Sunday, August 21, 2011

Homeschool Kick-off

Somehow this year, God decided it was time for me to lead a homeschool support group. Our existing director was stepping down after many years of loyal (and wonderful!) service. I never thought I would be fit to be the director, but after many days of prayer, God revealed just enough to me to let me know it was time to answer a call.

So, here I am! We're kicking off our new year, and yesterday was our Open House/Kick-off Party.

Turn out was small, but it was so fun. A wonderful, dear friend arranged for us to borrow her church's bounce houses for the event, and the kids (both young and old) had a B-L-A-S-T!

I came home and quickly fell asleep on my couch! I think you can call a party a success if you are completely wiped out when it's done!

Although I'm excited about the new year, I find myself watching a cloud of doubt loom overhead. Thoughts of:
  • Should I really be doing this?
  • What's the point?
  • What if only a couple of people come? Doesn't that make me a failure?
  • No one is interested, anyway on and so forth...keep entering my mind. I know where those thoughts are coming from, and I know they are very deceptive.

Fortunately for me, I recently attending our state-wide homeschool conference (By the way, if your state hosts one of these...GO TO IT!), and there was a leader's meeting scheduled. I couldn't make the meeting, but I was able to download the seminars online. I treasure these mp3's. They are wonderful. I plan to listen to them many times.

One of the speakers made a comment that has stayed with me. He said (paraphrasing) that God will never give you enough help to allow you to accomplish something without Him.

Read that again. God will never give you enough help to allow you to accomplish something without Him. The first time I heard that idea, I was not very happy. I thought "Why would God short-change me like that?" Then I understood why.

If God gave us enough to where we didn't need Him, soon enough, we'd start ignoring Him. And then..well, you know where that leads. I can't think of a catchy phrase to describe it that doesn't use profanity...but you get the picture.

God gives us just enough to get it done with HIS help!

What did that mean to me? 

Well, when very few people volunteer for an event (or very few even show up), I need to remember that this is the EXACT number God intended for me to have. He sees a much bigger picture than I do, and I need to keep that in mind and t-r-u-s-t Him.

I don't necessarily get to know the whys about it. Maybe there is going to be a planned outing, and only a couple of families show up. One mom may be needing to talk something out, but if there was a large group of people present she may feel too intimidated to speak.

Or maybe having just a couple of people around will allow me to forge a new friendship that will prove extraordinarily wonderful in the future - a friendship that may have never come to fruition if the setting wasn't right that one day.

Who knows. I don't. God does.

And that's all I need to know.

With that being said, I look forward to all the wonderful things my Lord has planned for me this year, the good and bad. Because, frankly, I know He's there for it all with me.

Here's to an unforgettable year!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Simplifying Schedules...

As our summer nears it's end, I'm reminded of just how hectic our life is going to be once September rolls around. ALL of our activities start back.

When I started planning out this year, I made it a point not to over-schedule. Simplification was KEY to my planning efforts. And then....

Then all the ideas and opportunities popped up. My son is active in sports, so my daughter must be, right? I can't have her skimping out on physical activity, can I? I mean, we take walks and such, and she's active, but I'll be neglecting her if she's not in a sport.

Never mind the fact that she takes two separate music classes. SHE MUST HAVE SPORTS!!!!

Why do I do this to myself? Now, I look at September, and I start to hyperventilate. What do I do? Do I drop an activity? Or, do we dredge through it for 10 weeks.

How painful will that be?

I know what I need to do, especially since the sport my daughter is taking changed what day and time she will be participating to a time period where I would have to be in two places at one time. It's pretty obvious.

I just can't stand that I fell for it again. You know, the "in order to be the best homeschooling mom in the world, I must have my children in everything!!!!

Now, I'm not sure when I decided I had to be the best in the world. Actually, I'll be happy with my children learning how to not kill one another. Reading would be nice, too, but I'm not picky.

So...My thought to you:
As you go along planning your child's year, ask yourself "Does he/she really NEED this?"
Or, could they benefit from an evening (or a few extra hours) of peace in your home?

I'm going for peace!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I wanna be ____________

High school is on the horizon for this homeschool family. My daughter is entering 7th grade. Before we know it, 8th grade will be over. Of course, this has us thinking more about her future: high school classes, college, career, etc.

Some of my friends are already entering this stage of homeschooling, and I see them asking the same questions:

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Ask this of a child when he or she is young, and you're sure to get high reaching goals: President, doctor, lawyer, ASTRONAUT!!!!!

My family is no exception. I have heard so many ideas that I have to chuckle. But, my daughter came to me earlier this year and stated plainly to me that after thinking about everything, her goal in life is to be a homemaker.

At that time, I was thrilled. We've talked a lot about it, and what it means (and what it DOESN'T mean, IE - it DOESN'T mean she'll be selling herself short by not being a career woman).

Then the temptation and guilt set it. I listened to other moms share with me their daughters' dreams, various careers they wanted to settle into. And I thought, "My daughter needs to do this!" Before I knew it, I was challenging her to think about what she really wanted to do in life. 

Looking back, I want to give myself a big facepalm.

Why did I suddenly feel like what my daughter wants in life isn't good enough? Recently, I've seen friends of mine either go back to work or express how badly they want to go back to work. I keep saying to them, "You know, there's nothing wrong with staying at home!!!"

And then I tell my own child she needs to pick a career.


Don't get me wrong - I don't think going to college or having a career is wrong. I do think the optimal career for a woman once she has a family is to take care of that family. I never thought that before I did it. Now, I realize how much happier I am!

So...Now's the time for me to eat some humble pie...and remind my daughter that there's nothing wrong with her original decision to want to be a homemaker. And...remind myself of that, too!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Classroom photos

There was a recent request on one of my online communities for families to show their "classrooms" for ideas. As promised, here are a few shots of our homeschool room!
The "work area" Both kids have a student desk, and I use an old table.

Our electronic white board. You can rotate 5 different screens!

Here's another white board with prepositions written on it, a collection of posters, and the book case holding 1st grade books.

My work space. I have all my teaching aids organized by subject here, plus my planner and portfolios for the children.

Ok, I don't know why this is sideways. Use your imagination (tilt your head!) It's the homeschool cabinet where I keep all of our extras, plus drying shelves for artwork!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Raising Homemakers HUGE Giveaway!!!

                                                 Raising Homemakers One Year Celebration!

Raising Homemakers is having a HUGE giveaway to celebrate their one year mark - a complete collection of Sally Clarkson books! Be sure to stop by the RH website (link above) to check out this wonderful deal.

I love this website. It is one of my favorite blogs to follow. It is very uplifting, and reaffirms what I believe is important to pass along to my daughter. I have a few of the Clarksons's books. They are such a blessing!

You can visit Sally's blog from the link to the left ----> It is "I Take Joy", another wonderful resource!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Know when to say "No"

Knowing when to say "no" is a vital lesson to learn. Too many times, we take on the weight of the world trying to be super woman. Why? I have no earthly idea. Maybe we like punishment? I know I fall victim of this all.the.time. I'm trying to do better. I pray. A LOT. I pray about what jobs I should do. I pray for God to open up opportunities for me, and until He does, I pray that I don't jump into something I shouldn't be meddling in.

Sometimes, that works....Often times, it doesn't. When it doesn't work - I pray for grace and the courage to come to the person I have promised, and let them know I just can't do it.

I hate when this costs me money. For me personally, I have said "yes" to two things I shouldn't have: coordinating a football team (being the organizer, contact person, registration back up), and taking college classes again.

The first was easy to fix. I swallowed a little pride and emailed the director. I told her I couldn't do it anymore, and I explained why. Fortunately, she is a godly lady and understands.

The second takes a little more effort. I have a big pride problem with school. I don't know why! Yes, I do. Because I'm prideful. I never earned my degree, and I somehow think this limits me or labels me something that I'm not. God has given me purpose in life, and it does NOT require any form of a degree. I have gone back and forth to school for 5 years now. It doesn't get any easier.

I thought I had learned my lesson once before, but it would appear that I hadn't. Right now, I'm signed up for 2 classes. One is going ok. The other is an accelerated class, and I just can't keep up. I need to drop it, and I know my husband will not be pleased that I wasted more of his money.

Hopefully, he'll show me grace...AND won't agree to allow me to take more classes in the future.

I have to realize that God has said "no" to me on this part of my life. I need to accept that and move on. And...I must do this JOYFULLY!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Our Homeschooling Journey...take 2

Our homeschool journey began much like many other journeys. My husband and I saw a need, we prayed, and were lead to homeschool. With much enthusiasm, we researched, bought, registered, and prepared for our school year.
                The first year ran incredibly smoothly. Sure, we had our struggles, but they were all worked out quickly. One might imagine that with such a wonderful inaugural year, our second year would be equally smooth. We were experienced! Surely, the wisdom gained would carry over to our next year.
                Unfortunately, I entered the school year with a lazy heart. I felt as though I had quickly mastered the fine nuances of homeschooling in merely a year. With all that pride swarming in me, I no longer sought God’s will for our school. I found a new curriculum that would allow my child to do her work on her own via a computer. I squealed with delight at the thought of not having to do much more than checking her progress once a day. I quickly rationalized the curricula switch and made the purchase.
                The following months were embarrassingly horrible. My daughter felt neglected and behaved extremely rebelliously. We fought constantly. Our house became a war-zone. We tried to switch back to our old curriculum, but it was too late. I was angry with God. I found it completely unfair that I had to deal with such stress and angst. Naturally, I decided to rebel. Four months into our school year, I re-enrolled my child into public school.
                Somehow, during this stormy season I convinced myself that all of this was God’s will for our family. I would pray, but I would never slow down enough to really listen to His answer. Honestly, I didn’t want to hear His answer. I had my solution, and that’s all I wanted.
                I saw my child change a lot in the next few months. She would come home angry every day, upset at her modest clothing. They made her a target for her classmates. She just wanted to fit in, but to do so would require sacrificing our family values. She stayed angry most days.
                As the year drew to a close, it was time to tour the middle school my daughter would attend. I remember arriving at the school completely confident in what we were about to experience. What I received, though, was the most disheartening, disturbing, and disorganized presentation I have ever seen. I was shaken to the core. It was then that I realized God was gripping my heart. I was on fire for homeschooling. I would not, could not stand by and allow this horrid mistake to continue metastasizing. A commitment was made that day, to my children and God. And life hasn’t been the same since.  

Returning to the nook

I stopped posting on this site for a while, focusing all my time and energy into trying to lose weight. Somewhere I lost sight on what was most important, though. I've since canceled that blog. I need a place to muse, vent, ramble, giggle, cry, etc., so I've decided to breathe life back into my *nook*.

Before I get too far into this, I just have to say, if you happen to be reading this post (or any other post on this blog), you may notice that I last wrote that we were quitting homeschooling. A lot has changed since then (obviously...a LOT of time has transpired since then). The best way I can sum up what happened is by posting a personal essay I wrote regarding that matter. I'll post that separately from this. Suffice it to say, I am still homeschooling :) Not only that, but I've recently been appointed as the director of my local homeschooling group. What an adventure!

Although I can't say that I'll be regular with posting here...I would like to say that I want to see my posts be uplifting, encouraging, but mostly - real. There may be humor involved, or frustration beyond comprehension, or even elation over the latest "rainbow moment" in my life...but mostly, there will be honesty.

If you are reading this, I hope you enjoy!