Archive | February 2013

Homeschool Myths VS. Homeschool Realities

imagesCATPQ7KD

We had our monthly homeschool meeting last night and this month instead of our children making presentations on topics, the parents were asked to present helpful tips and things they had learned through homeschooling. Well, soon as I heard what the topic was going to be I decided I would NOT be making a presentation. My reason,was that this has been an awful school year for me/us and frankly I do not feel like I’m in any position to share much of anything! Espcially when you consider that our church is full of some very seasoned, gifted homeschool parents. What could I possibly say to help any of them? But then Tracy (who was heading up this month’s meeting) called and said, “So what are you presenting?” I told her nothing and explained why. And then she flipped my reasoning on me (much like her father, my pastor of 25 years, often does). “Well, then you should share something about being discouraged.” Hmm, I had no argument for that. So I began reflecting on why this had been such a discouraging school year for me.  Lord began to shed His light on my frustration and confusion. He is always faithful to do this when we sincerely inquire. He showed me that my frustration is a result of His removing certain fantasies I had about homeschooling and replacing them with cold, hard reality. When God begins to remove our fantasies and replaces it with reality it’s called “disillusionment”- to lose your illusions. This is a very unpleasant, painful and humbling process, but very necessary if we are to ever reach a higher level of maturity and spirituality. I  know my God is faithful to lead me back out of any tough spot He has led me into so I keep getting up every day and keep homeschooling my children even though right now I don’t feel I am at the peak of anything.  I did decide to jot down and share with my homeschool group some of the fantasies or myths that God was trying to replace with reality for me right now. Please know, I in no way think ALL homeschoolers believe these silly, prideful things that I once believed. These are my own personal myths!

Myth- Homeschooling will make me a better parent than the average parent.

Reality- Somedays I’m still an awful parent.

Myth- Homeschooling will my kids better than the average kids.

Reality- Somedays my kids are still awful kids.

Myth- We will always stick to a carefully planned routine in which all of our chores, goals and lessons are accomplished everyday.

Reality- Somedays we don’t get started till noon and somedays we are still in our pajamas.

Myth- I am intelligent and capable enough to juggle homeschooling, housework, church activities, kids activities, husband’s activities, meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, my own personal fitness and my own hobbies each week.

Reality- I can usually only manage to hit three or four out of that list each week and even those are exhausting.

Myth- If I very carefully choose my curriculm and teach it right my kids will be  more intelligent and advanced than everyone else’s.

Reality- Each child learns at a different pace and in a different way. It’s not about intelligence it’s about development as a human being.

Myth- If I’m a good homeschooler my kids will love doing school everyday.

Reality- Most kids (espcially boys) do not like structured, indoor activities of anykind. This is the nature of children not a reflection on me as a homeschooler.

Myth- If I homechool my children will have better relationships with each other than the average siblings.

Reality- Some days I am certain my children are going to murder each other and there will be a cheap tv movie made about us called “Homeschool Horrors in Georgia.”

Myth- We will spend the chilly, rainy, winter months doing fun crafts, working ahead in our lessons, drinking hot cocoa and reading children’s classics aloud.

Reality- The months of Nov-Mar are very depressing to me. I can barely mope my way through half a days lessons before I’m ready to call it quits and make everyone take a nap.

Myth- If you are very organized, and run a well disciplined home, and buy just the right books, and do everything just perfect homeschooling will be a breeze!

Reality- Homeschooling is hard no matter what! Most of the rewards will not be realized until years down the road, and even then some of our children will not appreciate what we’ve done for them. Some of our children may even resent us for choosing this lifestyle for them. But we must hope that they will see the value in what we’ve given them and what we’ve spared them from. We must hope, because without hope we will be “of all  men most miserable.”

The only thing I am certain about in homeschooling right now, is this: IT IS THE PERFECT WILL GOD FOR ME TO BE DOING THIS FOR MY CHILDREN RIGHT NOW! Even in my stumbling, imperfect way I am in the will of God and there is much joy to be had in that!

Advertisements

Homeschool Blessing Boomerang

imagesLuke 6:38

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again

I began my homeschool journey about five years ago with my oldest son Ethan. I was nervous, excited, and felt completely inadequate for such a huge job. A few days before I was to begin “school” a lovely lady in our church, named Angel, who had been homeschooling for years came up to me with a huge purple basket filled with goodies. “Here,” she said, “this is for you and Ethan. You’re going to do just fine.” The basket was filled with crayons, workbooks, snacks, and some candles and chocolates for me. I felt so encouraged and ready to start. I was reminded of this act of kindess a few weeks ago when another mother in our church shared with me that she was about to start pre school with her precious three year old. She was nervous, just like me. I didn’t have time to put together a basket like Angel had made me years before, but I did have time to jot down some preschool ideas that had worked well for us, grab up some books I was no longer using and write a little note of encouragement. I passed it on to the young mother. I didn’t really think about it much after that, just that I hoped it was helpful.
Two weeks later I was having a terrible Sunday. I had been feeling very discouraged about some homeschooling problems I was having with my youngest son, and just generally feeling like “What is the point?” And honestly was glad to be headed home for my bed, when the young mom approached me in the parking lot at church. “I didn’t have time to look at the stuff you gave me till just the other day, and it really encouraged me. I’m so nervous about homeschooling, but I feel better after reading your letter. Thank you.” And she handed me a gift bag filled with goodies as a thank you. I cried the whole way home as the Lord reminded me again, “You’ll do just fine.” Sometimes trying to be a blessing to someone else comes back to bless you on a dark and dreary day.

Mulligrubs VS. Motivation

imagesCAZID70N1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Winter is often a difficult time of year for many people. I am one of those many. If there is such a thing as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) I definitely have it. I’m not going on anti-depressants for it, though, just popping a lot of vitamin C and dreaming of springtime! In the south we have a term for this sullen, yucky, pitiful, “Woe is me” attitude. We call it “the mulligrubs.” You can’t really put your finger on it, but you just feel like poop, whether it’s winter time or not. So I’m posting this to encourage myself and others that may be having “the mulligrubs”.

Mulligrubs VS. Motivation

Mulligrubs say: I can’t

Motivation says: We can with the help of Jesus

Mulligrubs say: Let’s go back to bed

Motivation says: Let’s make coffee and read our Bible before the kids wake up

Mulligrubs say: Nobody likes me

Motivation says: Let’s make a gift basket FOR someone who doesn’t like me

Mulligrubs say: I’m fat and ugly

Motivation says: Let’s exercise, take a shower, put on our makeup and eat a salad instead of a Quarter Pounder.

Mulligrubs say: Kids, will you just go watch TV and leave me alone!

Motivation says: Kids, let’s push back the furniture and play Twister!

Mulligrubs say: I don’t feel like doing homeschool with the children today.

Motivation says: Let’s keep working so we can have a nice long summer break!

Mulligrubs say: I feel like blah

Motivation says: I feel like being a blessing to someone today!

If you would like to add to the “Mulligrubs VS Motivation” list please leave a comment :o)

Jiminy Rooster

 

Read Mark 14:29-31,71-72

 

This past Christmas morning, I got up before the rest of my family, hoping to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee before the mayhem began. I tiptoed into the cold kitchen, and while my coffee was making, I tried to sneak a few last things into my children’s stockings. I always love the peace of early morning. I was pondering how much more peaceful it was this particular morning because it was Christmas when all of a sudden I was rattled to my very bones by the most grating, obnoxious sound I had ever heard. “I ran to the window and threw up the sash”, but it wasn’t Santa Claus! It was a giant, black and white speckled rooster, standing on my front porch, crowing his brains out at my front door.

Now granted I live in one of the most rural of Georgia counties, and despite my often indulged fantasies of becoming a homesteader, I was not prepared for this up close and personal country wake up call. Of course all of the children bolted out of bed at the strange noise and clamored to the window to see what it was. So much for that quiet cup of coffee!

Since Christmas our feathered friend has taken up abode in the timber farm adjacent to the back of our property. Unfortunately he makes a daily visit to my back porch every morning about eight am. I was never aware of what a horrid sound a rooster makes. It is not a sound to be ignored. As the rooster paid yet another visit this morning, I tried to imagine how Peter must have felt in Mark 4 when his own personal rooster began to crow.

The rooster of Mark 4 was a literal rooster sent to Peter to remind him that Christ had been right, he would deny the Lord. But for us the rooster of Mark 4 is a great metaphor for our conscience. The Webster’s 1828 describes conscience like this, “internal or self- knowledge or judgment of right and wrong, or the power within us that decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions.”

The conscience is a miraculous gift of God that was only bestowed on man. Of all of God’s creation, He chose to bless only man with a conscience. Like the grating of my early morning rooster, our conscience begins to grate on our awareness when we begin to contradict our sense of right. This is true to born again Christians and non- Christians. The difference in Christians is that once we are saved, the tiny flame in us that had been conscience becomes enflamed and hyper sensitive. The conscience becomes more than conscience. It has been replaced with something far more valuable, The Holy Spirit.

Although the agitating feeling of conviction is not pleasant, we must never “kick against the pricks” of the Holy Spirit. With each time that we yield to the pricking, we become more attuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit. However, if we push or ignore those nudgings we lose some of that sensitivity which can lead to greater sin in the future or a sense of apathy over our behavior.

So just like I can’t ignore my obnoxious new friend the rooster, we should never ignore our conscience, The Holy Spirit. It is a gift of God to help us become more attuned, more sensitive to the nature of God.