Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Homeschooling, at times, can seem like a solitary, isolated journey. But it certainly doesn't have to! Sure, we have our own set school times that maybe don't align with those of our friends. Yeah, we want to hang out with fellow homeschooling moms. So how do we go about meshing the two? Like this:

  • Set playdates with other families
  • Have get togethers that are masked as field trips to the local zoo or museum (School and fellowship in one!)
  • Join a Facebook group for homeschoolers that has Park Days listed
  • Join a homeschool group that meets regularly and set aside time to attend meetings
  • Research your state's homeschool group for a list of activities with other homeschoolers
  • Start your own gathering time for homeschoolers you know

Before you know it, you will begin your journey toward refreshing yourself for homeschooling and you will prevent that isolation feeling!

What ideas do you have for avoiding isolation in homeschooling?


Monday, July 27, 2015

What is Occupying All of Your Time?

Each week it seems as though I am rushing to finish writing in my book, one of the blogs I contribute to, and my own blog. Things just seem to consume my time and I have a difficult time getting back on track. I am a list-maker, so it's not necessarily a matter of flying through the day wondering if I'm forgetting to do something. I check things off (eventually!), but it's those things that aren't on my daily list that suddenly come up and of course have to be completed...or so I view them that way.

Often have I come across a friend on Facebook requesting prayer or another friend flooding her Facebook page with really inspiring and encouraging Scriptures. I want to share those posts or comment to the friend with a prayer request that "I'm praying for you." But before I know it, I've been sucking my time needed to complete my list by being on Facebook. I don't want to do that! As a Facebook administrator, I have to throttle back my own personal Facebook time in order to complete my daily list. The problem for me is that I also want to spend "time" with my Facebook and social media friends. So who do we balance that?

Here are some ideas:

Plan your day the night before. Make a plan for when you will be online, writing, reading, meetings, visiting others, watching television, etc. Make a point of planning what your day will look like.
Start your day in the Word. The Scripture tells us that if we seek God first, everything else will fall into place. There are several online devotionals that you can subscribe to including those on the popular Bible apps. Our church implemented "One Book, One Church" to focus the whole church on reading a particular book of the Bible each month, then we are all reading the same thing and can discuss what the Lord is saying to us at our weekly home groups.
Make work hours for yourself. This is time that is dedicated to whatever your job might be in the home or in your home-based business. That time is reserved (for me as a Facebook administrator) for updating client Facebook pages, creating or scheduling posts, and running analytics for the page. It is not time to visit my own Facebook page or to reply to friends who send me a Facebook message. I know it's difficult to separate the two jobs, but it is essential if you want to learn to balance it all.
Schedule time for family and friends. We need to make sure that we are showing our friends and family that we do value them and that dedicating time in our day for them is important. The Word says that "if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another..." (1 John 1:7)
Set a goal and focus on it. All of these ideas require a degree of discipline and that is really the key to it all. Focus on your daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals and longer term goals. We've talked about our vision boards in the past (and I might revisit that for our newer readers!), so ask yourself everyday and every week, "Is what I'm doing right now, today, something that is moving me closer to a goal on my vision board?" 

These are just a few ideas to help with focusing your day and creating habits of discipline that will allow you to work more efficiently throughout your day. We can teach ourselves to make the Lord the focus of our day, occupying more and more of our daily life so that we will be positioned to use our 24 hours in the most effective way.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

In my many years of homeschooling, one thing I've heard over and over is that a lot of moms don't think they have what it takes to homeschool. Mama, if that is you, I want to encourage you that you have what YOUR children need to learn from you! 

God made each of us so very different and yet so very much alike. We want the best for our children, we want to give them every opportunity to learn about this world, and we want them to give their lives to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Our curricula may not be the same nor our school day look the same, but ultimately, God wants the best for our children and put us in the role of their moms for a reason. 

Only you can understand your children on an intimate level. Only you can see their strengths and weaknesses. Only you can teach them the way they learn best. Only you can help them grow and bloom to become the person God intended when He created your babies!

Today, I want to encourage you not to look at other homeschooling families or specifically other homeschooling mothers. Look at the talents God has gifted you with in order for you to educate your children in a way only you can do and know that your purpose is far above just being a mom and homeschooler. You were created just for your children!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Profession: More Than A Job

Valuing Your Words, Professing Who You Are

I recently spoke with some friends of mine who are struggling with knowing their callings, have a passion for one thing, but are forced to work in a different industry, and who just didn't know where to go from there.

I've talked about the power of our words. We bless the Lord with our words and we can curse ourselves just by the things we speak. I'm not talking about some sort of magic or anything like that (that is a post for another time!). I'm talking about being stuck where we are because of what we say about ourselves. We can be our harshest critics, too.

Years ago, people used to ask me what I did (assuming they were digging to see if I worked outside the home). My initial response often went something like this:

"Oh, I'm just a stay-at-home mom."
"I'm a homeschooling parent."
"I don't work outside the home."

You get the idea. I didn't really value my role as a homemaker. While that was my calling, to be a wife and mother, it wasn't my profession. I was a writer, and I still am. So why didn't I ever tell people that when they asked? I don't know the answer to that. All I know is I had a revelation that what I was saying was keeping me from reaching my goal and my passion. Many women who work outside the home are wives and mothers, but they also have professional careers, too. That's what they tell people they are and what they do. It's what they PROFESS to be!

When people ask you what you do, what do you say? Are you just a (fill in the blank)? You are what you say you are!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Have You Stopped Running the Race?

This past week I began noticing that I have been neglecting my dream of writing books. I've been letting other things creep in and steal that time I should be writing or distract me from even thinking about writing. These books aren't going to write themselves! It started me thinking about other things that I've lost sight of. What things have I let something distract me from? Who hasn't heard what I have to say about the Lord because I was off in Facebookland? 

Paul says in Philippians 3:14 "...I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus. I'm off and running and I'm not turning back. (The Message). The next first begins, "So let's keep focused on that goal..." WOW! When did I stop racing toward my goal??

Dreams, goals and visions are all part of God's plan for our lives. That thing you keep coming back to in life, like using your hands to build, sculpt, create, draw, write or being around a particular group of people like children, the elderly or teens, the desire to travel and learn about other cultures, those things are put into us, maybe even woven into our DNA by God, so that the passion for that thing would burn so deeply in us that we can't help but lean toward it and strive to do it!

The thing about a race is that even if you stop, you can start running again as long as time doesn't run out! We're still able to kick it up and take off racing to the goal!

What dreams or goals have you lost focus of? Begin to seek the Lord this week and ask Him to burn in you that desire to do that thing He put in you to do! If you aren't sure what His dreams and goals are for you, ask Him to reveal that to you. After all, He is the revealer of secrets...


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Have you considered the effect homeschooling has on your children? I'm not talking academically necessarily, but have you taken inventory of what your children are learning and receiving by your loving gesture of educating them? Here's some food for thought if you're feeling like your children aren't learning like they should be.

Homeschooled children learn by example how to pray, They learn to start the day by devoting time to God. They are taught when there is a family crisis or situation to pray first. They are learning how to interact with and respect others no matter what age. They learn to quietly entertain themselves as mother has coffee with a friend. The children learn to work as a team to complete household tasks. They learn to love others unconditionally. They learn to help a brother or sister so mama can nurse the baby. They learn compassion and often mimic mama's words and gestures when a brother or sister is upset or not feeling well. They learn responsibility as they tend to their own household chores. They learn to put God first. They learn to not be afraid or ashamed to talk about Jesus.

The list can go on and on, and it certainly is by no means inferring that only homeschooled children learn these things! Specifically referring to homeschooled children and the parents who perhaps feel as though "my kid didn't do any school today and we got behind," I want to encourage you that even if school doesn't look like the public schools or doesn't involve one of the four basic academic areas, your children are learning life and spiritual skills that will take them far in life! Learn to look beyond academics for learning and see what your children are really capable of in their young lives...


Monday, July 6, 2015

One Word Check Up

For those of you who are new to this blog, every year I choose a word to help focus and direct my year. In previous years I've chosen the words IMAGINE and INTENTIONAL. This year, I chose the word PURSUE.
 This word, pursue, is intended to keep me focused on pursuing my relationship with Jesus first. It says in the Scripture: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need (Matthew 6:33, NLT). Pursuing the Lord for me has been more like a road trip. I'll be pursuing Him and going along, then a distraction comes and I'm off in some little out of the way store looking at clothes or a sculpture (figuratively speaking, of course!) losing sight of the fact that I had only a short while before been in pursuit! Oh,I read a daily devotion. But that's more like a commute to work than a pursuit, do you know what I mean? (I hope these examples are some you can relate to!)

In addition to me choosing "One Word" for the year, I also ask my readers to do that. Some have written me and have chosen words like: 

In this One Word check-up, I'd like to know what word you chose for the year. How are you doing with staying focused? If you haven't chosen a word for the year yet, it's not too late!! Do it today, prayerfully, and see what God has in store for you this year!


Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday 'Fess Up

This week's 'Fess Up has to do with the events over the past week or so that have forever changed our country. My confession is that, while some events angered me and others broke my heart for the needless act that took place, I held my tongue. That might not seem like much of a confession for some of you, but for me, I'm usually up for a good, hearty debate! 

But that wasn't what was needed in any of the cases of the week. What was needed was a battle in the spiritual realm, spiritual warfare. This week, I prayed more than I opened mouth and touted others for how wrong their views were. This week, I lifted up those who were lost, hurting, looking for something to complete them. This week, I opened the door for the Lord to act on His Word. This week, I prayed and didn't argue or debate those who had differing views than mine. I gave it to God. All my frustration, disappointment, sorrow, and grief I lay at His feet. 

God is in control, and no matter what the situation, He works all things together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose! Nothing that has happened or will happen has taken Him by surprise. Have faith that He who began a good work in you will see it to completion, no matter what is going on around you, in your state, the nation or the world.

Have a blessed Independence Day, my American readers!!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Many homeschoolers implement Bible time into their daily school routines. For those of us with older children, we have several options. We can have the child read a Proverb a day (there ARE 31 so it covers a full month!), we can point them to the topics of the message at church on Sunday or they can read a teen devotional. But for those with younger children who are not yet readers or are early readers what can we do?

The answer is surprisingly simple: We read a children's Bible together! You can even download a Bible App for Kids ( and read on a level the children will understand. Don't worry if the stories don't include all the details. This, like any educational process, is a stepping stone to build on later while  bringing the realness of God to your kids.

In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 we find the foundation for teaching our children about God and the Bible:

If you aren't sure how to begin homeschooling, start with Bible time. Putting the Word in the hearts of our children is an invaluable education they will only learn from you at this point in their lives. And by starting your day reading the Scripture, you set the tone for the rest of your day! What a great example that is to our children!