You’re Not “Stuck” at Home. You’re Having the Time of Your Life, Homeschooling, That is!

Hello and welcome to all parents who are suddenly at home with their kids.  As a veteran homeschooler I have some thoughts, tips and downright excellent ideas for you.

  1.  Begin every day with “The P.J.’s of Power – a psalm, a proverb, Paul’s wisdom from something in the New Testament, and Prayer, and Praise, and then some of Jesus’ words.  If the kids are readers and awake (this is a lovely time for all of you to catch up on sleep by the way), instruct them to do the same, take notes, and let it all be done in P.J.’s!
  2. Make this something they truly enjoy, perhaps all around the table first thing, along with hot chocolate, and begin teaching table manners and conversation arts at the table.  Best of all, you are teaching them to love and enjoy God!
  3. Have all hands on deck for meals.  Rotate assignments for who is helping cook, setting the table, doing the dishes, sweeping the floors afterward, etc.
  4. Speaking of rotating assignments, one of my best ever ideas was my COD idea – Child of the Day.  It began first with who was going to pray at meals because when they all chimed in the food got cold before they finished.  They prayed for Grandpa’s cows, and the neighbor’s sick dog, and anything else they could think of.  So, it was Benjamin on Mondays, Hannah on Tuesdays, Rebekah Wednesdays, and Seth Thursdays.  Friday was my day and John got Saturdays and Sundays.
  5. Let things evolve, according to the needs of your family.  The COD evolved so that chores were added, along with privileges, per child, per day.  A favorite part of being the COD was getting to pick the bedtime story.
  6. Make the bedtime story non-negotiable, and make it a story that even the parents enjoy reading.  It’s a good time, if you’re in a cold climate, for a cup of warm milk (we used the neighbors’ goat milk gifts this way) with honey, which is relaxing and delicious (add cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla if you like).
  7. Begin developing and promoting the idea of personal libraries, as you read books like Frog and Toad, Hattie Rabbit, Barnyard Dance, Goodnight Gorilla, and Thomas the Tank Engine.  Those are just some that still make me smile as I recall taking walks with thermoses of tea and a few cookies (which the kids LOVE helping to make).  If the kids are older choose Little House books, such as The Long Winter.  If you don’t have this book, order it!  It’s .99 plus shipping, and all of us living today should read about those who came before us, who built this country through hardship and hunger such as we’ve never experienced.
  8. Make memories every day.  We have a favorite memory of taking the red wagon, the two younger kids riding with the picnic basket and quilt, picking blackberries along the side of the road in rural Arkansas, and settling in the shade to read Timothy Tattercoat.  Books inspire.  This book actually planted the seed in our kids’ minds to one day live in Colorado, which is the setting for Timothy Tattercoat. As the kids grew they enjoyed Louis L’Amour books about miners in Colorado – be on the lookout for books and outings (we know all the best museums wherever we’ve been) that make learning History fun and fascinating and unforgettable!
  9. It’s OK to take all day.  Tea parties all the time, any time, by any name are a great use of an entire day.  Because after all, the best part of this whole home-with-the-kids thing is becoming truly acquainted with your children.  This is done quite effortlessly and beautifully over tea.  We had History teas, where we discussed whatever anyone wanted to discuss from History, which can lead all kinds of marvelous directions; there were geography teas (look at maps and talk about countries).  “Look, there’s France – what do know about France?”  Hmm, your humming mind ponders, shall we do a unit study on France?  Google “homeschool unit study ideas” and remember to tailor these ideas to suit yourself!
  10. “Maybe,” you might ponder, “We should do a unit study on our state, and do a field trip approach, right in our own backyards.  What are the herbs coming up this spring, and how can we use them?  Let’s make a plan to gather rosehips, mint, and whatever else will work, and make the best ever herbal tea.  Maybe we’ll learn a bit about home remedies.”
  11. Pray for anointing as a parent, and you will soon know that you are uniquely qualified to teach your children, and you will learn right along with them.  In my case, I believe I learned more than anyone.
  12. Have “Dreaming Times.”  When our four kids were small I had a great need for an hour of absolute peace and quiet in the afternoons.  I would go into my room with a book (John and I always taught by example that reading is a treat), and say, “Don’t say my name for one hour.  Play alone and dream and we’ll do something wonderful when we’re done.”  They would very quietly sneak into each other’s bedrooms and play, but they knew I meant business about an hour of peace and quiet.  Now be prepared to talk about, and respect, their dreams.  And your own!
  13. Have a plan, but be ready to switch gears.  If after Dream Time you meant to go grocery shopping, but they’ve had a dream of building a fort and starting a “John Wayne Club” (yes, this was a thing), the groceries can wait.  Building and creating should always trump spending money.  This is where you can get creative with what’s in the pantry, and play happy music to accompany the beautiful sounds of children at play.  Let them see and hear you happy, as you sing and dance.
  14. Teach them good personal and homekeeping habits.  They can make their beds each morning and brush their teeth, before the “privileges” of outside play, or getting to learn something new about a Founding Father, or mixing and using their own finger paints, etc.  They can brush their teeth and pick up the living room (baskets for everything work well) before they get their bedtime story.
  15. You are the fearless leader, and part of that is meaning business and making House Rules.  These rules are for your sanity, and to make your children popular with others.  Ours were things like NO RUNNING IN THE HOUSE, NO YELLING AND SCREAMING IN THE HOUSE, RESPECT OTHERS’ PROPERTY, RESPECT OTHERS. PERIOD.  Then there was a written and publicly posted list of table manners:  No phone answering during meals, no gross or negative conversation subjects during meals, etc.
  16. Read and re-read daily scriptures on the Tongue from Proverbs, and let your kids see you forget the scriptures entirely, mess up, repent both to God and to them.  This practicing of what you preach, learning and growing as you go, will be a marvelous example, and will draw their hearts to you, and to God.  This will also help your marriage flourish, which is the very kindest thing you can do for your kids – the most important education you can give them (please pardon me for causing you pain if you’re a single parent – these rules still apply, and I wish I’d known them when I was a single parent!).
  17. Consider the power of your example as you make the most of this unexpected situation, as you show them love by sacrificing your normal routine and getting to truly know your child, and yourself.  Remember that your child is unique in all the world, indeed in all the history of the world, and that you have been given the gift of unexpected time together.  To love.
  18. Be sure they know that you see this time with them, this family time, as a marvelous treat, a wonderful blessing.  Tell them this.
  19. Don’t try to cram too much into your days.  Seek a lifestyle of His unforced rhythms of grace.
  20. Keep it simple, and remember, “A little child will lead you.”  But you must lead first.  And you must first be led.  By Him.  Amen.

A Valentine’s Day Thought or Two

I always get a card for John that makes me cry – it’s the one that reminds me what’s in my heart, way deep under the crud that’s not real, and not really me.

This year, I vow, I will speak much more often like that card.  “A smart girl,” I reason, “should be able to do this.”

So, that thing that I’ve spoken (groused, grumbled, murmured) so often about, and thereby made it a real thing, needs to just go away.  Because experience teaches me that until I put it away, and give it to God entirely, it’s here to stay.  I’m talking about a little thing, because so much of the time it really is the little stuff.

It’s the little bad stuff crowding out the REALLY BIG good stuff.  In my case, it’s like packing my wicker picnic basket with fried chicken, devilled eggs, potato salad, artichoke dip with radishes and celery sticks, plus nut-filled brownies, thermoses of both cold milk and hot coffee, a bottle of Moscato, and taking it all to the river with my lover, and then . . .  letting one mosquito spoil the day.

SMASH THE MOSQUITO!!!!  SAY “NOT JUST ‘NO’, BUT HELL, NO!!!”

How again, does a smart girl smash her mosquitoes?  With her tongue.  I read Proverbs every day, and I read the tongue scriptures out loud, so my smart self can HEAR and BELIEVE and RECEIVE them.  Amen!

Like so:  Proverbs 6:2 – You are snared by the words of your mouth, you are taken by the words of your mouth (not anymore!!!!); 8:9 – All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them; 10:19 – In the multitude of words sin is not lacking; 12:18 – There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health; 13:3 – He who guards his mouth preserves his life (and marriage!), but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction; 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger; 15:28 – The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil; 16:21 (especially for parenting) The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning; 17:18 (perhaps my favorite) Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

I vehemently exhort you to read Proverbs 17 and 18 for yourself, and as I have, highlight each tongue scripture, and then put a big black “T” next to it.  Then in Proverbs 20 we find that “any fool can start a quarrel (verse 3), and let us not forget the squirm-inducing verses 9 and 19 in Chapter 21:  Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman; and, Better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.

If that “angry woman” describes you (I think at times it describes all of us), get with God and get free.  “Free indeed” freedom is one of the many treasures Jesus purchased for us on the Cross. (you might begin with singing a little ditty such as, “I’m so free cause it SO aint all about me!”).

Oh, and Happy, Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day.  It’s yours for the saying.

Rx: Open the Windows and Breeze Through January!

Rx #1:  It may be January in the Rockies, and a bit nippish outside, but what is that to stuffiness and last night’s garlic odors permeating the inside?  Why not build a fire, put on a sweater and big socks, and open the windows?

Then get moving and start Spring Cleaning.  Morning till about 2:00, when it’s time for just a few more details under the belt, and a bit of a walk out of doors, before a nice cuppa.  Have I lost my mind?  Why, you may be asking, would I want to do Spring Cleaning in January?  Is it because it will be way too nice outside to be cleaning when Spring gets here?  Or because the house is getting a bit crusty, what with doing only surface cleaning over the holidays?  Maybe it’s just that I can’t stand to open my closet, or the pantry, or look very closely at anything.

It could be a bit of all the above, but for me, it’s mostly that January can be a bit long.  But still, you may be wondering, how could cleaning make it better?  Cleaning is, everyone knows, menial.,  Wrong.  Menial, the dictionary tells us, means “not requiring much skill and lacking prestige.”  The dictionary can be misleading, I say.  Done well, homemaking requires a great deal of skill, as evidenced by how few people can do it.  As to lacking prestige, there’s very little that makes me feel better about myself and life in general, more prestigious, than a clean and orderly home.

To clean and orderly, add happily and beautifully decorated (not “fashionable and politically correct” decorating), comfortable and comforting, relaxing and restoring, aromatic with both home-concocted essential oil sprays (see below) and no-bake cookies (those are coming later this evening because we don’t want to get carried away with all this weight-loss and fitness stuff), and all five CD trays filled and playing Mozart, and I feel more than prestigious.  I feel blessed.

So, give it a try.  Rather than more of the same (leftover holiday habits) – eating and drinking mindlessly, watching stupid stuff on the Net, and feeling like a big lump, try my prescription.  First, open the windows . . .

As for that essential oil spray:  I had an almost-empty bottle of “Balance” from “The Good Home” and I just added water and more oils.  I didn’t have all the oils in the original and might I add marvelous formula, so I added several citrus oils, some Cedarwood, and Cassia, and went through the house spraying anything and everything.  I just  realized I forgot the Clove! Clove is on the way as soon as I finish this post.

Speaking of Clove, add it to your evening drink, or whatever else you can think of, along with other very warm and marvelous oils and spices, such as caraway, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cinnamon, and you will be both physically and emotionally fed.

Rx#2:  This is for getting through long January evenings when you’re sure it must be bedtime and it’s not yet 7:00 p.m.  This is when I do my evening ablutions (such a lovely word), put on my pajamas, and settle in with a very good book (ideas coming right up).  If I get sleepy again before I want to turn in, I take a break and make a lovely evening drink, and here’s the recipe:

Warm milk, honey, vanilla extract, with cinnamon and nutmeg on top.  This must, of course, be imbibed from your very favorite mug.  You could try this, or your variation thereof, and call it your January bedtime story drink (we did this with goat milk when the kids were little and read aloud together – very fun and a way to get rid of the free goat milk our neighbors gave us).  This is a perfect time to concoct your own version of an Internet Chai recipe – I just look for what looks really spicy, then double the spice amounts.  Yay! for warmth in January.

Maybe in February (Valentine’s Day and Chocolates) add cocoa and almond flavoring to your drink and plenty of ORGANIC* heavy whipping cream.  Don’t think of this as fattening.  Rather, have only one reasonably sized mug of it and think of yourself as blessed.

And now for those books:  I started one the other night and had to tear some of the pages out lest anyone in my house see me reading such trash (OK, so you don’t do that, but do you hide the Jo Jo’s?).  Finally, this entire book went into the trash.  I went to the library the next day and came home with TREASURES:  Comstock Lode by Louis L’Amour and Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington.  I’m about 2/3 through Up From Slavery  and halfway through Comstock Lode.  Both are riveting.

It’s about time I had a cuppa (something) and did a bit of reading – Booker T. and me, and Louis as well, so swell (I know you’ll forgive my corny-ness).  Thanks for being with me, and I wish you a Happy, Blah-Free January.  Amen.

*I said ORGANIC because otherwise you may be drinking carageenan, which for me causes joint pain.  Not good, not what I want to be worrying with in my fun January.

 

The Homefront Radio Show Wednesday, December 11 with Bronia Olivas Speaking On Tongues

I have a preliminary intro to Wednesday’s Homefront Show, and I’m sharing it here and now, but making no promises.  Because it seems that more I prepare for and nail down the Show just exactly how I think it should go, the more apt the Holy Spirit is to say, “No, don’t say that, say this.”  The very subject about which I’m most self-satisifed and sure my listeners will LOVE, is the one that at the last minute seems trite, boring and/or irrelevant.

So, again, here’s a possible line-up of the show coming up at 8:00 Mountain time (9:00 Central) Wednesday morning, December 11:

Hello and thank you for joining me today on the Homefront Show, where among many other excellent subjects, we’re going to talk about setting the tone for your home, about doing away with the pie sliver mentality –  we’re going to STOP with the lack thinking.  Enough with not enough! 

Rather than thinking about what we want and need we’re going to think about what we have and what we can share.  It is TIME  to stop sharing our miserliness and our misery (root word miser and it is a godless word), and start being a blessing to ourselves and others as well, especially those living in our houses.  We’re going from Households of Hate (I hate myself and I hate my life) to Households of Faith.  We’ve got some Faith ABC’s – Basics that any and all of us can get, today on the HFS.

But before we do anything else, let me ask this question:  Do I have a listener considering abortion?  I have been dreaming about babies, and about a young woman considering abortion.  So I want to ask this question, and tell you to stay with me – we’re going to talk about this.  And if you have an abortion in your past, and you’re still under that cloud, we’re going to talk about that as well (short, sweet and to the point).  Because there is one way, and one way only, to deal with that kind of cloud, that kind of weight.  So whatever your weight, your regret, your crippling past issue or issues (they seem to travel in packs) whatever. . . have I got a deal for you today on the HFS.

The subject of giving is on the roster as well.  And . . . the Power of Total Immersion.  And . . . Bronia.  Bronia Olivas – isn’t that a lovely name?  It’s for a lovely person, who will be talking about today’s controversial subject, and hopefully take us from controversy to revelation  (Bronia will do her part, you’ll have to choose whether to respond in stubbornness or faith)  – that’s what I call a battle, at least it is for me.

We were created for battle, and we need to wake up in the morning and gear up.  It is absolutely ridiculous for Christians to be worrying about what the devil’s up to. It is downright sin.  So we’re going to talk about the downright sin of worry today, and about the stupidity of disobeying our commanding officer’s commandments!

Opinions are also open for discussion today.  Everyone has an opinion, and very often we find no one is really interested in ours.  We think our opinions are soooo interesting, so important, but I don’t see much in the Bible about the  importance of my opinion.  There is no Book of Beverly.  We especially have opinons about other people.  So, speaking of other people, contact someone who needs a bit of revelation and maybe rerouting for their day, for their thinking, and get them to get with us today on the HFS.

I want to begin the Show with the opinion thing.  I read a devotion about the difference between going to Jesus and going to the telephone with opinions, and you can guess which one gives you the more harmonious, more victorious outcome:

LIMITLESS LOVE DEVOTION, December 8, 2019

(So there, Dear Potential Blessed Listener, is your list of reasons to tune in to https://1360khnc.com/ Wednesday, December 11, at 8:00 am Mountain Time.) 

And Thanks!

Just Say “No!!!!” to Black Friday

Hmmm.  Let me see . . .  My choices are:

  1.  Sleep in.  Get up and build a fire.  Put on the tea kettle and prep for French Press Lavazza with heavy cream.  Put a nice slice of pumpkin pie next to three-layer carrot/pineapple/walnut cake on a gold plate.  Welcome the first sleepyhead who peeps in at the marvelous scent of coffee.  Partake before the now-crackling fire, together.  Or, perhaps alone, which works as well.  Decide what, if anything, I will do today.  Thank God . . .or;
  2. Get my crying-out-for-peace body out of bed at an ungodly (word of the day) hour to stand in lines, push and shove, possibly even trample or be trampled, in the MINDLESS pursuit of plastic junk paid for on plastic, to end up in a landfill full of plastic long before it’s paid for.
    1. JUST SAY “NO” TO BLACK FRIDAY.

There’s a Granny in the House!

John’s mom, Colene Parker, is with us for a few weeks, and it is just lovely.  That’s because we’re just youngsters in our early 60’s, and it’s always nice to have someone about thirty years older —  to care for and enjoy, to talk with and listen to, to take us out of ourselves, and to remind us how young we are.

It’s nice to have peaceable oldsters, vintage treasures you could say.  And if they keep their silver hair done, and their bright pink nails as well, wear plenty of jewelry, and lovely sweaters with their new blue jeans, so much the better.

If they agree with you that your children/their grandchildren are truly the finest folks ever, what else do you need, really?  We have our mutual admiration society, and dissenting opinions/views need not be considered.

It’s true.  Men very often do marry their mothers.  I once would have said my mother-in-law and I have love of John, and our children/grandchildren in common, and not that much else.  But as I study her, I have to reassess.  We both consider ourselves good managers (“not bossy, my ideas are just better”)* We both like music, art, things that sparkle, reading and crosswords.  We think a good time is what we did on the way home from the airport after picking her up Sunday night:  exclaim over all the Christmas lights; wear red and extra eye make-up, talk about blessings, eat and buy Alan Jackson Christmas CD’s at Cracker Barrel.

We made arrangements to meet Hannah (my daughter who is also lots like Colene) at Cracker Barrel.  We talked about the beloveds in our lives, and how perfect it was that Colene flew in the day before the imminent big snow.  I planned (knowing she’d agree) that we’d build a fire and read romances and drink coffee with Peppermint Jo Jo’s the next day.  We enjoyed our little circle of love.

John smiled at me in the mirror as we drove, (Colene sat beside him because it was easier for her to get into the front seat, and as I prefer sitting in back when I can) saying, “Thank you for being nice to my mommy.”

What’s not to like/love/appreciate?  She raised you, and she did a darn good job.

Plus, she likes, and is lots like, that gal in my mirror.  Who can resist?

 

Coffee Table Fun, Golden Retriever Puppies who Never Make a Mess, and Ignoring the Naysayers when Decorating!

 

And, you can’t really do this playing it safe.  White.  Gray.  Grey.

A coffee table that’s too large, too small, too nice to put your feet on.  Too new.

What would happen, I wondered, if I turned that old, very old, dresser on it’s back.  The size would be perfect.

What happened was my daughter, Hannah, laughing until she had to slide down the wall and sit in the floor.  Just you wait.  She and every other doubting Thomas in my house went to bed.

As did I.  No, I won’t use it.  I’ll just do something else.  It’s too out there, even for me.  I went to sleep.

But then.  I woke up thinking of the exposed slats in the bottom of the old dresser, exposed and right in front of the couch.  And I thought . . . I wonder . . . Would that picture of the Golden Retrievers fit?  Nah.  Too long.

But I went to get it and tried it out and you can see the results below.  You can see what people who put their feet (pillows and warm socks always provided at our house) and their coffee on my coffee table see when they look down a bit.

And now, more of my welcoming, cozy, answer to the Bleak Facade:  (first you must decide which puppy you like best)

That’s a vintage (a-maz-ing sound!) record player in the corner – Neil Diamond “Moods” is playing.

 

The pram in the dining area (next to the piano) holds CD’s and a CD player.

 

Yay, Hooray, Today is the Day

Summer Put Away

Autumn Holding Sway!

Color, Clamor, Leaves Gone Quite Wild

Light Fine and Clear

Let us all Rejoice!  Harvest is Here.