There are so many excellent resources for homeschooling parents, but how to choose? So many opportunities, but which ones to forgo? This is a big deal, and it must be done right! Right?
Know your child via time with your child’s Maker. You MUST pray for and receive the wisdom of God for each child. Individually. You have birthed an individual, unique in all the world, indeed, in all the history of the world. One of your many excellent reasons for homeschooling is to train this child up into the fullness and wonder of that uniqueness.
So, get to know your child. This, dear parent, is a lifelong process, and you are called to it. As a parent, we partner with God to create and give and nurture life. It is a lovely process of discovery, and today is the day to begin!
Seek God’s face and His grace. Ask Him and He will answer. My experience homeschooling taught me that He really likes to get involved in this marvelous escapade! He wants you to know Him, and He wants to reveal the heart of your child unto you. Blessed, so blessed are you.
What do we all need? To know and to be known. Give yourself and your child a gift so far beyond curriculum, field trips, and co-op activities. Give yourself up to the wonderful journey of getting to know God, who will reveal to you yourself, and the heart of your child as well.
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”!
Just as I predicted, with the election of Donald Trump, the American economy is exploding. And I believe that will mean fewer marriages ravaged by financial stress, more opportunities on all fronts, and most of all, I hope it means more moms will be able to be at home. Homemakers, homekeepers, hearthtenders.
I not only hope, I earnestly and diligently pray that we are about to, once again, become a society where people are nurtured in the most excellent place of all – home. And by the most blessed and privileged of all people – homemakers.
I wasn’t so privileged when I got the “education”, bought the Italian pumps and sported the chic haircut. I had a fancy office all my own and a degree – a piece of paper – to prove I was somebody.
But now I have “medals”. “You and John have medals,” a lady at church recently said to me after we stood together as a family before the congregation. The pastor had asked our oldest son to come forward for prayer, along with John and me, before leaving for officer training in Fort Benning, Georgia. Our other three joined us as well. The pastor prayed, John prayed, and I managed to pray through the tears of an utterly full heart.
There were other words spoken and joys shared and then those words from a lady I didn’t know. “You and John have medals.” She paused and I waited as she gazed at our children. “Your children are medals.”
Indeed. And we fought for them. We fought financial fears when I chucked that fancy job to stay home with Benjamin. “It’s an opportunity to trust,” I said to John when the doctor said if I didn’t abort Hannah I would not survive. Told I would miscarry Rebekah, again we donned the full armor of God and we fought. Recovering from the C-section that brought us Seth, I battled for my health and vitality, and John prayed me through those wearying days.
Attempting to hear God and not our own insecurities or preferences, or the opinions of others, we stood our ground when we decided to home school. John prayed as I sought self-discipline, self-control and patience.
Always, we suited up for battle with the Word of God in our mouths, saying what He said about our children, rather than what we wanted to spew out of our mouths. This child is impossibly strong-willed, stubborn, willful, and I am at my wit’s end with her! was the thought. The words were prayers and positive scriptural confessions: “This child is my great and glorious gift, fearfully and wonderfully made for God’s purposes and she will live in the light and bring blessings all the days of her life.”
And so on. Through the years I have made the most powerful and eternally profitable investment a woman ever has the privilege to make: I have raised my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I have been a homemaker.
For John, the husband who supported my determination to do whatever it took to raise my children (for a time we took all four of them with us on our trim and tile jobs) I am grateful beyond all measure.
Because I raised my older children as a single mother, or rather they were raised by the daycare center and the public school system, I know the immeasurably high cost of a “real” job, of a society-sanctioned career. I know the ever-diminishing returns on that kind of investment – investment in the world’s ways.
“I simply can’t go through that again,” I said to John when we talked about my returning to work and finding childcare for Benjamin. It wasn’t just about my baby, it was about me, and my peace of mind. It was about that deepest of needs in my heart, the need to make a home for my family, to be a homemaker.
A homemaker who is also a homeschooler has it made in the shade, especially if she has a strong and good husband. Her life in no way resembles the stereotype of the harried and frantic chicken-with-her-head-cut-off mommy. Rather, if she seeks the impartation of wisdom freely given via simply asking the Holy Spirit and reading God’s Word each and every single morning, she grows ever more skillful in battle, ever more confident and in full receipt of her rewards. Her life is lived in rhythms of grace, rather than in sorrow and regret.
If I had it to do over in what I call my “first life” I would have cleaned houses and taken my babies with me, or lived in a tent by the river, or moved in with family. But I would not have sacrificed my children on the altar of career, I would not have bought the line that I “couldn’t afford” to do otherwise.
I would have said, “What I can’t afford is the breaking of the little hearts and spirits of my children by leaving them in the care of, at best, indifferent workers while I go and chase the almighty dollar.
I am eternally grateful for this second chance, but regarding my older children, there are no overs. I urge and exhort you, if you have young children being raised by others as your heart yearns for them, pray and believe God for the highest of callings and privileges, that He will make the way, that He will be the author and the finisher of your parenting, your marriage, your family. Your home.
Then say joyously to all who ask who you are and what you do: I AM A HOMEMAKER.
Tomorrow on the Home Front Show (1360 am radio in Johnstown, Colorado) I have about three hours of material to fit into one.
I’m going to share from The Founder’s Bible excerpts entitled Saturate Yourself in God’s Word and A Most Interesting Act of Kindness. I’ll be discussing how the Bible doesn’t talk about New Year’s Resolutions – rather, we are shown by example to make New Day’s Resolutions.
Resolutions in January? January, rather than being fit for get-up-and-go activities, is much more suited to hibernation, fireside chats, and thick socks and sweaters. And even if you live where it’s 80 degrees, just think of January as a lovely time for recovering from the holidays, for thoughtfully and prayerfully and gently easing yourself into the new year.
But back to the Home Front Show (Friday, Jan 6 at 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time): I’m going to call on the written words of wise women tomorrow, regarding marriage and homemaking. I’ll be sharing marriage thoughts from my own book, The Maker’s Marriage, as well as choice words from Dr. Laura’s The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. Time permitting Edith Schaeffer will be quoted, and I’m going to rock a few boats with thoughts from Bringing up Bebe.
As almost always there will be a plug for Home Schooling. Bringing Up Bebe is actually a book I recommend for moms who can’t wait until their kids are old enough to send to school, and another author who probably never thought she’d be used for this purpose is Jane Brocket. I’ll be suggesting that Jane’s books might be almost all you need for a fabulously fun and productive home school curriculum for girls.
The show will go on – to other topics, in particular that of personal identity, and protection from “identity theft.” In December I started talking about identity theft in our society, but didn’t get very far due to time constraints. So, January’s shows (every Friday at 2:00 p.m. MT) will all at least touch on this, with a special and eloquent speaker on the subject joining us for the final January show.
The Home Front Show is all about building your home through building your faith. So, as I always say on the broadcast (or something to this effect), “Do you have a friend who could use a boost? Call her or him and say, ‘Tune in to the Home Front Show!'”
I got into a discussion yesterday about home schooling. It began with the statement (as best I recall), “People home school from a position of fear.” Being just about finished with defending my position to people who are coming at me from a position of judgment (never having homeschooled themselves, and perhaps wanting to justify putting their kids in the cesspool or should I say “government indoctrination camps” which are also known, unbelievably, as schools), I was perhaps a little more direct than usual.
I agreed that yes, many people do homeschool from a position of fear, from a defensive posture. But, as I pointed out, they are still, more often than not, quite successful at turning out hard-working, independent-thinking, quality citizens. I wish I’d said what my husband John said this morning when I talked it over with him. “They may begin from a position of fear, their feet may tremble as they step out in faith, but they begin. They step out.”
I am sorry for the myriad of Christians who will someday have to defend that “Let them be salt and light in the public schools” nonsense. As John said, “You think a five-year-old (or 15-year-old) is going to stand against an institution controlled by an entity who was once God’s right hand man, an entity with thousands of years of experience to perfect his craft of stealing, killing, and destroying (John 10:10)?”
And anyway, I ask, how is that working for you? As John said when I discussed the mental cruelty my granddaughter is receiving in public school (supposedly one of the “best” school systems in her state) John reminded me, “Oh, but she’s being properly socialized.” I forcibly turned my thoughts away from all the other negatives she’s experiencing in the name of “education.”
The reasons to get your children out of the public school system are numerous, and I won’t go into them right now. But I do want to come back to that fear assertion. Perhaps it was fear on this man’s part that prevented him from home schooling – fear of being ridiculed, criticized, outright persecuted. Fear of not going along with the crowd, perhaps even fear of his own pastor’s opinion, or whoever it was that first fed him that “salt and light” malarky.
Fear. Maybe it first gained a stronghold in his mind via his childhood training in following the crowd, in trying to fit in, in wanting to be accepted, popular, “cool” like everyone else. Indeed, perhaps he is just another victim of the public school system, where we all (most of us at least) learned: not to rock the boat, to color inside the lines, and to judge. To fear.
II Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of powerand of loveand of a sound mind.
Don’t take my word for it, don’t take anyone else’s word against it: Get God’s opinion, and remember He said “Train up your child,” NOT, “Send them out for someone else to indoctrinate.”
Twice in the last week I have heard how women who don’t have college degrees aren’t “qualified” to home school. Faith and Love, not pieces of paper given to 22-year-olds with no children and in many cases, even less than no wisdom, is what qualifies and equips us to train our children.
Faith in the One who made your child, and who chose you as the parent, faith working through love – that’s your ticket. YOU’RE IT! YOU CAN DO IT, AND DO IT BRILLIANTLY! I like to turn the long-ago spoken words of a school board member around. When my dad asked why we (my brother and I) weren’t learning anything, he was told, “We don’t need no smartass city dude tellin’ us how to run our school.” Newsflash: WE DON’T NEED NO SMARTASS SCHOOL TELLIN’ US HOW TO RAISE OUR KIDS.
Does the very thought of even thinking about homeschooling make you sweat and gulp? That probably means it’s time for you to get off the fear merry-go-round and get on the faith train. What a journey it’s going to be!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eighteen years old. A graduate! Old enough to join the Army and shoot people. Old enough for Mom and Dad to send out into the world so that they can get on with their own lives. Old, I say!
Wrong. Who, at eighteen, knows how to handle the adult world with skill and wisdom? What child, at eighteen, isn’t in as much need of prayer and guidance as ever?
Don’t be in a rush to push that child out of the nest. Make the nest more welcoming and comfortable than ever. Be sure your child knows, in spite of all the world’s voices, that you are perfectly fine with God’s timing, be it leaving at eighteen or twenty-eight.
Dr. James Dobson calls eighteen to twenty-eight the “critical decade” — that time of decisions and choices which shape the rest of life. I, for one, made some really dumb mistakes at eighteen years young, and could have used some uncompromising guidance, some Holy Spirit-inspired wisdom and timing. And the world I faced was much friendlier and less threatening and dark than what today’s kids face.
Shall we get off the world’s (and the Military’s) timetable, and have a little rhythm and grace? Our son, Benjamin, always knew he wanted to join the Army, but he waited a bit, leaving home at 19, and turning 20 before he was in Basic Training. During his final months at home he got in shape physically, and grew mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. There is a lot of maturing between eighteen and twenty, and we believe it’s made all the difference for him.
Be prepared to ignore other people’s nosy questions and opinions. My daughter Hannah (www.thewarmjournal.com) hasn’t yet decided where or when or if she’s going to college. The hardest part, she says, is ignoring the judgement and disapproval of other people. A good life lesson right there: Other people’s opinions don’t matter. What matters is what Hannah is seeking: God’s opinion. “Until I know where God wants me to go, I’m not going anywhere,” she says.
And then, amazingly, she wanted to know if I and her dad were OK with her “sticking around a little while.” Was she serious? “Your dad is fine if you never leave, but I think you should leave in the next decade or so,” I answered. She liked that answer.
A warm and cozy nest is the best kind to leave. We want our children to set out in God’s timing, all flags flying high. Eighteen or twenty-eight, or whenever they’re ready.
We can either properly launch our children, all systems go, into an outer space life adventure, or we can push them out of the nest prematurely, and watch in agony as they falter and crash, often with severely damaged wings.
Remember, it’s 18 years young, not 18 years old.
P.S. If you’re grieving because this has already happened to your child, turn up the prayer! God is the God of restoration. I have long claimed the scripture, Joel 2:25, and called on God to restore what the locust has eaten in the lives of my loved ones, and myself. Again and again, I have seen Him bring healing and restoration.