Archive for January, 2008

fighting self-doubt

I’m not immune to discouragement in my homeschool journey. This year has been especially trying. A friend posted this note to our local homeschool community and with her permission I am posting it here in hopes it might encourage you as it did me:

I wanted to write and encourage anyone who doubts their homeschool…I have before.  I hope this reflection of my heart will speak to self-doubt.   I see that public school moms and private school moms also go through that very same pressure…they can look over the fence and think that what another family or kid is doing superseeds their plan for their child.  I venture to say it is not a home school issue, but an issue found in parents in all styles of education.  That is why so many children today, in our busy culture, are in a thousand activities!  That is why dinnertime conversations,  playing board games, and gathering round to read the Word of God are rare past times in many households…because so many parents have bought into the lie.  The lie is that they need something else. If they can just make their kid into this or that…they will be successful. This class, that sport, this activity, that grade, that one friendship, acceptance to that name college…that one boyfriend.  Even our children buy into that lie.  That lie comes from the enemy.  He does not want you to homeschool, nor read the Bible to your children daily.  We need to give our children over to the Lord’s direction…they are His children.

We are their worldy parents, their caretakers, guides, nurturers, examples. We need to allow God to make the child.  Sure there is a part of that they we must cultivate, but in our culture, too many parents believe that it is up to their own effort to make the child a famous baseball player, a talented piano player, a bright shining academic at Harvard.  And if we force those doors open, we may have children who suffer in the baseball league, like many of the steroid players are…we may unleash another musician who gives glory to the enemy and crashes, or a professor who teaches lies about God as Creator.  My point is we must allow God to guide us and give us supernatural wisdom.  Even among siblings.

What we, as Christian homeschool moms need is  1) vision that only He can give for parents to have wisdom in what to put before our children…be it discipleship of Word, character, matters of the heart, academic plan including activities, lessons, relationships, time management, 2) assurance, confidence, and access when picking the academic and discipleship plan (your classes and Bible plan).  Some of the limitations are finances, others access.  Some moms have a poor education, and they learn with their children…I once worked with a mom who had a 9th grade education who wanted to homeschool…how would she know what to pick on her own accord?  I was poorly read, but became a high school teacher…now how do I choose Classics to read…I have never read but maybe two books in my life!  Thank goodness God gives us wisdom!  Thank goodness he puts other moms in our paths, who give us imput and sometimes materials!  Pray God will help you, if you desire to have things, but maybe you have barriers.  Let our loop know what your needs are, and lean on Him to bring up ideas, books, teachers, or just a mom who will e-mail or call you and be a physical help to you.  Sometimes, it is about God changing the heart of a husband, that he would be moved to help in certain areas.  And perhaps, it is about finding ways to handle the negativity and isolation that can come from family, neighbors, even fellow church members when you do this thing called homeschool.

Sure, when we go to homeschool conferences…I have been found unsettled…I have thought, “Oh, look at that program…look at those students, look at that family how calmly they operate.”  “Which writing program do I need…maybe I should get both of those.”  “Do I do DVD for the older, yet I want to sit down and teach them myself.”  “I can’t do math past 8th grade.”

“What in the world is a classic book?”  “Should I teach mythology?”  “How in the world do you teach debate when you don’t know another high school kid?” These are all true comments that have rung in my head.  But what it boils down too…this is what God has given me…in 4 active sons that have been a handful but wonderful, the location in which we live and proximity to sometimes nothing ( I am from Atlanta where 600 kids in my church homeschooled, a homeschool book store was on every corner, and support groups in my neighborhood), the academics that we can find, purchase, and then the hard part…figuring them out and implementing them, and the extras we can or cannot do.  My school does not fully look the way I wanted it too.

It may blow someone elses fuses…but there were many things that I wanted and dreamed of…and I have learned to trust that God allows me what I need, and He takes away the parts I don’t need.  For me, it is distraction stuff…I have not had the personal support, the friendships, knowing other high school boys, or having the time to socialize with anyone who has our heart…God wanted our time to be spent teaching people the Word of God…so after a year, I accepted that.

Perhaps there is sadness or dissapointment, my friend, in your homeschool plan.  But I just wanted to write you and encourage you that God is the giver of wisdom, and He has given your children an incrediable gift…parents who will disciple and train them for great things.  Be content with what God has given you, and lean on Him for your homeschool…He is doing something very special with these kids.  Just perhaps, the thing He wants to do with homeschoolers, is something so big… as to restore or stand in the last generation…  Give your kids the best education you can, be confident in what God has given you.  Instead of doubt, give thanks for what you have…for every pencil, every book, every boring DVD.  Homeschooling is not about the materials, the plans…it is about the family and about discipleship for God.  In the end, it is needed, but it is not the reason…it is about Him.

Blessings, Elizabeth B.

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January 25, 2008 at 12:54 pm 1 comment

Bible Truths for Little Children

The five volumes of Bible Truths for Little Children are a gem I found at a used book sale this last summer. They were written in the 1800’s and I’ve found they are well written and I especially like that at the end of each bible story there is a poem. The poem retells the story. This week I let my eight year old copy the poem instead of writing out his narration…it was a nice change of pace!

January 19, 2008 at 10:49 pm Leave a comment

Notebooking

Most homeschool moms have probably heard of Notebooking, but I wanted to share a link to PrincipledMom’s blog for you to read. It is an inspiring post. Lots of times our notebooks just become a storage for papers…when they could be so much more. I hope you’ll check it out and think about what you are requiring of your children to keep in their books…I know I am!

Also, I wanted to say that I often keep notebooks for myself as well! I am a big reader…and skimmer! If I don’t write down some notes then I would never remember all that I read. I just love Moleskin journals…I use the 25 & 30% coupons that come from Borders or Barnes & Noble to buy them. That makes them a little cheaper. Also check out their smaller books they are great to cover a topic more extensively and to keep all in one place. I often use these smaller ones to do a complete book study.

Happy Notebooking!

January 14, 2008 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

growing up

We realized that our 3 year old is really beginning to understand that it is not acceptable to tell mommy and daddy “no” yesterday and it just made us laugh!

While driving in the car my husband asked our 15 year old daughter a simple question which she answered, “no.” And emphatically the 3 year old turned to her and said, “Do not tell him that–he doesn’t like it.”

January 7, 2008 at 10:28 am 1 comment

weekly planning with Tapestry of Grace

I think I posted this before, but this was one of those that got deleted! 😦

Here (tog-weekly-plan.pdf)is the form that I use to plan out each week. The column on the right side I use for each child (or level) to list what books I have for them to read. On the left at the top is where I jot down notes. Usually the main objective for the week. Maybe extra activities I have, just whatever I feel like noting as I read through the week’s plan. The small boxes, with timeline, maps, evaluations, etc., I use as a checklist to show that I’ve printed off all the pages that I need.  Then under that I made out a general plan to follow each week. I jot in page numbers, etc to finish it out.

I start about a week before we plan to start a Tapestry week (ideally!) First I write down books we have or borrowed from the library. Then I just fill in all the rest as I read through the weeks plans. This format allows me to jot down notes in the appropriate boxes and it doesn’t really matter the order. When I’m done I know it will be all laid out for me. For things that need to be printed out like maps and evaluations, I usually do a few weeks at a time. At the beginning of the year I actually made it through the entire first unit prior to starting school. But that hasn’t happened since then!

and for anyone who doesn’t know about Tapestry of Grace curriculum you can get a free 3-week sample here!

January 6, 2008 at 5:33 pm 1 comment

books, books, and more books!

While I need to be working on lesson plans to start school back next week, a pile of books sits on my table calling my name!

For Christmas my dad purchased several books from my amazon wish list:
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
The Safe Shoppers Bible by Steinman & Epstein
How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Robert Mendelsohn
Assumptions that Affect Our Lives by Christian Overman
A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison
Our Father Abraham by Marvin Wilson
The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World by Stephen Nichols
Listening to the Language of the Bible by Lois Tverberg
Heirs of the Covenant by Susan Hunt
The Signature of God by Grant Jeffrey
Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham

also found these at Paperback Swap:
Real Age: Are you as Young as You Can Be? by Michael Roizen
A Cancer Battle Plan by Frahm’s
The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing
Your Body Doesn’t Lie by John Diamond

and to add to this pile, I also just got:
Life Purpose Planning from iblp.org
Liberating the Nations by Stephen McDowell
Eating for A’s by Schauss

and as if I didn’t already have enough, the opportunity for free books always thrills me! So I just inherited a 22 volume set of commentaries by John Calvin and 2 volumes of poetry on the bible entitled, Chapters into Verse.

I had started a Kay Arthur study on the Lord’s Prayer. I am finding it hard to finish when I want to devour all these other good books…but alas, I must put them all down and move on to lesson planning!

January 4, 2008 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment


Psalm 78:4

We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.