Thursday, July 26, 2007

Getting Started Homeschooling

I have talked to several of you lately who are new to homeschooling, and have shared with you all some similar things. I thought it might be helpful if I put it in writing so you could remember and if I gave you some resources as well. (I do not proclaim to be and expert, I can just tell you what has worked and hasn't for us and what I have learned along the way.)
1. Do not let yourself freak out about the first few grades. It will be ok. If you can read and do elementary math and your children respect your authority, then you can teach them. I was reading this morning and came across another of my favorite verses. "for God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7. When I read this the Lord reminded my that anxiety is fear. So, remember if you are anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, you are exactly where the enemy wants you.
2. This year do the best you can with what you have and let it be ok. Cover them in prayer and read the Word to them, read lots of good books, get a foundation in phonics and math and you are in good shape. But also spend this year asking the Lord what His vision for your home (and homeschool) is and how you can implement His vision. (This has been the single most freeing thing for me, because I realized that He does not want me to replicate school at home.)
3. Also, try to figure out what your child's/children's learning style is. I recommend doing a search for Learning Styles online. There is also a book that a lot of homeschoolers have used "The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich". Knowing how they best learn will help you better choose a homeschooling method and curriculum that caters to their learning style.
4. Learn about the different homeschooling methods. Try . There are some brief descriptions on here. Read over them and see which ones peak your interest, then do an internet search for just those things. Besides using just textbooks, three really good ones are Charlotte Mason (I am using mostly this this year), Classical method (I'm doing a little of this) and the Unit Study method (We will probably do some of this, too). I think what you will find is that very few homeschoolers will use just one method. Most of us are what are called "eclectic". For instance this year I will be using a couple of workbooks, lot's of Charlotte Mason's philosophy/method and a little Classical and unit study.
5. Learn about what Curriculum is available. The first thing I recommend is visiting and ordering a catalog. Not only do they have some of the best prices, but they also have reviews written about most of what they sell. I don't think I could do without it. Whenever I get a new one I pass my old one along to someone who is new to homeschooling. Visit . She also has a really good book called "100 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum". Visit , this site has curriculum reviews and lot's of valuable homeschooling info. Mary Pride also has a good book called "The Big Book of Home Learning". These are all really good resources and you can probably get the books at the Library. I know my library has them.
You don't have to have all of this down right now. Be patient, spend this year in prayer and research, and be peaceful. Once you feel like you know the Lord's vision for your home, you know how they learn, have found a method that you think will go along with those things, then choosing curriculum and scheduling your days will become much easier. Remember each year is better than the last. Your confidence will improve and God will give you lot's of reminders about why he has called you to do this.
I love you all. Email me or call me if you have any more questions. Or you can leave a comment at the end of this blog.
P.S. You should be able to click on the web addresses above and go to each website. I hope this helps.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Life Lessons for a Homeschool Mom

Lots to cover today.
First of all we have been having a hard time with the kids and their chores. They always do them and don't give us attitude, but the quality of their work is not good. We have decided that we really need to work with them on giving their best. So, I told them that we could go swimming today if they got all of their chores done. Well, they did them but it was not good. I decided not to let them go swimming today (which was hard because the pool is only open during the week for one more week). I also sat down and revised their job descriptions (I have these posted in each room). I put on their everything they needed to do and what the room should look like when they are done, then I added a verse to each one. Here are the verses :
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24
Our people must devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.
Titus 3:4
There may have been some better ones to use, but these where what I found. Then I sat them around the table and explained the problem that we have been having, told them what I expect of them and why and let them know what the punishment would be (today it meant no swimming, from now on it will be an added chore). All of this was a bit of a victory for me, because I usually just fuss at them and get frustrated. So, this is something I am trying to work on and I could tell this approach is going to be much more fruitful.

Next topic:
I've learned something that I think is going to make our school year much more fruitful this year. I am naturally a very unorganized person, I just don't know how to do it. So for years I've just accepted that. Well, it finally hit me that I wasn't supposed to accept it but to change it (kind of like we're not supposed to accept our sinful nature). I am beginning this school year with a lot more organization and planning (and more to do still). I have spent the day working on a schedule and a menu. I finally get that I shouldn't let the schedule control me, but guide me. I decided on a menu because I think it will make meals easier, grocery shopping easier and cheaper, and will keep the kids from eating so much junk for snack. I used to make out a supper menu, but somehow got away from that. This is a first for the Breakfast, lunch and snack menu, though, but i really think it's going to be much more helpful.
I think a lot of this organization was spurred on by a good friend giving me a Keepers at Home organizer.
Thanks, BJ!
Last topic (Kind of ties in with the previous one):
I've also decided that we need to simplify (which will make it easier to organize). We need to stay home more, plan a specific day to run errands go to the library, etc. Get rid of lots of stuff and just be more laid back in general.
I learned a couple of years ago that if I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed then I need to start praying and trying to figure out what I have placed on myself that God didn't give me to do. This has helped so much, and I am determined to have a much more organized, disciplined and simplified year. This always seemed stressful to me, but now I finally get how much freedom and peace it brings.
Thanks to those of you who have poured into me to help me learn these things (BJ and GD), I love you guys!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cheesy Chicken Recipe

This evening I was going to make chicken casserole. The one I usually make has ritz crackers on top. After I had the chicken and noodles cooking I went to get my crackers and of course the kids have eaten them all. Hence, the birth of a new recipe. Some of the ingredients were in a chicken spaghetti that my cousin made not long ago, so it's kind of a combo of the two recipes, but simplified. Here goes:
Cheesy Chicken Veggie Casserole
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. chicken, boiled, then shredded or diced
1 pkg. wide egg or no-yolk noodles
1 can cream of chicken soup (you can use 98% fat free)
8 oz. sour cream (can use light or fat free)
1 can rotel tomatoes, drained (I used mild)
2 cans mixed vegetables, drained
1/4 block velvetta cheese
8-10 slices american cheese
Prepare your chicken and put your noodles on to boil. In a seperate pot mix soup, sour cream, tomatoes, mixed vegetables and velveeta cheese. Heat until cheese is melted. When noodles are tender, drain and mix with soup and cheese mixture and place in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake on 350 for 20-30 minutes, until sauce is somewhat thickened. Place slices of cheese to cover top and put back in oven until cheese is well melted.
That's it, we didn't even add salt and pepper to ours and really didn't take me very long to put it all together. It was a big hit, and it was filling enough that we have enough leftovers for another meal.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Submission. Sometimes that is a tough word for us to swallow. I know it was for me. All I had ever seen and heard most of my life made me feel like it was not anything that i ever wanted any part of. As a matter of fact I went through about 9 1/2 years of marriage doing exactly the opposite. As far as I was concerned, no man would ever tell me what to do and I told my husband that. I tell you, it is by the grace of God that he stayed with me through all of those years.
Well, about 2 1/2 years ago, I went through a major transformation. I went to counseling and dealt with a lot of stuff, but most of all I learned how to have an authentic relationship with the Lord and I learned what submitting really means. There is no way that topic can be completely covered at once. But, I am going to share a few major things that God revealed to me and how it changed my marriage.
1) If I was not submitting to my husband then I was not fully submitting (or trusting the Lord). He called us to be submissive and he didn't give us a lists of requirements. That means it didn't matter if I didn't think that my husband was as "spiritual" as I was, or if he prayed as often as I thought he should. As if it is our responsibility to judge our husbands hearts, or that I'm actually qualified to do that. It amazes me how prideful I was. The fact is that as long as he was not asking me to sin, I was meant to submit to him.
2) God also showed me that I did not marry a man who would want to control me. That, my husband loved me and really wanted the best for me and our children. I may not always agree 100% with his decisions, but sometimes that's because I'm wrong, and other times he wants my opinion so we can make the decision together. We also need to remember that God blesses obedience, and if we are not submitting we are not being obedient.
3) I also was always griping because my husband wasn't being the Spiritual leader. Well, God very boldly told me that he wasn't the leader because there was only room for one and I was filling that role. So, when I stepped out of the way he was actually able to fulfill that role for the first time. You know, I chose every church we ever went to together. When we moved and we had to choose a new church, God showed me that I needed to step back and let my husband do it. I argued with the Lord and was sure that he wouldn't choose the right one. And, again the Lord told me that if I was obedient he would bless it. So, he chose and we are in the best church we have ever been in. All of our children have gotten saved since we've been there and we have all grown so much, have made such good friends and this is the one I would have chosen, but if I had chosen it my husband would have always had a bitter taste in his mouth about it.
4) I always was telling people how passive my husband was and the Lord revealed to me that he had to be passive to keep the peace. I made him that way!
5) The biggest one of all for me was that I needed to be in control of everything. I had been hurt so much that this was my way of protecting myself. The only problem was when you do anything in the flesh you are going to fail. So the best of my plans always managed to fail, and then I would blow up! I was driving down the road one day and the Lord not so gently reminded me that I control nothing. He controls everything. When, I was able to release control to Him and my husband, I gained more peace than I ever thought possible. You know we have had about the craziest year I could have imagined and I've been peaceful through all of it. Before, I would have been distraught and somehow a lot of it would have been my husbands fault.
None of that was an easy pill to swallow, but things were so bad I had to try something different. After all my husband had bent over backwards for me and nothing had improved. So, I knew I had to trust the Lord and His design for marriage. Wow, when I did it changed everything. It opened the door to more spiritual growth for both of us than we have had in almost 12 years of marriage, it has made our home a peaceful place to be and I truly feel like we are back within the will of God and are under his wings of love and protection.
I'm sure i'll share more on this later. I hope it helps, and if you didn't need to hear any of that let it at least serve as a reminder of how awesome our God is and how much bigger and better His plans are than our own.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


You may or may not know that I suffered from terrible anxiety for years and sometimes depression. A couple of years ago I was really about as low as I thought I could go and I sought help through a lady at our church who was about to get her certificate to do family christian counseling.
I learned so much! At the end i felt like I was seeing with new eyes and hearing with new ears. It' so hard to describe how much the Lord changed me. Sometimes I wish more people knew me back then because they would be amazed at what God can do. The anxiety and depression were destroying my marriage and my ability to be a godly mother to my children. Thank you Lord for redemption!!!!
Anyway, through a combination of many things (learning about God's character, how He feels about me, who I am in Him and He is in me, about submitting to my husband [Lots more about that later] and much, much more) my life was absolutely changed.
Well, more and more often God is placing in front of me people who are dealing with the same things. I never really feel equipped to help these people, but I know that God brought me through so much of that so I could minister to people who are dealing with the same things. Mostly I try to share my testimony, instead of telling them what they need to do differently. So please be praying that God will continue to teach me how to minister to people with these issues. Pray that my words will be His!
Oh, and if you are dealing with these things or your just curious about my testimony, please ask me I love to share how Awesome our God is!!!!
I also wanted to recommend some books that really helped me :
Who I Am in Christ by Neil Anderson
Lies Women Believe (& Walking in the Truth, the workbook) by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Battlefield of the Mind (Devotional) by Joyce Meyer (I'm sure the regular book is really good, too.)
Love Ya'll

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wooing My Children

I just had a friend over. The purpose was to talk homeschool. We are both using Math U See for the first time this year and she is trying to integrate more literature in their schooling. We talked some about building relationship with our children. Isn't it interesting that we pour all of our time and resources into our children because we love them so much, but we get so busy that we forget to get to know them. I adore my children, but I'm not sure they know that.
God has really been showing me how much work I need to do in that area. My 5 year old so graciously told me the other day that "Daddy is the funnest one". I used to be fun! What happened. I think a lot of things, busyness, strictness, homeschool, etc. Wow, did it somehow become more important to me for my children to be well behaved, than it is for me to hang out with them and love on them. Maybe it did, but it's sure not going to stay that way. Just like any other relationship we have it has to be nurtured. We need to woo our children. I need to be likeable to them and show them all my good qualities, so they will not just love me because I am their mom, but be in love with me.
Lord, teach me to know my children and make myself known to them. Help me to be real with them, so they see who I really am. Help me to be a daily example to them, not just in my words, but even more in my actions. Thank you for conviction Lord, without it these changes may have come to late. Thank you for covering my weaknesses. I love you Lord Jesus and I give all the praise, honor and glory!!!!! Amen