Sunday, January 28, 2007

Homeschool Problems

How many of these things have you said to your children:

"If you were in real school you would not be allowed to sit like that."
"If you were in real school you would not be allowed to just get up and go to the bathroom whenever you like."
"If you were in real school you would not be allowed to waste so much time."

Sound familiar? I could go on, as I'm sure could you, down my list of assumptions of what would and would not be allowed in a REAL classroom. You know, no teacher would let a child daydream through reading time. No teacher has to deal with interruptions of other siblings wanting to play. No teacher has to worry about getting the full 180 days of teaching in. Right?


I found these great articles (see links below) through the Carnival of Education. Just like the homeschool carnival except with "real" teachers. How cool to get a fly-on-the-wall perspective on what it is like on the "other side". Clearly the problems of attention spans, distractions, disobedience, disrespect and human nature are just as prevalent in the public schools as they are around my dining room table....just in greater numbers of students. I'm glad I only have 6.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I'll Take That!

For the last several years I've found myself in front of the Lord making a list of the 'callings' He's given me. I keep finding my life getting busy, and finding the fruit of my labours being kind of mediocre. So it drives me back to the drawing board, or more literally the list in my journal, to say "Lord, who have You called me to be? What roles do You say I need to fill?"

There are a couple of obvious ones: I am married, therefore I have to fill the role of wife. I have 6 children, therefore I have to fill the role of mother. I am committed to homeschooling, therefore I have to fill the role of teacher. I have parents who are still living, therefore I have to fill the role of daughter. And so on. The other less obvious roles are the ones that come to the front of my 'why am I so busy?" dillemma. Am I really called to be a worship leader? Am I really called to be of influence in small groups? Am I really called to do any number of things I enjoy?

The Lord says He will not give us more than we can handle. He also showed us that it is possible to live in such a way that you can get all your work done in 6 days so the 7th can be a day of rest. If I feel I have too much to handle, or if I find myself wanting to 'catch up' on Sundays then I have overfilled my schedule with things that are not of Him.

In the meantime, while I weed out and edit the clutter from my life I have this promise: 1 Thes. 1:24 "He who has called you is faithful and He will bring it to pass." So once I scale my life down to just the roles He's called me to, I can trust Him to bring them to pass. He will equip, He will enable, He will direct...I'll just follow and go along for the ride. I'll take that promise Lord. I will happily let You show me how to be a mom, a wife, a teacher, a daughter...and whatever else you are clearly calling me to. Bring it to pass, as only You beautifully, completely can.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quick Thought

This morning in my quiet time, I read Proverbs 18. Verse 9 is always holds a note of conviction for me.

He who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys.

Would I ever intentionally destroy my home and family? Of course not. But when I choose to be slack in my work I am doing just that. Lord, I know there is a time for work and a time for rest, but I pray that you would help me to not take advantage of that freedom. Help me to be a woman who is characterized by diligence, in my housework, in my teaching, and in my showing sacrificial love to my family.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


You may have noticed the brilliant photo on my blog. The Fuel sign is both the title and the focus of my little writings here. You get it right? Fuel for thought? Good; just making sure we were all up on our symbolism. (There you just studied language arts for the day).

When my husband first took this photograph, I intended to hang it in my kitchen "Fuel: Full Service" the sign reads. Fairly appropriate for my cookery where I do the lion's share of the cooking and serving. Alas, the photo did not fit on any of the walls in said room, so it was relocated. To the school room.

Now this is even more appropriate, I believe, as our goal as homeschool parents is to whet our childrens' appetities for knowledge and wisdom; to offer them desire for more learning; to encourage them to hunger after truth. We want them to feed on God's Word. We want them to be full of the good fuel that will sustain them, yes academically, but primarily spiritually.

So today I was considering these two rooms of my house together. The literal food of my kitchen and the brain food of my school room. And then I thought of the type of fuel I am actually giving my children on a regular basis. And then I thought about leftovers.

Let me back up a little. Last week our family had the joy and privilege of having some family from Holland over for a meal. I spent time considering their potential preferences, then I considered ease of menu preparation so that I could actually visit with them instead of fussing around in the kitchen. I considered seating arrangements so that our children were dispersed among the adults (both for their help and our enjoyment), and then I did the shopping to buy fresh ingredients for the meal. I carefully cooked and tried to artfully arrange the food so that it was not only pleasing to the palate, but to the eye as well. We went to bed on time the night before so that we were rested and ready to enjoy the company, and make the most of our time with them. We lit candles, put on some nice background music, prayed for a welcoming atmosphere in our home, and then tried to be 'our best' for them so they would leave feeling loved up and encouraged. The meal was a success, the visiting was delightful and relaxed, and memories were made that we can all be proud of.

Now to today, and to homeschooling. When it comes to curriculum choices, I spend time considering my childrens' preferences, I shop and buy what they need in terms of workbooks and supplies, and I even plan out what each day and week over the year should look like so that we are building memories that we can be proud of.

However, most days, when it comes to my energy and presence with the children, they are being served leftovers. Seriously, how often do I go to bed on time the night before so I am fresh for school in the morning? No. They are often faced with my leftover fatigue from the night before. How often do I pray that our conversation would be a blessing to all of us? No. They are often faced with my leftover frustrations and feelings of inadequacy from the day before. How often do I set the mood of our home school with grace and patience? No. They are often left feeling like they've disappointed mommy for getting stuck in math, again.

I would never consider giving leftovers to special company. So why do I settle for leftovers with my precious children in matters much more weighty? Would our company have sneered if I had heated up some leftover soup? Of course not. But that didn't feel like an option. However, somehow I am content to let my children walk to the end of some days with the sense that they are little more than an interruption to my agenda.

Lord I pray that You would soften my heart towards my children and towards homeschooling. Let me die to self and spend my first and best on my precious children. Help me to prepare for the day spiritually so that I am in a place to direct them spiritually. They are watching my example and learning infinitely more that way than from their workbooks. Help me to keep the priority on giving them not only an excellent education, but also on building an excellent relationship with them. I want to offer Fuel: Full Service. That is "high-test, open all night, smile with service or its free, wash your windows and check your oil, free car wash with a fill up, bonus points and reward miles for regular customers" full service fuel. You have not given me more than I can handle, so schooling these children with excellence and grace is not beyond You through me. Let it be. Come Lord Jesus, and let it be.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Hearing What Exactly?

For all of you who are with baited breath waiting to know what kinds of things I know are in the Word that I've heard, but am not's some of those 'small things' I should try to be faithful in for now. Oh if only they were truly small. For to read them and memorize them is quite simple. To do them is a life long process. Here are some that I trip over quite frequently. (And if my dear father-in-law is reading this: I know you and mom have likely seen and heard me wrestle with these character traits in person....lucky you! )

Phil. 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say, Rejoice!
1 Thess. 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Eph. 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
1 Tim.3:11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.
2 Tim. 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.

So as you can see, although I trust that the Lord will continue to guide and direct me and speak to me while I'm on this journey, I also know that I have enough to hear and heed in this few verses alone wihtout worrying about 'what else' I might hear today.

Thank You Lord for Your written Word; for its clarity, its applicability, and its difficult simplicity.


So my dear friend ( and I were talking the other day about hearing God speak. And I know my last entry was about this too, but I'm on a roll, so bear with me.

We were discussing the difficulty in discerning what the Father is saying on those matters that aren't specifically, obviously listed in scripture. And what about those tricky times that you are SURE you heard from the Lord, and followed that Bunny Trail in obedience only to find that either a) you heard Him wrong, or b) the trail ended at an entirely different point than you expected.

Now as it was a rather long and personal conversation, I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that at the end of it I was driven back to the Lord with questions: Lord why is it sometimes easier to hear You than at othertimes? Why do I feel confusion in this area right now? I know You mean for me to recognize Your voice, so why am I missing it?

Too bad for me the answer that came back pointed to my problem, not His (go figure). Sometimes it is so easy to look at myself and what 'I need' that I forget what God requires. How can I expect to hear the Lord speak in the 'big things' when I am not being faithful to listen in the 'small things'? What I mean is, is it really okay for me to expect a major "word from the Lord" when I am not consistently in the Word, reading it, meditating on it, praying it back to God?

People experienced in intercession will remind you to start small when you undertake praying for healing, for example. Pray for colds, before you pray for stage 4 cancer. That rings true with Christ's words in Matthew 25:21 "Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things."
There was a time in my life where I felt I was hearing more clearly from the Lord than I am now, and it was definitely a time when I was deep in the Word and prayer, and in a constant state of self examination and confession. I have wandered away from that. I am really busy, sometimes legitimately, and sometimes not. So, I 'don't have time' to meditate on God's Word. Because of that I hope for the instant gratification of a extra-sensory word. That way I don't have to do the work of reading, studying, praying....
Lord, I am convicted that my lack of hearing from You now is my wandering away from the 'small things' of study and prayer. I have not been faithful with those things, so why should I expect you to trust me with more? You, as always, have remained faithful. You are still speaking; I'm just not listening to You the way I should. Forgive me for giving up on my end of our conversation. I humbly ask that You will open the eyes of my spirit to Your written Word again. Send Your Holy Spirit to make plain to me Your truths. And soften my heart to be humble enough to hear what You want to say.

For your listening pleasure, here are two songs that apply right now, if you feel inclined to find them: Sara Groves' The Word and her Hello, Lord (check out )