Dear Christian Homeschool Mom, Welcome to your Mission Field

Welcome to your mission field!!
Where your heart at home matters!!

We are called as Christians to the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:16-20

Let us not forget the importance of displaying this effort in the home first.  We must build a firm foundation where we are at.  It may take years.  It may be your only main mission field.  It may be a strong platform towards other missions that you will be called to.  Sometimes the very ones that are closest to us are the ones who get stepped over and past in the pursuit of doing great things for the intent of God’s glory.

Let us remember to love and nurture in the home, and with that connection expand our mission field.   After all, who is the church but us as individual followers of Christ?  How are the nations reached but by each individual person?  Let us serve in practical ways, beginning first, in our home.  So with that in mind, what does your current mission field, er home, look like?  How is our gentleness?  Are we living our faith out loud in front of our children?  Is our discipline punishment or guidance?  Are we quick to admit our own mistakes, and ask forgiveness when needed?  How do we interact with our spouse?  That matters.  I didn’t say this would be easy.  However, it is worth it!!  It is important, and we, as a Christian Homeschool Mom, are a valuable part of setting the Great Commission up for purpose.  Cultivating hearts at home is such a worthy calling!  Your heart at home truly matters!  So carry on, be awesome, and go and make disciples, starting in your home first.

Hello Summer!

We just wrapped up our 17th year of homeschooling!

I love our learning days,
yet when summer comes ’round,
there’s just a whole new breath of fresh air to be taken.

Simple summers are a beautiful thing!

 

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Our family doesn’t do summer sports, no day camps, no overnight camps, and we pick one VBS to attend.  In general, we will set aside one day a week for any scheduled activities or meet ups with friends.

We do create a rhythm to our days; a routine, of sorts, to flow with.
Responsibilities, rest, and recreational activities that collide with resourcefulness.

After parenting for so long, I’m acutely aware of how fast these summer days go fleeting by.  I don’t want to be so busy going to things that we miss building relationships.  So we will be mostly enjoying the fresh breeze of our 2 acres as we embrace low key mornings, midday swims in the hot sun, and explore self-led interests in the cool of our basement.  I ain’t gonna lie, I’m very much looking forward to lazy care free days.  Happy summer ya’all!

 

 

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“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”
Romans 14:19

The 7 Benefits of attending a Homeschool Convention

Are you homeschooling?  Or thinking about homeschooling? or know someone thinking about homeschooling? or just wondering what the heck all this homeschool stuff is about?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you, my friend, would benefit from a homeschool conference. 

So let’s discover what is offered at a Christian homeschool conference:

1)
Vendor Hall
– There should be a list of exhibits available to you.  I would highly suggest perusing that list, and wisely decide which ones you definitely want to see and which ones might be interesting to observe.  Obviously, the exhibits are an excellent way to see, hands on, the resources that are available to us as homeschoolers; curriculum choices, educational toys, organizational tools, elective options, Christian resources, local services that you could find useful for your family, and much more.

2)
Keynote speakers
– These are some of the most fabulous inspirational speakers that support your desire to raise your kids with a home based education.  They give encouragement, guidance, and motivation to build a firm foundation in the home.

3)
Workshops-
There will be an abundance of workshops available to choose from.  These are amazing because this is where you get to the meat of topics;  such as preschool ideas, highschool prep, writing techniques, discussions on special needs, health, home, support, time management, technology, government mandates and homeschool freedoms, and facing distractions and trials (just to name a few).

4)
Used Curriculum exchange- 
whether you need to clear out your old curriculum to make room for the new, or you want to find specific items at preowned prices, this is the place to find hidden treasures.

5)
Bonus sections-
career fairs, science activities, and college information are common areas of interest.

6)
Fellowship- 
come on, who doesn’t like a little bit of unity.  Hanging out with tons of other homeschoolers lets us see how many others are on this crazy adventure we’ve chosen to travel.

7)
Family bonding-
these conventions are intended for the whole family.  Bring the hubby and the kids.  Grandparents even!  This is a great way to explore interests, ponder thoughts, and share ideas with each other.

 The beginning of the summer is always a great time to go dream, discover, and explore new things, so go ahead, check out your closest homeschool convention.  It’s worth the journey.

If your hometown is in or near Oregon, come see me at this years OREGON CHRISTIAN HOME EDUCATION CONFERENCE.  I’d love to see your face!

 

 

Let’s Talk Homeschool

Keeping it real, from my perspective.

There is no wrong way to homeschool, except to do nothing.  There are endless varieties of curriculum, learning styles, and teaching methods.

We are finishing up our 17th year of homeschooling this month.  Although it may seem like we have it all together, with all things running smoothly, we have definitely had struggles along the way.

Within 17 years we have had:
long lay offs/minimal income/faced bankruptcy
two kids within one year had surgery to remove their appendix
had 3 babies added to our mix over these years
moved 11 times
faced health issues
cared for a loved one with severe dementia

Some of the behind the scene challenges:
Adhd
Sensory Processing Disorder
Dyslexia
Dysgraphia
Asperger Syndrome

We’ve dealt with:
struggling readers
reluctant writers
precocious learners
strong wills
perfectionism to a default
flat out defiance

In the first 8 years we tried 8 different curriculum styles.

What gets us through it all?

FLEXIBILITY

The willingness to take a look at what needs to be accomplished, what goals we want to strive for, and what approach best fits the child.  Personally for us, we ventured out of the box (curriculum) and discovered the freedom of self-learning.  The key point is letting them work at their learning level (whether advanced or a slower pace) to gain mastery level learning which creates a solid educational foundation as their maturity and ability allows

The less complicated I make learning, the more my children seem to absorb knowledge and gain wisdom.  The less stress I can offer, the more willing they become.  My only requirement is a good attitude and sincere effort; the process of learning then becomes limitless. 

How do you approach homeschooling?
What works for you?
What helps your children thrive?

 

 

Dear Younger Moms, Thank You!

Mentoring others is such a gift, because really it’s simply about loving on others.  And how cool is that?

*this letter is to all the moms that I’ve got to reach out and care about

Dear Younger Moms,

Thank You!!

Thank you for letting me love on your littles.  As much as you are in the throws of chaos of these tiny humans, I am missing these days.  As incredibly tough as these days may seem, savor it!   The days are incredibly long at times, but the years are oh.so.short.  Before you are ever prepared, you blink into silence…. unless you are me.  Then you go around loving on other people’s kids and showering their mom’s with kindness!

Thank you for teaching me just as much as I try to teach you.  Motherhood is never perfect.  It is a continuous journey full of trials and victories where we continue to always learn and grow.

Thank you for knowing my intentions.  I do not have all the answers, but I’m always willing to share what has (and hasn’t) worked for me.  I will never judge what you feel is best for your child.  In all honesty, we are already our own worst critic.  I will always pour out gentleness and grace, yet speak hard things when necessary.  In turn, I am grateful when you speak truth in love towards me as well.  We are in this crazy thing called motherhood together!

Thank you for loving me.  I value our friendship!  I treasure our conversations and visits.  I adore your kids.  I applaud your bravery.  Please always feel free to ask for help.  Be proud of yourself; you are enough!!  And remember in the hardest of times… inhale patience; exhale grace.  God’s got this!!

Happy Mothers Day!! 

Yelling at Our Kids is Not the Answer

Once upon a time, years age, I had (just) 3 young boys (3, 7, 11).  The youngest by far was my wild, rambunctious, and sometimes fierce child.  After a particularly rough morning of having to rush out the door, this youngest son proceeded to have a full on screaming, kicking tantrum in the back of my car.  As I’m cruising down our country road, having had enough, I slammed on my brakes, turned to the back seat, and proceeded to scream “That is enough!!!!”.  Said young boy could care less that I was screaming at him; however, the look on my 7 yr old’s face and the distraught feeling I had created for him totally made me pause… and deep in my heart I knew I could not be a screaming mad mom.

Seriously.  Why did I think it was OK to scream at my child?  Like I expected that to add angry actions towards my already frustrated child would calm him down?  Like screaming teaches self control?  Like screaming is suppose to fix ill behavior when screaming is ill behavior in itself?

No.  Yelling at our kids just is not the answer.

It doesn’t teach self-discipline, or communication, or (in my Christian conviction) it most definitely doesn’t teach how to treat others the way you would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).  It doesn’t teach life skills, because really, do we (or should we) scream at other people?  A boss?  A spouse?  A cashier?  A stranger?  Better yet, how effective is it if someone screamed in our faces?  Would our emotions feel validated?  Would it resolve conflict?

No. Yelling at our kids just is not the answer.

A gentle answer deflects anger,
but harsh words make tempers flare.
Proverbs 15:1

This isn’t about mom guilt but more about facing reality of our actions.  I’ve heard (and used myself) common statements such as “they know better”, “they deserve it”, “if they would just listen to me”.  This is not about being a pedestal mom, nor about striving for some unreal standard of perfection.  Lets face it, all moms have yelled at their kids at one point or another.  We are human; we get overwhelmed, angry even.   But there is a difference of yelling “Hey, get away from the road” or “quit teasing your sister” from the kitchen toward the living room, which is quick corrections that need to be followed up on.  What I am referring to is that moment that we lose our sh…, er, when we snap.  Where we blindly hurl harsh, cruel, and angry words at our child.  I get it.  Moments can be maddening, but if this type of reaction has become a frequent scene, I sincerely suggest a review of motives.

Lets be proactive, not reactive.

Let’s be their voice of reason.
Let’s be their safe environment.
Let’s be their calm to so many chaotic emotions.
Let’s show their worth by treating them invaluably.
Let’s teach them self-control by being in control ourselves.

So my story has a happily ever after ending, as 18 years later I am reaping the rewards of kind parenting.  I rarely yell, and never scream towards any of my kids, and you wanna know the best reward of that?  Because I quite screaming at and began talking to my kids, the teen years were amazingly easy.  The communications skills were developed through treating them exactly how I wanted to be treated.  ~by God’s grace only.  Praise Jesus.

 

April Wrap Up

April showers… will they bring May flowers?

All in all, we’ve actually had a few sunny days this month, yet we definitely have had plenty of rainfall as well.  I’m excited to see spring come in full bloom here soon.

In the meantime, school carries on consistently.  Grateful that we are staying focused, hopefully for another month before the 2017-2018 school year wraps up!

History Adventures

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A few years back we were gifted almost the entire Landmark book series which are fabulously written historical books.  I find them very complimentary to the Robinson Curriculum reading list, and we blend them in often with our chronological order of studying history.   This month’s focus was Roanoke Colony and Jamestown.  Many adventures were found as we explored some native traditions and mapped the Virginia area including currents landmarks as well as rivers that were traveled in that time era.  We limited our geography focus to this area because my intention is to study the United States as we travel through early American history next year.

Science

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It’s All About Birds around here.  We had a great tree out front where we were observing a Downy woodpecker,  2 black collared doves, Stellar Jays, Chickadees, lots of Robins (they do love their worms!), and tons of Starlings.  Dad has since then pruned said tree and we are left with now going to the backyard which isn’t as window-watching friendly.  I can’t really complain because we do still have plenty of areas here to explore.

Math

Bryson– solidifying his borrowing/carrying, as he is wrapping up his linear, liquid, and time measurements.

Andrew– continuing to get comfortable with long division, introducing decimals, and reviewing symbols and money problems.

Katie–  wrapping up ratios and geometrical volumes

Literature

Bryson– chose a fun read this month with Hank the Cowdog
Andrew– took a break
Katie– Scarlet Letter, Pride and Prejudice

English

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All about punctuation; commas, quotations, colon, semi colon, etc…

Andrew has invested a lot of time in his writing (which is why he took a break from literature this month).  As much as my Katie-girl reads non stop, he is writing non stop with illustrations.  This is the child that struggles with dysgraphia and dyslexia, and has overcame penmanship and is finally beginning to conquer spelling too.  It’s been a huge year of growth for him and I’m just letting him flourish in his new found hobby!!

Fine Art

Beethoven at Classics for Kids

Field Trip

Amtrak Schools on Train
Our local homeschoolers in our county from Oregon rode Amtrak to Seattle and spent the day in the Big City.  We had a blast.  Space needle, Pop Culture Park, Starbucks at Sky View building, Pike Place Market, rode the Monorail… the sun was shining, the people were friendly, and we had lots of fun!

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It’s an adventure
to be a homeschooler