Relaxing in Your Homeschooling

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I have been homeschooling my children for 11 years now!  Wow, I can’t even believe that!  I actually have a 10th grader and I’m still plugging along.   Homeschooling has brought me so much joy over the years.  It will truly be one of those things when I look back over the years of my life, where I know I will have no regrets that I did it.  The time I was able to have at home with my children has been priceless to me and I will forever be grateful for the memories it has created!

If I had to give advice to younger moms who are thinking about homeschooling or the ones in the middle of it with small children I would say. . . RELAX!    It really doesn’t have to be as near as stressful as we make it.  Your children are learning so much just doing life with you. When you see them older you are going to be amazed at the knowledge they have that didn’t even come from the curriculum that you put so much time into!

I have three children.  I would say a gifted one, special needs (dyslexia), and a creative one, and every one of them just blow me away.  I really thought my second child would never read and never count but I now have an almost 6 ft tall boy who reads on level!  It will happen!  Maybe not in the time slots that traditional school gives, but it will happen.

Isn’t that one of the reasons you chose to homeschool anyway?  So you wouldn’t feel you had to keep up with the standard system?

My fear for younger homeschool moms is that they will spend so many years worrying and stressing that they will forget to enjoy the moments. The moments you first hear a child read to you, the moment your child decides to devour a book in one sitting because they can’t get enough reading, the moment they spell every word right on their spelling list or when they write their first letters.  Don’t let those moments pass without savoring every one!

If you are struggling right now find some ways to make learning simple for a little while:  Here are some ideas:

*Writing letters- this is a great way to help children with their handwriting skills, I have them write to friends and family. You can also have them write poems or stories to grandparents and relatives; I even have my kids illustrate them.

*Read, Read, and Read some more- Reading books to your children is NOT just for your younger ones.  You create wonderful memories when you read great classics to your older children. It creates great conversations and bonding time, some of our fondest memories are reading great books together.

* Field trips- There are so many places to visit locally such as the zoo, aquarium, museums and much more.  We like to take a day trip every six weeks or so where we travel a couple of hours away to see a historic place or museum that is not in our area.  These places are so educational and it gives your kids a love of learning when they get to go somewhere fun.

Educational websites & Apps- This is a great way to bring learning into the house with the new electronic age.  They have apps for everything from multiplication tables to phonics. Some special needs children learn best this way!

Last but not least:

Kids need time to play- there is so much that can be done by just getting dirty in the sandbox, swimming in the pool, using their imagination in their play forts and being with family and friends. In our culture, every hour is structured for kids and studies show that it hasn’t made a big impact on learning, and maybe has even hurt the learning process. Kids need time to be kids; it opens their minds and gives them a love for learning.

Remember, you want to raise children who love God and will have strong integrity more than a high grade point average.  Many times we SAY that, but our actions prove differently.  Great questions to always go back to are: “Why did I start homeschooling?  Why was I so excited about it in the beginning?”  Don’t lose sight of your calling or your reasons, because if you do, you will blink and the years will be gone.  Instead enjoy every moment!!

Blessings,

Angela, Together with Family

The #ILoveYouChallenge for Moms

via Noah Friebel on flickr

via Noah Friebel on flickr

It’s so much easier to be a good mother when your kids are sleeping.

I walked into my sons’ room, to their bunk-beds piled high with blankets and Thomas the Train books, Spiderman and Little Critter stories, stuffies and flashlights, my three year old’s chubby cheeks still smelling somehow of infancy. I kissed his soft skin, pulled his blanket up to his chin, his arms splayed like he was confident in our love.

Aiden, my almost five-year-old with a splash of freckles on his nose, was deep in thoughtful dreams, his hands clutching his green bunny.

And I felt blessed standing there listening to them breathe, like angels brushing heaven with their wings.

And for a moment, I forgot about the day.

I forgot about the way I tried to rush them outside whenever I could, to get them to play away from me so I could get some seemingly very important work done. The way they asked me to watch but I was too busy, the way I sighed when they asked me questions, the way I counted down the minutes until nap-time and then until their Dad got home from work, and then until bedtime, and I spent the whole day waiting them away–only to appreciate them in their sleep.

And even though I felt grateful for them there in the dark, they couldn’t see the smile on my face. They couldn’t hear my prayers. I couldn’t pick them up and twirl them around and dance to long songs with them.

And then morning comes.

Every morning starts too early–don’t you feel this way, mothers? It always starts on our preschoolers’ terms and I wonder if this is why we spend the whole day trying to get time back to ourselves. Trying to reclaim those lost minutes in bed, trying to reclaim control over a life that consists of sweats and unwashed hair and piles of laundry.

But what if we awoke as grateful as when we went to sleep?

What if we stopped waiting away our children’s existence–stopped pushing them out the door, or into bed, or making them generally feel like they’re in the way–and started taking three seconds to change?

My friend Rachel Stafford of Hands Free Mama wrote on her blog about the #sixsecondchallenge to change someone’s world. It just takes six seconds to hold a person’s face and tell them they’re beautiful, for example.

But I believe we can change our mothering in half as long. I believe we can become grateful moms in just THREE seconds.

Do you want to FEEL like a better mother during the day? Do you want to start feeling thankful for your kids while they’re awake, and to stop feeling like they owe you something? Do the #ILoveYouChallenge.

Take THREE seconds just to breathe in, and then out, before responding–before sighing in exasperation or responding with an edge to your voice–whisper “I love you.”

You’re not just saying “I love you” to your child (even though the point isn’t for him/her to hear you, but for you to remind yourself that you love your children). You’re also saying it to yourself. You LOVE yourself enough to be a better, more grateful mother. Because deep down you don’t resent your kids for waking you early–you resent yourself for going to bed too late. You don’t wish for more time away from them; you just wish for more time in general. And finally, you’re saying “I love you” to God–you’re whispering it to Him, thanking Him for the gift of the child.

to say I love you

 

It’s this three-fold “I love you” which will transform your day from grudge to gratitude.

Soon, we’ll have it. We’ll have more time than we know what to do with, and we’ll wish for all those moments back. We’ll wish for a do-over. So let’s stop the regret now by taking a few seconds each day to whisper “I Love You.”

It will change your life–and your child’s. Forever.

 

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The Unexpected Meal {Teaching Hospitality Through Example}

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Recently, in a concerted effort to get our house sold, we decided to have the carpet replaced throughout the house. If you’ve ever had carpet installed, you know it is mayhem. Everything in the rooms of your home displaced and moved from room to room. Workers in the most intimate parts of your home…for the entire day, if you have a lot of carpet.

Ours took from morning until supper time, as we had the entire upstairs — 4 bedrooms, a loft, and 6 closets — to re-carpet. And for the entirety of our day, three men who we’ve never met, walked in and out of our closets, bedrooms, and through our front door.

Five of my young boys were home that day, and they looked on with wonder at the work being done, and the workers doing the work. These were men that didn’t dress or talk like their teachers at school or church. These were men that took breaks outside in a cloud of smoke. These were men who’s bodies were covered with images and words they don’t see on their parent’s arms and legs. These men worked hard and worked quietly, and like everyone else…had a story. And that story was now spending a day in my home.

When lunchtime came, the boys and I started hunting for what we had to eat. We landed on simple turkey and cheese wraps. My 10 year old offered to help, and while we began to make lunch, I asked him to run upstairs and get a lunch order from the men carpeting: Turkey and cheese with salsa or with mayo/mustard. I assumed they would decline and spend lunchtime away.

But, no. They all wanted turkey wraps. I listened from the kitchen, and each of them paused in surprise, and accepted.

My son ran downstairs with the most enthusiastic smile on his face. I knew what he had just discovered: The joy of hospitality. He worked diligently to compose paper plates of turkey wraps, chips and salsa, and even placed two oreos on each plate. He was delighted and proud. It wasn’t the lunch he was proud of…we’d had fancier. No, it was the delight of knowing he was about to bless some hard-working men who were in his home for the day.

One by one the men came downstairs, grabbed a plate and sat outside to eat. One by one, they came in with empty plates and thanked us for the meal. And my boy beamed.

You see, I learned that day, that our children take our cues about hospitality. Our children hear us when we say,

“We don’t have anything worth sharing,”

“That’s awkward to feed strangers,” or

“Let’s keep to our business.”

They also hear us when we say,

“Share whatever we’ve got,”

“Give with a cheerful heart,” or

“We are blessed to be a blessing.”

They value what we value and get excited about what we think is worthy. Let Christ be our true treasure; for when his is worthy, any and all who he brings to us become souls…of value.

Blessings,

Ruth

www.gracelaced.com

Praying for Your Children On Purpose

I’ve gone through seasons of being incredibly intentional about praying for my children — notice I said seasons. I admit, I’ve not been faithful in prayer, as I wish would have when I look back on the fifteen years of parenting that have already passed.

Praying for Your Children

There was this one year that I prayed for each child on a different day of the week. And another year in which I participated in a Moms in Prayer group — and oh my, we saw the Lord move on behalf of our children in amazing ways! But for the most part, my prayers for my children have amounted to something like this. . .

Oh God, be with them. Keep them safe. Help them to be wise. May they love you fully. And may they want to know you personally and make you known.

While this prayer may seem fine, it sort of feels like the cliff notes version of a larger book that should be read in order to get the full appreciation of the content. It’s not all that I can do as a praying mother. And I want that to change.

Lamentations 2:19

Arise, cry out in the night,
    as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
    in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
    for the lives of your children . . .

Although I have journals scribbled full with pleas and petitions to the Lord, there aren’t enough of those pages filled up with prayers for my children. I think I’ve pushed praying for my children aside because their needs feel so easily met by me at the moment. In light of other circumstances we’ve faced, like family tentions, life-changing decisions, and health crises too many to count, my children are doing just fine. Fine is fine. But for how long?

Their lives will only get more “un-fine” as they grow up, which is why they need their momma praying for them on purpose . . . now. {click to tweet}

So as I turn to face the next decade of being a mother, I want to invest my time in bringing more than passing pleas to the Lord. I want to pause long enough to reflect on their needs and pray for them the way I’d want to be prayed for by others.

I want to give to the Lord what I see in their personalities that need His touch.

I want to talk to God about the struggles they face and the fears they feel.

I want to hand over to their Maker my concerns about their relationships.

I want to yield to the Lord His plans for their lives and get out of the way of the story He is writing.

These desires to pray diligently for my children may be lofty, but I think they reflect the heart of God.

 A longing to pray for our children comes from the Spirit’s conviction and most certainly will face the enemies opposition.

So how can we move forward with a plan to pray for our children that won’t be stumped by fleshy distractions? It think it looks like this:

  1. We need to start with prayer, asking God for His strength to move in this direction.
  2. We need to ask for someone to hold us accountable — someone who shares the passion and will be willing to ask us weekly, “So how did you do in praying for your children this week?”
  3. And we need a simple plan for how to pray, like this resource you can download from moretobe.com, so that we can be intentional.

What do you think, momma?

Will this be the moment in which you decide that you’ll pray for your children on purpose?  Will you embrace the fresh start, here at the beginning of a school year, and set a goal of sticking with it for more than a month?

I hope so. And I’m willing to ask you to hold me accountable, too. I want the next decade of my mothering to be marked by a commitment to pray for my children. Let’s do this together.

Shine Bright & More Beautiful,

Elisa

moretobe.com & elisapulliam.com

 {Don’t forget to grab the “Praying on Purpose for Your Children” download available at More to Be!}

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