Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Many homeschoolers have more than one child. And I am frequently asked, "When should I start schooling my younger children?" The answer is, NOW!

When my children were younger, I often taught the bigger kids a subject or topic and had the little ones sit in on the teaching. If you think back to when we were in school, we learned a topic, like facts about the pilgrims and as our time in school increased, we built on what we had been taught in previous years. This is the same concept. I refer to this as a one-room schoolhouse.

In a one-room schoolhouse of the past, the younger children remained in the classroom while the teacher taught math concepts, science, English, etc. and the younger children read quietly or worked on their own mathematics. This is similar to how we can teach our children all together.

For those of you who have more than two children, what ways have you found to incorporate schooling with younger children?

Remember, Homeschooling Mama, you CAN do this!!


Monday, January 25, 2016

Are You Keeping You From Achieving Your Vision?

Now that we are almost done with the first month of the new year, and we have created our vision boards, what have we accomplished? Are we moving forward and toward accomplishing our goals? Are our words aligning with the Word of God when we speak about our vision? Or are we subconsciously sabotaging those visions?

When I first began creating my vision board in 2012, I looked at some of the things on my board and thought, "Why did I put that on there? I'll never accomplish that." And you know what? I didn't! But those things that I focused on and chose to work toward, those were the things that I actually achieved!

I've mentioned the story of the man walking on the beach who simply uttered the words, "I could never imagine..." and the Lord told him he would never have that house because the man indeed couldn't imagine owning that home. Stop and think about what you've been saying about your visions. Are you trying to figure out how you can achieve it yourself? Maybe you're mentally trying to work out the finances of owning your own business or the amount of time involved to write a book or even all that you would need to do in order to go on a short term missions trip. Well, let me encourage you with this: STOP TRYING TO FIGURE IT OUT!

God gave you that dream, vision, and goal! If He gives it to you, doesn't it make sense that He would equip you to achieve it?! So, why are we still trying to do it on our own? Plus, He totally knows us. He knows if we can accomplish that goal on our own, we risk the possibility of boasting in our good works.

Next time you catch yourself saying something negative about your vision, even something like, "I can't afford that!", STOP! Replace those words with what the Lord says.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Around this time of year, public school children begin preparing for annual assessment testing. This often sparks thoughts in homeschoolers as to where their children rank in knowledge and comprehension. I want to encourage you today, mama, with some things to keep in mind when you do your annual assessment testing or evaluations.

First, children learn at different rates. This is probably one of the reasons that you chose to homeschool your children in the beginning. We want to encourage consistent learning and growth and try not to make children feel inadequate for not measuring up to state standards.
Next, most states will allow parents the option of either submitting standardized assessments or evaluations. You might consider an evaluator that will determine if your child has made a year's worth of progress in a year's worth of time as a means to know where he or she is academically.
Finally, know which ever method of evaluating your child you choose, the important thing is to praise a child for wanting to learning and for what they have learned in character, life skills, and academics.

You're doing a great job, mama! Keep pressing on toward the goal!!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Moving Toward Your Dream

Have you ever wanted to do something so bad you dream about it at night when you're sleeping? Have you thought about maybe pursuing a new hobby or adventure and you dream that you did it? What about wondering if you can do something and you have a dream that you're actually doing that thing? I believe that when we have those kinds of dreams, it is the Lord preparing us for when we actually get to do them in real life.

Have you ever had a déjà vu  moment where you feel like something you're doing right this very minute, you've done at some point in the past? That's the Lord! He prepared you, likely in a dream state, for doing that thing so that when you actually do it, it doesn't scare you and it feels as though you've done it before...because you have in your dreams!

I want to encourage your to write those dreams down when you have them. See how they relate to the things on your vision board. Later on, you can go back and see when God allowed you to see yourself doing that thing before you did it in real life. 


Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday 'Fess Up

My confession today is that I have a difficult time saying 'no' when asked to take on certain, or even more, responsibilities. There is a need at church, so I say 'yes'. There is a need at the youth organization I work with, so I say 'yes'. There is a friend in need, so I say 'yes'. There is a need at my kids' supplemental school, so I say 'yes'. But saying 'yes' as often as I do leaves me feeling stretched and my energy levels zapped. Can anyone else relate to that?

So, how do we stop the cycle of seeing a need and almost instinctively saying 'yes'? Tricia Goyer addressed this very thing in the book, "Lead Your Family Like Jesus." Tricia says that the first thing we must do as moms is to create a sort of mission and vision statement for not only our families but for ourselves as well. What do I mean by mission and vision statement? Statements that define what it is we want to do in our daily lives. To begin, first consider your mission and vision in general. Remember when we created our vision boards? Look at the items you placed on that. If there is a need, ask yourself if it aligns with any of the things on your vision board. If it doesn't, it may be a distraction that will keep you from achieving your overall goals. You have to say 'no'

I have wondered why I have such a difficult time telling others 'no', and I think it is because I don't like to let people down. But it's interesting to think that I don't mind letting myself down when it comes to putting obstacles in the way of accomplishing my own goals and specifically, the things that God has called me to do. Have you done that before?

Today, give yourself permission to say 'no'. Give yourself permission to put your mission and vision first. And give yourself permission to continue following the dreams the Lord put inside you!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Over the past 20 years, I have noticed a trend with homeschoolers. They tend to stress academic success and achievements, but forget about incorporating life skills, lifelong learning and character building into their daily routines.

Recently, a new family decided to bring all their children home from public school education. The older son struggled with academics while in school, so I advised them to focus on child-led learning to jump start his desire to learn since that had lay dormant for several years. He began to thrive in this new environment and found ways to learn about the things he was interested in through watching YouTube videos, researching his interest on Google, and finding books at the local library. He was learning how to be a learner!

Of course we all want our children to be intelligent, capable beings. But let's also remember that they way to become intelligent and desire knowledge is to have a passion for learning, and that is one of the best reasons to homeschool our children!


Monday, January 11, 2016

Opportunities: Moving Toward Your Vision

One of the things I often hear women say about their vision is they aren't sure how or where to start when it comes to accomplishing their visions. I can't tell you to do this, this, and this and your vision will be completed. I can't tell you how to do whatever it is your vision is either. What I can tell you is that if you look at your vision board every day, and if you wonder if you should accept certain opportunities, ask yourself if those opportunities align with those things on your vision board.

What I mean is, you have to ask yourself if those opportunities will move you toward your goal or away from it. If a certain situation doesn't have anything to do with your vision, you might have to decline the opportunity. On the other hand, if there is an opportunity to say increase your income by doing odd jobs or taking a position at a job that will move you toward completing and accomplishing your goal, then that might have to be a "yes"! 

Ask yourself these questions when opportunities arise:

Answering these questions will help you stay focused on the end goal of completing and accomplishing your vision. We have many opportunities in our daily lives. There are things we like to do, maybe even really enjoy doing. But if those things aren't part of our vision, they could distract us and sidetrack us from completing our vision.

I'm not saying you can't have hobbies and things you enjoy doing. I enjoy making candles, soaps, and jewelry. But those aren't part of my vision. I do them as I have time. I want to encourage you to focus on the opportunities that will position you to accomplish your goals and vision! Every step toward your vision is a step closer to completing it!


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

My friend recently shared this homeschooling tip for other mothers:

Homeschooling Tip #2: There is no such thing as “behind” in homeschooling. The worst thing you can do is to push your children through a curriculum just to get it done. The main educational goal in homeschooling is to help your children grow to LOVE LEARNING. This will serve them well in life. Pushing your children to finish assignments established up by well-intentioned curriculum writers can squash the love of learning not only now but in the future too.

Are you finding yourself behind in the books you use with your children? Maybe you use an online curriculum and the pace is too hurried for your child so you've gotten "behind." May this tip encourage you today as we strive to help teach our children to become lifelong learners! 


Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!

This is one of my favorite times of the year--the first week of a new year! New dreams, goals, visions, and achievements await and all we have to do is imagine. One of the first things I do in the New Year is to choose my "One Word" to help keep me focused on the things the Lord has for me this year.

This year the Lord has impressed on me to just be myself, just be "me"! I am not one person in this group, another type of person in another social setting, and still another at church. I don't try to emulate other people or act like others. I simply am me.

So this year, the word I chose as my "One Word" is: GENUINE. The what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of gal. I have dreams, goals, and ambitions that I want to accomplish, but I don't want any of it if it's not part of God's plan and will for my life. I thrive on achievement. I often say that I am goal-oriented and awards-motivated! If it's shiny and blingy and I get a prize, I want it. But again, I don't want it if that isn't what God has for me.

This year as you think about what you want to accomplish and achieve, I encourage you to choose a word to help you focus on your dreams, goals, and vision for the New Year.
If you don't know where to start or can't think of a word, pray about it. Ask God to show you where and what He wants you to focus on this year. It can be almost any word that reminds you where you're going and what you're aiming to do this year.

If you do choose your "One Word," please share it with us!