Sunday, June 3, 2018

Who's Ready For A Change?

I want to homeschool our children. (Did you hear the gasp coming from my friends?) I have spoken against homeschooling for most of my adult life. I knew some really bad examples of "homeschooling" where very little schooling went on. Terrible examples. Plus, I worked in a really great elementary school for an awesome Christian principal. I thought it was stupid to pull your kids out of school and keep them home. Just look at what all we had to offer at school! I think there's a saying about ignorant people should keep their mouths shut. What did I know?

I know a lot of teachers who disagree with home schooling. Maybe it's because we get those "failed attempts" back in our classrooms a few years later where they are lagging dreadfully behind grade level and at a loss in the social skills department to boot. The awesome, successful families never come into contact with us in public school, so we don't get to see the good side very much.

Last summer I decided I better read up on homeschooling. After all, what if we became missionaries one day and I HAD to homeschool our children? So, I checked a book out of the library and read it. It completely changed my mind. Or maybe I should say God changed my mind. After that book, I really got into it. I researched and read every thing I could get my hands on about homeschooling. Especially homeschooling from a Christian point of view. And I've been itching to try it.

We haven't been too thrilled with our older daughter's school experiences so far anyway. Kindergarten was good purely because of her teachers. Other than that, I had a lot of concerns with how things were being done. And we've had a lot of concerns ever since. So, it's easy to imagine how wonderful it would be when we get to be in charge of her education. I'm still praying for that day to come about, but until then I will do what I can when she is with me.

It's also scary and daunting to think about being in charge of her learning. But it's scary in an exciting sort of way. I have no doubt the whole thing would be a great success because God would be in control every step of the way. I want so much for my girls that I don't believe will happen if they are away from me 7-8 hours a day.

Tonight I'm specifically thinking, "How are WE qualified to homeschool our children?" Well, here's what we have to offer:

1. My husband plays the guitar. (Music)
2. We can both type and have pretty fair computer skills-he more than me.
3. I am a fair cook (measuring, home ec.)
4. My husband is very mechanical.
5. I love to read and write.
6. My husband is good at math.
7. I am good at making things hands-on.
8. My husband has a lot of experience with public speaking.
9. I've been a teacher.

Oh, there's more I'm sure, but that's just what I can think of off the top of my head. The main thing about teaching our girls at home for me is not the myriad of skills we can impart on them, but the emphasis of our day.
If I were homeschooling them, we would start and end the day with God's word. Bible would come first around here! I am so intrigued by people who use the Bible as their curriculum and textbook. I think I need a little more structure than that, but I appreciate the idea. Handwriting? Have them copy a scripture each day. Public speaking? Stand and recite a Proverb each evening. There are so many ways to use the Bible in our children's education. But the main thing for me is they would learn God's word each day. The other appealing thing is the time we would gain. Schooling need not take 7-8 hours of sitting and working. I wish my daughter didn't have to sit at her desk all day doing work that her teacher will hardly glance over. I want her to learn and do and get done. Then, I want her to learn other things--how to cook, how to sew. I want her to have time to play, time to read, time to do the things she is interested in. I want time to talk with her. Instead of 7-8 hours of school, 30 minutes of TV/snack, an hour of homework, dinner, a little play, bath, bed. Every day. Every, every day.

I'm ready for a change. I'm ready to do the work of parenting and training full time. With God's help, of course!

Living Small

For our anniversary this weekend, we went to a bed and breakfast. We got to stay in a Texas Tiny House and oh it was so wonderful! I've been wanting to see inside one of those tiny homes for a long time. Saturday morning after breakfast, the owner gave us a tour of the other tiny homes as well as the other buildings they have on their property. He had done all the remodeling and building on the other homes (not the TTH ones) and S and he enjoyed talking woodworking for a while. It was way better than staying at a hotel!

We would absolutely love to live in one of these one day but....what to do with the children? Hmm. Details, details.

To the left when you walk in. 

Straight ahead when you walk in. 

To the right of that window. The ladder leads to the loft and bed.

A view of the whole living room from the loft. 

Looking back at the front door. 

To the very right when you walk in, is the kitchen. 

Looking up at the "bedroom."

The bath. River rock on the shower floor and ceiling tin on the walls. 
 One thing that sets the Texas Tiny Homes apart from other tiny homes is they use 90-something percent repurposed materials.
Salvaged sink.  When is the last time you saw 2 separate faucets?

Old windows saved from another house or building.

Old doors with doorknobs just like in my grandmother's house. 

All these antique details are really neat. 

And OH! the beautiful smell of all the wood! The hardwood floors were also antique. It was just beautifully made.

Good-bye Little House! We would love to live in you one day!
It's easy to imagine, while you are staying there, that you could actually live that small. Then you come home and walk abound your regular house and think HOW? Well, we don't need to go that radical with our simplifying right now, but I do wonder how much less we could live with.

I mean, instead shelves full of games, couldn't we just have a few decks of cards? You can play a lot of games with cards! Books are important, but you could get a Kindle or a Nook and do without shelves and shelves of books. (I don't want to, but you could.)

The bigger the area you live in, the more you fill it. If there is a shelf or mantle, you have to put things on them. We definitely do not live with just the necessities. And if we ever did get a tiny home, it would have to be bigger than the one we spent the night in. Still, I would love to go smaller. How about the Ingalls' home? That one would work just fine for me.

Except with A/C.

Hey, we're talking about simplifying, not losing our minds!

What Would I Do?

The ultrasound on Monday showed that baby is head down now, as she should be. Good baby! There were no other signs that labor would be anytime soon, so I have resigned myself to at least 2 more weeks of pregnancy. I mean, I'm not due until the 13th. Hoping this one would decide to come early is silly. My children like the inside. They are comfortable and never want to leave.

So I figured we could get 2 more weeks of school in. That's what I was planning all along anyway. But mercy I don't want to! I said something about it on Facebook today and got lots of encouragement to take the next 2 weeks off. Hmm. I really thought about it, trust me.

But what would I do?

I cannot imagine how I would keep myself busy for 2 weeks. The nursery is ready. I'm keeping up with dishes and laundry. I've paid the bills. There's daily pick up and weekly errands, of course. I could freeze some meals if I was really motivated.

I thought that keeping the girls on a semi-normal schedule would really help Little Bit. Her tics have increased a bit lately. Routine is her friend. And school doesn't really take all that long. When I whine about it, it's really the same as whining about doing the dishes, or cooking, or picking something up that I dropped, or drying off after a shower. EVERYTHING is hard right now and I'm tired. The End. It really isn't about school so much.

I feel like a turtle as I wander around looking at things that I could do or need to be done. I don't actually act on those things, mind you. I just notice them.
And totally off-topic, I took Sweetheart today to get a 12 year old immunization. They had told me there were three she needed. I researched them (in my new book) and decided to get one today. Then, while we were there, they mentioned another shot she needed that I had never heard of. It was Hepatitis A.

OK. Thank you. I took the information sheet. Would you like to know who this shot is recommended for? Of course you do.

*children 1 year of age
*persons older than 1 year who will be traveling or working in Central or South America, Mexico Asia, Africa, and eastern Europe.
*men who have sex with men
*persons who use street drugs
*persons with chronic liver disease
*persons who are treated with clotting factor concentrates
*persons who work with primates

and the ONLY one that could possibly qualify my daughter for needing this shot

*children through 18 years of age who live in states or communities where routine vaccination has been implemented because of high disease incidence. (Although I don't know that that is true of where we live)

Are you kidding me??? So, my current plan for being allowed to use Dr. Sears' alternate vaccination schedule with this new baby is to switch from seeing a pediatrian back to a "family practicioner." My reasoning there is the pediatrian's office is sort of a specialty and they are really all in your business. They stay right on top of things. Our particular pediatrician's office has been described by friends as "vaccine nazis." ha!

I'm just thinking a family practice deals with such a larger range of things that they wouldn't have time to worry if my 4 month old is compleltey up to date on her shots. And I liked it when we all saw the same doctor back when we used a family pracitce years ago. So, taht is my plan for now. We'll see how it goes.

Fitting It In

Sunday morning the sermon at our church was about how we need to study God's word more. Well, it was really about more than just that--but that was a big part of it. We started off looking at Hosea 4:1-6. Verse 6 says: 

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. 

There was more to the sermon, to be sure. But afterward, S and I talked about how we DO need to read...not just read but study...our Bible more. 

Let's get practical and think about how that can actually happen. Of course it's easy to say...but do? Much harder. 

How can I sit here and say that it is "hard" to read my Bible more? Look at this story. Now come back here and tell me how it is hard for me?

And another verse we read during the sermon Sunday: 1 Peter 5:8-9.

 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

The devil is walking around like a lion, seeking whom he may devour? Makes me even more determined. 

This morning I grabbed my phone and we read Proverbs 15 at breakfast. I don't know how much of it got into their heads or hearts, but we read it. Sweetheart read her assigned reading during school. I read Little Bit's assigned reading out of a Bible storybook. We worked on memorizing scripture. There will be more study tonight. 

How can we say we are too busy? Have I been busy today? Yes. We must cook and clean and teach and run errands and do laundry. There are many things to be done during each day. But there is time. There is time to read and study God's word. There is time to get it into our lives. 

Folks, we have it so easy here in America right now. Not perfect...but easy. How do you know what kind of world your children will live in when they are adults? How much more will they need to have God's word in their hearts? 

Someone is seeking to devour us. And God's people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Not sinners. Not people "of the world." GOD'S PEOPLE are destroyed because they do not know.

A daily devotional calendar is not enough. 
An e-mail devotional is not enough. 
An encouraging blog post is not enough. 
Listening to Christian music is not enough. 
That Little Golden book about Jonah is not enough. 

Reading your Bible is not enough!!!!

We must study it. And know it. 

How can we do it? How can we fit it in? 

1. You have multiple Bibles? Store them around the house. Make it easy to grab one while you are at the dining room table and read it to your family. 
2. Make it a part of the school day. No if, ands, or buts.
3. You don't often let your kids skip brushing their teeth? Then set Bible reading as part of the daily routine and do not skip it. 
4. Use audio Bibles. 
5. Keep one in the car. Read while you are in line for something. 
6. Download an app on your phone. 
7. Take it to church. Look up the scripture during the sermon instead of relying on the verses on the screen. Trust me, it's not the same.

What else am I forgetting? How can we fit it in? 

Because it IS that important. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Here Is Where Our Summer Stands

So we started the school year about a month later than usual. Therefore, we are not yet finished with said school year. This is discouraging no matter how much you mentally prepare yourself. Little Bit is aiming to be though by the 4th of July, and I believe she will make it. She's almost there.

Sweetheart, however, has worked (or NOT worked) herself right out of a summer break. If she's lucky, she'll have a 4 day weekend before 11th grade starts. Sigh. We've talked all we can talk. We've punished. We've encouraged. The saying is TRUE: You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it finish it's work on time unless it wants to. Well, it goes something like that.

But she is down a few subjects. At maximum, her school day should take her 5 hours. Therefore, if she gets on up like she's used to doing in the school year anyway, and starts by around 7am, she should be done by noon. Or, she can sleep in a bit and have a little to do after lunch. That's up to her. It's Wednesday of our new summer schedule and so far she was worked until nearly 4 or 5pm every day.

Horse. Water.

Anyway, in other news. OF COURSE because it's summer I had to completely rearrange the house. You know, we didn't do a thing to the house last summer when Dad was in the hospital. So some cleaning and organizing is in major order around here. S was able to help me move the big stuff around and get the bunk beds re-painted (this time for Little Bit and Bee) over Memorial Day weekend. I wouldn't have chosen to move all the stuff all at once like that, but that was the time he had to help. So, the furniture is in place, but boy the mess we made!

It's hard to feel accomplished when what you did one day was sit down with a washcloth and wipe down all the color pencils because something sticky was all over them. And then I sorted markers (throwing away those that had dried out) and pens and pencils and blah blah blah. All that work on little things doesn't make much of an impact but hopefully we'll be more organized this year!

Little Bit and I are painting the front room. In the past, this room has been a playroom (for the older girls when they were little) and a homeschool room. Now I am turning it into kind of a homeschool room for Baby Bee. You know, Baby Bee who turned 4 a few weeks ago. (!)

I guess really some other posts need to be made. Just too much to catch up on here.


We are still in school and that stinks.
We have made a huge mess in the house in the quest to get organized.

It's a good thing there is a date on this post b/c this could easily be mistaken for another previous summer. My life is nothing if not predictable.