Tag Archives: raising kids

Homeschooling Forever?

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Has our homeschooling journey been that long?  No, not really, but it sure has seemed that way some days.  Way back in 1997 when our daughter was a baby, we decided to homeschool our oldest.  We really didn’t know much about the process aside from what I’d read in a handful of library books.  There were two homeschooling families at our church and I picked their brains for what worked for them.  It still was a walk in the dark and every step was preceded by much prayer, thought and hard work.

We have had many days it truly felt like we were stumbling around in the dark, stubbing our toes on the furniture.  Other days were filled with euphoric moments of triumph when new concepts were mastered!  I think most homeschoolers would agree that their experiences has been a combined mixture of both.

Where are we now?

Our older son was in fifth grade when we began this journey and he graduated in 2006.  Ten years ago?  How can that be?  Time truly flies, folks!

Our daughter wanted to do school like her big brother so she began kindergarten at age four. She’s always been very curious and precocious and we felt she was ready.  She graduated in May 2015.

Our younger son is currently finishing up 10th grade and will begin 11th grade in the fall.  He’s almost 6′ tall and we have a lot of fun learning together.  We use the Abeka video program, which I absolutely love!  All of the video teachers have a wealth of knowledge and experience, which make it worth every penny.  We use a separate curriculum for math, though.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling – you can tailor it to your child’s needs depending on their strengths and weaknesses.

I always say, “One of these days I’m going to graduate!”  🙂  The truth is, I’ve been in nearly every grade four times (once myself way back when and then once for each of the 3 kids).

We’ve had many bumps in the road along the way.  We’ve moved quite a bit over the years, which always throws a wrench into schooling preparation and plans.  Also, I just had surgery.  It’s times like these I’m very thankful for the Abeka video program and the fact that my son is older and can work independently for the most part.  We do work pretty closely with math, however.

Life is always full of interruptions and that is why we have always appreciated the immense flexibility of homeschooling.  For instance, we are not bound by school schedules that prevent us from taking a family vacation if desired.  There are so many opportunities my children would never have had if it weren’t for a home based education.

Has it been easy?  A resounding NO!  But then, nothing worthwhile in life ever is.

Has it been fun?  Yes.  We’ve had many laughs … mixed with tears sometimes.  Mixed with worry that our children aren’t learning enough…or fast enough…or on par with their public school peers… It’s times like these, our kids do something really amazing or we have lengthy conversations that allay all my fears that they will, in fact, turn out just fine.

Has it been worth it?  Every minute.  Every ounce of energy.  Only eternity will tell, but I know that in my heart of hearts, I’ve given it my all.

{Side note:  My 18 year old daughter & I had a conversation about the stresses of raising kids, family size, etc.  I shared how important extended family can be, especially relieving strain when the children are small.  Our conversation went on and she said, “Mom, I have many fond memories of you doing crafts with us and always making things fun.  You’ve done a great job.”}

Well, I guess I should frame this, not that she hasn’t said similar things before, because she has.  She’s always so sweet and affirming.  But, because sometimes those “Mommy fears” rear their ugly head and needle away at any confidence I may have had.

Moms have such a full and far reaching job on their hands, raising a family, taking care of the house, their husband, and whatever involvement they may have in church or the community!  Goodness, we need to give ourselves a break!

You’re doing GREAT, Moms!!

Frame this!  “You’re doing GREAT!”  You really are.

If your hearts’ desire is to be the best Mom possible, I’m confident that you are, in fact, doing just that.  We need to give ourselves grace.  And don’t worry so much!  We worry because we love deeply but really we should transfer that worry into a prayer and leave it there.  I’m preaching to the choir now.

It’s hard to imagine life beyond homeschooling but in May 2018, our youngest will graduate.  And then a new chapter of my life will begin.  But this one has been an exceptional run and one that has been rich, meaningful and a real time of planting seeds into our children.  For that, I am ever grateful.

And to those who are just starting out on this homeschooling journey or are midway through – Hang in there!  Enjoy every step of the way.  Do those crazy art projects and science experiments.  Go on those educational field trips and family vacations.  Find beauty and learning opportunities everywhere!  Enjoy your kids, moms.  Those formative years only last so long and then they’ll be taller than you (like all my kids are now!).

I saw this quote many years ago:

“A parent’s true role is to work themselves out of a job.”

Our job is to raise the next generation to be moral, independent, critical thinkers.  If we have done that, our work is done.

Of course, as a Christian Mom, I have prayed for my children since they were in my womb and I will always intercede for them until I draw my last breath.  I love them so.  So, even when our children are out on their own making their way in this world, our role as intercessors never ends.

Do you homeschool?  How would you sum up your journey so far?  Have any of yours graduated?

 

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Raising a Peculiar People

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

                                                                                                                                                               ~ I Peter 2:9

One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that it provides more opportunity for character development.  Not only that, but, it affords a platform for independent thinking.  As Christians, we are instructed in Scripture to teach our children the Word of God and to discuss it often.

 “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.”

                                                                                                                                        ~ Deuteronomy 6:7

One of the most important character traits we, as parents, can convey is integrity.  What happened to the days when one’s word was his bond?  When people followed through with what they promised?  I always tell my kids to be “a finisher”, not a quitter.  We finish projects or duties; we do not do a half way job.  If we start unloading the dishwasher, we finish it.  If we remove the trash liner from the kitchen trash can, we take it all the way to the outdoor trash can.  We don’t leave it in the garage.  We follow through.

My daughter has a part time job now, so she is in the process of learning all sorts of life lessons.  We had to establish a checking account for her, so she’s learned how to write checks and balance a checkbook.  The most difficult lesson she has had to learn is time management.   She’s had to learn the importance of being on time to work, and also balancing work and school.  I think she’s making great strides and I’m proud of her commitment level thus far.

She encounters all sorts of people at her job, which leads to interesting conversation when she gets home and shares it with me.  If we hadn’t spent the last 16 years instructing her in the ways of the Lord and developing her character, she would be much more susceptible to making poor choices at this stage.

We also discuss being a dependable worker, one who puts forth her best efforts.  She has seen, firsthand, co-workers who do a sloppy job and one who may, in fact, be terminated because of their slothful work ethic.  These are lessons she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.  Her boss and older co-workers love her and are her biggest advocates, which is a great blessing.  They recognize her reliability and positive attitude.

Independent and critical thinking skills are vital to thrive in this big world.  Problem solving capabilities surpass our schooling experience.  These are all highly valuable attributes our children will need as adults.  Tenacity is another often overlooked quality.  Never ever give up!  (Reminds me of the Winston Churchill quote…”Never, never, never, give up!”)

If our children are not taught to think for themselves and easily go along with what everyone else is doing, they are like the “Blind leading the blind.”  We must instill in them core Biblical values so they will have a reservoir of truth to draw on in times of decision or simply everyday life.

It is our responsibility to also teach them to dig deeper, investigate and research the “Why” of things vs. taking ideas or opinions at face value.   Be inquisitive!  Scrutinize.  For example, anyone can write a book and present their own ideas.  I often remind my kids that just because it’s in print, doesn’t make it true.  Somehow, as children, it is easy to believe that if an adult says something, it must be right or if it’s in a book, it has to be accurate.  Nothing could be further from the truth, however.  Another medium through which many lies are portrayed is television.  It’s amazing how subtle a variety of agendas are presented via cartoons and preschool programs, not to mention other venues.  This is why we must remain vigilant, as parents, as to what goes into our children’s young minds and hearts.

Input = Output

I saw this quote on a poster at a Christian bookstore once and it is so true:

“What goes into the mind, comes out in a life.”

Our job, as parents, is to work ourselves out of a job!  In other words, the goal is to raise our children to be independent adults one day.  Not only independent, but ambassadors for Christ.  If we’ve put forth the effort and hard work during their formative years, by faith and much prayer, we will be raising a royal priesthood, holy nation, a peculiar people…a people prepared for life and set apart to do awesome things in this world!

 

 

 

 

 

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Our children…Our Greatest Joys

We have been blessed by God with three children, ages 25, 16 and 14, and are so thankful for the joy they’ve brought into our lives.  We really couldn’t imagine life without them.

I had my oldest when I was 18 and was a single parent for 6 years.  His father wasn’t involved in his life, but I was determined to raise my son to the best of my ability.  My parents and entire family provided a great deal of support, and I am forever grateful for their love and assistance.

My husband and I met in June of 1994 and married the following June.  We were overjoyed at the birth of our only daughter 2 years later and younger son 20 months after her!  My goal was to have all our children by the age of 30.  I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea.  I suppose so I’d still be young enough to get on the floor to play with them.  🙂  I was 29 when our last was born.

Our two boys weighed over 9 pounds and our daughter was a few ounces shy of 8 pounds…big babies, but so precious!  I love the Scripture in Psalm 139:13-17 that says:

“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How great is the sum of them!”

…Every life is such a priceless gift, a tiny slice of heaven.

Yes, raising children is a parent’s greatest and most challenging endeavor.  There are seasons where you may question your entire repertoire of parenting wisdom.  There have been many days that I asked, “Where can I go to turn in my Mommy badge?”  So many questions we don’t have the answer to.  So many concerns and worries we bear.  Parenting is so complex because each child is so unique with their own set of challenges.

My greatest piece of parenting advice is to pray and “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)

I often remind God that He made these treasures we are trying to raise.  Please help!  Send an owner’s manual or something, God.  I’ve found the truest manual to be the Word of God.  It is there we find the foundation for living.  When we model before our children how they should live, we are promised in Proverbs 22:6:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

God’s Word is truth, and that’s what we hang our faith on daily.

Then, there are times in our lives that we are so proud of our children, we could burst!  So proud of their choices and their character taking shape.  These seasons make it all worth it!

Each of our children has their own distinct personality, as I’m sure yours do, as well.  Our oldest is very laid back and quiet, although can be otherwise in his vocation.  Our daughter has a very bold personality (like her dad) and likes noise.  Our younger son is like his brother, easy going and doesn’t mind hanging back and observing the situation before becoming involved in it.

All are our most valued assets, worthy of a lifetime of investment.

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