Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hey! Didn't we make this game up??

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

Homeschool moms play this every day... and not for a chance at one million dollars!

Just to make myself feel better, I think I'll tune in tonight... :)

Lie #6

**This is the sixth post in a series that I have been writing from the book Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, by Todd Wilson. (If you haven't read my other posts on the topic, you can find them by clicking on the link in the label at the end of this post.) **

SO... what did you and your husband do for Valentine's Day this month? How did you spend your last anniversary? What did you do on your last date night? If you are sighing dreamily, drifting away mentally to the wonderful, romantic, out-of-this world experience you had with your husband who you just hung up the phone with after a rousing round of "No, you hang up first! :::giggle:::"... then you can stop reading right now. If you had to stop and think of how you spent Valentines Day (even though it was just a couple of weeks ago), you can't remember the last "date night" you had, or on your last anniversary you high-fived each other for hanging in there another year... keep reading!

We see them everywhere. Husbands and wives who have stars in their eyes when they look at each other, whisper to each other at dinner parties and hold hands at the mall. We've all heard the speaker at women's conferences talk about how she knows (and speaks!) all her husband's love languages, cooks him candlelight dinners, and leaves notes in his briefcase. Her husband, no doubt, sits at the city gate and extols her and her children rise up and call her blessed. Meanwhile, your own husband left his socks in the floor again, worked late three nights the previous week and didn't notice that you completely changed the color of your hair three weeks ago. It's so easy to get "ho-hum" about your own marriage, while imagining the marital bliss that all of your friends experience daily. That's because so many women buy into...

Lie#6: Everyone's Marriage is Better than Yours

The truth is, marriage is hard work. Everyone's marriage is hard work! It's okay for it to be hard work. As the saying goes, "anything worth having is worth working for," right? And the truth is, everyone's marriage goes through times when it's a struggle, and times when it's blissful (and all stages in between!) It's usually when we are in our times of difficulty that we most notice those for whom it seems so "perfect." I think it just seems perfect for them because we are seeing them through the lense of our own discontent. The funny thing is, they probably look at you and think you have the perfect marriage. Isn't it neat how that works? (So the truth is... you do have the perfect marriage- in other people's eyes!) The real truth is that you are in the marriage that God ordained for you. Every marriage is made up of a couple of sinners, so it's bound to be not-so-perfect at times.

The best thing I ever did was let my husband off the hook. He is now no longer responsible for my personal happiness. Ta-da! That was a momentous occasion, whether he even realized I did it or not. Church bells should have been ringing throughout the land that day. For so long, my happiness depended on him in so many ways, whether I was consciously aware of it or not. He has been liberated! At around the same time, I also became liberated... I quit the job of being my husband's Holy Spirit. As sure as I was that he needed me to help him drive (and marveled that he got anywhere when I wasn't with him, without rear-ending anyone or being told when to change lanes, bless his heart) I was also convinced that his spiritual growth somehow depended on me. Boy. was that. exhausting. (For me, too!) His relationship with God is just that. His. He may not relate to God the same way I do, and God may not "speak" to him the same way He does to me. (I also recently came to the conclusion that "leading family worship"-or lack thereof- doesn't reflect on my husband's spirituality. That's a biggie in homeschooling circles, I've found. But I think that's another post for another day.)

The best thing we can do is let our spouses off of the hook for our own happiness and well-being, depending on God instead. He is more than ready for the task. The other best thing we can do is to take our eyes off of the marriages around us and focus instead on the wonderful mate that God has so graciously given us. He gives us good things, not a snake or a stone. He loves you and knew just what He was doing.

Don't believe the lie!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Moody Science Classics

My sweet son and I are spending some time together this evening while Dad took sister to her guitar lesson. We've looked through a book together, watched a couple of fun lego "brick films" (fascinating stop-action lego movies that people have made). Right now, though, he's watching a science video. And it's not even "school time" or anything!

We recently ordered the complete set of Moody Science Classics from Vision Forum at a great discount. Our homeschool association bought the set last fall for our library, and as the librarian I've had them for us to watch (unless they are checked out). After six months of watching them repeatedly and utilizing them to enrich our science studies, I've been so impressed with them. My son has loved them so much that my husband and I decided to go ahead and invest in a set for our family. I can't write a review of them that describes them as adequately as the one at the Vision Forum website, so if you get a chance, go on over and read about them if you think your family would enjoy them. They ran the set recently for $136, the same price they offered last fall. (They are sold through CBD, Home Science Tools and other places, though I haven't found them at this good a price for the set- a little over $7 per video.) I encourage you to check them out if you ever get a chance, or perhaps get on Vision Forum's email list to be notified when they put them on sale again (which I'm sure they will.) These videos, and the message they contain, have really blessed our family.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

"It's not you... it's me..."

"... or maybe it is you, I'm just not sure. I'm not sure about anything anymore... (sigh) I do know that I just don't feel about you the way I used to. I mean, at first things were great, and things were really clicking for us, you know? I looked forward to our time together each day... it just felt so right, you know? But now it all feels so... so forced. I'm not enjoying our time together and I feel kind of like you're trying to run my life. Maybe it's time to put some distance between us. And, in the interest of honesty, I feel like I must tell you that I'm looking for someone else. Someone who can really give me what I need, because time is of the essence here. I mean, it's almost March! (sigh) You know what, though? I'll recommend you to someone! You just might be perfect for someone else! It would be best for both of you! It's all for the best..."

Sadly, this conversation is taking place in homeschooling homes everywhere right now. Not between wives and husbands (at least I hope not!) but it's what homeschool moms are saying to their curriculum!

Here we are in February... the month of "love" but also a month commonly marked by the winter blah's, the "February Funk." School feels more challenging, not quite as exciting as it was in the fall. It's harder to get our kids motivated. Then, right in the midst of our boredom and discontent, arriving in our mailboxes just like a Valentine's card... the curriculum catalogs. Our email boxes may deliver news of curriculum sales, and we may be tempted to "stray." We read on blogs and message boards the romantic stories of others and their wonderful relationships with their curriculum, and we think, "Is there something I'm missing???" We want that "spice" back in our school!

Here's what I'm telling myself: Hold on! Stick with it, make it work. (For me it's a stewardship issue- the equivalent of "throwing money at the problem.") Tweak what you have to tweak, let go of what you need to, but try to use what you bought back in August (or before) for this year. I'm trying not to get "wooed" by some new, handsome curriculum that I have no chance of finishing by May anyway, and might not be the solution that I think it is. (In fact, I'm starting to think the problem is not the curriculum after all... maybe it's me! ::gasp::)

So, I'm sticking with my commitment. I'm staying faithful. I'm going to find a way to make it work. I'm going to save the money I would've spent "divorcing" my current curriculum so I'll have it for the big homeschool book fair in May.

And maybe then I'll find true love... :::sigh:::

Friday, February 23, 2007

THIS is why I homeschool:

This is what the back of our van looked like Monday morning! We took a spur-of-the-moment trip to west Texas to visit my sweet grandmother. The kids each packed a duffle, I packed a small bag, grabbed a crate o' school and we were off. My daughter also brought her guitar so she could practice and play along with my grandmother, who plays too. Fun!

Very little in the "crate o' school" got done this week, but they learned so much. We went along with grandmother on her rounds in the nursing homes where she volunteers. They learned how to listen, smile, and love. We played lots and lots of Chicken Foot dominoes (math). We ate each day down at the Senior Center in her town, where they had wonderful conversations with older generations and cleared the trays for them when they were through (social studies). We heard about grandad's time in the occupational forces in Japan in WWII, and about ration books. We looked at old family pictures. (history) We talked about how jelly is made and investigated the leak under her sink. (science) We drove her to a neighboring town for her eye appointment and waited while she had her eyes checked, and they had read their books while they waited (literature). They listened to stories of God's provision in her life and sang old hymns (Bible). Most of all, they learned that we don't always know what tomorrow brings, so if God lays it on your heart to go visit someone, even if you've got a crazy schedule... do it! That's a lesson I've needed to learn for years.

I hope you've had a blessed week!


Taken from The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons Vol. 1 - by Todd Wilson www.familymanweb.com

Friday, February 16, 2007

You Know You're A Homeschooler When...

Instead of taking the TV in for repairs, you make it a science experiment!

It must be working!

We've been using the Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Writing Intensive dvd's this year. My fun and creative son just told me a subheading he's going to put on his next paper:

"Warning: This paper contains strong verbs and adverbial clauses. Reader discretion advised."

LOL! He chooses "strong verbs" now! He knows what "adverbial clauses" are now!

Oh, happy day...


(You can click on this to make it larger and easier to read.)

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What kind of house are you building?

"A wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."
Prov. 14:1

God has whispered this verse into my spirit so many times as a mom, in the midst of a tirade against my children or while being self-indulgent. "Are you building your house or tearing it down right now?" Oh, how convicting. There is no more satisfying feeling than knowing that I am actively engaged in building my house. There is no feeling more awful than knowing that I am tearing it down with my own hands. As moms, we have the power to do both.

I've been thinking of this verse in a new light lately, though. I've been considering it as it applies to homeschooling.

If you think of someone literally building a house, you think of the expertise they bring to the project. Some homes are brick, so you would want someone with masonry skills to do the work. If you wanted a sided home, you might hire a different contractor to do it, not necessarily a bricklayer. I've seen some gorgeous stucco homes (there is a stunning one in my neighborhood) which involves a totally different set of skills. Any of those types of homes are nice. They fulfill their purposes- to provide shelter for those who inhabit them. Though there are certain advantages to each different style (cost, energy efficiency, regional tastes, etc.) mostly it's personal preference which leads to one choice over another.

Much has been made over the past 20 years or so about "learning styles" of children as it pertains to effectively educating them. That has been a particular interest of mine, as it was the topic for my "research proposal" that I wrote for my masters degree. As homeschooling moms, though, I think we must take it a step further. What about our teaching style? Are you sequential, textbook-y, unit study-ish, holistic, scheduled, loosey-goosey? Whatever you are, however you are wired, I believe it is God-given, and it is your "building style."

Much frustration would come to the bricklayer who was hired to do a sided house. So, too, for the mom who buys curriculum for one type of "house" when that's not her style or expertise. A bricklayer could possibly build a sided house, but it would not be as quality a job since it is not his area of expertise. A thematic unit-loving mom would go nuts trying to implement a structured school-in-a-box approach. She could do it, but it might not be done as well as someone who loves how those fit together and enjoys that approach. Similarly, someone who loves writing her own curriculum would be frustrated following someone else's plan for the year. She could make it work, but the end result might not be what she was aiming for. What kind of house are you building? What kind of house are you gifted to build? Go with that! God did it! Our loving, sovereign General Contractor knew just what kind of house you were to build for your family and gave you desires and skills that fit it perfectly.

And I don't think He randomly assigned kids with learning style a,b,and c to a mom who's teaching style is x, y, and z. He didn't just put us all together and say, "Well, good luck with that!" chuckling to Himself as He walked off. He knows the blueprints for the house He has called you to build, and He has given you the raw materials. He will make it work! I am just now discovering in my 8th year of homeschooling that some of my frustration over the years has been from following someone else's blueprint, or building a brick house when God gave me stucco abilities. I'm sitting on a pile of bricks, with "Masonry For Dummies" books strewn all about, when what I'd really like to do is grab my trusty trowel and stucco like I know how to do. (Okay, an over-abundance of symbolism, but hopefully you get what I mean!)

However, having to work at it doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. Building a house is hard work. But the key question is: Is the house being built? Is there progress? Perhaps if you are building along and finding holes and leaks, it's time to go back to the drawing board and see if you are building according to the right blue prints, using your God-given giftings and preferences not someone else's. Or maybe you just need to go back and patch up some spots and work more diligently in the future. God will honor our attempts to work hard at something. I don't believe He will honor our attempts to get out of working at it, or to make it easier on ourselves, though. Only through prayer will you know if you're building the wrong kind of house or if you're just not being diligent in the work you've been doing.

Your "house" will not look like mine, and mine will not look like yours. But may they be functional and beautiful, built to the glory of God.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Taken from The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons Vol. 1 - by Todd Wilson www.familymanweb.com

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Where's my sub???

This is where planning two weeks at a time and weekly binders come in handy... when Mom's down for the count. Luckily my stomach bug hit after I had stuffed their binders for the week!

Now, I just need my sub to show up...

I'll be back soon!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Lie #5

**This is the fifth post in a series that I have been writing from the book Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, by Todd Wilson. (If you haven't read my other posts on the topic, you can find them by clicking on the link in the label at the end of this post.) **

"I just don't know how you do it all!"

If I had a nickel for every time someone has said this to me, I'd have enough money to buy next year's curriculum. I could double that amount of money if had a nickel for each time I respond, "I don't!"

When my kids were toddlers and preschoolers, I told my husband the following: "If you ever come home from work to a perfectly clean house, with dinner on the table and see me looking fabulous then you'll know I didn't spend any time with the kids that day." Well, he got the point. Not that he needed to get it, really. He knew, and he didn't care if the house (or his wife) was perfect.

I had made quite a journey to get to that point, though. I wanted the house to stay clean (or at least "together" enough for someone to drop by and maybe even wonder to herself about what a great house I had!). I wanted to look like the moms on the magazines or commercials who were playing with their kids or cooking while in coordinated, stylish outfits (and skinny!). I wanted the spiritual insight of Beth Moore, the mothering instinct of Elisa Morgan, the educational acumen of Charlotte Mason and Susan Wise Bauer, and the decor and cooking of Martha Stewart (or at least her staff!). It's what my family deserved.


Why did I want that? Why did I think I could DO that? Because in my mind I was convinced that other women had. I had subconsiously believed...

Lie #5: Everyone else can do it all.

I had to realize that in order to be all that, I would have to be able to do it all. All of it. Whatever "it" is. The "it" that makes perfect meals, organizes a beautiful home, and always looks cute. "It" would be the time it takes to always be studying the Bible while simultaneously providing enriching and age-appropriate activities for small children. The "it" that keeps you in shape and always looking great for your husband. (Oh, and in the midst of "it," did you know you could be earning hundreds of dollars from home each month? Wouldn't you like that?) You know, IT! Lots of women do it all, why couldn't I??? First of all, I had to realize that (and here's the biggie) they don't. No one does. The Bible itself says, "No one can serve two masters." Or three. Or ten.

I think the power of knowing that no one else can do it all is that it releases me from trying to. There are certain things that I know that others have done that I don't have a desire to do; like climb Mt. Everest. Drive a race car. Run a marathon. Catch a boa constrictor. I'm impressed that they do it, but it doesn't make me think I should. But, put it in the "mother" realm and I either take it as a challenge or become burdened by it. Why is that? I think it's because we somehow think our families deserve "it all" and that would make us (as the mother) the one to do "it all." The fact is, there are only 24 hours in a day. If you spend those hours scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush, you're not reading stories to your children. When you're reading to your children you're not scrapbooking. If you're scrapbooking you're not on the treadmill. If you're on the treadmill you're not redecorating the living room. Etc., etc. If you're doing one thing, by definition you're not doing another. And that's okay!

So while the root of the lie is in thinking that others do it all (which they don't) we are tempted to think that our families need it all (which they don't.) God sovereignly gave you to your husband as a wife, just as He brought Eve to Adam. God could've given your children to anyone in the world at any time in history, but He gave them to you. Here. Now. He gave you your family knowing your gifts, talents and interests (also given by Him.) And He did that, knowing their needs full well! Besides, to think that it's up to me to BE it all and do it all, sort of puts me in the place of God, right? Well, I've seen that job and I don't want it. (Not to mention the fact that I can't do it!)

As homeschooling mothers, we have taken on a ginormous task. It is filled with blessings beyond measure (some of which we won't see this side of heaven) but it is HUGE nonetheless. The fact is that in this season of taking on the full responsibility of educating our children, other things will have to go. For many of us it was a career that had to go. For others it was the tennis league. I've made exactly nine scrapbook pages ever because after homeschooling all week if I had to put any more stickers on any more paper or glue one more thing, I thought I might set my hair on fire and run down the street. (The point being, during this season I'm not scrapbooking!) Even those with a passion for cooking may need to put that on the back burner (ar, ar) for a time and make dishes that aren't so time consuming or expensive. Who knows? The fact is, you don't have to do it all. Especially all at one time.

No one does it all. I certainly don't. And thankfully I serve a God who doesn't expect me to.

Don't believe the lie!

Friday, February 02, 2007


Taken from The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons Vol. 1 - by Todd Wilson www.familymanweb.com


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