Why I’m Glad I Was Homeschooled

stories made it possible

The smell of ancient paper still makes me want to sob, the way spines line up like soldiers on the wooden shelves of small-town libraries. I know they would defend me if they could, those armies of words.

I grew up in second-hand clothes and mushroom-cuts and plastic glasses. I grew up homeschooled until the age of 9, with my nose in books, stories of Pippi Longstocking and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Anne of Green Gables. Books whose characters were as real to me as every-day, as the few friends I made the houses between, for we moved fast and far, my father a pastor and so, I clung to these characters and they, to me. I could count on them to be there, when nothing else was. We became a family of sorts.

And Mum, she taught me the Queen’s language. A language lost to this texting generation. She taught me when to use “which” and when to use “that”; she saluted the apostrophe and shuddered when it was put in the wrong place. She set every word reverently in its place, in a sentence, and taught me the feel of a pen between my fingers.

I learned the art of penmanship, but not only that—I learned what it means to know a language inside and out, backwards and front, and to hold it in awe.

Throughout high school Mum pulled me out of the English classes and taught me herself because she knew what I did not: that with the age of computers we’d lose the craft of a noble speech. We’d add slang and acronyms would become actual words and kids would trade the romance of a hand-written letter for the convenience of a text message.

my goal since those days

Not only did Anne and Pippi and Laura befriend me; they paved the way smooth for an awkward girl. They made it possible for me to believe on days when my heart seemed to stop working. On days when I yelled at my parents and slammed doors and slipped dark into anorexia, on those kinds of days, only the story could reach me. Only the story could save me.

It pulls you deep, this literature, deeper than any technology could. It introduces culture, countries, religion and history and it whets the soul for learning. The story creates sympathy for a world full of characters, and provides boundaries for good and evil. It sheds light on people’s unspoken suffering and creates a longing for justice, for truth.

I will never understand the intrigue of a book-less library, of the e-book, of the Kindle, for the very charm of the silence and the old stuffed chairs lies in a library’s walls of literature. In the dog-eared page, the margin-scribbled-notes, the smell of dusty intrigue, the quiet hush of pages turning.

And my goal since those days has been to write a story that draws people in so they forget where they are, so they too befriend the people they are reading about, so they too, don’t have to be lonely, anymore.

 

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Friends? I’ve written a story (a memoir) and it’s releasing next month.

It’s called Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (www.atlasgirlbook.com)—and all proceeds are going towards a non-profit which TBM contributor Joy Forney and I have founded in the slums of Uganda: The Lulu Tree ~ “Preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers.”

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Pre-order your copy of Atlas Girl HERE and receive a FREE e-book on How to Write Inspirational Memoir!

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This post is a part of our “Who We Are” Series. For all posts visit,

“Who We Are: The Stories Behind TBM Writers”

Who We Are at The Better Mom

Six Things I’d Say About Homeschooling

 Six Things I'd Say

I will never homeschool.

I should have known better than to ever make a big statement like that. It seems like whenever I do, it nearly always comes back at me. You’d think I would have learned my lesson.

It’s not that I was against homeschooling, mind you. It’s just that, well, how can I put this…?

I didn’t think I was the homeschooling “type”.  Whatever that means.

But wouldn’t you know it, the Lord kept putting it on my heart and in my path, until I finally gave in. Reluctantly. I guess I’ll try this thing out for a while.

I mean, how hard can it be to homeschool a five-year-old?

In some ways, harder than I thought.  But funner (is that considered a real word yet?) than I expected too.

From there we kept going. One year at a time. One child, then two. Then eight.

Alright, so we didn’t really jump to eight – it only felt that way at times.

Homeschooling the Boys

Now our five-year-old is a sophomore in college. Oh, except he’s not five anymore, he’s 19.  He’s thriving at school, works hard, and, above all, loves the Lord.  And, yes, he was homeschooled.

So for those of you who are like me and wondering – or doubting – if you’re the homeschooling type? Here’s what I’d say it takes:

Time.   But less than you might think. We “formally” school a few hours in the morning. On the good days. The rest of the time we enjoy working, learning and playing together. I’d say more happens in our “off” hours than our sit-down ones.

Relationship.   This is what “sold” me on homeschooling. The chance to love and disciple our children all day long. Not always easy, but the investment has been invaluable. I’m grateful for all the relationship-building hours we have together.

Discipline.   And, no, I’m not talking about the kids here. I’m talking about my own. Organizing our kids’ education has been a terrific challenge in my life. Making myself do things even when I didn’t feel like it has been good for me. (Yes, that was a confession).

Grace.   So I’ve learned some discipline. And I’ve learned grace. My older children even complain a little about it. They say I was way more uptight with them than I am with the younger ones. Truly? That’s a good sign. That means that grace is gaining ground around here. Like hearing that!

Prayer. Um…you wouldn’t be put off if I told you that homeschooling has had a powerful impact on my prayer life, would you? I’ve had to pray about curriculum, classes, squabbles, and schedules. Prayed for wisdom, mercy, patience (!), and spiritual insight. I’d become a downright Prayer Warrior by the time our eldest was filling out college applications.

Growth. I love watching our kids grow. I love seeing the people they’re becoming and the work God is doing in their lives. I love seeing them grow strong – not just on the outside, but on the inside too.  I also love being able to grow and learn right alongside them.

So it would seem that I might be the homeschooling type after all. Our kids are learning. Their mom is learning – and about way more than just homeschooling.

Like, never say never, for instance.

Because I’ll be homeschooling again this year.

Wondering about homeschooling? Doubting? Go ahead and ask your questions and I’ll do my best to answer!

Or have a similar story to mine? I’d love to hear it!

In His grace,

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Memorial Day With Your Family

Lest We Forget

For several years now,
we’ve visited Willamette National Cemetery
on Memorial Day weekend.

Our two oldest children are currently working on a  WWII project for their class and it is a reminder of how many have sacrificed their lives in service to our country and for the cause of freedom.
Every year, my husband finds stories of specific men and women who have served our country with honor.

If you are interested in sharing this experience with your family, just visit this list of national cemeteries and click on your state.  Once you find your state, choose a cemetery and under it, there should be a list for notable persons with a list of the names of Medal of Honor Recipients.

Every year we are impacted by the fields and fields of flags that stand for lives given in sacrifice for our county.
And every year, it is good for our children…and for us…to realize that each flag represents an actual life–-
A father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter.

These photos speak more than any words I could write.
Let’s just take a moment to give thanks for the brave men and women who have served with such courage…

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How does your family remember on Memorial Day?

Who does your family remember on Memorial Day?

Thanks for taking a moment to pause with us…and give thanks.

Love,

Kara @The Chuppies



Jordan River Remembering

I’m adding new rocks to our Jordan River Stones today…

Is that why the Israelites keep recounting their past–
to trust God for their future?
Remembering is an act of thanksgiving,
this turn of the heart over time’s shoulder to see
all the long way His arms have carried.

~Ann Voskamp

This is not a new idea… (it’s actually quite old).

Nor is it my idea… (it’s actually one that God thought up).

But we’ve piled up “Jordan River Stones” for many years now.

The idea comes from Joshua 4 where God told the Israelites to:

“Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone…that this may be a sign among you.  When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord…so these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever…so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
~Joshua 4: 5,6,7&24

So whenever something happens that reminds us of God’s love or provision or power, we write it down on a stone to help us remember to– not forget.

Because it’s so easy to forget–
His goodness.
His faithfulness.
His power.
His love.

And the kiddos do ask–  “What do those stones mean to you?”

Some rocks remind of big things–  healing, financial provision, a new birth…

Some seem small– like the time our Laura prayed we would find an American Girl doll at a garage sale.  Even after I made several, faithless attempts to fill her with doubt.  God answered her prayer that day because He knew it would show her 7-year-old-heart something special about who He is and His love for her.

I see that rock and remember our young daughter dumping her small bag of change into the lady’s money box and I think, “His lovingkindness is great toward us…” ~Psalm 117:2.

I look back over these rocks of rememberance as I add a new one today…

 

…praising Him for the way He gives us concrete evidence of His love.

I want to remember.

“But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is (His) faithfulness.”
~Lam. 3:21

 

 

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