Tag Archives: homeschooling

This is the Day

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I have been drawn to this passage the past week. These verses stuck out to me today.

Eccl. 7:13 Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? 14 ¶ In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. 

There are times in our lives where we want God to restore something we had. We even want it sometimes so that it will bring God glory. I often want God to straighten out messes for me. Until today I never thought that sometimes God is the one who has made it crooked? Just because it isn’t straight doesn’t mean it isn’t God. 
The point is to be obedient and to allow God to direct our lives. He has made the good ones as well as the “bad”. 

Lamentations 3:22-23English Standard Version (ESV)

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]his mercies never come to an end;23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

The “new mercies every morning” in this verse means that not only is God available to us every day, but he tailors the mercies and strength we need for each day’s specific needs!! Puts Ecc 7:14 into perspective doesn’t it?

This is the Day that the Lord has made we will rejoice and be glad in it!!!

Unfinished

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My life has been spent dreaming and planning and trying to get to the place where everything is set. When I was a teen I wanted to get married, I wanted to know who I would spend the rest of my life with. The anticipation of these wonderful plans and dreams is one of my favorite parts. I love the planning and the process of “getting there”, but I tend to only enjoy it if it is attached to the promise of fruition. I don’t like sudden changes as I shared before, and when something is set in my mind I don’t like it to be taken away. I don’t like surprises. I like things set in stone so I can plan each detail needed until the time comes. In fact, most of the time when the groundwork has been laid and prepared, I like to hand off the actual event to someone else to execute.
All too often I expect God to be the one to execute the thing I have planned, hoped, and dreamed for. After all he is the only one we can trust to do so. Correct? Nope. It doesn’t work that way. 

So often God says, “No, I want you to live in the unfinished work that I have given you.” More accurately, we, and our lives, are the unfinished work. Attempting to buck that system leads to fear, frustration, and constantly needing to control everything. God is teaching me to appreciate and enjoy the unfinished. 

 Sometimes, unfinished can just mean that you are not sure how something that must be done is going to get done.  I like foundations. It is hard to prepare for something if you don’t know what that something is exactly. The process of fostering/adopting for us is like that. We are spending a lot of time preparing to have kids in our home, but we don’t know what age/sex they will be. Just one example of the unfinished in our life. 

 Recently I saw a video of a scientist presenting on a show. He had a large empty aquarium. It had a hose inside. It looked completely empty. He turned on a fog machine and it sent fog through the hose. As the fog hit the aquarium suddenly you realized that it was filled with an invisible gas that the fog settled upon. Then he floated a paper boat on the surface. Any logical mind would have expected the boat to sink. Every one was surprised when it floated across the top cutting through the fog easily. Every one except the scientist. You see, that scientist had understanding of not only the fact that the invisible gas existed, but he also understood how the gas worked and that the fog and boat could be supported by it.
I feel like this is what my life is. My understanding of God and his working affects what I believe will happen. 

For the first time in my life I feel peace through all of this. I don’t know what God is doing, but I am glad I don’t have to see him to know he is there supporting us.  Think of it this way.  At Christmas, we look forward to our children opening the gifts we spend weeks/months planning and buying for them.  We know what is inside and can’t wait to see our children’s anticipation and the joy on their face when they open them.  God has everything waiting in the wings for us.  All the good, all the plans, all the support.  Now imagine how we feel at Christmas when we know it is coming, we see glimpses of presents appearing under the tree,  the anticipation builds and we cannot wait to open them.  All the torture of the wait is forgotten while on that morning we get to open and store our treasure up.  We tell all our friends what we got and the joy spreads out into the corners of our lives.  What would it be like if we demanded to know what our presents were and complained for weeks about how much we needed to know, so we could plan out our future. 

 This is like life.  Take a breath.  Let God take your little boat through the fog on an invisible lake.  Let yourself and others be amazed at how looking at your life logically makes no sense unless you know the God who sustains it. Enjoy the journey.  He has already won the war, we can weather each battle with confidence and unshakable joy! 

Be still…yeah right

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As a mom, more specifically a homeschooling mom, I am with my children twenty-four hours a day. I love my children and love being with them. However, every once in a while my brain begins screaming the need to be alone. When I am with my kids, every moment is subject to interruption. Their needs, desires, and safety are on my mind constantly even on the “off” times when they are not asking me for something. So, when the opportunity arises to have some “me” time I immediately jump at the chance for the house to be quiet and to do whatever I want, when I want.

The first thing I plan on is sleeping in, having my coffee in peace, complete control of the remote, and cleaning with the music blaring with no threat of having to pause or censor it. Then maybe a date night with my amazing husband. Inevitably, the emptiness in the house gets to me and I begin to unwind and relax. The next thing that happens really throws me for a loop. I begin to think about all the things that I am not doing that I should be doing, then all my shortcomings, the fear of rejection from my husband and my children for being unable to be all that I want to be as a wife and mother. The vicious cycle continues as I try desperately to pull myself together and act against my feelings of insecurity. I struggle to remember what is true and build on it.
This morning, as I began to drown in my “me” time I felt the Holy Spirit say to me: “Be still”. My reply, “Yeah right. God I am supposed to be all these Proverbs 31y things. You called me to be a good wife and mother, you commanded me to walk in truth. I can’t do that so I have failed you too! I mean, really, I am pretty sure my panic is valid.” Again he said “Be still”
Frantically I went to my bible program and searched the words “Be still”. I found Psalm 46. The entire thing is a song, describing the victory God gives his people over various trials and enemies and near the end this small verse: Psalm 46:10 be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted in the Nations. I will be exalted in the earth.

Wow. What just happened? I took my eyes off my God and put them on myself. “Me time” shouldn’t revolve around me. It should revolve around my relationship with God. No matter when I look at me I will see things that scare me. What could be happening that I don’t know about? What if my husband doesn’t love me anymore and is just pretending? (I know how many times I don’t have everything perfect, so to me anyone not wanting to be with me is reasonable). What if I am screwing up my kids life by homeschooling them, or just by not being the worlds best mother? But when I look at God, non of those things matter. I can be still because he is God. He can give me the motivation I need to do better. He can take care of me if any of my feared scenarios come to fruition. But most of all he will teach me to walk in truth because he is God. He will take me through whatever he has planned for me and will take care of it all! Looking at him doesn’t change who I am, but it sure changes the way I feel about who I am!
If you ever feel the need to escape for a bit of “me” time, remember this. Maybe it will help you avoid the deep waters that can overwhelm you when the quiet brings fear instead of fun.

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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Saying goodbye…and hello

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It has been six months since God lead us to the Barton system website. John and I prayed and sought The Lord about if he wanted us to hire a tutor or if I should learn how to teach him myself. We made the decision to go with The Barton System and for me to train to tutor him myself. I was excited and ready to do whatever I had to do for my son!
From time to time, doubt would creep in. I didn’t know anyone one else who had used this system personally. All I knew was that it was based on the most common curriculum used in this country by schools and tutors for dyslexia. I realized that going out on a limb, and stepping out in faith feel the same. Except when you go out on no limb you don’t have an all powerful God to hold your hand. I refused to give up. I committed myself to following The Lord.
One day we were driving around town and I saw a car with a sign on it that said “dyslexia tutoring” and a website. When I went home I looked it up. It was a tutor in our area using the Barton system to tutor! I felt like God was saying “I know you are following me, I just wanted to give you a little nugget of encouragement. See, even the professionals are using this system, you are not alone you can do this!” My heart soared! It was validation!

A few weeks later I received an email from a fellow homeschooler. She uses the Barton system and was selling the first two levels! Two nuggets!!! A provision to buy the program, and a fellow homeschooler who has used it for her child! We made arrangements with her to meet and purchase it from her. While we were there, I ran Into a teacher friend of mine who had quit her job and began homeschooling that year. She said ” I wanted you to know, I found out you were getting the Barton system, I have been using it too! You will love it. It’s great!” Yet another nugget!!!! A friend, who is a teacher, using it and loving it. I could ask her for help if I needed it and have support!! And yet the story is not done yet!!!

Just about two months ago, I joined a creation science co-op. At the first meeting, I walked in to find out that both of the ladies (the one I bought the curriculum from, and my friend using the curriculum) are in the same co op!! I will be hanging out with them and their families on a weekly basis!

Listen friends: our God is faithful, and loving, he will lead us and lead us well!

We have said goodbye to our back porch school house and hello to schooling in the living room. Johnny and Kait are doing their school work in separate sessions with me. I will have time with each of them alone! We are doing our work out of a large wicker trunk I have turned into our school trunk. You will see pics in the next post I will publish on our first day of school. I am so excited and grateful, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us!!!

Saying goodbye part 2

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No wonder he has struggled so much if that is what he has to sort through in order to do his work!
I worried that I made a mistake. That I should have never taken him out of school. Did I make things worse for him by having him home for three years? There is a chance they could have seen this sooner then I did and helped him sooner. I had blamed myself and felt guilt over this. I had lost sleep over what I could have done differently. Then God used John to teach me something. The reason Johnny wasn’t in school all this time wasn’t because I wanted to teach him and didn’t want to put him in. He was home because God had lead us to homeschool and we followed him and did our absolute best to do it right. Therefore, regardless of what might have happened in school, what we have to deal with is what is. And what is? God has led us to homeschool.

I began a google search. “How to teach spelling to someone with dyslexia” the first link that came up was for the Barton System. I spent the rest of the day exploring the site. I read that forth grade was the most common time for kids to be diagnosed with dyslexia, because it’s the first time where they are putting into practice what they have learned, and are beginning to build on what should be a solid foundation. So, chances are if he would have been in school, they probably would have caught it the same time I did. And he would have gone through all his struggles in a time crunch with an audience. My heart filled with joy and confidence as I slowly realized that I could keep my Johnny boy with me and teach him or find a tutor. There were options that were good for him that didn’t require him to go to traditional school. In reality, putting him back into traditional school would not help him at all. There is nothing like the relief you feel when you see your child suffering and God shows you something you can do to help!

That was the beginning of the change. The beginning of a long process and discovery and grace. God is leading us. He has taken us through the fire and is healing the wounds and showing us the comfort only he can provide. The story gets better and better….to be continued

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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