Category Archives: encouragement

Love Grows Here – Keep Out!

Love Grows Here Keep Out

I have started walking. Again. We’ll see. . .

Anyhow, on my walking route I pass this lovely garden area next to someone’s front door. I mean it is lovely. Lots of flowering plants (even in this triple digit heat we have had for weeks now) and large green leaves. It is well maintained and cared for. You can tell.

But –

Planted in the very front, for all the passersby to see, are two signs. One is so pretty and in colorful cursive says “Love grows here.” What a neat sentiment. Inviting. Hopeful. Maybe even inspiring. Until you look next to it.

And you see

KEEP OUT!

Black and orange. Bright, glaring, ugly. “You are not wanted,” it says. “You are not welcome.” In spite of what is right next to it about love, this is the message that is most boldly proclaimed.

And it made me wonder. . .

Which of these two signs does my life portray? And I boldly proclaiming that no one is welcome in my life?

Or am I saying I am trying hard to grow love and would like to share it?

Which is the sign your life is proclaiming?

Blessings,
At Home.

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What Shapes Are Your Students?

I was going through boxes and materials today. Lots of them. (I have been so bless and now have two boxes to share with others!) In the process, I came across some notes from the first year we were home educating. We had attended a conference and I remember how much I enjoyed it and got out of it.

These notes really were a good timing kind of thing. I needed this reminder. Maybe you do, too. I wish I had written down who the speaker was so that I can give credit where credit is due. Unfortunately, I did not.

student personality shapes

This person listed five student personality types and they just resonate with me.

Square
Rectangle
Triangle
Circle
Squiggly Line

Square – This student is very task oriented. This student follows directions well and benefits from reflection time. Things that frustrate this type of student are imprecise instructions and changing directions.

Rectangle – This student is project oriented but benefits much from someone working with them. This student is frustrated by imprecise instructions or changing their directions.

Triangle – This student is goal oriented, wants to get things done quickly, and loves checks lists. I don’t have a specific list of what frustrates this type of personality but they love the spotlight and don’t like to have to prove their reasoning.

Circle – This student is your “people person.” They don’t like conflicts and they love to talk.  Things that frustrate this personality type include not being allowed or able to talk and being in isolation.

Squiggly Line – The squiggle personality is highly creative and loves to follow their ideas. They do not require completion of projects to feel highly accomplished and are high energy. They are frustrated by constraint, especially in their ideas, and when they absolutely must follow someone else’s directions.

I spent a bit of time today thinking about my girls and which type of personality each one is. I have a square, a circle, and one who is a fairly good combination of squiggly line and a triangle. No wonder I sometimes miss the mark of who needs what kind of a program to do their best learning.

As you embark on the next part of your learning journey, take a minute to think about the personality of your students. Recognizing some of what makes them frustrated and what helps them move forward allows you to better tailor their learning experience.

Reminding myself of this may perhaps make some of our choices more clear for this year.

Blessings,
At Home.

Think on These Things (or why we don’t tell our girls about news stories)

Think On These Things

I had an interesting discussion with the oldest giggly girl the other day. She asked why they always have to learn about news stories at church, such as school shootings. Evidently they are often topics of conversation among the youth at church, specifically for prayer requests. Prayer requests are good – praying for those who need it falls right in line with what God wants the girls to do. However, we intentionally don’t draw their attention to these types of stories. And so when she asked, I answered.

The answer was quite easy –

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. – Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

This is why I don’t watch the news. This is why I don’t read the newspaper. This is why I skip over so much of social media. The topics and ideas these media cover are not often noble, or lovely, or pure. So, I often don’t know of the bad things that are happening in the world and cannot share it with my girls. Even if I did, I do not want that to be where my girls thoughts are focused.

I don’t want them worrying or being fearful. God did not create in us a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7) When we focus on the evil things of the world, we will give in to the spirit of fear that Satan desires for us. When we are living in fear, we are not living in God and His will for our lives.

We try hard to bring the lovely and the beautiful and the pure into our girls lives so that they can focus on God.

Hosea 6:6 says

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

When the evil of the world is brought to view, we pray and try to teach the girls to pray. In order for us to help teach our girls to focus on the good and the beautiful, to focus on mercy and the knowledge of God, we refrain from bringing to their focus the evil of the world.

Blessings,
At Home.

Leadership

My mind has been focusing pretty hard on leadership this evening. I see two kinds: one where you lead with kind words, examples, and patience and the other where you lead with power and pride.

I strive to lead my children with the first kind of leadership. I pray that I lead them with kindness, words to help them learn, an example of righting wrongs and following where/when I need to. I hope that I lead with patience and understanding.

Leadership

What do we do when we believe our children have experienced the other kind of leadership? What do we do when they have been led by someone who wields their power instead of their understanding? When they punish instead of explain? When they hurt instead of help? When they use threats instead thoughtful words?

Oh, how I wish there were easy answers!

Specific instances are running through my mind. None of them included possible injury to anyone, damage to property, or anything along those lines. It was a matter of obeying a command that was given (walk, sit, etc.). No, I was not there and I can be missing a lot. But the thoughts remain. How do we teach our children when to follow and when to not?

I want my girls to maintain their fiercely independent spirits. I want them to be powerful in their understanding and kindness to others and to be able to lead that way. I want them to be powerful leaders, not because they wield their power to punish or crush someone’s spirit, but to be powerful leaders because of their ability be kind, empathetic, considerate.

Fiercely loving and fierce kindness – that is what my girls are full of. I pray that I can continue to nurture that and that the world will not beat it out of them with punishment and lack of understanding. So, once again, I find myself leaning on God’s wisdom and leadership and knowing that He has amazing plans for these girls.

Blessings,
At Home.

 

Safe Place

The other day, my heart broke. As we were leaving violin class, a little boy, about 4, came sobbing, screaming, running down the stairs, flying past us. I waited a second before I moved so I could get out of the way of the adult that would obviously come chasing him. That didn’t happen but another adult that I knew came through the door at the top of the stairs with questions in her eye. I knew I needed to follow him. So I did, my heart breaking.

I flew down the stairs after him, fearful of what he was running from, but knowing he needed someone to help him. As I got to the hallway at the bottom of the stairs and turned to follow him, a woman stepped out of a classroom with terror on her face. Her little boy was screaming and running. She stepped out to meet him and console him and let him know he was okay.

Safe Place

I don’t need to tell you just how thankful I am that he found his mother, that he wasn’t running from any physical thing that was threatening him. It has brought two thoughts to mind though.

1 – For that sweet mama – He is safe and you are okay. That choice to leave him turned out okay in the end so don’t berate yourself any more. I could see you shielding your face as you climbed the stairs with your boys. I could see you avoiding eye contact and trying to not have to face anyone. I wish I could have reached out to you, to calm your fears of what others were thinking.  We are all so very grateful that he was fine and he knew where to find you. No one is judging you. No one thinks you are a bad mom. And I wish I had had a way to reach out to you. I could see the pain on your face as you held his hand and walked with him to your car. I could see the love written there, too, and the relief. You are a good mama and your children, they are special gifts. We are thankful that you love them and they are with you tonight.

And

2 – Do I run to my parent the same way that little boy did? He knew where his safe place was, even when he was no longer in sight of that safe place. His mama may have been out of his sight but he KNEW. And when he got frightened, scared, and worried, he took off just as fast as his little legs could carry him, running to the one who would make everything right.

Do I run to God like that when I make a mistake? When I am frightened or scared? When I can no longer see “my safe place?” Do you?

God tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

He tells us to come to Him. To give Him our burdens, our weariness. When we do this, he gives us rest. This is the only rest that really matters. It is not rest that can be gained overnight in a comfy bed. This is the relief of the bone-deep weariness and burdens that plague life on earth. God asks us to come to him, come running, sobbing, frightened, scared. Come however you are. He will give you rest.

He also tells us about the son who has turned from the father’s way and was lost to him. In Luke 15:11-32, we find the story that many of us call the “Prodigal Son.” This son left the ways of the father, took all his “birthright” money, and turned his back on his dad, his family. But after hardship and trial came his way, this young man realized just how much love can carry you through and what he had actually abandoned. He ran home, throwing himself down at his father’s feet, and asking forgiveness.

He ran to the one who he KNEW, without a doubt, would reclaim him, would care for him and not throw him out again. But even better was the whole-hearted acceptance he received. His father did not just receive him; he embraced his son. His father cared for him better than the son ever imagined he would.

The son knew where his safe place was and he ran to it.

I need to run back to God, to find my safe place within his arms. And I know he will accept me, again. He tells us that. (Acts 2:38, Acts 13:38)

I am blessed to have a God who loves me so much that he provided a way for me to come back to him.

Blessings,
At Home.

Because Life is Precious ~ 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair

Because Life is Precious

Life is precious. And important. And God-given.

God gave us our three sweet children to raise to follow Him. They are His children first and we are to point them towards Him.

That would be reason number one in our “why did you choose to homeschool” list. But not the only reason and not the only important one, either.

You see, we want relationships to come first. And the public school system wasn’t letting that happen. Too much focus on schoolwork, tests, and reading that wasn’t really benefiting the girls at all. Stress was beginning to creep into our children’s lives over something that wasn’t important at all. It was affecting our home and it was too early for them to deal with these things.

And right on the heels of that: we want our girls to love to learn. Their love of learning, their curiosity, was dying. Whether it was from doing boring things or from stifling their natural creativity, the girls were losing their interest, their drive, and their enjoyment of life and learning.

At Home Dad works a non-traditional schedule. This came into play very strongly in our decisions. Every other month, he barely saw the girls and we could feel that affecting that all important daddy-daughter relationship.

When we looked at these and a few additional issues, there was no other choice. God had shown us very clearly what we should do. And we knew it individually. When At Home Dad and I sat down one day, I just asked “what do you think about homeschooling the girls next year?” His answer? “I was going to ask you the same thing today.”

Asked and answered.

We talked to a couple who we value that homeschooled their children and asked questions of them. We read a few things and decided where we would begin at. And then we told the girls. They were excited! They had never really heard of homeschooling but they were pleased to try this new thing out.

And you know what? It has been a blessing time after time. All of these things here, and more, have benefited from us starting this pathway, this journey. But most of all, we have found freedom for life.

Life is precious. Don’t take the moments of it for granted. God gave us our children to bring us in his steps, his path, his way. I want my children to be pointed towards heaven, towards God, in all we do. This is our “why” for homeschooling.

Blessings,
At Home.
2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair button

 

Now, let’s see what my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about The Reasons We Homeschool.

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST, Monday, January 8, 2018..

5 Reasons to Homeschool High School by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Weird Homeschoolers by Kim R. @ Good Sweet Love

How We Make Homeschooling a Lifestyle by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine

Our Ever Evolving Homeschool Story by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

5 Reasons You Will Want to Homeschool by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays

How Our Homeschool Came To Be (and why we continue) by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ

Home Education – 10 Reasons we keep going…even when it’s hard by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home

So… Tell Me Again Why You Homeschool? by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road

Virtual Homeschool Fair 2018 – Week 1 – Why do I Homeschool  by Joelle@Homeschooling For His Glory

Homeschool Reasons: Bullies, Faith and More by Annette @ A Net In Time

In Pursuit of Purpose by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

A Long Time Ago . . . Why We Decided To Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

The Why Behind Hopkins Homeschool by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool

5 Reasons We Love Homeschooling by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Why We Homeschool – It’s What We Do by Kristen H @ Sunrise to Sunset

Why we Home Educate and Extra Benefits by Sarah@Delivering Grace

Homeschooling: The Big WHY? by Lisa @ True North Homeschool Academy at Golden Grasses

Regaining Your Homeschool Focus by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool

Why do we homeschool? by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool

Our �Homeschool� Why by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

It’s Worth it! Why We Homeschool, Even After All These Years by Hillary @ Walking Fruitfully

Because Life is Precious by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

1998 vs. 2018: Why We Homeschool by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

God’s Law – ways

God's Law WAYS

When I went through Psalm 119, I wrote down each of the words that referenced God’s laws in some way or another on notecards and then noted the verses that went with each word. I ended up with 11 cards: 8 are words specifically about God’s law, 2 are references that I haven’t fully decided upon yet (they fit but yet they don’t in the NIV), and 1 is a note on the verses that don’t mention God’s law.

I am choosing to start with the word WAYS. In the NIV, this word only appears twice, in verses 3 and 15.

Verse 3: They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways.

Verse 15: I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.

Look up the definition of the word WAYS. You’ll probably find two options. 1) a method, style, or manner of doing something; and 2) a road, track, path, or street for traveling along. There were a couple of others that I found in different places by doing a search on the internet. But let’s look at these two.

Verse 3 seems to be using the 2nd of these literal definitions, but in regard to what God wants, the laws he wants followed. So, the Psalmist will walk in the WAYS that God directs him. How is he directed? That is really clear in the reading of the surrounding verses. God directs the ways to walk through his laws. When walking in his WAYS, we have a clear path marked out by which our travel is easier. When we follow that path, his WAYS, we can see where we are going and we have an easier time of it.

a method, style, or manner of doing something

When you have a way of doing something, you have a particular method which you desire to have followed. Maybe it is a set order of steps. Maybe it is specific materials. Maybe it is an expectation of being like you in how you handle something. In any regard, you have an expectation that things will be done specifically.

In verse 15, the Psalmist is saying that he is considering, thinking about, the manner or method that God desires. He is being aware of the fact that God has a plan that he wants his children to follow. The Psalmist is acknowledging that and abiding by it. How happy that must make God!

So, consider the word WAYS. How can we apply this thinking to our own life? Am I following that clearly delineated path God has made for me and learning it by reading the Bible? And I learning the method and manner of living life by God’s standards, His WAYS? Or am I leaning too much on my own sight, my own interpretation of the markings along the path?

I encourage you to read Psalm 119, to find encouragement in seeking out God’s WAYS.

At Home.

 

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