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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Five Ways to Help Your Family Memorize God’s Word

Biblememory

“I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” ~Psalm 119:11

Memorizing Scripture is something we value–
We know it is commanded.
We know how much it helps.
We know how often God calls to mind a particular passage at a much needed moment.

Here are five suggestions for helping your family memorize God’s Word (from our family to yours)…

1.)  Choose verses that are key (and sometimes less is more).
When our children were very little, we memorized foundation verses
“Foundation Verses are strategically chosen Bible verses for children preschool through age five. The pack includes short verses with picture prompts to help non-readers remember the passage.”
75 verses total.
One verse per week.
Often adding hand motions to go along with the words.
The whole family focusing on the same verse.

Foundation VersesFoundation verses 2

2.)  Which leads to– as a family, focus on the same verse or passage.
There was a time, when we had to decide, as parents, that we wanted our family to focus on one-same-verse-per-week together.
The reality was that with four children involved in multiple settings and classes, and each class asking us to help each child memorize a weekly verse, we were looking at close to 20 different verses per week that we could-should-be-helping them memorize.
And it felt overwhelming.
And we weren’t effectively memorizing any of the verses, let alone all of them.
So, we explained our decision to the various teachers/leaders and found them all to be very supportive.  It was amazing the difference it made to have one passage to focus on together as a family.
And the next year, our school decided to have one-family-verse per week instead of each teacher choosing a verse per grade.

3.) Surround your family visually with God’s Word…especially the verse you are currently working on.
We use whiteboards, frames with glass & no backing, old tile remnants or glass squares from my husband’s construction jobs, and blank business cards to help make our current verse visual.  I usually have the verse memorized by the time I’m finished writing it in all our different “spots”.

verse 2 verse1 verse3 verse4 verse6
4.) Use Music.
We still listen to the Seeds Family Worship Collection.  Often.
There is just something about putting God’s Word (or really almost anything) to music that makes it easier to remember.
And if you can’t find music to the verses you are trying to memorize, make up your own melody or use one your children are already familiar with, but switch out the words for a verse.  The melody of Edelweiss (think…Sound of Music) works well.
I maybe can’t recite all of Psalm 103, but I can still sing it to you…and when God knows I need those words, they are still deeply hidden in my heart.

5.) As a family, discuss the reasons for memorizing God’s Word.
It helps so much to understand the value of hiding God’s Word in your heart.  There are so many verses that point to how much God wants us to memorize.
We can pray and ask Him to help us!

“You shall teach them to your children,
talking of them when you are sitting in your house,
and when you are walking by the way,
and when you lie down,
and when you rise.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house
and on your gates…”
~Deuteronomy 11:19 and 20

What has helped your family commit to memorizing God’s Word?
We’d love to hear your suggestions or ideas in the comments
below…

Love,
Kara @ The Chuppies

 

Lest We Forget… (Memorial Day) & Better Mom Monday’s Link-up!

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…

Memorial day1

MMD1

MMD2

MMD3

MMD6

MMD4
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

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Favorite Devotion Books for Children

favoritedevotionals

The new year is a great time to create a plan for studying God’s Word with your children.
One way to do that is by reading through a devotional book together as a family.

And so we wanted to share a few of our favorites…

Long Story Short – Marty Machowski

“Parents know the importance of passing the gospel story on to their children, yet we live in a busy world filled with distractions…The Bible can seem like a long story for an active family to read, but when you break it down into short sections, as Marty Machowski does, family devotions are easy to do.

Long Story Short will help busy parents share with their children how every story in the Old Testament points forward to God’s story of salvation through Jesus Christ…The gospel is deep enough to keep the oldest and wisest parents learning and growing all their lives, yet simple enough to transform the heart of the first grader who has just begun to read…Long Story Short is a family devotional program designed to explain God’s plan of salvation through the Old Testament and is suitable for children from preschool through high school.”

 

The Gospel Story Bible – Marty Machowski

“Can a Bedtime Story Actually Change Your Life? It is easy to forget Jesus in the midst of frantic schedules, family squabbles, and conflicting priorities. But the truth is that he is the hero of every story, including these ordinary ones. This is why Marty Machowski puts God’s plan of salvation in Christ on continuous display in The Gospel Story Bible. The easy-to-read storybook introduces your family to many captivating people, places, and events from the Bible’s Old and New Testaments, showing how each one ultimately points to Jesus.”

 

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The Dig for Kids–  Patrick Schwenk

“The Dig is an effort to simply and systematically help you as a parent study through books of the Bible so you can help your child. Out of the experience you create, biblical principles are learned and lived. The goal, of course, is that our children will fall in love with Jesus as their Savior and grow up to follow Him with all their heart, soul, and strength.”

 

The Jesus Storybook Bible — Sally Lloyd-Jones

The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers his name. From Noah to Moses to the great King David—every story points to him. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their Story too.”

 

The Big Picture Story Bible — David Helm

“No child is too young to begin learning about the greatest love story of all—God’s love for his people, as portrayed in the Bible. David Helm and Gail Schoonmaker have together created a colorful book of Bible stories written especially for children ages 2–7. Rather than simply retelling portions of the Bible, this book presents the big picture—the unified story running through the Old and New Testaments. Simply written and beautifully illustrated, this book teaches children the Bible’s whole story so they can begin to appreciate the fulfillment of God’s promise to his people.”

 

God’s Names — Sally Michael

“A full-color guide for parents to teach early elementary children about God s character, as revealed in 26 names in the Bible. Each chapter ends with personal application and activities.”

 

Big Truths for Little Kids — Susan Hunt

“This wonderful book, with its easy-to-use story format, can help you teach the basic truths of the Christian faith to your children. They’ll learn right along with Caleb and Cassie that God’s ways are the best—and that even as kids, they can live for His glory every day.”

Get Wisdom — Ruth Younts

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom…” ~Proverbs 4:7

“Designed for parents or teachers to use with children from K-5-through Grade 4, twenty-three lessons illustrate qualities of wisdom and godliness. Each lesson is presented in a simple format with illustrations to capture the attention of the child, and supplemented at the back of the book with suggestions for teaching the lesson. Every child of God both adults and children should work hard to show these traits more and more, because we love Jesus and want to be like him. That s easier said than done, isn’t it? We struggle with sin every day, and we will fail. The lessons remind us that when we do, we will find forgiveness and the grace to continue to get wisdom at the foot of the Cross.”

Dinner Table Devotions — Nancy Guthrie

One Year of Dinner Table Devotions & Discussion Starters helps families start where they are already gathered together on a daily basis—around the dinner table. As the meal comes to a close, family members can take turns turning to the dinner-table devotion for that day, designed to be done together as a family in 10 to 15 minutes. The result is a meaningful daily discussion in which every family member can participate, drawing the whole family closer to God . . . and each other.”

 

Hero Tales — Dave & Neta Jackson

“In this beautifully illustrated treasury, Dave and Neta Jackson present the true-life stories of fifteen key Christian heroes. Each hero is profiled in a short biography and three educational yet exciting and thought-provoking anecdotes from his or her life. Ideal for family devotions, homeschooling, and more…”

 

Mighty Acts of God — Starr Meade

“Do as David did. Don’t do as Saul did. Follow this Old Testament person, but not that New Testament person. That’s what you may find in many Bible story books. In Mighty Acts of GodStarr Meade takes a new approach to teaching the Bible to elementary school aged children: she focuses not on characters in Scripture, but on God. Each of the ninety Bible stories included focus on a particular character trait or truth about God, emphasizing that God is the main character in every Bible story.”

 

God’s Mighty Acts in Salvation — Starr Meade

(ages 8 and up)

“Long before we reach adulthood, the gospel ought to be shaping our lives. Paul taught the core truths of the gospel in his letter to the Galatians, and this collection of interactive readings for preteens applies those truths in understandable ways.

Each reading begins with a key verse and then highlights one element of the gospel in everyday terms, followed by questions and activities that reinforce Paul’s teaching. Meade guides young readers to a full picture of God’s saving work, as well as a real understanding of other doctrinal concepts such as justification by faith alone, the priority of Scripture, the requirements for apostleship, and the relationship between the old and new covenants.”

God’s Mighty Acts in Creation — Starr Meade

(ages 9 and up)

“Nature reveals majestic truths about God—truths that help us know him better. God’s Mighty Acts in Creation helps children recognize those wonders, and what they tell us about their Creator.

As Starr Meade, author of Mighty Acts of God, guides young readers through the six days of creation, she points to how creation displays the wisdom and power of God…”

Wondrous Works of God — Starr Meade

“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!” ~Psalm 107:8

“We want our children to know the God we love and worship, but communicating abstract truths about God can sometimes be difficult. It’s good for us and for our children that God wants to be known. So he doesn’t simply tell us what he’s like; he shows us in the stories of the Bible.

As the sequel to Mighty Acts of God, this volume tells 90 more stories from the Bible, beginning with the account of God creating Eve and ending with the epic visions in Revelation. Each story highlights an aspect of God’s character and includes a helpful discussion guide to help the whole family see and understand the wondrous works of God!”

 

Journeys of faithfulness

 

Journeys of Faithfulness — Sarah Clarkson

“Mary and Martha. Mary, mother of Jesus. Their stories reveal how Almighty God can reach into the life of an ordinary girl and, through her love and obedience, bring His beauty and grace to bear in this world. Celebrate the sacrifice and courage that made these women the heroines they are with this collection of inspirational stories and devotions. In Journeys of Faithfulness, author Sarah Clarkson explores their paths of faith while challenging today’s young woman to reach higher and go deeper in her relationship with Jesus Christ by choosing well and staying the course in her walk with God. A wonderful gift for mothers and their daughters!”

Some of these books include verse-by-verse studies of the Bible.
Others are more of a stepping stone or spark for parent-child discussion of how life events and the stories of other Christ-followers can help each one of us love God more as we try to live our lives in a way that honors Him.

Being intentional and having a plan is the key for setting aside time to have devotions with our children.

What other favorite devotional books have you enjoyed with your family?

How does your family make it a priority to spend time in God’s Word together?

We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments…

Love,
Kara @ The Chuppies

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