Tag Archives: parenting

The End or the Beginning?


An end and a beginning. Which do you see?

As the end of 2016 very quickly approaches, I see just that. An end. Finality. The finish line. But is it really? No. So, I find myself wondering.

– what did we do right?
– what did we succeed in?
– what did we make better?
– where did we grow?
– where do we need to do better?
– where do changes need to be made?
– where did we fall down?
– where did we fail?

The end of the year is a natural time for reflection and re-evaluation. But, did you notice that all of these statements have a “we” in them? There is a reason for that. I think of our family as a unit. We are a family and we look to help each other.

Still, what I do well affects others. What I fail at also affects them. So we are moving through this journey together. And when I evaluate and do better at my part in these things, I make our family stronger.

The end is clearly marked by the calendar but what if we took a new approach and looked at it solely as the beginning? This is my beginning. I am beginning a new set of goals. I am beginning a new year. A new outlook. An ending is often a sad time but beginnings are seen as opportunity. So take this new beginning as an opportunity for whatever it is you desire. And write those goals, or desires, down.

I tend to be very visual so I created these two little worksheets to help me think through the good, the bad, the ugly and to plan for where I can do better. I am going to post these in my notebook that I am beginning for Bible time/prayer time so that I see them often through the year and hopefully, it will help me. Remind me. Get me back on track when I wander. And help keep me accountable.

2016 In Review

2017 Goals

I am also tying the 2017 goals into my “one word” for the year – CRAVE. I will share more on that word next week, as I am still trying to work through all the ways I want to apply this in the next year.

Please print these and use them as you can see them benefitting you and your students or family. Please share, as well. All I ask is for you to link back to this page if you share them. Thank you!

At Home.


Linking this post up with the Homeschool Review Crew bloggers’ Reflecting on 2016 linkup.



5 Days of Tips: Lookout for Freebies ( & don’t miss the ones here!)

Lookout for Freebies

I am constantly on the lookout for things that will benefit our education. These look different but are often digital products. I have a huge file of things on the computer that may or may not get used. But I keep saving things just in case. Remember the 4th tip I posted about following rabbit trails? Well, if you do that often enough, you might just have accidentally saved something that will help with one of those rabbit trails one of these days.

So, today, I am sharing some freebies for you from The Old Schoolhouse.

TOS logo

magazine cover


Have you ever looked at their magazine? No? Really? It’s free and chock full of academic, homeschooling articles that will encourage you. Just head over to the TOS website and read all about it. You can download their free app or you can purchase their annual big book.






Paul and Gena Suarez are the publishers and they are so amazingly generous. They let me go shopping in the TOS store. For Free! And, I get to offer you the products I chose. For Free! Here is what I have chosen:Spiritual Growth Bundle

Spiritual Growth Bundle – http://www.theoldschoolhouse.com/product/spiritual-growth-bundle/

This bundle includes three e-books: Home Improvement, Homeschooling: A Prayerful Journey, and Don’t Rush God.

Keeping The Garden

An e-book for the gardener, the gardener wanna-be, or the dreamer.
God Made Them All Wonder Bundle
A set of five WeE-books about alpacas, bugs, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

You will need to create an account in order to check-out. At check-out, use the code LHCREW16 to get these three items for free. This code is good through April 30, 2016, but go use it now so you don’t forget!!

And be on the lookout from other bloggers from TOS Review Crew. I have heard from a little birdie that there are some other freebies out there.

TOS freebies

Freebies, whether you need them now or not, are worth the gathering because they can enhance your learning when you least expect it. Or, they might just take one of those hard days where you want to throw it all out the window and rescue it with something new and interesting that helps the students focus. So don’t pass something up just because you don’t see a need for it now.

And, definitely go check out all that The Old Schoolhouse has to offer. Their products are worth the cost, even if you don’t have a coupon code to use. Also, head over to the Review Crew Facebook page and give them a “like” if you don’t mind. You’ll get lots of great encouragement from that page.
At Home.

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

This is the final day of the blog hop with 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents. I hope you have gained a lot of good tips over the week. Please visit my previous posts if you haven’t yet and please visit some of my friends from the Review Crew.

5 Days of Homeschool Tips: Make Time

This tip can go a lot of different ways. But it all relates to the same idea.

 We make time for the important things.

So we need to prioritize.

Prioritize who is important.
Prioritize what is important.
Prioritize what needs to be learned.
Prioritize where to focus.

Make Time

While I was sitting in Ladies’ Bible Class this morning, I had this thought come to me. We make time for the things we want to.

I know. That thought is not profound. It is nothing new under the sun. However, it kind of hit me hard after we had this amazing weekend.

We made time to focus on God on a weekend when so many people typically spend time with family and have egg hunts and take lots of pictures. Instead of “having Easter” we had a weekend filled with God.

So, my question to you is: what do you make time for?

Do you make time daily to read God’s word?

Do you make time daily to do something with your children other than formal schooling?

Do you make time daily to connect with someone who is important to you?

Do you make time for activities that will enrich your life?

Do you make time for those things that will take you where God wants you to go?

I want to encourage you to know what your priorities are and where you need to be headed. Know your goals and who you need beside you. Then, make time every day to be sure you are headed in the right direction.

Our most important goal is to have children that know and love God, who serve Him, and who have followed the Bible to salvation (hear, repent, believe, confess, be baptized, and live according to His word). We make time daily for that to happen, whether it is through a family devotional, Bible study time, or having Bible be a part of their school day. We make time for that by going to church and Bible classes and spending time with others from our church.

Do you know your priorities? Do you make time for them? If not, what are you making time for? Do you need to redirect?

This, more than anything else, will direct your life and, if you are a home educator, your homeschooling. So what do you make time for?

At Home.

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Looking for more great ideas and tips? Check out other Review Crew members who are sharing tips all week long. Today, I encourage you to go visit these friends:

Dawn @ Double O Farms
Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool
Debbie @ Debbie’s Homeschool Corner
Desiree @ Our Homeschool Notebook
Diana @ Busy Homeschool Days
Diana @ Homeschool Review
Elyse @ Oiralinde: Eternal Song
Emilee @ Pea of Sweetness
Erin @ For Him and My Family
Jen @ Chestnut Grove Academy

Break Bucket – Back to Homeschool

Break Bucket main image

Today I want to share with you an idea the was developed from a conversation with our doctor. It was just a passing comment a while back during a well child check up. Nothing prompted it but as part of the conversation, she mentioned making sure the kids take breaks during school time. I had not been making a conscientious effort to do that but her comment stuck with me. We were not having problems or behavior issues. We were not dealing with health issues. But the comment stuck. And the more I thought about it, the more I determined to do something about it. The Break Bucket was my solution.

Break Bucket

After every 30-45 minutes or after a couple of assignments, I ask the child to go get a stick from the Break Bucket. This is a cup that we love but has a crack in it, so it can’t hold liquid. It is filled with popsicle sticks on which I wrote a movement intensive activity and a time duration, if needed. The sticks are writing side down to start so the girls cannot see what they are picking. The child doesn’t get to go shopping in the bucket but rather has to take whatever stick is pulled. They then get to do the activity on the stick. After completing the activity, they turn it writing side up in the cup and go back to their next item of work. That’s it.

Break Bucket 3

The activities I chose to write on the sticks are:

  • jump rope for 8 minutes
  • 15 push ups
  • stretch for 10 minutes (my girls have dance stretches to do)
  • playground for 15 minutes
  • jump like a frog for 3 minutes
  • crab walk around the kitchen, living room, and dining room
  • 25 cherry pickers
  • dance for 10 minutes
  • run to the rocks (our playground across the street has a big pile of rocks at the back of it)
  • 30 jumping jacks
  • play outside for 15 minutes
  • WiiFit for 15 minutes
  • scooter or bike for 15 minutes

Break Bucket 2

After implementing this, I saw an improvement in cooperation, cheerfulness, and general work ethic. Nothing major but just being able to take regular breaks and do something to get the blood pumping really energizes them. Brains work better and so do hearts.

What do you do to encourage activity during school hours?

A list of all posts related to the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop 2015 came be found under the Back to Homeschool page.

At Home.

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

This post is part of the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop, sponsored by School House Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection. There are over 50 bloggers participating in the blog hop so you have lots of reading to do! Click on the picture to be taken to the listing of all participating bloggers and find something to encourage you today.

#HeartParenting & Giveaway


Have you seen this hashtag? It’s been floating around quite a lot in my social media feeds. The pictures and quotes that I have seen have been encouraging to me. As a parent, it is so easy to get worn down by the day. And when I am worn down, the energy I have to direct toward parenting is almost non-existent. But that is not good. That is not okay. Because my children deserve better. The cost of not parenting their hearts is too high.

Parenting is Heart Work

National Center for Biblical Parenting

The National Center for Biblical Parenting was founded by Dr. Scott Turansky and Mrs. Joanne Miller. They created the NCBP after seeing and learning the struggles that parents have. They knew that the answers lie in parenting the heart of a child rather than in just learning to modify behavior. This became a ministry they followed and it grew. Currently, the NCBP has numerous publication, presenters and presentations that help equip parents in implementing a heart-based approach to parenting.

Parent Training Centers

The National Center for Biblical Parenting is launching a new initiative – the Parent Training Center. These are churches who have taken on the important task of training parents to be parents who parent their children’s hearts. These churches will intentionally work on training parents and they will provide resources and tools that help teach discipleship of believers and evangelism to other families in the community surround the Parent Training Center church.

Churches that have the vision of Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and Ephesians 6:1-4 will appreciate the efforts of the NCBP. Their desire to help parents training their children in the ways of the Lord, through all parts of their days and lives, is a worthwhile goal. Dr. Turansky, one of the founders of the NCBP, has several videos on the Parent Training Center website that will do a more thorough job of informing you of the ideals and plans behind the Parent Training Center and how to find out more.

There are a number of ideas that can be implemented right away shared in these video and site pages. This looks like a really interesting concept idea and plan. Please view the videos and explore the Parent Training Center website to learn more.

getting through the day and cover

Parenting Is Heart Work

The primary goal of the Parent Training Center is to equip parents to train and reach the hearts of their children. The resources used must be heart-based. That is where the book Parenting is Heart Work comes in. This is one of the key resources from the NCBP.

Did you know that the Bible talks about the heart more than 750 times? What does that tell you about God’s use of the heart? God talks to us in the Bible about turning our hearts to him, about how we store up treasure in our hearts, that we can sin in our hearts, that where your treasure there your heart will be also. The heart is the center of our belief and emotion. Out of belief and emotion comes action. That is why an effective parent will be able to reach the heart of a child. That is why God works so hard to reach our hearts.

Understanding the Heart

Parenting is Heart Work delves into the heart and what we can do in our parenting moments to reach our children’s hearts. From the ideal to the absolutely practical, we are walked through rethinking what we do as parents, how we correct and disclipline, what words like discipline really mean, and how to change what we do in hopes of changing the hearts of our children to God.

Each of the four parts of the book is chock full of Biblical example. Working straight from God’s word, Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller apply heart parenting and God’s work to specific situations. Each example is relatable and the application of the ideas allows us as parents to be able to see ways to incorporate the tools into our own parenting.

Through the examples and tools, I found a lot of reassurance for the work I was already doing as a part. I found encouragement that I was doing some things right. I also found an encouraging word about the things I saw that I need to change. It wasn’t full of guilt. And each chapter ended with a prayer from my heart to God. They were written out but I found, time after time, that I was editing the prayer to be specific to what I saw in the chapter that I needed to address.

The book has a section at the end with discussion questions for each chapter. This would allow you to utilize the book as a selection for a book club or discussion group. I found these questions to be helpful to dig deeper into my own thoughts and challenges with the tools and concepts in each chapter.

heart parenting notes

I spent quite a bit of time with this book. It was encouraging and helpful to me. I read most of it with a notebook and three colored pens beside me. Whenever I was reading and needed to apply it directly to the girls, I would make notes on the page in a different color for each of the girls. It is something I have already gone back to several times and will continue to add to and consult in my desire to parent my girls’ hearts.

I found this to be a wonderful book that I definitely recommend. It won’t be gathering dust on my shelves. When I find something that helps me follow God’s will in teaching my children and training their hearts to God, I don’t want to keep it to myself. And, if all of the resources for the Parent Training Centers are this great, then the Parent Training Center initiative by the National Center for Biblical Parenting is a powerhouse for change. Our world needs this kind of change.

At Home.

There is a giveaway going on until Aug. 17, 2015.
Heart Parenting Giveaway

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

This giveaway is open to residents of the U. S. only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.  Entrants to this giveaway will be added to the email list for the National Center of Biblical Parenting.

Parenting Is Heart Work disclaimer

Parent Training Center Giveaway

Giveaway alert! I don’t participate in these very often but this was one I wanted you all to see. I have been impressed with the materials I have seen from the National Center for Biblical Parenting. I have enjoyed being on their Launch Teams for some of their materials. While I know that the Bible directs us to action and baptism for redemption and salvation, which these materials tend to not indicate, I think there is a lot of good, solid, Biblical advice offered. I encourage you all to check out their materials and see if you think they are a good fit for you. And share them with your churches. This time around, the Launch Team is actually promoting the Parent Training Centers.

A Parent Training Center is a church that intentionally trains parents, providing resources and tools both for discipleship of believers and for evangelism to families in the community.

The National Center for Biblical Parenting offers resources, and practical support to help you become the Parent Training Center God designed. The Equipping Program contains a number of mobilization tools to help you advance to the next level in your parent discipleship ministry.

With this program you’ll interact with experts as well as other pastors and church leaders. Receive personalized guidance for your unique church situations. Use resources that will equip your parents to reach their children’s hearts.

Parent Training Center Giveaway for Churches

To introduce your church to the Parent Training Center concept, we are hosting an awesome giveaway that includes some of our best church and parent training resources, along with a $100 gift certificate to the National Center for Biblical Parenting store. Here’s what your church could win:

Parenting Is Heart Work DVD Church Kit ($199.95 value)

Equip parents to touch the hearts of their kids with this biblically-based, practical training program. Parents and teachers of children 2-18 years will benefit from this life-changing curriculum. The Parenting is Heart Work Church Kit includes:


• Eight 35-minute video sessions

• A Leader’s Guide with reproducible pages for attendees

• A copy of the 256 page book Parenting is Heart Work

The videos were filmed before a live audience of parents and children. Using drama, Bible stories, and lots of illustrations, Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN will energize you and provide you with tools you need to strengthen your family. Use this eight-part video series in your church, small group, or even in your own family. Many times parents have to change the way they parent in order for children to change the way they live.


The Family Toolbox DVD Church Kit ($179.95 value)

he Family Toolbox has 8 lessons for parents, teens, or both in a small group setting. Each one has a 1-2 minute scene of a family living life and experiencing common challenges in their relationships. A discussion guide prompts dialogue among parents and a 10-minute teaching session featuring Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN gives practical tools to use right away.

As the group works through the lessons parents learn:

• How to focus on the heart instead of just behavior

• The cues you give that tell your children when you mean business

• Practical ways to remove conflict from the problems of family life

• How to end correction times with impact

• A tool for maximizing heart change in the correction process

• The value of teaching kids to accept no as an answer

• Ways to reduce anger episodes in children

The Family Toolbox is designed for families with children ten years old and up and is an excellent resource for small groups. Each lesson can be done in 20-30 minutes, but could also lead to discussion and dialogue lasting an hour or more.

Coupon to purchase resources in the NCBP Store ($100 value)

Visit the NCBP store to discover a plethora of church and parent training resources.


To enter, please use the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

This giveaway is open to residents of the U. S. only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.  Entrants to this giveaway will be added to the email list for the National Center of Biblical Parenting.


I’ll be sharing it with our elders for them to investigate and see if it is something that would be appropriate for our congregation. Maybe you’ll do the same?

At Home.




Seeking Peace and Refuge in Times of Worry

Seeking peace

I know many are praying much the same as I am right now – peace. Peace is needed in so many areas of our lives. Tonight, I have done what I often forget to do but should do when I am struggling with something and needing peace: Go to God. Specifically, seek Him in His word. I am going to share with you some verses that I was looking up tonight as I was seeking God’s peace in my heart and relief from my human tendency to worry. I find great comfort in the book of Psalm so that is where I went.


Psalm 122:6-9 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you. Peace be within your walls and security within your towers. For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

Psalm 29:11 May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Psalm 34:14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

Psalm 85:10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.

Psalm 128:6 May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!

Psalm 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 37:37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace.

Psalm 85:8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.

Psalm 39:12 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.


Psalm 28:6-9
Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Psalm 37:39-40
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and save them,
because they take refuge in him.

Tonight, I am seeking refuge in him. And because I know and trust his word, I know that peace will be mine. I know myself enough to know that it may be interrupted as I struggle with being human and having worry but I also know that I will again seek refuge in my God. And He will be my stronghold.

May you also have peace tonight in our world of chaos, remembering that we are sojourners here. At Home.

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