Thursday, July 19, 2012


As I was tucked into my cozy bed this morning, sooo slooooowwly waking up, I had this hazy thought of someone giving me thirty million dollars free and clear, and then asking me how it would change my life. Hmmmm.... Don't we all have a dream-like thought of this type once in a while? Indulge me for a moment.

 I thought of how Hubby could quit his job and be free to choose something in which he finds more enjoyment. I pictured the house we could build, on the acres of land we would purchase out in the country. And then I wondered about the option of putting the children in a highly rated private school, and what I might choose to do with all that free time while they were off learning at this wonderful, expensive institution.

     ***sound of car breaks screeching through my brain***  

At that very moment I was flooded with warm feelings of joy and contentment. 

It was such a moment of clarity. 

I don't want to SEND my children anywhere! I love that our family flows with our own rhythm. I enjoy the flexibility we have - to learn or to rest when it's best for us, to study subjects of interest, to decide how we'll approach controversial topics, to travel when we want to, create on a whim, give and receive midday hugs,  bring the dog into our "classroom" everyday.

From the day they were born, I have felt such an overwhelming sense of responsibility for the well-being of these little lives. They are ours to love and nurture. The first time I held each of them, I was absolutely clear about one thing: whatever happens in the lives of my precious children, on my watch or not, it is ultimately on my head. Not that I am God in their lives, only God is God. And I don't have control of everything that happens. But I do have a responsibility to answer to my Lord for the decisions I make on their behalf. How could I send them away, when clearly He has given Hubby and me the desire and drive to nurture and teach them ourselves?

Some of the best homeschooling advice I've ever heard comes to mind:  
Once you find something that works for you, stop looking. 
Despite the desires or annoyances of day to day living, I would not change my role in life. Contentment came to me today. I am exactly where I want to be.

(That's my "teacher desk" in the picture.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Extreme Spring Sweepstakes | Home Educating Association

If you homeschool, this really need to enter this giveaway.  There will be tons of winners!

Extreme Spring Sweepstakes | Home Educating Association

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hope For The Journey

Sometimes I wonder why God doesn't seem to be leading us on our homeschool journey like He does with some other families. Why do I struggle so much, and when will I know if we're doing it right?

I have felt a lot of guilt about many aspects of our homeschool. One of those is curriculum choices. There are so many wonderful choices out there, and I have enjoyed exploring them all. But you have to choose. How do you know if you're choosing the right ones? Somehow I keep choosing materials that are well suited for children with learning disabilities. Why? I guess those are easier for me to teach than others, I don't know. They also tend to be more interactive, which my kids like.

Recently I had my daughter evaluated, so that we could determine how best to help her with a couple of issues. I was just looking for some feedback, some advice. It turns out that she may be dyslexic, and the very materials that I've been using for years have been just what she needed!

I guess the Lord has been walking this journey with us all along, even when I wasn't so sure about that.

"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' " -Lamentations 3:19-24

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Year, New Me

What would you say to a friend who asked you for advice about making tough decisions in life? Or everyday decisions, for that matter. What do you say to someone who wants guidance, reassurance, direction, comfort? Think about that for a minute before you read further.

For a long time I have been seeking to grow - spiritually, socially, as a parent and homescooler, as a friend, etc. I think I have chosen many good ways to seek out growth. Online research, Bible study groups, attending church, and spending time with others who aspire to or exemplify the traits or skills I admire. Isn't this the way to grow, to blossom, even? Yes, it can be. All of these "good" activities and methods can be very helpful. But they are not the first or most essential part of growth or guidance. There is one important element that is not listed here.

For a Christian, the most essential way to grow is to seek guidance, reassurance, direction, and comfort from the One who knows us best. Unless you do that, the rest becomes merely fluff.

This is the message my own life has taught me lately. I pray to God. Sometimes I journal. I read my Bible daily. (most of the time) But I have been unable to Be Still And Know That He Is God. Partially because of schedule commitments, but mostly because of my own lack of..... hmmm..... discipline? commitment? faith?

I've been trying to do all of the above EXCEPT the one most essential. I don't know why I've been trying to get around true, honest time to get quiet before my Lord. I give to missions, I volunteer, I'm a good person...... "SShhhhhh......" I'm at church every Sunday, I'm devoted to my family.... "SShhhhh......" I... I... I... "SShhhhhh......"

The problem is that I'm trying to be good enough. Rather, I'm trying to DO good enough. But that's not what God requires of me first and foremost. He wants me to BE QUIET. Be still. Let Him lead.

How did you answer the questions in the first paragraph? Did you think of a good book to suggest? A person who might be helpful? An organization? Did you think about GOD? Practical help and encouragement is important. Hands on service is vital. But don't forget about prayer. Don't forget that quiet time to connect with God, to receive the love He gave to us through His Son, Jesus, should always be central in our lives.

When these things get out of order, the "good" can become painful or ineffective. If you keep the first thing first, the rest becomes a joyful bonus.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I said NO!

My motto for this year is.... are you ready.... NO! Yes, that's correct, NO!
Have you ever decided to take a break from all outside distractions and just say "NO!"? I had no idea how many requests I receive until I decided to just say "NO!" It's like the world is my two-year-old. I feel like I'm constantly saying "NO!"

Why do I keep typing it with such emphasis? Because this time I really mean it! "NO!" At first it was hard to say no, but it's getting easier. I finally have time to think. I'm beginning to dig my way out of the pit. You know, that life-is-dragging-me-around-by-the-hair pit. I'm making the decisions, and my decision is "NO!"

I'm feeling a little lighter. A little bit giddy, in fact! I actually enjoy saying "NO!" Come on, try it! You know you want to! "NO!" "NO!" "NO!"

There, wasn't that fun?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How is our homeschool doing?

A recent conversation with a friend was my motivation to begin blogging again. This time I would like to be more consistent than twice a year, but I make no promises. Here goes...

We are several weeks into the new school year, so I'll stop to evaluate our progress.
Books and materials gathered - Check!
Lessons being completed - Check!
Kids learning - Check!
Schedule in place - Check! (this has been one of our biggest challenges)

I am pleased that we seem to have gained a sort of flow that didn't exist when we started. I'm also pleased with my own improvement as "administrator" of this little school-house we call home. We've come a long way over the last few years.

Yet I am baffled. While I can appreciate our growth and stability, I still struggle to meet the high expectations that reside somewhere in my head.
-We've accomplished so much, but I still feel inadequate.
-We are succeeding, but I feel like I'm failing.
-We've created a life-school, but wouldn't they be better off in "real" school?
Are you getting dizzy yet? I see a future for those interested in HPPS. That would be Homeschool Parent Psychological Services, for those who don't know. And I'm sure you don't, because I just made it up. :-)

As I write I'm reminded of what the Bible says about this kind of thinking.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." James 1:5-8, NIV

Okay, so now what? I am clear of my calling to homeschool. I am also clear that God never asked me to do this alone. So I'm going back to the book of James. I'll focus on chapter 1 verse 5. That's enough for me.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Homeschooling with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Just before New Years I received a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to explain the symptoms I have experienced for the last 3 years. After so much time of doctor visits and lab tests and being told I'm perfectly healthy, FINALLY I get an answer that tells me I'm not crazy. I'm not suddenly lazy, it's not all in my head, and I have lab tests to prove it. Yes, I actually need the evidence to remind myself. There is so much confusion around CFS and similar chronic illnesses, it's important that I have evidence to hold onto to defend myself against the unbelieving. I don't want this to be an illness blog, but it does change the way we manage our lives and our homeschool. So I just want to include it. Maybe it will help someone else who faces the same challenges and wants to know there are others out there who understand. I'm not devastated or disabled, but the way I live my life has changed. Significantly.

How do I homeschool with chronic fatigue?
1) Our homeschool MUST be a top priority, or it won't get done. That means that the whole family must help out with the other responsibilities. I can't do it all, and now I can finally stop trying to do it all.

2) I must take good care of myself. Nutrition, rest, and whatever exercise will benefit me. This is a good lesson for the whole family. We are focused on living healthier lives once again. Balance in life is critical.

3) Good friends and family who support you. It is vital to be surrounded by people who support, not doubt or harass you, about your limitations and choices.

4) Choices. We all have choices, but with CFS my choices make all the difference. I can accomplish a limited number of tasks or activities each day (sometimes each week), so I must choose. Once I have used them up, there are no more. It doesn't matter that there is more to be done or enjoyed, I'm out of options. If I waste my choices on things that don't matter, I can't get them back. And I can't add extras. So I must be focused on what is really important to me and my family, and let the rest go.

I am grateful that CFS has brought me to a place of evaluating what is important and what is not, of focusing on a balanced, healthy life, and of being determined more than ever to choose what is truly important. It's so easy to make excuses. But I have received the gift of clarity (when the brain fog has not taken over, that is). Whatever my future holds, I know I am in my Heavenly Father's hands, and never out of His grace. He knows exactly where I am.