Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 31 - Finally!

Finally... 31 days are over.  Last year wasn't easy, but this October I really struggled to find something to blog about each day. Honestly, most nights by the time I got around to my computer, I was too tired to think, much less put words on the screen (hence the wordless Wednesdays).  

Homeschooling: Pure and Simple - What does that really mean? I'm still figuring that out.  Sometimes it means letting go of the messes to read about cowboys and Indians. Sometimes it means letting them learn some things on their own.  

I look forward to now taking the time that I devoted to blogging this month and re-energizing myself to setting up my almost-done school room, to planning new projects, and being better prepared for daily learning at home.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 30 - Nuggets of Hope

Over the past few days, despite my trivial struggles that I put myself through, I have been given nuggets of hope.  Hope that what I'm doing is not in vain...  Hope that they are hearing the truth, in spite of their mother's bad example at times...  Hope that one day they will make a difference in this world for eternity...

I was so encouraged this morning through a podcast that reminded me of this verse in Philippians (1:6).  "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  It is God who has placed this desire in my heart to teach and to train my girls.  It is God who gives me the strength daily to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other.  It is God who is doing a good work in my children who I do not deserve to call my own.  It is God who is already impressing upon my little middle one to one day live and serve in Japan.  It is God who impressed upon my oldest to sacrifice her Christmas gifts this year to send the money to Samaritan's Purse.  It's all God.

Here is a simple nugget of hope of a sister reading to her sisters.  (In the effort to keep things real, let me give you the whole picture:  A chair was fought over to see the pictures.  One sister purposefully tried to irritate another as soon as the book was finished.  Another thought it was her duty to critique the handwriting of a younger one, just for the fun of it.  Perfect by no means...)

All credit for attaching the video to this post goes to my husband.  He's pretty amazing like that!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 29 - Tales of our Tuesday

Pumpkin chocolate pancakes - because the cereal boxes are empty, no fruit, not enough eggs...

Impromptu tea party with daddy before he leaves for work - pinkie up required...

Handwriting amid the laundry...

Tea party (round 2) - ABC practice with mommy

After math, a little typing practice to prepare for a fundraiser to make a difference...

Painting toe nails like a big girl...

A walk to the pond with my three nature explorers...

Fun night with friends around a bonfire with hot dogs and marshmallows...

These are the tales of our Tuesday...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 28 - A Key Ingredient: Love


Love means helping a sister up when she can't do it on her own.
Love means passing the baton (the baby) to free the hands to make the climb.

Love means including those who may be a little unlovable at times.

Love... It's been the word that keeps popping up everywhere I turn. On a day to day basis, it's a struggle to always "feel" love towards my little pupils.  But thank goodness, love is not just a feeling, but an action.  I was reminded this morning of the verse in I John 4 that says, "There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (v18)  One of my prayers is that my girls will not obey and listen to me out of fear that they'll get in trouble or do something wrong.  I know they have felt that fear many times.  But how I long for my love for them to overpower any fear.  That my love may be like God's love, "His never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love." - Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

I love this 10 Point Manifesto of Joyful Parenting by Ann Voskamp and have it printed and tucked into the sleeve of my homemaking journal.  A few of my favorites point me back to this love.

- Today, I will pray to speak words that are only STRONG words, words that make these children feel strong.  Grace words.  Grace is the only non-toxic air.  All other words I breathe are death words.

- Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child's behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.

- Today, I will hug each of my children as many times as I serve them meals - because children's hearts feed on touch.  I'll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible - the taller they are, the more so.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 27 - Sleep

Getting more sleep has been a difficulty for years now.  But I know that in order for our homeschool day to be the best it can be, I need more sleep.  Good night, ya'll!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 26 - How to Teach One Who Doesn't Want to Learn...

To be completely honest, I have no idea how to teach one who doesn't want to learn.  I was a typical first born.  I loved school (except grammar)!  I don't remember how I learned certain things, even after taking classes like "How to teach Math" and "Teaching Science" in college.  

I love each of our girls equally, but our first child spoiled us. We got to lesson 75 of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and she could read... before she was 5.  My next two girls are trying to remind me that there is more than one learning style & learning pace, and that's ok.  That truly is one of the blessings of homeschooling.  

Some days are better than others.  I consider every story that is read a success.  Making comparisons is easy to do, but extremely detrimental.  Each one has strengths and weaknesses, even if some have yet to be discovered. Praying for patience seems cliche, yet it is at times my saving grace.  When I show my frustration, the struggling child will grow frustrated.  When I manifest that we have all the time in the world, then words come easier (sometimes.)  I don't want to make excuses or give freedom for laziness.  All children need to be encouraged, sometimes pushed to work harder, and to do their best.  This is still a struggle for me, something that I have to daily lay before the Lord.  He is so good though!  My greatest prayer is not for my children to be the smartest or the prettiest, but that each one may come to know our Lord and Savior, and pursue Him with their whole lives.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 25 - A Missional Mindset


Our kitchen world map is one of my favorite spots in our home. The map itself was given to us from friends and Marty added the framework to give it just the right touch to our wall. The three clocks above it coincide with the three push pins in the map.  The first push pin literally covers the entire country of Lesotho, Africa.  I did not even know that this country existed until some of our college friends moved there from Ecuador as missionaries.  The second pin helps us to pray for our friends in East Asia.  As they work in a country that is known for persecuting Christians, we can look at that clock and pray for their ministry there.  The third pin is one that is near and dear to us, the island of Okinawa, Japan.  I pray we'll be able to visit Okinawa with our girls in the next few years, since my parents will be returning there within a month and half. The girls are already excited about visiting (even if it's three years away).  We need to add another pin soon as my sister and her family will be traveling as well within the year to Ghana, Africa.

My point in sharing our map is to emphasize the importance of giving our children (homeschool or not) a missional mindset.  It's been amazing to walk alongside my girls as we pray and support some of these missionaries.  Having grown up on the mission field, I have been blessed by the encouragement of those who could not go.  

A few ideas of guiding your children to have a missional mindset:
  • support missionaries (read their letters to your children, show them where they live on a world map, send gifts when possible)
  • take missionaries out to eat when they are home in the States
  • read missionary biographies together or put readable books in their hands (My favorites growing up were Hudson Taylor and Amy Carmichael)
  • Our favorite books right now:  Trailblazer books (fictional stories based on real missionaries and martyrs), You Can Change the World by OM (devotional type book), Window on the World (how to pray for countries around the world)
  • get involved in a local church that has a heart for missions (We are blessed to be a part of such a church.  The children learn about missions each Wednesday night, but also get opportunities to be involved in local missions through Raleigh Rescue Mission and With Love From Jesus.)    

There are so many more wonderful resources and other ideas as well.  Feel free to share in the comments as I'd love to learn more.  It is so important for all of us parents to remember not to get lost in the activities, books, and the "doing good" part, but get to the heart of the matter, that these people need Jesus.  Just as Jesus loves my girls and died for them, He also loves the people of Lesotho and Okinawa.  But we need to pray the He'll send missionaries, that Bibles will be printed in their languages, and to be willing to go if He calls.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 24 - In this Together...


This post will be short because I'm out of town with the love of my life to rest and get away from the everyday life.  But I do want to touch on an important part of our homeschool journey.  We are in it together.  From the beginning, we have both agreed that teaching our girls at home is what God has called us to do at this time in our lives.  Marty has supported me through the tears, through the small & big successes, and through the doubts.  He has affirmed every curriculum choice I've made and given advice when I've needed it the most.  We are in this together.  Having his support is not only helpful for my sanity, but vital to the success of this endeavor.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 23 - Another Wordless Wednesday

Day 22 (a day late) - Frolicking in the Autumn Festivities


2155. pumpkin picking with my girls
2156. "That's yucky!" over & over by my three year old and her baby doll, Yuko
2157. pumpkins large enough to sit on
2158. the search for the perfect one
2159. a quiet rain to help wash away the harsh words and furrowed brows
2160. my hubbie close by to bring keys after discovering I had grabbed the wrong ones

2161. cutting open pumpkins with the To-Do list growing long
2163.  pulp and goop reminding me of my inner feeling at times
2164.  cleaning, drying, and baking of seeds 

2167. Maple syrup cotton candy, pickles, & buttery corn on the cob
2168. watching my oldest milk a cow like a pro
2169. riding the "horsies up and down" with my Sophie
2170. the emotional ride of the ferris wheel with all my girls
2171. learning about NC culture through the people, the mill, and the animals
2172.  watching my sweet husband as he rode rides, held hands, and shared his food with our girls