stay close to the Lord. ¬†We have been studying James 1 in our family devotions, and Galatians 5 in our chapel time in school. ¬†God has begun to knit those two passages together for me and has drawn me close to him in a way that brings wisdom and peace to my heart in moments of pressure. ¬†I praise God for this because it is only through him that this situation today became what it did and not what it so easily could have been.

Johnny felt very angry and obstinate. He didn’t want to do English, therefore he wasn’t going to try to learn it. ¬†He wanted to do what he wanted to do. ¬†His behavior hurt me. ¬†I instructed him to choose between two options: get alone with God and ask him for help to come back with the right attitude, or he could be finished with school (english was his last subject of the day anyways) and at three o’clock he could do his English assignment for homework by himself. ¬†He chose the homework. ¬†As angry as he was that choice did not surprise me, and I felt like he did it out of spite. ¬†Since he chose to do his assignment for homework, he would miss watching a movie with his cousins, on top of having to tell his daddy why he wasn’t finished when John came home. ¬†He was so angry, that he went into the house, in to his room, and slammed his door. ¬†(He didn’t think I could hear him) His long list of consequences now includes no xbox for the rest of this day.

Now comes the inevitable thoughts and questions, I am sure, as to why his punishment did not include a spanking or more time from xbox.  I will answer that by explaining the reality of what God did in our house today.

Through all of this I felt a peace that truly passes understanding. ¬†To the point that I didn’t even realize it at the moment, I just didn’t feel frustrated or angry. ¬†This is completely out of the ordinary for me and I know that It could only be the work of the Holy Spirit in me. ¬†James 1:2-4 says¬†2¬†Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a]¬†whenever you face trials of many kinds,¬†3¬†because you know that the testing of your faith¬†produces perseverance.¬†4¬†Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature¬†and complete, not lacking anything. ¬† ¬†Galatians 5:16-26 says

Galatians 5:16-26

New International Version (NIV)

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Today I can’t say that I was actively praying the entire time and crying out to God for help. ¬†Ill tell you why. ¬†This morning I turned my heart to God, put myself and family in his hands. ¬†My desire was to bring him glory by remembering James 1 and living in the Spirit. ¬†We had just talked about the difference between living in the Spirit and actually walking in the spirit not an hour before. ¬†My heart was walking with God and the intensity of the battle did not make me run to my heavenly Father, it made me rest in him. ¬†I never felt like I was slipping, only secure in the peace. ¬†In that moment I was lacking nothing. ¬†Wow, totally cool right? ¬†Right!

I knew that while my boy needed discipline, he needed God to move in him and bring repentance.  I implored him to seek the Lord, begging him to see the light God had shown me so clearly as to what his little heart needed.  I was also honest with him about how I felt and what I was going to do about it.  I testified to him the fact of what I knew God could do.

With tears streaming down his face he struggled with the anger, frustration, envy (he exclaimed how Kaitlyn had it easier than him.), and fear of telling his Daddy.  He realized and admitted that he was living according to the flesh and that he needed God to grant him repentance and lead him to walking with the Holy Spirit.  Then my precious little boy got on his face before God.

A short while later Johnny came out of his room with his English book. ¬†He had completed his assignment with no help from me. ¬†I didn’t even know he was doing it. ¬†Him and God worked it out together in his room. ¬†With a changed heart, an opened mind, Johnny finished his school work for the day. ¬†Then he looked at me and choked out the words “Im sorry Mom.” and we both cried and held each other. ¬†He cannot wait till his daddy comes home to tell him how God took his trouble and turned it into a testimony. ¬†His anger is turned into peace and happiness, his envy is gone, his hatred replaced with love and his broken relationship with his Mama restored! ¬†God is amazing! He is still facing consequences, but now they are constant reminders of something cool God did for him. ¬†When we count all our trials joy, and walk in the Spirit amazing things happen! We are now on our way to beingImage Thanks for listening!