Monday, August 31, 2009
1. By homeschooling, I am not part of a radical, new movement. Back in the Bible times, God encouraged homeschooling and gave us our curriculum in Deuteronomy. That doesn't mean that no one should send their kids to a "traditional" school, but it also doesn't mean that homeschoolers are weird, different and following some fad. (Our weirdness has nothing to do with the fact that we homeschool and neither do our children's quirks! ;-) Home schooling and one-room school houses have been around longer than the type of schools available today.
2. If I school at home, I will not pretend I'm not at home. You might worry about my children being warped, but I do not line up the two children in my home that are able to walk for bathroom breaks and lunch. (Can you imagine the fights over who got to be the line leader?) I also do not require them to raise their hand every time they answer a question. ("O.K. I think I'll have Jessica answer this one." "Oh, and Jessica has her hand up again." "Jessica, would you please answer the next question for me?") I don't pack a lunch for them because that would be an unnecessary waste of paper bags, nor do I worry about having the most fashionable school clothes and supplies because we are the only ones to see them. If the baby needs a nap in his bed (which is in our schoolroom), we move to the dining room table.
3. Socialization doesn't concern me at all. How would you feel if your boss separated all of the workers in the office or factory into age groups: all the 20 somethings in this room, all the 30 somethings at this post of duty and all the 40 somethings on this project? How much work would get done? What if you went to a social event and were told not to talk to one another, but to "look up front and listen to the teacher"? What if your church separated everyone into their own IQ groups: all the dumb ones here, all the average ones here and the really intelligent ones here--oh, and there's also a class for the gifted ones: looks like it'll be just you and the preacher. Sarcasm aside, I think my baby has much to learn from my 4-year-old and my 7-year-old gains much socialization experience by learning to interact with both smaller children and adults. When she is a teenager, she will have to know more than slang lingo to communicate because she will be socializing with other age groups besides her peers.
4. Life is a field trip. No, I didn't say "life is a trip", though it can feel like that sometimes! :-) I've found my children learning in the most unlikely situations. If I structured a visit to the science museum they wouldn't learn as much about bugs as they do making their own ant farm in the backyard or observing the different ways to put out a candle. (Yes, I supervised them!) When I go to the grocery store, they learn to compare prices and apply math skills and reading skills. They also get to be with their peers at a time when it really matters--when they can actually interact. We've gone to the fire station and the chocolate factory with a group of homeschooling kids. We've got together with kids from church, the neighborhood or friends and made our own "field trips". I (gasp) let my children play in the grocery store play area and the park, and they are able to talk to and play with the other kids quite well.
5. I am more coach than teacher. The best teacher in the world isn't an expert on every subject there is to learn. The top basketball coach would probably be horrible at coaching a hockey team or football (could you imagine the injuries from shooting hockey pucks in the air or trying to win a football game without contact?). My job as a teacher at home (or parent for that matter) is to give them the information, and let them explore it on their own. I can easily delegate the things I don't know. My daughter attends art classes (since I can't draw a straight line) and zoo classes (since the closest I like animals to me is on a magazine page or computer screen) and she will be starting piano lessons this fall (since a mom that teaches her child 9 subjects could easily miss some important parts of music education). I expect to need help with higher maths like calculus and foreign languages like French. There are so many different resources available in so many different formats, that I'm not worried much about how I'm going to teach all the academics. By the way, if a parent can't do second grade math or read a book, she might consider some help anyway even if her child goes to school! :-)
Again, please don't take this as my saying that homeschooling is right for everyone. It wasn't right for me and it wasn't right for my husband. It may not even be right for my children later on down the road, but it is working well for now. I will rejoice in your child's winning first place in a school science fair if you will rejoice with me when my child teaches herself to read on the swingset. Regardless of your schooling preference, don't miss out on teaching something to your child. You might just find it's a lot of fun!
Friday, August 28, 2009
This is the time of year that homeschool mothers love. We’re planning our next school adventure and enjoying the summer with our families. I am actually behind in my planning this year with my brother visiting this week, but my husband leaves today for a month and that gives me plenty of time to get my school year planned out.
I always get so excited and anxious to dive into school after summer vacation. There’s something about new topics, notebooks, novels and colored pencils that gets my girls asking constantly when the first day of school is.
I also get this same excitement right before beginning a new fitness plan. New exercises, new equipment and a new goal gets me revved up. Do you have a fitness plan for the year? You should.
My plan follows the seasons. Right now I am in a strength building program until the last week of September. I will take a week off right before my RKC certification. When I return, I will take 12 weeks and do a muscle building program. I will take 2 weeks off and then begin my fat loss program so I will be ready for the summer.
Your program might just be fat loss for the year depending on how much fat you have to lose. But you should go no longer than 12 weeks at a time before taking a week or two off.
Homeschool moms are awesome schedulers. We can create an entire year of fun lesson plans. Don’t neglect physical education. Create some goals for your children this year and plan some great physical activities to help them attain those fitness goals.
My girls are avid tumblers. My oldest competed at the national level this year. She creates her own fitness goals such as sprinting faster, jumping higher, stronger shoulders and a core of steel. I then create a physical program that will help her achieve those goals.
Goals for students that are not at such a competitive level might be 50 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, run a mile under 25 minutes, jump rope for 1 minute non-stop, etc. I’m sure your kids can help you come up with some goals to achieve this school year.
Physical education should be a part of your homeschool experience. Create family goals and strive to achieve them together. Have fun, create some memories and get fit together this school year.
But don’t neglect yourself in not planning physical activity for yourself. There is no reason why you and your children should be on separate programs. A lot of women in my Workout of the Month Club include their children in their workouts. Mom and kids do the workout together in the morning before beginning their regular studies. What the moms have found is their children are able to focus better when doing their academic work and mom has a lot more energy to make it through the day. Also, not having the idea that you need to get your workout done looming over your head all day also keeps you stress free.
Sometimes creating a workout program for the whole family can seem like a daunting task with all the other subjects you need to plan for the year, but most programs can be modified for use with your whole family. I recently created a program just for homeschool moms that include a family challenge every week. While mom learns how to feed her family correctly and lose weight quickly, the kids have a lot of fun working out with mom. It’s a win/win in my book.
If you need help putting together a plan for your family this school year, be sure and visit our free membership site www.FitHomeschoolMoms.ning.com to get the support you need. We’ll get all your questions answered and help set you on the path to a fit and healthy family.
Coach Angela is the author of “The Fit Homeschool Moms Transformation Guide” and owner of Inspiration Fitness, Inc. She is the mother of 4 beautiful daughters and has been homeschooling for 12 years. To receive a free workout plan visit her blog www.HomeschoolFitnessCoach.com and download your free “Bookbag Workout for Homeschool Moms”.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
- Get a free devotional on fitness for Christian women here.
- Familyfitnessguru.com has several free e-books on fitness for parents and kids.
- Courtney from Women Living Well reminds us not to forget our spirits while caring for our "container". Stop by Courtney's blog every Friday for Fit Friday posts.
- If you want a more structured workout plan, Christian Frugal Mama has a free 7 day pass to Bally Total Fitness.
- A fun site that shows you how to get fit doing household chores.
- And my favorite fitness site run by my friend (and mentor), Coach Angela! More from her later this week.
What do you do to keep fit? What kind of exercise program works for you? I'd love to hear about it!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I get into my hot pink workout clothes (a la thrift store) and head to the gym (aka my living room). I set Jerrod (my almost 1yo) up in the corner with his basket of toys. He looks at his mother curiously--hot pink is NOT one of my normal wardrobe colors. Jessica (my 7yo) is all excited to work out with Mom. We're going to do intervals. Then, I find out my new cell phone doesn't have a timer on it. I do what I always do when I don't have what I need--I look online. Swagbucks helps me find an internet timer that seems to be easy to operate. I get Jeffery (my 4yo) set up at the computer and explain how to do the timer. He practices a few times until I'm pretty certain he can do it alone. His assignment is to press the button to time me for 20 seconds, then call (from two rooms away) "Go!" When the timer stops, he is supposed to yell, "Stop!" Jessica and I are supposed to exercise at full intensity until he calls stop, have a brief rest to help him reset the timer and do it again (and keep repeating).
Jeffery starts the timer and yells, "Go!" We start in, huffing and puffing. About 3 seconds into our exercise he calls again, "Are you going? Did you start yet?" I ignore him, but Jessica is doing a version of the exercise that appears to be modified for a 90-year-old with a broken hip, so she has plenty of breath to yell, "Yes!" By this time, the countdown is complete and he yells, "Stop!" I reset the timer and begin the next round. After about 4 or 5 reps, he yells, "Go!" Then he repeats his question. I ignore him again and Jessica fields the chatter until he calls, "Stop!" again. A little more tired from the extra reps, I walk in and reset the timer again. This time I give him a little longer to start it and yell, "Go!" I am going at it as intensely as I can. One rep...two reps...three reps....10 reps? "Jeffery," I pant, "Is it time to stop yet?" No answer. Jessica, who wasn't doing much anyway, runs into the other room to investigate. "Mom!" Now it's her turn to yell. I stagger into the room and see Jeffery staring at a screen I've never seen before with that "deer-caught-in-the-headlights" look. "O.K. That's it for today!" I give up in exasperation. "Whew! Good. I was getting tired!" Jessica replies.
I've since found a timer that simply rings on its own, and I do my workouts before the kids wake up.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Homemaker Hero had a great series on scheduling here, here and here.
Carri from Happy to Be At Home blogs about How to Get the Most Out of Your Day
Some list making sites you might want to check into:
List Plan It
Thursday, August 20, 2009
"I'm a free spirit. I don't follow a schedule."
"I don't like anything telling me what to do. I do my own thing."
I completely understand the sentiment as I like to control things myself when possible. Which is the beauty of a schedule--I control it--not the other way around. A schedule is to a successful day what a budget is to a successful financial life. It's a little harder to control your own schedule in the workplace unless you work for yourself, but for the home-keeper (full-time or part-time) it is not only possible but essential!
I wrote here about how we need to keep the proper perspective and here about not going to extremes. Now dare I write about the actual scheduling? Such a novice as I am, tell you how to schedule your day? Actually, no. I will tell you just the opposite. Decide what kind of day you want and plan for it. Yep, it's that simple. Now you have your schedule. Making it happen is another story, of course. Motivation, interruptions, change of plans: all these affect our plans. However, many of us need to just figure out what we want out of our days and start there.
There are myriad things that we women do in a typical day. I could never begin to plan your day for you nor could you plan mine. However there are some essential elements for all of us.
Time for God. If you are a Christian, you know that your time with God often affects the dynamic of your entire day. In the book, It's About Time, that I reviewed last month; the author says that if we tithe our waking time (figuring on an 8-hour sleeping period each night--don't you wish!) at 10%, we will give 11.2 hours a week to the Lord for Him alone. For myself, I am at church roughly 5 hours a week giving my time to worship the Lord. That leaves about 6 hours. If I spend one hour a day with the Lord, I have given Him the smallest amount of time that He deserves. This is obviously not a rule we have to live by, but I find if I do give the first hour of my day to God when possible, my day goes so much better!
Time for Relationships. Not all of us have parents, husbands or children. Perhaps some of us may not even have many friends. However, everyone has someone in their life with which they must maintain a relationship. People are very important and should be a priority for all of us. Of course, the people in your house should be your first priority. Hopefully there is still time in your schedule left over for others outside the house--friends and other family members. I have no specific measure for this, but I try to spend time each day alone with each member of my household and time each week with other nearby family members.
Time for Work. God created us to work and to enjoy it and be fulfilled by it. Every woman (and man, for that matter) has something she must schedule into her day designated as work. The Bible tells us women to "be busy at home". There goes the soap opera and bonbons idea if you don't work outside the home! For most of us, work takes up the bulk of our schedule. If you work on your own as I do, some boundaries must be placed on it so it doesn't consume your entire schedule. Carefully planning our work times can be very freeing and allow us to truly rest when work time is done.
Time for Rest. Yes, we need to schedule rest, especially as busy mothers, or it just won't happen. I like to take a 15 minute or so rest time when my baby is napping and the kids are having quiet time. I also like to rest by reading in my bed for awhile before turning out the light. Rest is ordained by God since He rested on the 7th day of creation. We shouldn't ignore that weekly rest period, either. If we ignore one special day set aside only for spiritual rest and renewal, our week will go badly just as a day without time with the Lord goes badly.
What scheduling tips do you have? Are you more of a "free spirit"? If so, how does that change your planning times?
Monday, August 17, 2009
However, very often, after carefully planning, organizing and making my lists, things go so much differently than I had planned. I think it has something to do with being a mother. You who are not mothers can fill me in if it is the same for you, but I suspect it is due in large part to the unpredictability of kids.
For example, I got up early one morning last week and made a carefully planned list, complete with little boxes to check off. (Don't you love doing that?) I started working on my list and was doing it with gusto, until the phone rang. A few hours later, after 6 phone calls and breakfast, I was finally ready to jump in the tub. I was trying to get done quickly so I could get back to my list when I noticed my daughter's mouthwash on the bathroom countertop. It's that bright blue stuff that reveals all the plaque on their teeth to show them if they are brushing well and where they need to brush better. (Lovely thought, I know.) Anyway, I picked it up to put it away when the lid flew off. I guess she had just set the lid on top of the bottle and not screwed it on, but in my hurry I hadn't thought of that possibility. The bathwater I had started running became my mop water as I scrubbed blue off of the entire toilet, surrounding floor, tub and trash can (which was still full, of course). The good news was my toilet, though it might have possessed some other "grungies", did not have any plaque on it. The bad news was that I got back to my list at about 1:00 in the afternoon.
Do days like this suggest that I should ditch the list and just "fly by the seat of my
Friday, August 14, 2009
A book that has been most helpful to me is Marilyn Rockett's, Homeschooling at the Speed of Life. It is great for encouragement and practical help from a veteran homeschooler. It includes a CD with forms to use in your homeschool and perhaps even in your non-homeschooling home. Marilyn teaches you how to blend the home and school into a real homeschooling experience that allows you to get math and laundry done at the same time.
- My grade book which I'm excited about using this year
- A fun art project we started last year and are finishing this year
- As a piano teacher I was excited to find this music curriculum
- Free worksheets for preschoolers
- FlyLady for homeschoolers? Yep!
- Cents to Get Debt Free tells us how to cut back to school costs
- Jill at Living on A Dime talks about school supplies
- The WFMW post at We Are That Family that I wanted to link to but I am a week late!
- After School Snack ideas at The Finer Things in Life
- Frugal Dad gives us 9 Back to School Shopping Tips
Thursday, August 13, 2009
How we came to homeschool:
I remember the first time I ever met a homeschooling family. It was back in 1996. We had just moved to
Blessings of homeschooling:
Michael Farris in his book The Spiritual Power of a Mother: Encouragement for the Homeschooling Mom says A decision to homeschool is not a mere decision to deliver academic content with the tutorial method. It is a decision to invest the essence of your life, your time, in the lives of your children. Homeschooling gives us all a uniquely intense opportunity to fall deeply in love with our children and they with us.
For most homeschoolers I know, academics are not the goal, it is teaching and training our children to live godly lives that will glorify God. It is about the relationships with our children. Our children’s hearts will be turned to someone. I would rather that be her father and me and not a public school teacher or a team coach or her friends. It’s about protecting them from the negative influences of the world while giving them purpose and direction. Why is it important to have their heart? Again, I will let Teri Maxwell answer that question through her and her husband’s book Keeping Our Children’s Hearts.
When we have a child’s heart, we have the ability to influence that heart. Our ultimate goal as Christian parents is to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) If we don’t have the heart, the child will likely be lured and pulled to the attractions of the world. If we are to keep our children’s hearts, they must feel our love so strongly that there is never any doubt of it in their minds. They should know we love them when they are obedient and when they are disobedient, when they are happy and when they are sad, when they are delight and when they are negligent - all the time. They must feel they are valued in our eyes. While this love and value may intrinsically be a part of our lives, we have to convey it to our children so they are heedful of it. If all we ever do is to correct, rebuke, lecture and discipline our children, it will be difficult for them to be aware of the love we have for them. However, if we continually find ways to praise, edify and encourage them, their hearts will be pulled toward us. Proverbs 13:20 tells us, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” To us this verse says that we, as parents, are responsible to the Lord in helping our children walk with wise men. If we allow them through their childhood and teen years to be companions of fools, then we could be enabling their destruction. We also read, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child…” (Proverbs 22:15). Most children are full of foolishness, If our children spend every weekday during the school year with foolish children, they will not be walking with the wise, and we will be endorsing the loss of their hearts in the process.
How should we teach:
I agree with Teri Maxwell. I would like to share with you some excerpts from her book, Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. She talks about the importance of teaching with, you guessed it, a meek and quiet spirit. The excerpts are italicized.
Webster’s 1858 dictionary definition of meek and quiet.
Meek: “mild of temper, soft, gentle, not easily provoked or irritated”.
Quiet: “peaceable, not turbulent, not giving offense, mild, meek and contented
Meek and Quiet Spirit Robbers
You didn’t get enough sleep.
The baby is wailing in the middle of your quiet time.
Bickering children first thing in the morning.
Stacks of laundry.
Waking up to a messy kitchen.
Etc., etc., etc………
You get the idea, basically anything that throws us off schedule. Homeschooling moms LOVE their schedules.
We must be very careful how we react to these interruptions. We must glorify God in ALL we do. Our children’s hearts are not going to be receptive to our instruction if we are impatient or snapping at them all day long.
The key to our meek and quiet spirit is time with the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we think we need those few extra minutes of sleep to help us through the day rather than rising when the alarm goes off. Our need is not for sleep, although it is important to assure we are getting adequate rest. Our need is for the empowering that comes through intimacy with the One Who called us to the task of home educating.
There is nothing we can do that will have a greater impact on our lives or the lives of our children than our quiet time with Jesus.
Missylou is a 41-year-old wife and mother. She's been married for almost 14 years and a mother for 9. God graciously saved her when she was 27 years old. She fails daily, but it is her heart's desire to live a godly life; always putting God first. She absolutely loves being a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom. There is nothing else she would rather do.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I feel that our child will also receive the necessary social skills that will equip her for life. She will learn to come under another person's authority. She will gain proper independence. Because of the many roles a Mother plays in a child's life, I felt it was good not to have me as her school teacher as well.
Cara is a 29-year-old stay at home Mom. God has blessed her and her husband with a beautiful five-year-old daughter who is starting Kindergarten this Fall. They are expecting another one of God's blessings to arrive in their home in November. Cara will be celebrating 8 years of marriage to her wonderful husband, Keith, whom she has had the wonderful privilege of sharing the responsibilities of pastoring a church. They are currently residing in Pennsylvania where they assume the position of Assistant Pastor and wife at a God's Missionary Church. She blogs about their lives at JustBunches!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
“My kids aren’t in public school, so why should I care?”
A good portion of the “Christian Mom Blogs” are written and read by homeschooling mothers. If you are a homeschooling or private school parent you probably don’t see how public schools impact you other than the frustration you feel over your tax dollars supporting a system you don’t use.
Reality is, however, that homeschool and private school account for only 13% of the K-12 school population in a given year. When you take into account that some children attend public schools at some time during their k-12 education, 94% of children will receive at least some education in a public school. Even if your children end up in that 6% that never do, there is a pretty good chance your child will marry, and/or work for or with the product of a public school. So no matter where your children go back to school this fall, your local public school is something you should be praying for.
Our family has chosen public schools as the best place for our kids at this time for reasons I will address in a minute. But just because we have placed our kids in public school does not mean we think it is perfect. My husband and I are both politically very conservative and think the Department of Education (Federal) should be abolished. We believe schools should be under local community control, and that there should be far more school choice. We favor vouchers, competition among schools, and unrestricted transfers. (Our state makes transfers difficult at best, and so when our oldest was in first grade we actually moved so that we would have access to the middle school we preferred-so you can see we don’t take our school decisions lightly.)
Despite the things we don’t like, we have decided that the best way to impact our schools, and consequently our culture for Christ is from within the school system. Which leads me to:
“The Decision: Why We Have Chosen Public School”
It is a decision every parent has to make. What is school going to look like for your family? I used to be a teacher, and my husband is a teacher, so many would think that the decision would have been an easy one for us: Public School. But then again, we are conservative Evangelical Christians so many would say we would do what lots of our friends do and "love our kids enough" to home school them. Or, if we like classrooms but want a Godly environment we could have gone down the road of private Christian school. It really felt overwhelming. You raise this little person for 5 years, and then what? Turn them over to someone else? The thought had (and sometimes still does have) my stomach in knots.
You know the popular paraphrase, "Be in the world and not of the world." It comes from John 17:13-16
And now I am coming to you, and I say these things in the world so that they might have my joy in their hearts in all its fullness. I gave them your message, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One. Just as I do not belong to the world, they do not belong to the world.
You already know what we have chosen. This verse is one that has helped us in our decision. I think both home school and private school are great options for many families. (and I'm certainly not ruling out either of these options for any of our kids if we come to some time when we feel that would be best for the season) But for now I pray what Jesus prayed, "I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One." Jesus is praying for his disciples, I think the way Jesus "parented" his disciples is a pretty good example of how I should raise up my kids. Jesus continues his prayer in verse 17 and 18:
Dedicate them to yourself by means of the truth; your word is truth. I sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world.
“So what does this mean for me?”
If your family attends public school be encouraged! There are many of us out here and we need to be supporting each other and our schools. Look for ways that you can reach out to others for Christ, and look for ways to make your child’s public school experience on that glorifies God. (read my blog for ideas!)
If you are a private or homeschool parent pray for your public schools and the kids there. Pray that a Godly generation would be raised up and look for ways you can minister to your community. Don’t assume that those of us who are public school families are lazy, less Godly, ignorant, or in some way love our kids less. There are many of us out here that are prayerfully and intentionally working to provide our kids with the education and experience in which God has called us.
Whatever educational experience your children are involved in this year, I hope it is a blessing to them and your family.
Tiffany loves her life parenting her three kids and growing a fourth that will join the family this fall (and eventually the public schools). She writes about their experience (and hopefully encourages others) at her blog: www.christiankidspublicschools.com
Monday, August 10, 2009
While this may not be the exact week for you to send your children back to school, I'm sure all of us with children are thinking that way. (I think I would be thinking that way even if I didn't have children. I love back to school time and buying school supplies!) In today's culture, it is difficult to know what to do when choosing a method of schooling for our children. We know that we are responsible for their education--do we delegate it and put them in a controlled education environment, do we prepare them and send them into a more hostile environment, or do we just do it ourselves?
Sadly, this has been a big topic of debate among Christian parents, mothers in particular. In a changing world and culture, division is the last thing that we need. Yes, we need to stand up for principles, and I find that schooling our children is an issue with strongly held convictions. However, as I once heard someone say, in a war there is a common enemy. If the Army and Navy and Marines started fighting amongst themselves or disagreeing on methods of warfare rather than pulling together, there wouldn't be much real fighting done and the enemy would be able to continue his own agenda quite easily without threat.
Whether you choose to send your children to a public or Christian school or school them yourselves or unschool is between you and God. I think there are some basic principles we should all remember in schooling our children, and they should apply to all of us:
1. Our children are ours to educate. Yes, I homeschool, but that's not what I'm talking about here. It is our responsibility to give our children the spiritual education they need. This is not the responsibility of any church or school system or curriculum, but it is wholly ours. Those other things can be helps, but in no way replace us as our child's main teacher.
2. Our children must be prepared for the world. Regardless of what age and circumstance you release your children into it, they must be ready for the culture into which they will inevitably be released. You may choose to prepare them in the midst of it as in a public school or train them in a greenhouse as in homeschooling or somewhere in between with a private school. But they must be ready!
3. We must seek the Father's will. I'm a firm believer in God having an interest in and plan for every part of our lives. I believe He has a plan for our children's schooling. Not in a general sense. There are too many variables and kinds of people. But He will show us as individuals what He wants us to do!
4. Once the Father has clearly revealed His will, don't question it. I don't mean that once you've chosen a method of schooling, you have to stay with it for the whole 13 years. God can lead from year to year, and what His will is for you now might change next year regarding schooling. However, my parents were clear in the fact that they were to send me to a private school, so when times got tough financially, they didn't question but they trusted God by faith to send the money so we could go to school. As far as I know there are no outstanding bills at the school! :-) God always provides. If you have been clearly assured that public school is the place for your children, then don't listen to those that will tell you that your children will be ruined. God can keep your children there if He desires you to send them there. If God has shown you without a doubt that you should homeschool, don't listen to those that tell you your children will be destroyed academically and will never function in the "real world". Take that step of faith and believe God to lead and guide you as you teach them.
I understand that this is a very controversial issue. I don't think there is any reason for Christians to avoid controversial issues if they keep a Christian attitude while discussing them. However, we are not debating this week which method of schooling is correct. We will hear from three different moms this week who school their children in three different ways. As you know from reading this blog, I am an avid homeschooler and love it. But, I want to represent all three of the major methods of homeschooling fairly.
Now, let's wash down the chalkboard, sharpen our pencils and clean out our desks as we prepare for BACK TO SCHOOL!
Friday, August 7, 2009
en-ter-tain-ment (noun) - agreeable occupation for the mind; diversion; amusement
Oh boy! As if I haven't gotten myself in enough trouble! God wants us to love Him with our minds? Our entertainment?! Big ouch. As I talked about in the junk food post, it is easy to fall into the trap of non-edifying entertainment. We live in an amusement-obsessed culture and are inundated with media everywhere we go. Technology has made it even more available and more attractive. Gordon MacDonald in the classic, Ordering Your Private World, gives us the literal meaning of amusement: functioning without thought. Some people, even in the Bible times, knowing the dangers of wrong or excessive entertainment; decided to cut it out altogether. I don't think that is a good option. God made life to be enjoyed, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy life in a God-honoring way. However, do we endlessly amuse ourselves with entertainments that require absolutely no thought? If we do, how is that glorifying to God?
Then there are our thoughts. What do we think about? Do our thoughts honor God?
Much of what I said about the body yesterday can be applied to our minds. I won't repeat all the principles of discipline and moderation. However, I do want to leave you with some links and a challenge as we wrap up this series on Loving God With Our All.
- Michelle at She Looketh Well talks about Controlling Our Thoughts in Marriage
- Homemaker Barbi tells us how to entertain our children without TV and video games here and here
- An excellent resource for Christian reviews on popular media *Note: Everyone's standards are different and God deals with us all at different times, so I realize this isn't the final authority on entertainment, but it can be a tool to evaluate it for ourselves and for our kids.
- Book: Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald, particularly the chapter on the mind.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I know, it sends chills up my spine just as it does yours. Why do we react that way? Because our flesh (our body) does not like to be restrained. While we may not indulge in overtly sinful practices now that we are saved, we can't just forget about this area. Besides the temptations we have to guard against that Satan will throw at us from time to time, we must be sure that our bodies do not rule us. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:27, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection."
In our modern world, we hear a lot about addiction. This is simply because, in a culture that doesn't acknowledge God where everyone does "that which is right in his own eyes", the flesh is easily satisfied with no restraints. Dictionary.com defines it this way:
But Christians don't get addicted to anything, right? Paul must have thought it was a possibility for the older women in Titus 2. He told them to "not be given to much wine". You're probably thinking what I thought when I first read this. "These women are supposed to be teaching me what to do, and they have to be warned about alcohol addiction?" I know that alcohol addiction is very real, and I am in no way demeaning those that struggle with or are recovering from it; but it does seem a strange thing about which to warn women that have been Christians for many years.
ad⋅dic⋅tion – (noun) the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma
While I hope you don't try to moderate alcohol, I've known many Christians that struggle, myself included, with something that is difficult to moderate. Before you get too self-righteous, let me give you a few examples.
- Food is a big one. Gluttony is merely "excessive eating and drinking" according to the dictionary. Ever pushed back from the Thanksgiving table and sighed, "I am stuffed. I feel like I'm going to pop!" Ouch.
- Prescription drugs are easy to come by in America. I went into a doctor's office once to refill a prescription for a medication I was on, and the receptionist handed me a sample pack without even checking to see if I was a patient! I walked out with my sample because I knew I was legitimately supposed to take it, but I never went back again. Sadly, they are causing addictions in many people's lives, including older people and people in high-stress ministries.
Andrea at Exemplify talks about her struggle with emotional eating and what she does about it
Courtney at Women Living Well tells us a lesson she learned from Chef Mesnier
Lisa at the Well Grounded Life tells us how to give our bodies a "tune-up"
A Prodigal Comes Home
While I don't agree with this author's perspective on all things, this book painted the picture for me of how horrible addiction and sin can be. It is, in part, the story of gospel singer, Michael English, and his struggle with prescription drug addiction.
*Food photo courtesy of patterbt
**Medicine photo courtesy of Darren Hester
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
-Jesus, Matthew 18:3
Photo courtesy of allposters.com
Although I've had a general understanding of this verse since becoming a Christian, it didn't have the meaning to me that it now has until the birth of my third child. Jerrod is a typical "mama's boy" and doesn't like me to be out of his sight. Complete strangers will come up to me in the grocery store and ask me, "Is he always that happy?" And, in general, I can answer, "Yes, unless he is away from me." He would rather be carried around and involved in whatever I'm doing than to do things on his own.
As Christians, we are to be like little children, but what exactly does this mean? I don't know all the theological implications, but in observing my littlest child, I have a better idea than I used to have. There are several main things that a little child does that are imperative for a true child of God to do as well:
- Desire to be with Him. I've already told you how my son loves to be right there with me doing whatever I'm doing. So it is with our relationship with Christ. We must desire to simply be with Him. I know, as mothers or busy women, it is not always possible, however our desire should be to spend time alone with our Father. I'm not just talking about our "quiet time" in the morning, but all day long, we should just enjoy having Him near and being near to Him. How does my little one do this? He reaches for me--anytime I put him down! This is a Biblical concept recorded in James 4:8, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."
- Reject all others. Unless it's someone that Jerrod is assured will not take him far from me, like a grandparent or, of course, Daddy; Jerrod will turn away from anyone who reaches out to him to tries to take him. If I'm holding him, he will turn his face to my shoulder and hold on tight if he thinks the threat is very real. Do we do this as Christians? If someone or something tries to draw us away from our Father, do we turn away and hold tight to Him or do we go readily to another?
- Seek His face. The Word of God tells us in I Chronicles 16:11: "Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually." I don't know what this means to you, but I imagine it's a bit like Jerrod when he is frightened. I turn on the vacuum cleaner or my wonderful but very loud Vitamix, and the noise scares him. What does he do? He looks for my face. When I make eye contact with him and give a reassuring smile, he is fine and smiles back. If I look the least bit disturbed, he will start crying. There are pressures of life that disturb or frighten me as I'm sure there are for you. When I feel the fear build, I need only seek the face of my Father. There I will see reproof or reassurance depending on my reason for fear.
- Seek to please Him. Jerrod doesn't only seek my face when he is fearful. He also looks for my face to see my smile for no reason at all. He will take his chubby little hands and pull my face toward him, give me a big grin and wait for me to return it. This is one of the most important things in a relationship with God. Do we seek Him when all is going well just to see His smile? Do we want all we do to please Him? His smile of approval on our lives should be our constant and overarching goal in our daily lives.
Above photo courtesy of sara.atkins
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
-Jesus, Mark 12:30
"I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless..."
-Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:23
- Our Hearts - our affections and desires, emotions: the spiritual side of us
- Our Minds - our intelligence and thoughts: the intellectual side of us
- Our Bodies - the physical side of us