Monday, March 28, 2011

Joyfulness


Nehemiah 8:10 The joy of the Lord is your strength.

When I was trying to come up with a name for this new blog I wasn't sure what to choose. I wanted this blog to be encouraging to homeschoolers, especially those who were new to the adventure. One thing that has come to my mind for many years now is how full of joy I am that the Lord led us in this direction. For this I am most joyful. I cannot describe the joy that fills my heart when at the end of a hectic day, I can look back and thank the Lord for it. Not every day is a happy day and not every day is a good day. As a matter of fact some days are very bad. I've had days when I've thought, should we be doing this? Maybe my children would be learning more if they were in a private school or public school. Then it hits me, oh yes, they'd be learning more all right, but what would they be learning? After all these years I have seen the benefits of having educated my children at home. But still there are those days when doubt can creep in and I wonder, are we still doing the right thing? With the support of my husband, and the strength that only God has given me, I know that we are. At the end of each day I still look back and feel that joy that comes from doing God's will. Happiness is nothing compared with Joy! I hope you will be joyful as you homeschool too.

Psalm 20:4 May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Heart for Homemade



My daughter is a home school graduate who is striving to be a keeper at home according to Proverbs 31. She graduated last summer and has been helping me at home, baking, keeping house and sewing. She has a heart to make modest clothing for girls and woman and has started her own business. It is a new experience for her, but she is having a lot of fun studying many techniques in sewing. This has also been a wonderful opportunity to minister to young mothers. She wants to be a blessing to them by providing a line of Christ honoring dresses for their daughters and themselves. As a new business she is reaching out to the community of homeschooling moms in hopes that they would look at what she has to offer, give their input and help spread the word about her business. If you would like to take a peek at what she has available, please do. She would love it if you would stop by and leave a comment.

Springtime


Oh, there are so many wonderful things about spring. Just stepping outside on an early spring morning to tend the chickens, breathing in the spring fresh air, with the mud squishing under my rubber boots brings joy to my heart, for spring is finally here! There are so many things to teach children about spring. Who can even begin to cover it all? Do they hear the Cardinal call? It's the loudest bird call in the spring here in New Hampshire. The robins are a prominent bird in the yard as they scurry along looking for those first spring worms to appear. The Canadian Geese are returning to the neighbor's pond for their short yearly layover, until they are ready to move on to their nesting grounds. Listen for their honk, they are ready to take flight, as they skim across the top of the water... It's chick time! Let's build a new brooder and dig out the supplies, the heating lamp, water bottles, and feeding tray... What are those little sprouts coming up near the foundation of that building? Daffodils? Tulips? Crocuses?... The sap is running. Let's put out the taps and collect it to boil down for syrup. The sugar house steam smells sweet. Can we have a taste? The tree's buds are swelling, sugaring season is over for another year.... Do you see the Dandelions taking over the lawn? That's okay they'll make a beautiful bouquet for Mommy.... Time to plant the seeds in little cups. Let's do a lot of them and see how they grow. We'll find a sunny window to place them in, cover them with plastic and water them well. We'll watch to see those first tiny sprouts poke their heads up through the soil. Now it's time to harden them a little by putting the seedlings out on the deck each day. Soon it will be time for their new home in the garden... There is just so much to learn in the spring and so many things to do. I hope you will take the time to enjoy the little pleasures with your children this spring. These ramblings are just a few of my springtime memories from our homeschooling years. I thank the Lord for His bountiful blessings.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

An "Ah Ha" Moment




Have you ever seen your child's expression when something finally clicks in their brain? For me, this is one of the most rewarding parts of home education. When we first started homeschooling I was viewing the teacher's video for our math curriculum. The instructor explained that you shouldn't move on to the next chapter unless your child fully understood what they were doing. He called this the "Ah Ha" moment. This is when you just know they really get it. But not only that, their eye's light up, their voices speed up in a higher pitch, and they emphatically proclaim, "I get it!" You can almost see a light bulb light up over their excited little heads. The reason I find this so wonderful is because this is not how it is in school. My experience in public school was that if you didn't get it you were simply left behind. This is the beauty of home education. You can move at the pace necessary for your student. The one on one tutoring type of teaching allows the child to progress at their own speed and then they really begin to excel. Soon you will know your child's strengths and weaknesses and you can work on what really needs attention. This also helps to guide that child onto the path of their God given talents. I hope you are getting to enjoy many "Ah Ha" moments with your children.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Season of Sowing


In your season of mothering and home educating what are you sowing into your children's hearts? We have the responsibility to raise up these seedlings that God has given us and they need our tender care to grow. It is my hope and I'm sure yours as well, that they grow into strong plants to be used for God's glory. Are we sowing the seeds of the "fruit of the Spirit"? Galatians 5:22 tells us that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law." (ESV) Of course there is "No greater joy than knowing that my children walk in the truth." 3 John 1:4 and that the saving grace of Christ alone seals them with the Holy Spirit. As we teach them diligently, we must teach them how they are to walk in the Spirit, according to God's word. Let us not put the educational process higher than the planting of this fruit. Our highest calling in home education should be to plant God's word, lead our children to Christ, and reap the joys of knowing we'll one day be together with Jesus. No curriculum will get our children to heaven, or teach them how to be servants, or will help them lead others to Christ. Teach them to walk in the Spirit by planting the seeds of the faith.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Early Years, Reading


If you love to read to your children you are well on your way to creating the habit of the love of reading in your children. We started reading to our children many times each day when they were old enough to sit on our laps and look at the pictures. In our first years of homeschooling I read aloud every day as well. Mostly I chose to read historical stories, biographies, or historical fiction. Landmark books were wonderful for these young listeners. We read about Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Edison, The Wright Brothers and many more famous people. Besides history I also loved to read character building types of stories. These were always Christian books that used Bible precepts to reinforce important qualities that Christian children should have. One of our very favorite series was "The Miller's" by Mildred A. Martin. These are the titles we read; Wisdom and the Millers Proverbs for Children, Prudence and the Millers, School Days with the Millers and Missionary Stories with the Millers. All of the these books were huge hits with my youngsters, and were requested by them over and over again. This little series of books is in my "keepers" shelf of the bookshelf. Even now they are pulled out and reread by some of my children just because they were so loved. As I was saying, if you read to your children, they will grow to love reading themselves. We used to take weekly trips to the library, but as our own home library grew, our trips grew less. Building a library of wholesome books is so easy with the many homeschooling resources available through homeschooling catalogs or online stores. Now that my children are older they do have a love of reading. My daughter loves the old classics and has started a "Lamplighter" collection. My youngest son loves adventure and poetry and my oldest son loves to read informative books that help him to improve his understanding in his field of work. It is very exciting to see these fruits so many years later. I still enjoy reading aloud to my family and they also enjoy listening even now that they are almost grown.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Early Years


When we began home schooling our children they were ages 9,6 and 2. At that time I wanted to fill the day with workbooks and all the same kinds of curriculum that I had known as traditional types of schooling materials. I learned very quickly that this school at home type of homeschooling just wasn't for me. I was introduced to the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling which opened my eyes to a "new way" of schooling, although over one hundred years old. It was to live each day with a purpose and eyes wide open to the wonders of God's wonderful creation. With my new found enthusiasm I determined to "home educate" rather than to do school at home. First, I'd like to share with you the way we studied science. Since my children were still very young, I didn't believe I needed to be using a science text book or spending the money on it. My fifth grader had already been in public school and I wanted him to love science, not dread it. Nature study had always been my favorite so we began the school year in the late summer with an insect study. We made dragon flies out of cardboard tubes, with ping pong ball eyes, pipe cleaner antennae and velum wings. We went on nature walks and found Monarch caterpillars and watched them amazingly go into a chrysalis, and then pop out as a beautiful butterfly. We used God's word along with many critter books from the library and made our own journals and scrapbooks from our nature hunts. There are too many to mention here, but the adventures were plentiful and nature discoveries were endless! This was such a precious time for all of us. We all learned so much about God's creation and loved every minute of it. I have never regretted not using a text book for those study times. I strongly believe that this helped my children to understand the world around them and helped them to analyze and find out more for themselves. As I said, these were the early years, as they approached the middle years we used Apologia for our science curriculum which encourages a very hands on approach and has been a wonderful choice for our family. I'll share more on our early years in my next post.