Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 3

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I hope to give a vision through these posts that learning to invest in the lives of others isn’t a complicated, difficult task. Families with little ones can be a part of ministering to others. This post will give you ideas if you are a family with only little people. Next time, I’ll talk about things families with older kids can undertake.

Learning by example is a powerful way to learn. As you take your little ones by the hand and seek to be a blessing to those around you, believe me, those little people are taking it all in. I raised 14 kids. I understand your time is limited. Some things you just have to say “NO” to and wait for a different season of life, but teaching kids to be servant-hearted is something that shouldn’t wait. It’s what you’re supposed to be doing and it’s SO much more important than teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. It’s foundational.

Continue reading Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 3

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Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 2

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Miss Part 1 of this series? Read it here

Mark 12:30-31: ” And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

We want to raise our kids to be kids of character. That means more than just mentally knowing what character is.  Sure, that’s the first step in training your kids. They can’t take steps to implement it if they’re unaware of it. After they’ve learned that though, it’s important to take action. How do we do it? When do we do it? How do we find needs?

First of all, look around you. Look at your neighbors. Look at your church members. Look at your acquaintances. Those are the people God has put in your sphere of influence. Begin listening to them. It can almost be like a treasure hunt to see who can be attentive/alert and find needs that others have.

Continue reading Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 2

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Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 1

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It’s so easy, especially for homeschoolers, to inadvertently communicate to our kids that life is all about them. We’re looking for the perfect curriculum to meet their needs, engaging them in activities that they are passionate about, taking them on exciting outings, planning special parties and events and all that is good. We should be doing that, BUT, are we failing to instill in them a higher calling?

Why are we here? Why does God leave us on this earth after we get saved? Why not just take us to heaven then and there? What are we trying to equip them for? To get a good job? To be happy in life?

Continue reading Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 1

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Part 3- I’m Done Homeschooling: “10 Things I Would Do Again”

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Last post I told you about 10 things I would do differently, right from the start of homeschooling my children if I had the opportunity to do it over again.

This time, I want to share with you these 10 things I would absolutely do over again- just maybe MORE so!

  1. Study my child to learn their passions, desires, what inspires them, what discourages them and teach accordingly. Plan what I see my child as needing to study, not some prescribed program.

I certainly didn’t start my homeschooling this way, but it wasn’t too long before it was clear to me that each child had unique strengths and compelling interests. It became a delight for me to see those passions develop and seek to provide them with tools, materials, animals sometimes to let them explore those areas of interest. I found that as one child passionately pursued their area of interest, we all learned and grew with them. From keeping rabbits, to building bookcases, to raising guppies, to being involved in civics, to photography, etc etc. our family learned right along with the one who was so interested in the topic.

  1. Listen to and ask for their input on how they learn best or which curriculum to choose

School Books

Some curriculum that worked well for most of my 14 kids, was horrible for some of the others. Kids think and process information differently. There isn’t a cookie cutter way to teach that fits everyone. I learned so much when I asked my kids who were struggling with a subject, how they could learn better, how I could teach better. It moved us more “out of the box” but it worked. Do what works. It doesn’t matter how they teach it in school! If your child is more invested in what curriculum he uses, he’ll try harder to learn.

  1. Let them explore their interests and passions

I could write a book on interests my kids explored!  Sometimes they were wildly interested in something for a short time and then moved on to something else. That’s ok. They are exposed to more things that way. Sometimes their interest lasted years or into adult-hood. That’s fine too. God gives us those desires to learn and explore. Use them. Don’t squelch them. Some of the things my kids were interested in: genetics, garden ponds, bird houses building, rabbits, chickens, photography, writing, politics, history, building bookcases, fixing things that break, wildflowers, baking, candy making, etc etc.

Continue reading Part 3- I’m Done Homeschooling: “10 Things I Would Do Again”

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Part 2- I’m Done Homeschooling: “10 Things I’d Do Differently”

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In my homeschooling journey of 37 years, I learned a LOT and changed the way I approached education as well. When I started out, I had a pretty traditional approach to education and never questioned that what was in the book was what my child needed to know.

Here are some conclusions I came to and things I would have done differently from the start had I known.

  1. Don’t feel like I have to teach everything that is in the book or finish every book.

Don’t be afraid to scrap a book mid-year and try something else. Some books that worked well for most of my kids, just frustrated others. What works well for one doesn’t necessarily work well for the next child. Kids just learn differently. If you’re rolling along and find something included in the book that you don’t think your child will ever need, feel free to skip over it. Or if you’re in mid-year and the book you’ve chosen just isn’t working, try another. It’s okay. It’s not only okay, it’s the wise thing to do.(Here are 5 tips for choosing curriculum)

  1. Don’t assume that a government school course of study is best for my child

I just automatically thought that government schools had studied kids and knew what was best to teach each child at each level/age. That just isn’t true! You know your child so intensely. Don’t be afraid to follow your instinct, or better yet, God’s leading for each individual child.

  1. Don’t hold my child to standards of “where they’re supposed to be” or hold them back because they are learning too quickly

I allowed each of my children to progress at their own rate in every subject, at least after my first few years of teaching them. They may be a couple grades ahead in history and a year “behind” in math, but that’s okay. They need to be free to progress at a rate that challenges them but not overwhelms them and that that will be different for each child.

Continue reading Part 2- I’m Done Homeschooling: “10 Things I’d Do Differently”

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I’m Done Homeschooling

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This was an emotional post for me to write! I guess I’m just weird. I hear people who graduate their last child and are so relieved and happy- wanting to throw a party for themselves. I’m happy, but I’m sad too! I am just wrapping up my 37th (and last) year of homeschooling. Kasey will finish up probably this month. (She took a little “intermission” to take an intensive class in order to attain her private pilot’s license). It’s not that I won’t know what to do with my time, not that at all. I’ll actually miss what has become a life-style for me- getting up in the morning and “doing school”.

Can’t believe it’s been 37 years, and I can’t believe I won’t be doing that this September!  I’m going to do another blog post sometime sharing some of the things I’ve learned over the last 37 years and how I became a better teacher as I learned about learning in general. I’ll share what I’d change if I could and what I’m glad I did the way I did it, but for this post, I just want to encourage you that if you’re overwhelmed by homeschooling and feel like it’s dominating your life, that’s totally normal and the day will come sooner than you might wish that you’ll be wrapping up your journey in homeschooling too.

Rick teaching our little guys- in the early ’80s
Our oldest boys doing schoolwork- around 1988

I just want to list for you what I LOVE about homeschooling and what I’m bawling about as I write about how I’m going to miss it.

(you can see 14 more reasons Why I’m Glad I Homeschooled, here)

Continue reading I’m Done Homeschooling

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How to be a Contented Mom

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Fresh lavender flowers

“Boy, I wish…”

How many times do you find yourself thinking or saying this? It’s so natural to think life would be easier, better if only……”

The truth is, God has given us everything right now that we need to be content. Contentedness doesn’t depend on outward circumstances. Contentedness is a matter of the heart and is dependent on our trust in the Lord.

Philippians 4 tells us, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Truth is, we can’t do it on our own, but we can choose to let Christ do it through us. Or we can complain, wish, covet, make excuses and reap the result of making ourselves and those around us miserable.

Continue reading How to be a Contented Mom

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How to be a Productive Mom- Part 2

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productive mom 2

(Be sure to see Part 1 for ways  # 1-5 )

6. LEARNING TO SAY NO

Life’s interruptions happen to all of us. It definitely helps to have our plan in place. When you know what you’re supposed to be doing at a given time, you know what you can’t do.

Learning to say “no” was really hard for me at first. I’d feel bad telling people I couldn’t do whatever it was they wanted me to do; but remember, your time to train your kids is so short. I know, there are days it feels VERY long, but in the whole scheme of life, it is short and will be over before you’re ready for it to be.

I’m not saying you should always say no, but do stop to evaluate. In raising my kids, we ministered to many elderly people and if they had a need, I would usually break from our schedule and take my kids with me to meet that need. That is education at it’s best!

However, there are so many opportunities to involve your kids- good opportunities, that if you choose to involve them in too many, you’ll not be at home much and it’s incredibly difficult to effectively home school your kids if you’re hardly ever home.

Your homeschooling experience is a season of life and during that season, you MUST learn when to say no or you will be constantly distracted as will your kids, and you may miss out on some really sweet times together as family. Continue reading How to be a Productive Mom- Part 2

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How to be a Productive Mom- Part 1

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productive mom 1

Mom’s are busy people. We wear many hats. Much that goes on in the home rises or falls based on us. So, it is important that we strive to be productive women. (and productive about the right things!)

I had 14 children- so life was very busy and it was so important for me to find ways to be productive in order to make the home run as smoothly as possible, so that there was time and energy to focus on the important things, like relationships and training.

Here are some very simple, practical tips that have helped me to do this:

1. SPEAK TRUTH TO YOURSELF

Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

This has been one of my favorite verses as a mom. Why is it that it’s so easy to get distracted about the laundry, the housework, the meal prep, the yard work, washing the windows, etc, etc. and take our eyes off the big picture? Maybe because we are responsible to see to all those everyday details!  But, we need to speak God’s truth to ourselves daily to keep us on the right track.

Continue reading How to be a Productive Mom- Part 1

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How To Be an Encouraging Mom- Part 2

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encouraging mom part 2

When my kids were little, I would lie down with them at night when I was putting them down to bed. I’d pray with each one individually. I’d try to think of even one thing they did that day that was good and I’d mention it to God in prayer as I prayed with them. Sometimes, I’d peak and see a big smile spread over their face as I mentioned their name to God in prayer, thanking Him that “_________” did a diligent job today as she wiped the crumbs from the counter (for instance). The next day, I’d notice she was extra diligent at her job of wiping the counters. She realized that I had noticed she’d been trying and even mentioned it to God which reminded her that God does see all that we do. When we do a good job at even menial tasks we are doing our best for our Lord.

Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Learn to become alert to opportunities to encourage your kids. Learn to watch them as they attempt to do things. Watch their eyes, listen to the excitement in their voices over some project they attempted or want to attempt. Don’t be the person who “throws cold water” on every idea they come up with. Let them attempt to try things that you maybe know won’t even work. Failure is one of our best teachers!

Continue reading How To Be an Encouraging Mom- Part 2

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