August: Just Breathe!
As the summer ends, my thoughts turn toward “back to school” time. I recall the many years that the thought of starting another school year would do the following: overwhelm me, make me feel nauseous, inadequate, and give me the overriding desire to give up. Does that surprise you? Well, it shouldn’t. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you work, or how many homeschool friends you have, we all go through times of self-doubt. What I find interesting was my inability to reach out — surrounded by women and men who possessed valuable knowledge and experience about the very thing I needed…homeschooling.
I think maybe I felt pressured to “know it all” and “have all the answers.” How silly it was for me to add that kind of stress to myself. What I learned from this is that I don’t have to “know it all” or “have all the answers.” I only needed to have the courage to ask those who were in a position to help me. There was nothing I endured that had not already been endured by someone else.
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
I ask you, what do you need help with?
One of the worst things you can do is work alone. I would say the most important thing for every homeschool family is to find a support group. There are support groups that meet various needs: fellowship, scouts, field trips, co-op classes, sports, 4-H, military, and special needs, just to name a few. To find one click here. (Remember that a support group cannot take the place of a church family, they will be there for you during the good times and the bad.) Can’t find a support group where your family fits in? Contact FEAST and we will show you how to start a support group that meets the needs of your family. Surely, there are other likeminded families.
When you need information, make sure you don’t get “information overload”. There are many methods to teach math. This does not mean that you have to try them all! Visit with one of our Curriculum Advisors in the FEAST Resource Center. They can show you samples of different curriculums, help you discover what type of learner your child is and set you on a course for success. You don’t have to take everyone’s advice… you just make a choice that is a good fit for both you and your student. If it is not working, try something else. You cannot imagine the relief I felt when I learned that no one has ever been arrested for purchasing curriculum that was not a good match. If you hit a stump, you can always find a tutor on the FEAST Website.
Find a guide. Whether you know where your child is headed after high school or not, you can seek counsel from the staff at FEAST. They can help you to chart the courses necessary to arrive at the threshold of high school graduation, tweak the chart along the way or totally shift directions when a student has an about-face. No need to fear, our staff is here to help in the no-judgment zone!
Remember, your homeschool is a work in progress, while each student is a separate work. There should be a lot of grace in your homeschool, both for your children and for you!. While our goal is excellence in education, we realize that we are not perfect, as parents or educators. Allow yourself some freedom to experiment and explore your homeschool journey.
July: Let Freedom Ring
Times leading up to the writing of the Declaration of Independence were forged by the overbearing rule of Great Britain. The colonists had risked it all to come to the new world, where they would be free; however, they found themselves oppressed without rights. On July 4, 1776 the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved and the document was published. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states. To this very day, we celebrate many freedoms as a result of this declaration of independence.
Personally, I do not think there would be a United States today, had it not been for the Declaration of Independence. Our forefathers were willing to die to make the colonies into what the people were seeking; Freedom. The documents contain this phrase: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
I can’t help but consider my own life when it comes to freedom and independence. Although my life overall has been comparatively easy, I like to think of things I have today because of the sacrifices of others. This got me to thinking…what would I die for? I will tell you; it is a short list. During my lifetime, I have not ever been faced with that decision. (Praise the Lord) So undoubtedly I would die for my husband and my children. Maybe I would die for a few family members and friends and some freedoms. It is hard to say since I grew up in the United States of America and have not been faced with those decisions.
The happier thought is all of the freedoms that I have as a result of Independence Day:
I am free to worship my God, homeschool my children, live where I choose, work the job
I want… I think you get the idea. I could go on forever.
For me, to understand these freedoms, I must consider the greatest sacrifice that was ever made for me. It was made by a man who loved me more than any other because His Father loved me more than any other. On a cross, He gave His life…for me. This action, like the Declaration of Independence, forged freedom for all those who accept it. Because I accepted Christ, I am free on every imaginable level. I am grateful today that I am free, indeed! If you would like information on this freedom, email me, and I will be happy to share it with you!
June: From The Beach!
Here we are again, summertime! I must admit this is my favorite time of year! Sunshine, flowers, longer days, and less work as the school workload is light. My prayer is that since everyone is coming up for air, parents will take time to read this little letter and invest some much-needed attention on themselves. As homeschool parents, we often put the needs of our spouse, children, parents, even the pets ahead of our own. So as an “older woman,” I am here to tell you to put yourself on your list of “things to take care of…” I feel there are several major areas we need to address:
- SUPPORT: Our families go through many changes, especially when you consider that we spend most of our waking hours together. As we walk through our difficult times, we may not understand that there are other families walking through the same valley. If we seek out those who need or have solutions, it would be to our benefit. When we befriend others, we will find that we may have solutions or find others may have the solutions we seek. Finding support is important to keep the joy in the journey of homeschool parents. So seek out those who can be a blessing to you, or seek out those to whom you can be a blessing.
- ENCOURAGEMENT: As we work in the homeschool trenches every day, many times we ignore our heart issues, or perhaps we don’t even know how to help ourselves out of them. True encouragement is important to homeschooling parents for this reason. It is time that we learn from the lessons that those who have gone before us have learned. Take heed of their education and use it for your own benefit.
- QUIET TIME: Homeschool parents are saddled with the challenge of escaping the noise and action. This is where the importance of routines can help. Create that schedule and make sure to include time for yourself. Make time for things that you like doing…that bring you joy. Empower yourself by training your children to develop habits so that they have their own quiet time. It translates to your quiet time, for prayer, planning, or coffee! You can draw your energy for the day from this time of meditation. Work on these areas to equip yourself because before you know it summer will be over. We will change into the autumn, and we are off to the next chapter.
If you would like help finding other homeschool parents, please contact our FEAST Community Outreach Coordinator,
Jeanette Watje at Community@homeschoolfeast.com or (830)481-2198
She would be happy to help you find a support group or other ways to get connected with other homeschoolers so that you can get the support, encouragement, and even the quiet time you need. “But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalm 3:3 May the Lord bless your summer!
May: Finish Strong
As I sat in church today, Easter Sunday, I was listening to my preacher as he was reading about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Although the account has never changed, this time it hit me from a different perspective. Jesus was arrested, scourged to the point of His bones being exposed, made to wear a crown of thorns, mocked, humiliated, and beaten until he was unrecognizable. Just a ew days earlier, they were all celebrating His entry into Jerusalem as their Messiah. Now they wanted to crucify Him; they were chanting “kill Him”. Then He spoke those three powerful words, “It is finished”. The death of Christ fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah and the promises from God. When Jesus took His last breath, the veil separating man from the Holy of Holies was torn. The relationship between God and man was restored. …”He said, it is finished”… John 19:30 As I pondered these things, it occurred to me, WHAT AN AMAZING FINISH! After the church services were over, my mind returned to the subject of His finish. I began to think about my life, my work, and my ministry. Sometimes when we take on a task, we have a great start. There is excitement about doing new things and I for one, like to start a new project. I can take off in any direction I choose and push my progress until I see the finish line. Unfortunately, it is not always a strong finish. I don’t know if it is because I tire of the task, or get bored with the process. Regardless, there is never an excuse for not finishing well. Whatever the task or project, use Christ as your benchmark to complete it and bring honor and glory to Christ. Taking this challenge, I am resolved to finish strong. I would like to extend a challenge to you, as your school years comes to an end, and you plan the next steps, strive to be like Christ and “Finish Strong”.
“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.“ John 17:4
April: Are You Entitled?
You might not always like something another person does or says, but you honor the fact that they have the right to do it or say it. They are entitled to their opinions. Civility, respect, and common courtesy should be the standard that everyone is entitled to receive.
The idea that others are entitled to be treated with respect is different than people demanding entitlement. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of entitlement “is the state or condition of being entitled” (like a king, ruler, authority) also, “Belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.” In this case, there is the condition of being deserving of the entitlement of certain privileges. I grew up believing that others came first; no one was entitled to anything unless they deserved or earned the privilege. Those that demand entitlement without deserving or earning it are a growing majority nowadays.
Today every little girl wants to be a princess; while every little boy wants to be a king. This self-appointed entitlement doesn’t stop with children but is often carried over to adults that believe they are entitled to everything, deserving or not. This prompted my thoughts to consider the crown: A reward of victory or mark of honor. While everyone seems to be in the quest for the crown, my thoughts go to the One who wore a crown for me. When I remember all that Christ endured; He was betrayed and abandoned. He carried the burden of the sins of the world. He was falsely accused by the religious leaders. He was mocked, abused and beaten by the Roman guards. He was crucified between two thieves. His body was pierced with a spear. And last but definitely not least, He tasted death for us all. Jesus did not deserve all that punishment. He is the Son of God and God the Son! Yet in the greatest act of humility, He said, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.” Luke 22:42
Easter is a perfect time to teach these truths to our children. Although Christ was crucified and died a horrible death, He only spent three days in the grave. On that third day, the angel rolled the stone away to reveal that our Lord had risen from the grave! Hallelujah! It was the single act that moved mankind from living under the law to grace. He was my substitute, the perfect Lamb that was slain; but it was not just for me that He died. He died so that all people might have eternal life. These events gave way to true entitlement. Eternal life is not something earned, yet everyone IS entitled.
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” John 10:28
When you teach your children all these truths about Easter, make sure you teach them to be civil, use common courtesy and respect authority. Truly everyone is entitled to be treated well by Christians. How can we expect those who are not Christians to treat others well, unless we model that behavior for them? “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:7
March: Let’s Share Recipes!
The type of recipes I am talking about is for our children. It is evident to me that even if you put all the same ingredients into a house full of children who are siblings, the children don’t come out the same. Of course, we are not baking cookies so we should not expect that they would. It does not matter if you have one or twelve children, as a parent, I think you will agree that they each have their own personality. This personality begins to show up in the first few weeks and months of life. Not because they speak to us audibly, but because they communicate with us the way babies do. So if they have their personalities, is it important to shape them as they grow? Absolutely! The time invested in shaping our children is what helps to make us the adults we will become.
“…a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15b
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deut. 6:7
In all your teaching and training, make sure that you always do these things in love. Your children are the most important recipe you will ever put together. If you want your recipe to come out good, you will need to sprinkle in God’s love, guidance, and protection. Everyone knows that your creations come out better when they are baked with love!
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6