Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

This week we had several days of snow. I was raised in South Florida, so snow is not as fun for me as it is for my children who were all born into this state and have always enjoyed the snow. Well, this week a few of my children and I were also battling colds. Even as a homeschooler, I am here to confess that some of the nicest words I heard this week were this:


How do you feel about snow days in your area? Do you have snow days? Do you have let's just go to the beach days? What kinds of days make your school day off feel wonderful?


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Around this time every year, public schools begin preparing their teachers and students for annual testing and evaluations. I see friends who are teachers stressing over the outcomes, parents concerned their students aren't performing at grade level, and students who are either so fixated on scoring well they get sick or are totally oblivious to the magnitude of the test results on their academic careers.

Thankfully, as homeschoolers, we don't have to be subjected to some of the stresses as others may. We are in a unique position to evaluate and know where our children are academically and can customize their learning to fill in any gaps that might occur.

If you are unsure where your children stand as compared to their traditionally schooled counterparts, I recommend the book What Every (Child's grade level) Needs to Know. The grade level is based on the current grade level your child is in. You can also order the California Achievement Test from Christian Liberty Press or Bob Jones Publishers.

Finally, trust your own instincts. You know what your child knows and doesn't know and what he or she can do or needs work at. A friend of mine had her son in public school and week after week, the teacher would tell my friend that her son didn't know this or that and couldn't do these skills. She took a step of faith and pulled her son from public school. It wasn't long before it was discovered that her son had trouble with his vision and in fact he did know nearly all of the things the teacher said he didn't. You know your children!

In some states, you can have your child evaluated by a certified teacher, too. So, Homeschooling Mama, don't fall into the rut of stressing about where your child is academically. Seek out your options and also what you know your child can do!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Self-evaluation: Four Steps to an Encounter with Jesus

Do you remember the moment your realized you needed a Savior? What about the revelation of who He is? I have to be honest, I had to take a step back and evaluate those things in my life and walk with the Lord.  Have I ever been confronted face to face with Jesus? If I can't remember that, what am I lacking in my relationship with Jesus?
Self-evaluation of these things is a good thing! It reminds us of where we came from, what we know beyond our head knowledge of God, and builds up our faith to share that Jesus is our Lord and Savior with others.
Consider these four steps:

Confrontation: The realization that we are sinners and are in need of a Savior
Revelation: Knowing by divine revealing who He is
Acknowledgement: No denying His authority in our lives
Confession: Confessing our sins and need for Jesus as our Savior; sharing with others

Do you remember when each of those times occurred in your life? Ask the Lord to remind you or if they haven't yet happened, pray for each of those steps to come into your life today!

You CAN have a successful encounter with Jesus!!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

This week it seems that so many wonderful blessings have been granted to my husband and I. At one point last week, I kept asking my son whom I had flown out to meet in San Diego if I was really there! My head was swimming at the good things I was seeing. It seems that my reactions are actually normal. In Amos 9, the Word tells us about the blessings of the Lord coming so fast, our heads will swim (Amos 9:13-15, The Message). 

Have you been experiencing this, too? If you're not yet feeling like your head is swimming, don't give up! It's coming for you and it's coming for me! 


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

The year has gone great for you and your children. Or maybe it's been more of a struggle. The curriculum just isn't working, but you think that you need to press on because you bought it so you should finish it since you have come this far.
Homeschooling Mama, that is the beauty of homeschooling. If something isn't working, change it! If the curriculum is too complicated or doesn't engage your child enough or there is too much time involved in lesson plans for this curriculum, set it aside and move on to something else.
I want to encourage you with this...

If this is your first, second or third year homeschooling, and you have a child in 3rd grade or lower, simply buy the School Zone workbooks from Walmart or Target. They are based on grade level skills and will provide a strong foundation for your child. These workbooks also take no time in planning and can engage students with links on the School Zone website.
Another curriculum I used was the Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills books found at Sam's Club. These cover a full year for grade level and run $10 or less! In the beginning of your homeschooling journey, as we've talked about before, begin your days with the Word. Next, follow up with academics and finally, fill the rest of the day with character building, practical skills (like loading and unloading the dishwasher, folding clothes, sweeping the floor, etc.), and researching and investigating those things that interest your child throughout the day.
You CAN homeschool successfully, Mama!! You're doing a wonderful thing by're investing in your child's future!!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Fear: Thinking the Bottom is Going to Drop Out

Have you ever felt as though things in your life were going so very well that you knew something bad was waiting around the corner? Maybe I'm the only one. This feeling seems to wash over me about this time every year when we receive our tax refund. We plan strategically for what we will spend that money on and then it starts...the feeling that all of this is too good to be true.Well, that is fear!

First of all, God blesses us with things that we have need of as well as things to help us along in our callings. He doesn't change His mind on things, but we change our perspective on how we view things we are given. We forget that it was God who freely gave all things. We become possessive over those things, and yes, sometimes we need to be put in our place by our Father God. But the fear that things will be taken away as punishment or that good comes before evil is just silly thinking.

I had to take authority over those feelings that something bad was coming because of the good I was seeing happening in my life! God is love and He is not the one who kills, steals or destroys! Satan has that position. And you can take authority over that in your life, too.

When things are going well in your life, you may have trials because Satan does like to try to destroy the blessings the Lord had given you. Don't mistake that for the bottom dropping out! God is the author of your life and He knows the beginning from the end. It isn't over until He says it's over and it's not over until you WIN!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

This week I talked with several moms who felt as though they had fallen behind and had began to re-think their decisions to homeschool. If you're one of those moms who is feeling overwhelmed and thinking maybe you rushed into the choice to homeschool a little too quickly, let me encourage you with this: You are giving your child or children an education based on creating a desire for learning and for learning what interests them, not what some state educational board deems they should know.

So homeschooling mama, if you are beginning to question your decision to homeschool, STOP! Deuteronomy 6:6-9 tells us to keep talking with our children about the things of God. We are sowing into the lives of our children by teaching them at home. It's one of the greatest things we can do for them! And as we discussed last week, if we seek Him first in the morning, even before school, everything else will fall into place!


Monday, February 9, 2015

Are You Focused on What You Think You Can't Do?

Seeing What God Sees

This month at church we are reading the book of Mark. Last week I read about Jesus calling the disciples. Some were fishermen and other tax collectors. What I found so interesting is that the Word never says they questioned Jesus when He commanded them to follow after Him. All around the group of men others were questioning who this man (who had a following of thousands) was. 
Through the next few chapters, Jesus commanded the disciples to do things, like cast out their nets even though they had been fishing all night and caught nothing, go to this city and find a fish with a coin in its mouth, and so on. But they didn't question Him! Jesus saw things in these men who would be world changers not just in their day but for generations to come. 

That's how Jesus chooses us, too. He sees in us things we cannot see or that we cannot imagine ourselves. Our job is not to try to figure out how we could accomplish this or that or to reason our way out of why we just can't do what He's calling us to do. What God sees is the whole picture of our lives and He has planned everything out for our good to be of benefit to the Kingdom. 

When you feel the Lord calling you to do something that seems impossible or that you aren't sure makes sense, don't question Him. Instead, be a willing participant in all that He has for you!


Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

I know many young moms get overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed hearing little ones constantly calling "Mama!" But my confession this week is that I still love to hear my children call me mama. My older sons are the ones who really get me. In a day and age where it's more accepted to call your mother "mom" or even "ma," it still warms my heart in a way I can't explain to hear them utter "mama." There have been many months when they have simply called me "mom" and there's nothing wrong with that by any means. Don't misunderstand me. There is something more sweet and precious about the name "mama." It's a love-filled name and one that expresses their feelings toward me in a way "mom" just doesn't. It's a sweet, sweet sound to me. And that is just the way I interpret the words. What names do your children call you that are sweet sounds to your ears.

So when the younger children are calling for you for the one hundredth time, they're pouring chocolate syrup on the couch or just want you to hold them and they call to you with that name that melts your heart, treasure it and store up the moment knowing that they will call on you even when they are older.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement (A Day Late!)

We all have those days in our homeschooling journey where we are coasting along and everything seems to be going so well and we know deep down in our hearts that we could homeschool forever. And then it seems on the heels of some of our best days, we have such struggles that make us question why we chose to homeschool in the first place.
Dear, mom, you are doing such a good thing in the building up and educating of your children. And the reason we seem to have struggles is because much like our Christian walk, Satan is taking notice. Perhaps you had a great day of teaching Bible memory verses or touched on something that seemed to spark your child's interest in an area of his or her relationship with the Lord. Well, the enemy is watching and sees that and desperately wants to deter you, if he can.

This is the time to press in and go back to the Word and what it says about teaching your children. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says that we should make teaching our children the Word of God a daily occurrence. I might also suggest that as it says in Matthew 6:33, that if we seek Him first and His righteousness, then everything else in our day will fall into place.
So on those days when it seems as though nothing is going right with schooling, go back and turn to the Word. Read Bible stories, read the Psalms and Proverbs and turn to God for He is your shield and refuge.


Monday, February 2, 2015

What Are You Willing to Give Up?

This weekend, my husband and I had many challenges that truly tested us in our faith, responses, and trust of the Lord. What I discovered about myself was that there are areas that I have no problem trusting God and building up my faith knowing that He will meet that need for me. But there are also areas that I feel that I can't let go of or that I should try to "fix" myself. It's not that I don't want to bother God, but more that I feel like I screwed up somewhere so I should be the one to correct the issue. Isn't that how many of us feel at times or am I the only one?
I was listening to a wonderful foundational teaching by Derek Prince (Laying the Foundation on YouTube). He summed up three things that we should desire to pray over ourselves and they were all good. But that last one really got me. They are:

Pray to desire not to be esteemed
Pray to desire not to be secure
Pray to desire not to be in control

My tendencies are to control everything in my life, my kids' lives and as much of it as I can. I don't know when I got to be like that, though. I also struggle with the notion of desiring not to be secure. After all, isn't that what we all want? A secure home, job security, financial security, security in our relationships? In our church these three practices have been summed up this way:

I had to take a serious look at that and who I am and who God made me to be. He didn't MAKE me need the approval of others. Though that is one area I seem to not have issue with. He also didn't MAKE me in need of any other security than resting in Him! And finally, He didn't MAKE me the one in control in the first place. Derek Prince goes on to say that the essence of sin is a refusal to depend on God. I am willing to depend on Him, but I have to put faith and action behind my statement or it's just words.
When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I gave up the right to live my life the way I wanted to and chose instead His will for my life. And His will is what we would choose for ourselves, if we could see what He sees and if we knew what He knows about the big pictures of our lives. It's like our children...they don't have to try to make dinner as toddlers. They know we will provide that for them. They don't have to get jobs as preschoolers or elementary aged children. They know that their parents are taking care of them. Oh, that I would have that same trust and faith in the Lord!

He is the author of our stories! He knows the beginning from the end. He knows the quirky twists our lives will take and He has a planned ending for us, too. Our job, much like an actor, is to take cues from the director: stand here, say this, go there, find this, do this job.
And so with me and my struggles with wanting (not NEEDING) to be secure and to be in control go against the director's plans. I have to give that up knowing He knows best and has already created the best possible life for me if I will just give up my needs and be willing!