But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
-Philippians 4:10-13


Contentment.
Sometimes it is a difficult concept to grasp.

In the verses above, Paul is writing to fellow believers in Philippi who hadn't been able to show their support for him. He knew they were concerned, but that they just didn't have an opportunity to show it. Even though their support would have been helpful to Paul, he had learned to be content no matter the circumstances.

How?
Verse 13 is key: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Often times this verse is quoted separately from the Scriptures before it, and we quote it in reference to the really, big, huge, hard, demanding things in life, those things we KNOW we Jesus for: things that scare us, things we don't have answers for, things we just can't see a way out of. A well-meaning brother or sister in the faith will encourage us and remind us that we can do it because of Christ, and He will strengthen us.


This is true. No doubt about it, as our God is an awesome, amazing, wonder-working God.

But what about in those areas I like to call the small places?

As wives and mothers, we face a billion small, mundane places every day and it is easy to become dissatisfied: vacuuming, diaper changes, dish washing, picking up toys, reading lessons, wiping noses, cooking meals, doing laundry, a listening ear to a husband--day in and day out, multiple times a day.

If we're not careful, the enemy sneaks in to whisper lies to us, that we should seek more, anything else outside of our homes, that this work is nothing but drudgery, that there is freedom out there, that you need to escape. . .

I challenge you to remember that God's grace, His strength, is available in the seemingly mundane, daily to-do's. It is available in all those small places. It's available right there where other's can't fathom the reason you'd be willing to stay at home, working to raise a family, serving and loving a husband.

Remember, what we do each day as homemakers, wives, mothers and homeschoolers is worthy work. It is blessed work. It is work with an eternal purpose. The routine tasks are just a small portion of it on eternity's scale. Keep that in mind. Know that we can be content, right where we are--in the midst of overflowing sinks and never-ending laundry piles. God is there, too. He is right there in the middle of dinners, toys, ironing and mopping floors. He is right there and He is your way to contentment.

Like Paul, we must learn how to be and what to be depending on the needs of our situations. We must learn to be grateful for the assignment of being a wife and for motherhood. It is a precious calling that many desire to embrace, but may never know. Welcome the mundane, work through it with contentment. God has called you and He is your strength.


**Originally written here for Our Homeschool Forum.**

Contentment

by on Wednesday, December 23, 2015
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked o...
spice


Any mamas feeling overwhelmed in your homeschool? Sometimes we become so serious and stressed about meeting educational goals that we forget about relaxing and having fun. Particularly around this time of year, you may have had a bit of fall burn out, leading right into the busyness of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Well, this post won't solve all of those things, but it is my hope to lighten the mood a bit and encourage you to have a bit of fun. Here are some fun (maybe even goofy) ideas.

Have school in a different place. . .
Not just outside or sitting on the couch (the go-to place for homeschooling, right?) Have school under the dining room table, in a big closet, in the hallway or on mom and dad's bed. Silly, right? But your kids will get a kick out of it! (The older ones may think you're nuts, but trust me, they like this kind of thing, too.

Switch up the curriculum plans. . . 
Sometimes neither you or your children want to see that English book for another minute this week. It doesn't necessarily mean that the curriculum is not a good fit; it may just be that you need a little break. That's when things like printables, unit studies and lapbooks can be a life saver. Two of my favorite places to turn when we need a break from curriculum are Currclick.com and homeschoolshare.com--both have resources available for free (or for a small cost) in every subject for a wide range of ages.

Announce a no school day. . .
That's right. And spend the day with your kids, playing with them, talking with them, just being with them. Get on the floor and push cars and trucks around, go outside to play hide-n-seek, work on that space shuttle project, have a tea party, finger paint, tickle some toes, kiss a few faces, and give lots of hugs. Put the school books away for the day and relax.

Have an "electives" day. . . 
Take a day to learn some out of the ordinary things for your family. Have a day to bake new recipes or try new foods. Pick a day to learn a new skill like sewing or crafting. Learn some common phrases in a new language. Work on a family project like organizing photos or painting a room. Pick something "new" to learn and make a day of it.

Have a dress up day. . . 
Yep, do math a Minnie Mouse (or whoever!) and have your kids come to school as their favorite character, animal or person. You could do Biblical people, fairy tale characters or whatever you want. Keep it simple by using what you have around the house, and have fun. Try to guess each person's character before they tell.

Let the kids choose the subject. . .
Maybe your little one loves history, but isn't too keen on math. Or maybe you've got a little English major who just isn't feeling science. Give them a break from everything except one or two of their favorite subjects, and let them just spend the day enjoying what they like most. It's productive, low stress for you, and they'll likely to get a few paces ahead in those subjects.

These are some little to no-cost, spur of the moment ways to change up your homeschooling routine a bit. Don't forget, you can always add a bowl of ice cream to the end of a homeschool day as a sweet treat! What ways do you spice up your homeschool?

spice

***I wrote this originally for Our Homeschool Forum.***
skirts


It's surprising what topics come up amongst women in homeschooling circles. Besides the famous "what curriculum or method do you use?" there are plenty of other debates discussions as well: breastfeeding vs bottle, schedules and routines, farm life or the city and on and on. One such hot topic is skirt-wearing. I've heard so many arguments for and against skirts my entire life, it is unbelievable. And I began to ask God, what is it about skirts? What does Your Word say?

Well, He is faithful, friends, to hear and answer. So I will share what He has shown me thus far.

BACKGROUND
Growing up, my family went to a church where women were taught to wear skirts only. When asked about the Biblical basis for the teaching, the answer in short was: "If you're a saved and sanctified woman, then you wear skirts. If you wear pants, you're not saved and are in danger of going to hell." Yeah. Totally one of the most UNSOUND doctrines out there. Not Bible-based at all, as apparel is not a salvation-level issue. There is one Way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ, not clothing:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through Me."
-John 14:6

So as a child, my parents taught me to wear skirts to church and church functions, but I was free to wear pants, shorts, skirts or dresses any other times. What they required no matter what I wore was a standard of modesty: nothing revealing, too tight, too short, etc. Period. Always. No matter what.

A WORD ON MODESTY
(Modesty in and of itself is a topic for a whole other post. However, there are a few things I'd like to mention.)
My parents, my mother in particular, taught me to dress modestly and appropriately for every occasion. Period. And I do mean every occasion, including sleepwear. She taught me that a lady adorns herself in a way that should reflect her character. My personal thoughts on this: "Yay, Mom! Thanks so much for that teaching!"
I'm all for modesty as that is Scripture-based:

". . .in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works."
-1 Timothy 2:9-10

So, what about skirts, I asked God, are skirts/dresses the only or more modest apparel? Short answer: no. I do understand that some women feel more modest in skirts than pants, so for that reason they choose skirts. Understood. No issues with that.

But, I have seen some highly inappropriate skirts that this pants-wearing woman would NEVER, EVER consider wearing. Let's just say we all have seen the skirts that have less fabric than my pillow case...NOT a modest look. And, on the flip side, we've all seen pants that were so skin-tight, you wonder how the woman can move or breathe or whether her circulation has been impeded...NOT a modest look either.

So I'm like, Lord, you've shown me that either type of clothing (skirt or pants) can be totally becoming or completely ridiculous. So what is it about dresses and skirts for women? What is it?

ANSWER
Each culture, historically, has had it's own fashion statements and types of clothing. But one commonality amongst every culture and its attire is this: clear distinctions between men and women. This idea is as old as time. All throughout the Bible, God makes clear distinctions between men and women in their physical make-ups, in the home, in their roles in reproduction, in the church and in appearance, just to name a few. Specifically about clothing, God gave us these words:

“A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God."
-Deuteronomy 22:5

With that in mind, I began looking at our own American culture. And I thought, when did women start wearing pants as the norm? And why the qualifier "women's" pants? So, I talked to those who have gone before me and I found that, up until 50 years or so ago, pants were culturally men's clothing while skirts were women's clothing and therein was the clear distinction between men's and women's clothing. My mom said that she can remember when pants weren't even an option to purchase for women in clothing stores or even in sewing patterns, so if a woman wore pants they were literally putting on men's clothing.

Friends, I have to tell you, the Lord opened my eyes to this truth anew and I about fell out of my seat! Here's how it happened: I was watching the news one morning, and in a neighboring state, the public school system was implementing "transgender" bathrooms. The proposed sign for the new bathrooms was displayed on the screen and it was the little stick figure we're all accustomed to seeing for restrooms, except this one was wearing half skirt and half pants.

Yep. My mouth dropped open in disbelief.
Then the light-bulb moment: In all of my pants-wearing days, every single time I looked for a bathroom sign, I looked for the one wearing the skirt because I knew that distinctly referred to me--a woman. I was floored at how evil and twisted and deceptive that one "transgender" bathroom sign was, and at all the confusion it held. I just couldn't believe it and the Lord reminded me that He was NOT the source of confusion:

"For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints."
-1 Corinthians 14:33

And all of my questions and wonderings and all of my prayers flooded my soul and I thought, I get it. I get it, Lord. There should be clear lines of distinction, clear expressions of those differences that God made between men and women. Women wearing dresses or skirts and men wearing pants (in our  American culture) is one of those expressions.

It wasn't until the rise of women's rights and feminism that the adamant push for women to wear pants was seen. The thought was that women to be able to do everything a man did somehow made them "equal" including wearing his clothing. You never saw these same women advocate the opposite for "true equality": men wearing women's skirts! (Which, by the way, I do not recommend. I'm just making a point.) Instead, it was the doing away with what makes a woman look like a woman and so the lines began to blur and the push became so loud that a woman wearing pants (traditionally and culturally men's clothing) has become "normalized" and "accepted."

And so we see the trickle-down effect of other things in our society being pushed upon us, forcing us to accept them as "normal," whether it is the attempt to "redefine" God's design for marriage or mandate "transgender" bathrooms, we all see the push and the shift. However, God's Word is clear, His design is not a mistake. Men and women are different and those differences should be embraced, celebrated, and expressed. No blurring, no confusion, with clear distinctions.

SO NOW WHAT?
So what does that all that mean for me?
Let me start with what it does NOT mean: What it does not mean is hatred or bashing of women who wear pants. That is NOT the point of my sharing this, nor will this post or blog be a platform to do that, ever. Again, skirts and pants are not "salvation-losing or -gaining" issues and the ONLY thing that can redeem us is the shed blood of the Lamb, the only Way, Jesus Christ. Period.

While I may not be against wearing pants ever in life (as in you must wear skirts only),  I do have a TOTALLY new perspective on it and what it represents.

What it does mean is that I accept the the truth of God's Word, that He made men and women differently, intentionally, on purpose and that is something to accept fully rather than reject, in even the smallest of ways.

It means that I will try to incorporate more skirts into my wardrobe because I (personally) have a clear, Biblical reason to do so. It also means that I've lived for 30+ years wearing mostly pants and that creating a new habit may be difficult--particularly on cold, rainy, or snowy days. {Prayers/tips welcomed and appreciated!}

It means that I have daughters to teach and I never, ever want them to look for their value or self-worth in comparing themselves to men and what men can do. It means that I want my girls and I to embrace every bit of our God-given femininity. One way of doing that, among others (like make-up, perfume, or hair bows, for example) is wearing clothing meant to distinguish me as a woman.

What are your thoughts? What verses and teachings have helped you embrace Biblical womanhood and femininity?

skirts
well

We use The Well-Trained Mind as a guide in our homeschool, sort of like a spring board for advice, information and guidance through our homeschooling years. I appreciate the style of writing as though the authors and I are talking, mother to mother. I love the advice and wisdom given, how they share their own homeschooling stories, and how the book reassures parents that homeschooling is something they can do successfully. I like that the classical approach to education is explained and the ideas for ways you can accomplish this approach in your own home.

However, what I have come to realize in my homeschool journey is that overall, the book is written as though you are homeschooling one child in one grade at a time. So when I would plan for each of my 3 school-aged children, their work loads and schedules would look great. . . separately, that is. But, when I put those schedules together, I was easily overwhelmed. Put babies and toddlers in the mix and some days were just disastrous! Here's how I've tweaked The Well-Trained Mind so that our homeschooling is not so stressful.

#1 Combine, Combine, Combine
Now this may seem like a no-brainer, especially to an experienced homeschooler or to a mother of many. But let me tell you, I desperately needed to hear someone say that to me early on. After using public school for 3 years, we were new homeschoolers, and I had a new baby every year for our first three years of homeschooling. Large family living was also new and I was learning my way through that--all while still trying to teach most everything separately.

Long story short, save yourself the trouble of trying to keep track of a thousand different subjects, especially during the elementary to middle school years. Here's what we (finally!) combine: History, Science, Health, Music, Art, P.E., Bible and some Latin. I think Math and Language Arts are good to keep separate according to ability.

I certainly require different work in each subject for each child, so my 3rd grader's assignments will look different from my 7th grader's. It is such a time saver and stress reliever to have the children study subjects together. It teaches them to work together with someone of a different age and level of ability and makes the planning easier on me.

#2 One-on-One Isn't (Always) Realistic
To piggyback off of the previous point, one-on-one time for every person, for every subject just won't work. Seriously. I'm only one mom without the ability to clone myself. Some of the curriculum suggestions and teaching methods in the book require a great deal of one-on-one time across subjects. My advice is this: choose curriculum/subjects wisely and aim for independence.

For example, when my oldest daughter was in 3rd grade, our grammar study was just heavy with one-on-one teaching, all laid out with a scripted text for me on what to say to her. My daughter could not breathe under that formatting( (poor child!), because she just didn't need me to hold her hand through that. Fast-forward a few years and my 3rd grade son is thriving with that exact same grammar book.

So even if the book recommends it (whether that be a curriculum or a method of teaching), keep in mind your child may not need everything read and narrated aloud or dictated to them. Sometimes they need the freedom to read it themselves, mull it over, then apply what they've read. Remember the goal is to teach our children how to learn, to eventually move toward independence from mom.

Although I'm not there yet, high school is around the corner. This may be a season where for some studies, the high school student may have to veer away from what the group is studying to meet certain requirements. I think that if along the way, I've been slowly nudging my children toward independence (less scripted texts, less hand-holding, etc.), the high school years won't seem so intimidating because they've been gaining experience in independence along the way.

#3 Revise the Time Frames
Now, to be fair, The Well-Trained Mind mentions that the time recommendations are simply given so that a parent has some idea how long it should take to complete assignments each day. However, new homeschoolers often stress themselves out trying to check every box and complete every task. Time frames is one of those areas, and I was one of those homeschooling mothers.

Do not be bound by the clock. Use the times as recommendations only. If your child needs 30 minutes for spelling instead of 15, give him 30 minutes. If your child can do an hour's worth of math in 40 minutes, then don't make him do 20 minutes more. If you cannot spare 90 minutes on one history period, try an hour instead. Do not lose one of the most beautiful aspects of homeschooling: flexibility.

Think of schooling as more of a natural extension of living and parenting, rather some imitation of a school day, in an actual school building, with set times for everything. Don't get me wrong, we have a routine for each of our days and a working knowledge of how each day will flow. However, I know it is unrealistic for me to schedule every single assignment by the minute, especially because babies and toddlers could care less about the clock! Life happens around here--potty training in the middle of history, nursing sessions during math, someone needs help with English while I'm changing a diaper--you get the picture.

What happens is that in time, you begin to notice how long it takes for each child to complete what assignments and you begin to understand what the workload should look like. Be patient in this process. Also, as the kids get older and begin to grasp more concepts, their efficiency will increase. Be patient with this process as well. Keep at it and you will find your rhythm, but don't stress out if all of your learning didn't occur in neat little 15-30 minute chunks of time.

Finally, if the work's not done by lunch time, STOP! Don't go any further! Put it away until later in the afternoon or save it for the next day. Trust me. . .this will help you keep some sanity and avoid burn out.

#4 A Word on Science
I love The Well-Trained Mind's approach to science, but only in theory. Coupling the period of history we're studying with the science of the time seemed just fabulous. In reality, it was just a disaster for my family and here's why. Most science curriculum do not take a classical approach, so the The Well-Trained Mind's recommendation is to piece a curriculum together using various science encyclopedias, experiment books, science kits, and the like, for elementary through middle grades. It's a real hands-on, find-out-how-it-works method to learning science.

At first glance, for one or maybe two children, I could totally see how this could work and be tons of fun. My reality is that 3 different experiments for 3 different areas of science had me all over the place. (I really tried, y'all!) And that's right now; in one short year, I'll have 4 school-aged children, with a few younger ones hanging around for the action. Furthermore, the cost for all the science kits and encyclopedias proved to be more than my budget would allow. I tried piecing things together with substitutes and cheaper alternatives, which became a stressful planning session each school year. Then, once I collected everything, it was like pulling teeth to get my children to buy into it all. So, I ditched The Well-Trained Mind for science and branched out on my own. (Don't be like me and take years to figure that out!)

Science is a subject we now do together. We are using Science in the Beginning by Wile and it has been a HUGE blessing to our family. The experiments are straightforward and the explanations are thorough as it explains the science behind each day of Creation. The end-of-lesson assignments are already divided amongst younger, older and oldest students, but I still have room to add to or subtract from the assignments based on my children's abilities. And the obvious bonus for our family: it is Creation-based, which means no evolutionists theories or millions of years, etc. So, if The Well-Trained Mind science recommendations do not work for you, ditch it and go with something else! You won't be sorry you did!

These are the major adjustments we've made so that the Well Trained-Mind fits for our large family. If you use the Well-Trained Mind, what adjustments have you made so that it works well in your family? What tips do you have to make homeschooling with multiple grades a smoother experience?


well


***I wrote this originally for Our Homeschool Forum.***


Ever felt like you messed up, big time?
Ever felt like you were grasping at the wind, trying to do things the right way?
Ever hurt someone, while trying to honor or be kind to another?

My heart is screaming, "Lord, please help me, because I'm all over the place!"

Listen, friends, for the record, I am so far from perfect it is not even funny!
If I have ever given any of you the illusion that everything about me is peachy and that I always have myself put together, then let me make it known:
I am an imperfect woman, in desperate need of God's free-flowing grace.
And not just saving grace, amazing grace, or sufficient grace--definitely need those--but I also need the down-in-the-details grace, too. Grace that reaches all those small places, where thoughts are racing and emotions are threatening. Grace for a seasoned tongue, that weighs how to respond instead of losing it.

I had a situation that just left me feeling undone. I wanted to be there for a friend, but I also needed to honor a decision my husband had made. The two conflicted. Any other wife ever been there? Of course, I chose to honor my husband, and in doing so, I knew I would disappoint my friend. How do I do this with gentleness, and without betraying my husband's trust?

Grace.

Many times, when my husband's decisions conflict with my plans, truthfully the temptation is great to just do what I want. I've learned that to do so does not help my marriage and is totally unbiblical. My solution to flee temptation, though? Fly to the other end of the spectrum, to ensure that I honored him.

Grace would have tempered my reaction and formed it into a more graceful response. . . if only I had just asked of God first.

In this situation, my husband expressed his concern for the present, and voiced a possible solution for the future. I couldn't even "hear" the future solution, because all I knew was that the present plans had been interrupted. All I heard was: you can't do what you've planned. And in that moment I knew I needed to honor him--and honor him quickly, for fear of temptation--and so I went forward with a hurry-up and get out of this situation, I just can't do it, attitude. . .

Oh, the need for grace.

After the heat of the moment, I realized all the things I could have said and all the ways it could have gone, if only I had paused to ask for His direction and clarity.

So, as He does, God worked things out for good: Husband was honored, things were talked through, friendship remains, and the Lord revealed some truths to me I had missed or ignored.

Once again, I am humbled by His grace, which is always available, and is mine for the asking. I'm learning to pause, take my time, not rush, and intentionally ask Him to help me be a woman of grace.



A Woman in Need of Grace

by on Tuesday, November 03, 2015
Ever felt like you messed up, big time? Ever felt like you were grasping at the wind, trying to do things the right way? Ever hurt som...


I was looking for a devotional that I could use with my younger children each day, to introduce the truth about God and the amazing people He used throughout time to show Himself to us. We have a family Bible study everyday, and although the little ones participate, I know much of what we discuss goes over their heads. So, for the past few weeks, we've been reading one story per night from Five Minute Bible Stories just before bed and the kids love it. They are ages 1, 2, and 3 and each night the 3 year old says, "Mama, we gotta read the Bible!!"

The pages are bright and colorful and really literally takes 5 minutes to read each 2-page story. That is about the length of time all of my toddlers together can focus on something. Each story gives Scripture reference so you know where the story is found in the Bible. I read the verse references to my children--which they are familiar with hearing from our regular Bible study--so they will know that ultimately, God's Word holds all of these stories and much more.

At the end of each story, there is a question to provoke more thought or to point out something significant about what was read. Afterwards, we pray and then we "peek" ahead to see what the next day's reading will be. What is great is when my 3 year old hears something from our family Bible time and is able to relate because we read about it from the Bible story book. While I do not feel anything should ever substitute reading the Word of God, this has been a great addition to our family Bible time. It fits nicely into our bedtime routine and is something my toddlers look forward to. I''m so glad I reviewed it and I would highly recommend it for little ones 1-5years old.


I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


I review for BookLook Bloggers


For most homeschooling families I know, it's the mama who's in the day-to-day trenches, juggling homeschooling with housework and diaper changes and attitude adjustments--sometimes the kids' and sometimes her own. At any rate, one may wonder where Dad fits in when he's usually gone to work all day. Well, here are the ways my husband (affectionately called "Husband") is involved in our homeschool.

1. Husband is Head of the Home
First and foremost, as a Christian family, we follow God's design for marriage and family. Simply put, Husband is the leader. While he may delegate much of our home life duties to me, I operate knowing that he is the head, even in our homeschool. So, tough decisions need to flow through him. Huge changes in our curriculum? He should know about it. If one of the children is struggling with a concept, I seek his guidance on it. If I'm dealing with the same character issue, day in and day out, I ask for his help. At the end of the day, God gave these children to us, and Husband's opinion is not only highly valuable, it is vey much needed.

2. Mix Work with School
Lately, my husband's job has afforded him the opportunity to work more from home. On those days, he'll set his computer up at the table right in the midst of note books and flash cards and he works side by side with us. Although he is busily taking care of his work duties, just having his presence in the home during the school day is always a blessing. Plus sometimes, he'll surprise us with donuts before he starts his work day (yummy breakfast!) or he'll get pizza on his lunch break. . .can't beat that!


3. Talk About Homeschooling Regularly
Besides asking the kids what they did in school or how their day was, Husband and I regularly discuss the kids' progress in their schoolwork. After using public schools for 3 years, we are entering our 5th year of homeschooling. We have gotten used to "how we do school" and are realizing the truth in the adage "homeschooling is a way of life." That being the case, we discuss our children as whole individuals (spiritually, mentally, educationally, etc) throughout the course of normal conversation. So school is not some separate topic that my Husband is not aware of.


4. Let Him Influence Your Schedule
In my head, I'd like to think I run a well-oiled machine in my schooling schedule. (A mama can try, right?) Of course, we certainly have our share of toddler meltdowns, babies up at night, and older kids who are slow-moving in the mornings. But, generally, we have a natural ebb and flow to our days. Husband knows that and he is really good about supporting the daily goals I've put in place.

However, when my husband is able to take some time off of work, we adjust our schedule to coincide with the precious time we have to spend together as a family. Even if we don't take an actual vacation, but just take a day trip to a town a few cities away, it is worth the day of missed school work. There are also times when Husband just senses that we need a break, even if he's at work. He'll call and say, "Babe, no school today." I've learned that if he can see that we need a break, then we must really need one. So, I take it without stressing and without any guilt. And you know what? It's always been beneficial in the long run because burn-out never looks good on a me.

5. Daddy Teacher
Just because Mom is the primary teacher doesn't mean a few subjects can't be saved for Dad. In our home, my husband teaches 100% of our children's Physical Education. It is so freeing to not have to think about Math and how to teach catching and jumping-jacks, too! He has a list of various sports drills the kids practice each day, and then on the weekends, he takes them to a field behind our house for class. They have a stretching and warm-up routine, and they learn all sorts of sports fundamentals: track, soccer, and baseball, plus basketball and football for the boys. This is right up my husband's alley, as he played football in college and has a minor in coaching. So, brainstorm with your husband on what he feels comfortable teaching, something that he would enjoy. My kids get a kick out of Daddy being their coach!


6. Include His Ideas
I try to incorporate my husband ideas. Sometimes he has ideas that just work for the kids or that I may not think of. After all, he is their father and knows them just as well as I do. In our very first year of homeschooling, I was teaching the kids Ancient History and we were talking about how farmers would use a "shaduf" to water their crops. He sat in on the lesson and got up and made a make-shift shaduf using some pencils and an eraser. Once I was finished talking about it, he showed the kids how his shaduf worked. They loved it! Five years later, we all still remember him doing that.

Lately, my husband has added a twist to our math and our catechism. In Math, once a week, the kids are required to choose a problem and explain how they solved it in written form (literally writing out the words). The problem must be one they previously got wrong and have since corrected. They get to choose which one they will write about. Also, we are learning catechism as a family so the children have a firm foundation in our doctrinal beliefs. However, Husband said in addition to memorizing the answers, the children must also be able to put those answers in their own words, according to their understanding/ability. As you can see, Husband is not one for rote memorization alone. He wants the kids to be able to explain concepts for themselves. This has been great in stretching the children's thinking and encourages them to pay closer attention to instruction and discussions.

These are just some of the ways my husband is directly involved in our homeschooling. I'm sure there are others and I'd love to hear them! How do you include your husband in your homeschool?




***I wrote this originally for Our Homeschool Forum.***

Keeping Dad in Our Homeschooling

by on Wednesday, September 23, 2015
For most homeschooling families I know, it's the mama who's in the day-to-day trenches, juggling homeschooling with housework an...
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants,
All around your table.
-Psalm 128:3
I was talking to my husband one day and he told me about a conversation he had with a friend who had "wished more children on us." He said that a bit of sly laughter followed this person's "wish." So Husband asked me why do people do that--"wish" more kids on us? I told him it's not really a wish, as in a blow-out-your-birthday-candles-and-make-a-wish kind of wish. Rather, it's as though people are trying to "curse us" with more children.

Sounds strange, doesn't it? But think about it. Tell me if you've heard any of these, because we sure have:

"Some day, you'll have a child just like you."
"Pregnant again? Hmm! Maybe it'll be twins." (Then, when it wasn't twins. . . )
"Maybe next time it will be twins, then you'll stop!"
"Y'all just keep on having kids. . . " (I'm thinking, what else would we have?)
"You have six now; maybe you'll have even more." (Gasp! The horror!)

NEWS FLASH:
My husband and I, we like our kids!
Yes, of course we love them, we've loved them from the moment we knew they were in the womb. Without question, the love was there. But we actually like our kids, enjoy hanging out with them, playing and laughing with them, and experiencing new things together, teaching them what they should know.



And even more than that, we believe the Word of the Lord is true:
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate." -Psalm 127:3-5 (NKJV)
Check out the same passage from The Message translation:
"Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
    the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
    are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
    with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
    you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep." -Psalm 127:3-5
And then there's this beautiful verse:
"They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble; For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, And their offspring with them." -Isaiah 65:23
And of course there are these verses, as well:
"But did He not make them* one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth." -Malachi 2:15 (*husband and wife)
"Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the Lord." -Psalm 128:1-4

So "cursing" us with more children is like cursing us with breathing air. We will gladly welcome any child God gives us, just as we welcome our next breath. We are thankful for the blessing of children.

Hard work?
Yes, indeed; you better believe it!

Worry free?
Uh, no. . .

Worth it?
Absolutely. For sure. Without a doubt.


August 24, 2015

I am SO grateful for the opportunity to homeschool my children. My husband and I don't have all the answers, but we are honored that God has granted us this calling. We are not perfect, but we are committed to raising our children for the Lord. So, we count it a blessing to be able to do that as we educate our children each day, right here at home.



Bible
Scripture Memory
Teaching Hearts, Training Minds
Foundations 1: Preparation for Christ

Math
Math U See

Language Arts
First Language Lessons
Rod & Staff: Building Christian English Series
Writing with Ease
Writing with Skill
Reading lists found at Ambleside Online and also here.
Spelling Workout
Vocabulary from Classical Roots
Cursive Writing

History
Story of the World (Middle Ages; Modern Age)
The Mystery of History (Ancients)

Science
Science in the Beginning

Health/P.E.
Kid's Health: free site with a myriad of health resource categorized by grade and topic.
Soccer
Flag Football
Basketball
Swimming
Track
Baseball

Music/Art
Teaching Little Fingers to Play
Flute Lessons
Music and Art Appreciation: via Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool: a free, full online, Christian education, or you can use it for specific subjects only.
Crafts and Handiwork

Logic
The Fallacy Detective
Building and Thinking Skills 

Foreign Language
Prima Latina
Latina Christiana I
Spanish: free, through our local library, online

Typing
Typing.com: A free site where I'm able to manage all of my kiddos' progress.


Happy Schooling!

I'd be happy to answer any questions about our curriculum, if you're looking for a personal opinion. Have you found all of your curriculum for the school year?

Curriculum Choices 2015-2016

by on Monday, September 14, 2015
August 24, 2015 I am SO grateful for the opportunity to homeschool my children. My husband and I don't have all the answers, but w...


As a young girl growing up, I learned the Bible in the KJV. That was the version that was read during our church services, it was the version my parents taught me from, and it is still the version I "hear" in my mind when I recall Scriptures I learned as a child.

But, for my own family, we are using the NKJV during our family Bible study. I wanted the kids to have a NKJV so they could follow along when I read aloud. The nice thing is that the language of the NKJV does not differ so much from the KJV that I can hardly recognize the verses. The introduction states it this way:
"The full text of the New King James Version is used, in a format that shows paragraphs, poetry, and other special formats. Based on the time-honored King James Version, the NKJV is preferred by many Bible readers for its unparalleled accuracy, beauty, and clarity. The NKJV uses up-to-date English while maintaining the literary quality of the KJV."
This is precisely right and is the reason I requested this Bible for my oldest daughter (almost 13 years old), who is maturing in her faith more and more. She is ready to have a Bible that digs a little deeper, providing her with some background and explanations on the passages of Scripture she's reading.

This Study Bible has a complete listing of the Old Testament and New Testament books with the accompanying page number, and abbreviations as well. There is an introduction to the features of the Bible, as well background and history of the biblical text.

Each book of the Bible begins with that book's name, author's information, timeline dates, key verse and theme. I really appreciate the timeline dates being included because we teach Biblical history as a part of history in general, that the two are not separate and occur on the same timeline. All of history begins with Genesis 1:1 which states, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Within the text, there are subject headers to aid the reader in study, as it highlights what the upcoming passage will focus on. Also included are theological notes on specific verses, which highlight various things from historical background to doctrinal truths. For example, the subject header for Genesis Chapter 1 (and part of Chapter 2) is: "The History of Creation." The theological footnote for Genesis 1:1 explains Creation:
"Biblical revelation begins with a simple, strong, and sublime affirmation. Instead of arguing the existence of God, it declares that the very existence of the universe depends on the creative power of God. The world we live in was created by God and belongs to Him. His absolute ownership requires our faithful stewardship of all things."
In the New Testament, the words of Jesus Christ are printed in red, which is a preference I've come to enjoy in my Bible reading. Located in the back of this Bible are an index to the theological notes by topic and by location, as well as color maps of the land in Biblical times.

This Bible has been a great addition to our study time. It is not overwhelming by interrupting the reader with lots of bells and whistles, such as charts or character profiles. It is straightforward with an easy-to-follow formatting.

**I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
For the last few weeks, I've been preparing hearts and minds to let go of our lazy relaxed summer schedule to return to fuller school days. Our official start was on Monday and I just kept snapping pics of these sweet kids. (I know, I'm biased, but they really are sweet!)

FRONT YARD PICTURE BREAK
BETWEEN BIBLE STUDY AND MATH

Almost got them to all look at the camera. . .
Son in the red hat is crying because we're too close to the tree. :)








The kids thought I needed a sign and a picture, too.
They're so sweet!
GOOFY TAKES + TODDLER MELTDOWNS




SCHOOL DAY IN SESSION



Oldest sister making funny faces and the other two giggling...

Back to work, while oldest is still smiling at whatever it was they thought was hilarious!
OUT FOR ERRANDS
We stopped for ice cream, cookies for the littles, and free iced coffee for Mama!
Waiting to pick up medical record forms for Fall Soccer....
Bored and sleepy
Still happy from eating cookies
These two went with me to a homeschool meeting later that evening.

Our day was full, it was fun, and we are blessed. When I think of it, I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach my children at home, so they may learn the ways of the Lord.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
-Deuteronomy 6:4-9
We are in the thick of summertime. The air is heavy and sticky, and it is just plain old hot outside!! My oldest daughter is enjoying the weather immensely because this is her favorite season.
My little ladies. . .
Kids #1 - #4 are swimming twice a week this summer and they are having a ball and are progressing nicely. My oldest son is now swimming with his sisters in an hour long class and he feels cool because he's with the "older" kids. And, the 3 year old is conquering his fears and is learning to blow bubbles and put his face in the water! :)


This is my 4th born. . .y'all remember when he was born??
Time flies!
And. . . guess who's 8 now?!?!?
He was so excited about this birthday, because that means he'll be old enough to take an introductory music class at the University in the spring. Also, he thinks he'll be tall enough to ride most of the rides at Six Flags! Every where he goes, he's telling people, "You know, I'm 8 now!"
Green icing face!
Home-made number 8 cake. . .

. . . with green icing, requested!
We are trying to cross off some things on our Summer Bucket List; we're getting there. We had friends over for The 4th and created a sort of impromptu "splash zone" in the back yard for all of the kids: water balloons, squirters, super soakers, and the good ol' garden hose. Cheap fun!!

We went to a very small local farm, which is an old favorite for the kids. We haven't been in a few years, so I think it was first time situation for a couple of the little ones. This particular farm is located in a huge park, with walking trails, camping grounds, sports facilities and more. So, we also stopped by the Nature Center to see a few rescued animals and then finished up the day with a carousel ride. Fun, fun, fun!




She was able to get the chicken to "talk" to her

The peacocks would not spread their feathers for us.

Pig in the mud. . .my youngest son was terrified!

The boy wanted his picture take with the pig. . .who was on her way back inside the hut.
Totally uninterested in taking a picture.


Carousel ride at the farm. . .
I cut one of my daughters out of the picture--oops!

First carousel ride--totally happy!!

First carousel ride: one terrified, one not so sure why the other one is crying...
We've made home-made ice cream from a few simple ingredients and one of them was Kool-Aid!! No special equipment required! We made grape and watermelon flavors and guess what. . .it was delicious and we'll be making more! My husband says it reminds him of Italian ice more so than ice cream. Whatever you want to call, just know it's good and it's something fun the kids can make. (Check out the recipe here.)

I have been chugging away at planning for the coming year, purchasing curriculum, and dreaming up ways to conduct our regular school schedule. I'm in prayer over my homeschool, as I want to do what the Lord wants concerning educating these precious children. Homeschooling is certainly a labor of love. I hope to share my curriculum choices and such with you all soon.
No Idle Bread Preschool
Can't believe August is already here!! What ways have you been enjoying the summer???

Hot July Has Come and Gone

by on Saturday, August 08, 2015
We are in the thick of summertime. The air is heavy and sticky, and it is just plain old hot outside!! My oldest daughter is enjoying the we...
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