OPEN THE DOOR TO PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE AND MOVIE STAR HOMESCHOOLERS COMING RIGHT UP ON THE HOME FRONT SHOW – 2:00 MTN

It’s so great when a plan comes together.  When I awoke this morning/last night? at 1:45 a.m. I didn’t know what today’s show was about.  But just a bit of prayer (and because I went to bed after John prayed with me about it) I knew!  Perseverance and patience.

And everything I listened to, read, and experienced told me I was right on track – Dave Ramsey in Entreleaders, Sheila Walsh’s joy infusions (Rebekah will be sharing from that on the show today), The Home School Mom’s Devotional Bible, Harriet Beecher Stowe, two sermons I caught in the middle of the night, and just the beautiful, wonderful Word of God – patience, perseverance, power.  They go together, so let’s get together on the show today and celebrate!

Also, I have a special giveaway today – a book by a famous movie star/homeschooling couple, who are also the stars of “Let There Be Light”!

Go to:  http://www.1360am.co at 2:00 Mountain Time, and Thanks!

 

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Home School Help for Me!

I’m enjoying a book called  The Rhythm of Family by Amanda and Stephen Soule.  As I was reading Amanda’s writings about canning and crafting and all sort of creative and beautiful activities, I was comparing my efforts of past years, when my kids were young.

And I found myself weighed in the balance and found wanting – can you relate? Could we all just stop doing that?  I stopped myself with a positive “yeah, but . . .”

Yeah, but my kids made a hammock in the top of a tall oak tree, forts in the woods, ships on the creek, trains in the garage. They made up and wrote stories about the local rabbit family and buried and hunted treasure, caught and lost crawdads and lizards, and slew as well as drew great dragons.

They loved and were loved by an oddity of a dog. He seemed odd to us, that is, but to him his behavior was absolutely normal.  I’ll share more about this dog in a moment, but back to my kids’ having a childhood – maybe they didn’t live on the ocean in Maine and maybe their mom wasn’t the craft queen of the universe.  But she made them homemade fingerpaints when it was raining, and turned grape juice into popsicles when it was hot, and they know how to make artisan breads, and what a snake smells like when you get too close while you’re picking blackberries.

They still remember reading Timothy Tattercoat on a quilt in the shade with a thermos of iced tea and peanut butter on saltines. And through Timothy, a desire was instilled in their hearts to live where he lived, in the mountains of Colorado.

I mentioned our old dog, Buster, who died by the way, chasing a car, and as we told the kids – he died instantly as his head connected with a fast-moving fender, and it was probably painless.

Buster was better at chasing cows – they and he knew who and what he was.

We were walking in the country a long way from home one day and we came upon a pasture full of cows, in the corner farthest fro m the road. Buster went across the pasture, herded those cows to the opposite end of the field and they did exactly as he bade them. He was the boss of these big and theretofore unknown cows.

Not so Chihuahuas. There was a lady who walked her three chihuahuas past our house every day.  Benjamin, age 7 then, called her Mrs. Chawalla.  I guess Buster thought her dogs were giant rabies-infested rats – he was terrified and hid under the back porch and cried every day when they went by.

As for snakes, he would step on or over them and not even see them. Amazing.  But when it came to doing what he was created to do, he meant business.  He knew who he was.  He was a cowdog.  An Australian Shepherd.

We come to know who we are when we grasp that great truth that we are created in the image of God, who is Love, and we are therefore, when being our true selves, LOVE.

Which means – aha! – that I can rejoice in and admire the strengths and successes of other moms, and perhaps even emulate them in some areas; I can look back with appreciation for what I did right and ABSOLUTELY forget about what I might have done differently; and I can do a great service to my kids now, whatever their ages, by modeling the rest and contentment that comes from knowing who and Whose I am.

What a way to live!

Courtesy Begins at Home

heart-in-gate” . . . there is no place in the world where the amenities of courtesy should be so carefully maintained as in the home. There are no hearts that hunger so for the expressions of affection as the hearts of which we are most sure.  There is no love that so needs its daily bread as the love that is strongest and holiest.  There is no place where rudeness or incivility is so unpardonable as inside our own doors and toward our best beloved.”  – Rev. J. R. Miller, D.D. in Home-Making

Rude and disrespectful children were not taught at home the example of kindness and consideration.  They were not shown by their parents the value of respecting the hearts of others.

From the time our kids were small we praised them for their kindnesses to others, and actively taught them how to bring light to the lives of others via small kindnesses.  And it began at home.

“Your sister is a gift from God, one that you will always have.  When you’re a very old man and have a sad day you will call her and tell her your troubles and she will pray for you and tell you she loves you,” we told the boys more than once.

“Some girls don’t have brothers,” I remember telling one of the girls.  “Your brother will grow up to be a good, strong, kind man just like your dad, and he will always care about you and always help you and always love you.”

And so forth.  And then, we would tell them to spend just a little time alone to pray (it’s never too early to teach a child to take their burdens to Jesus) and later they were required to give each other hugs and say, “I love you.”

To this day we have four kids who love each other and show it.  They are kind and courteous almost all of the time.  And if they slip up we are quick to check them.  As I said to our oldest son not long ago, “You will never have a truer friend, you will never know a more quality person, than your brother.  He’s a 17-year-old male right now, and if you’ll think back to when you were a 17-year-old male . . .”

He got the point:  Courtesy begins at home.

“The tenderer the love and the truer, the more it craves the thousand little attentions and kindnesses which so satisfy the heart.” –  Rev. J. R. Miller, D.D. in Home-Making

The Stupid Question: What About Socialization?

child in hat and glasses

“Precisely.”

That’s what to say when you’re asked this most aggravating and ignorant of questions about why your child isn’t being institutionalized.

“But aren’t you concerned about socialization?”

“Yes.  That’s one of the reasons we homeschool.”

Total confusion on their part.

Patient sigh on yours.

“First of all, we aren’t socialists.  We don’t believe the state knows best.  We don’t believe the state owns us or our children.”

“Secondly, we don’t think hanging out all day long (mostly sitting) with ignorant little kids who look, talk, dress, and are in more ways than not, exactly alike, is proper socialization. ”

“In fact, we think it’s extremely unnatural, unhealthy, and stifling.”

Oh, and we’re too nice to say so, but it’s your kids and grandkids (it’s mostly old fools who come after us on this)  who won’t look us in the eyes when we attempt to converse with them, who mutter or don’t answer at all, who display an alarming dearth of original thought and logic if they do venture an opinion, not our poor little homeschooled “hicks.”

We have always gotten compliments on our kids – on their ability to converse with people of all ages, backgrounds, religions, cultures, and races; on their friendliness, kindness, respect, and their obvious enjoyment of life and each other.

Seth and RebekahBenjamin and Hannahall four kids

Yes, you can search and find kids like ours, and they may even be kids who are public-schooled.  Don’t know, haven’t seen that very much.  But why go to the trouble?  Why not just homeschool?

Yes, your kids will miss out if you homeschool.  They’ll miss out on being bullied or becoming bullies, on easy access to drugs, sex, alcohol and porn.  They won’t learn about being one of the “in crowd” or being “cool” and “popular.”  In short, they won’t be social monstrosities, with mountain-tall egos, or “nerds” who hate school.  And if you have even the smallest of success, you will raise individuals who miss out on becoming followers.

You, too, will miss out if you homeschool your children.  You’ll miss them turning into hellions during their teen years.  You’ll miss them losing respect for you and your beliefs, and you’ll miss becoming an embarrassment to their social little arses.

If you homeschool, you’ll miss out on being politically correct and socially acceptable.  And yes, you’ll have to deal with the stupid question.  I’ve given you a few answers, and here are a couple more:  “Who and what successes qualify you to judge me?”, and, “So, what hole do you live in (speaking of socialization) so that you don’t know the abysmal failure public education in America has been proven to be, no matter how you measure it.”

Well, maybe I shouldn’t say “no matter how you measure it.”  Because if your goal is turning out good little robots who lose their sense of personal worth, individual creative prowess, and dare I say, common sense and kindness, then maybe public school is a roaring success.

Go ahead, in the name of socialization, steal your child’s childhood.  Take away his time to play, invent, create, read, read, read, commune with God and nature, and grow into the person God intended, so that he can change the world.

little girl with flower

Look around you.  Do we need even one more just-like-everybody-else person?  Your child is unique in all the world, in all the history of the world.  It will take a huge and concerted effort to make her just like everyone else – socialized.  In fact, you can’t do it alone.  You’ll need all the help you can get to stamp out all that originality and wonder.  Hooray, there’s public education in America!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just say “Yes” to the Idea of Home Schooling Your Child

A young girl reading the current events in a newspaper; isolated on white background.

          People worry about bad things that might happen to their kids in public school – kids getting fat due to unhealthy food, kids being bullied, kids getting shot.  But they don’t seem to worry about the certainties:  Their kids will be institutionalized, and taught that they are nothing, less than nothing, in fact. 
 sad child
          A few years back we took a trip to visit a famous museum, where I was appalled at the exhibit “proving” that we are all products of nothing more than “oxygen pollution.”  Yes, there are worse things than being highly developed apes.  One can have affection and regard for an ape.  But to be nothing more than pollution?  You can try all the self-esteem training in the world, but it won’t take over deeply-embedded programming such as this.
          The truth is that every one of us is unique in all the world, uniquely qualified to do something marvelous for God and man.  This is the goal of education:  the love and adventure of learning of who our Maker is, why He made us, and the equipping for the task.
  child at beach with mom's shoes
          Pastor Keith Moore recently said, “We need to be delivered from this desperate need for others’ approval.”  I submit to you that we got that mentality in public school.  We learned to follow the crowd, to strive for the grade, to fit in and be “cool” in public school. 
          Yes, of course all this happens in most private schools as well, but many private schools are Christian, and therefore do not denigrate the child with anti-Creation messages.  However, there is one way to be certain your child is taught the intrinsic value of every human, and that is to believe it yourself and teach it at home. 
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          Oh, you’re doing that?  Once in a while. And you think you can counter that pervasive message from “educators” just fine.  And how about the influences of children whose parents have failed to teach them kindness and respect?
          We recently visited friends whose pre-schooled child talked back to her mom and it was like listening to a rebelling teenager.  I was so grieved.  A child that age should be over the moon in love with her mommy.
mom and baby
          So what do I suggest?  Home schooing.  Of course. 
          Before you start your tired mantra:  I can’t, I couldn’t, I’m not qualified, I have to work, I’m a single parent, my kids drive me nuts . . . Just stop for a second.  Consider the idea.  What if you could?  What if you at least prayed about it?  What if it’s true that where there’s a will there’s a way? 
 father and child
          You may not be qualified, but it’s probably not for the reasons you think.  I once read about a woman who decided against home schooling and was glad she did when she saw her kindergartner standing in line.  She knew that had she home schooled ,her daughter would never have learned this “skill.”
          When our kids were young teens we enrolled them in Karate.  When the instructor told the class to line up our kids just stood there.  John laughed and I rolled my eyes.  Hannah later said she knew what a line was, but she just thought she should be first and everyone should get behind her.  How’s that for a different perspective?
girlinswing
          Back to the woman who thinks standing in line is an important life skill.  This woman is not smart enough to home school.  But you are, or you wouldn’t be reading my blog.  If you potty trained that child and taught her to talk and how to tie her shoes, you can teach her to love learning and be a life-long performer in the dance of life. 
dancing girl

Is This Romance or a Colossal Waste of Time?

woman reading photo

So many books, so little time.  Why, then, am I reading the most forgettable of books?  Because I am trying to escape laziness by being lazy.  Say what?

I recently read two very different books.  The second one is so forgettable (by a very successful modern author) that I won’t bore you with its title.  The first book, however, sent me to Alibris.com to see what else I might find by the author.  I started this book during Thanksgiving week, so it took a while to finish.  But even as I was busy with other quite enthralling and enjoyable activities, I was thinking about the book, about the main character’s dilemma.  I was, as I explained to my family, “intensely involved’ in this story.

book on desk with glasses

Right.  The name of the book:  Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.  This book enhanced my thinking, revved up my mental engines.  Like another recently enjoyed excellent book, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, Lady Audley’s Secret satisfied my heart’s desire for new insights and revelations, as well as reacquaintance with deep and almost forgotten heart’s truths.

So, why again do I pick up twaddle and use up precious hours of my life reading it, and then forgetting it as soon as possible?  It’s called “escape” and aptly so, but to where?  I escaped to intriguing worlds with Mary Elizabeth Braddon and with Elizabeth Gaskell, but with the author who must not be named I escaped to . . . I don’t remember.

 

beautiful library

So many bad (inane, intelligence insulting, smut-filled) books.  So many good books.  I choose good.

Oh, and one more thing!  Beware the “poignant” books.  This usually means the author’s life stinks and he/she wants yours to, also, via reading this tripe.  Try instead something whose very feel in your hands makes you say, “I wonder what’s in here.”

old books

The “Art” of Home Education

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“What should I do with him today?” Hannah asked this morning, regarding her babysitting charge.  “I’ll think on that,” I said, knowing Hannah was talking as much to herself as to me, and would as usual come up with something on her own.

Still, I pondered her question because I said I would, and then later called her.  “I know what you can do.  Google a recipe for finger paints, then let him do something like the horse Seth did with finger paints when he was about that age.”

“Oh, God,” Seth moaned in the background (he now thinks that marvelous painting is awful).  “Thanks, Mom, that’s what I’ll do!” was Hannah’s more gratifying response.

It doesn’t matter what Seth thinks about that painting, or that he doesn’t understand why his dragon water color has a place of honor (more on that place later) or that Benjamin wishes heartily that I take down his crayon drawing of his battle horse, “Ready”, or that Hannah disagrees entirely with my assessment that her quilt horse pencil drawing is pure joy (I even have candles to match it).  Rebekah’s most prized artwork (in my view) is her picture of me (I have a crown on my head and a hugely smiling, bright red mouth and am wearing a low-necked turquoise dress), and she’s the only child who never complains about it being on the wall for all the world to see.

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Yes, there was plenty of art that never made the frame, never graced our walls, some of it long gone, others in folders stored away.  And I do have artwork that was done by “professionals”.  But none of it has ever elicited the interest, the smiles, even the joy brought by the works of my children.  ‘Real” art has never made John say, as he did about Seth’s 4-year-old finger-painted horse, “Don’t ever take that down.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.”  Me, too.  Even now.

Hannah, in entertaining her charge last week, sculpted a cat for me, as he created for his mom.  Hannah wrapped her creation carefully in toilet paper, sat down beside me on the couch when she got home, and said, “I know you are the one person who will appreciate this.”  She unwrapped the cat, and just as she knew I would be, I was delighted.  The cat (not named yet, am waiting to get to know him/her) sits in a place of honor on my dresser.

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As to Seth’s dragon painting’s place of honor, it sits in front of the TV, effectively hiding the hideous thing from view.  TV can be the greatest enemy of creativity, of family life, of art appreciation.

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In all our travels the kids have never been allowed to watch movies or play video games rather than enjoying the scenery (they can read if they like).  Nature’s art speaks to our hearts whether we’re on the Oregon coast or at the highest spot we can climb to in Rocky Mountain National Park, or amid the Sugar Maples during Fall in the Ozarks, or on a desolate stretch of desert highway.  Appreciation and understanding of God, that’s what art can give us.  Real art.  Art from the heart.

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Exhortation of creativity is one of the hallmarks of good home education.  Good home education produces children who are highly individual, and yet uniquely qualified to contribute to the greater good. Such as in creating artworks that are also mementos.  Such as taking the time to ponder what will bring joy to the heart of a child when babysitting.

A little child will lead you.  When Seth first tried to draw dragons, I bought a little book entitled, “How to Draw a Dragon” (or something like that).  When Rebekah wasn’t all that keen on drawing, I bought books on how to draw horses (she was very keen on horses).  Hannah’s interest in water colors was fueled by a local water color class.  For Benjamin, I simply kept plenty of pencils, pens, and paper on hand, as his art was mostly props for his writing.  If he was creating a battle scene, he would go outside, build a city, enact the battle with the wooden sword and shield John made one year for his birthday, come back inside and sketch out further details, and return to his writing (fantastic writing by the way).  My small contribution was making a hauberk, helping John with the finishing touches on the shield, and saying, “Absolutely!!!” when John asked if I thought he should add a battle axe to the weaponry.

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Home education, done in love’s rhythms and graces, can make learning an enchantment of  color and light and joy.  An art, in other words.