Our hero and heroine receive a treasure map. With great bravery, they set out to cross raging rivers, climb high mountains, slay fierce dragons, and keep their fellow adventurers committed to their noble task. Forsaking comfort, sleep, and disposable income, they live the adventure to seek the treasure of a lifetime.
Who are these heroes? Why you and your spouse, of course.
While you are battling a fire-breathing dragon after a sleepless night awake with a sick child, you can wonder if the treasure is worth it.
Our own adventure began in the late 1980s when home education was still thought of as quirky. We were unlikely treasure hunters with Mike in seminary, barely two nickels to rub together, living in student housing.
With our eyes on the prize, we plunged in. The creator of Sing, Spell, Read, and Write was a professor at Mike’s graduate school so I went to her workshop and purchased the kit. Copying, coloring, and laminating the letter pages, I made a border in our small dining area so that Katie Beth could see them while she ate her breakfast each morning, waiting for her to show interest in those letters.
Meanwhile, we read beautifully illustrated, well-written picture books by the ton, played at the playground, planted a garden, went strawberry picking, made jam, and explored the nearby woods all with baby Julianna in tow. We loved to sing in the car, talk to cows through the window, and make silly animal sounds while we did their peculiar walks.
“Maybe I should read, Mommy,” Katie-Beth urged as I struggled to keep my eyes awake. I was pregnant again and oh so very sleepy. Could I teach Katie-Beth to read and potty train Julianna with a brand new baby?
We faced other challenges like blending the letter sounds while we were learning to read. It just didn’t come quickly for any of my children. Patience was the answer to that dilemma.
We faced the raging river of teaching something I didn’t understand myself. After praying for an idea, I went to the children’s section of the library and checked out books on the topic. After some quick reading, I understood enough to confidently teach a third grader. That came up over and over, until I learned to relax and learn with my children. After all, learning is a grand adventure!
Love is all you need. Love is in the air. Love makes the world go 'round. Love hurts. Love is all I need. Until the twelfth of never, I'll still be loving you.
We hear songs about love our entire life. They shape how we define love. From the songs I've heard in my lifetime, I would have to say, "Love is intoxicating like a drug and when it fades away, life is no longer worth living."
I have also watched a million romantic comedies. From these, I must conclude, "When you really love someone, you fight a lot and misunderstand one another until that magical kiss. Then you live happily ever after.
Oh, I'm so glad that movies and songs are not the only thing that defined my definition of love.
I was blessed to be loved by two wonderful parents, to see a beautiful love between my grandmother and grandfather, and to experience God's love at church, and later personally when I became born again at age 16.
As I grew in the Lord, my definition of love began to change. I no longer believe the definitions I learned from pop songs and chick flicks.
As I studied the Bible, I discovered three Greek words (Eros, Philia, Agape) that are all translated love in the New Testament, yet their meanings are completely different. Let's explore the three loves talked about in the Word of God.
Some children love a tidy room and others...well...hmm. Let's teach children & teens to organize and clean their world in a fun way. Scheduling can be enjoyable, too.
When we organize, clean, or work on schedules, I try to stay lighthearted and make it fun. I always have a treat afterward like watching a movie or going to the park.
You see, these things are not my favorite things so how on earth would I expect it to be my children's favorite things, but they are part of life so I want to do them with a cheerful heart. My children will see things the way I do, so in training children, my attitude is the most important thing.
Also: how well my children clean their room or stay on schedule or organize their things has NOTHING to do with their value. I never want to belittle my children over these things, but I want to lead them from success to success to success.
In my family, there are messies. I won't name them in case you know them or meet them in person. Messies need more training, but they can learn to keep things mostly tidy. Free spirits can learn to stay on a loose schedule. Everyone can learn to clean.
Here are some blog posts and a podcast on organizing:
Smart Storage to Eliminate Clutter
Organizing Your Homeschool
It's a brand-new school year. You want everything to go perfectly.
Oh, and did I mention you have a brand-new baby. A precious bundle of joy that lights up your life. And keeps you awake all night. You are sore and your body is still recovering.
Is that you?
This school year can still be the best ever!
For the beginning of the school year, I recommend delaying the start or modifying it.
School can start a month late and go a month longer, or you can skip most breaks and still have it end on time.
If you have high school and middle school children, have them do the work they can do independently. Have them check in with you two or three times a day and just give you a quick summary of what they've completed.
For younger children, if you must school, focus only on reading and math. Have them read aloud to you and read on their own. If they can do math independently, let them do math and have an older sibling check it. Or dad can check it each night when he gets home.
Then, it's time for movies. So many educational movies and documentaries out there that would be fun to cuddle up and watch. We love the Drive Thru History videos, as well as Dave Barton's government sets. There are so many educational cartoons like Liberty Kids or Peanuts This is America. You can watch a few sessions each day for the first month.
My memories of teaching children to read always include me nursing a baby as I went over letter sounds or blending with them. I worried that I was somehow robbing my children.
Here's what the Lord showed me.
Jenny Rose stopped strumming his guitar and stepped forward to the microphone where she read a Scripture passage and gave a short word of encouragement.
"Some of us have had a rough week, we have been battered by the enemy, tossed around by his lies..." She ended by sharing her own personal experience of how Jesus had encouraged her. She started a worship song and everyone sang along.
I felt tears fill my eyes. My dream as I rocked and nursed my five babies was that they would each grow up to love Jesus and serve Him with a glad heart. Here was my Rosie, loving Jesus.
It is God's grace and mercy alone that all five of my adult children love Jesus. I'm so grateful, especially because I am a flawed Mommy. I wish I was perfect, but alas, no. I do love the Lord and have a living faith inside my heart that has grown stronger and stronger over the years.
It is not an example of perfection I have imparted to my children, it is a living faith in a jar of clay.
Can you relate? Do you love Jesus, but feel that you are so far from being a perfect example of what a "good" Christian should look like?
It's so fun to set a pretty table for a special family celebration or when guests come over.
Some moms set a pretty table every night. I'm more of a "special occasion or guest kind of gal."
Let's talk about the basics of setting a pretty table.
A pretty table starts with a tablecloth or place mats with place settings laid out attractively. A centerpiece adds the perfect festive touch.
Before you set the table, stop and think about the general feel you want to create. Is this casual or fancy? Are you serving a special food? Spaghetti can lend itself to an Italian them with lots of red and green. Are you celebrating a holiday, birthday or special occasion. The birthday girl's favorite colors and flowers or the birthday boy's favorite sports team can lend it self to to choosing style and colors.
Tablecloths & Place Settings
"When will I be loved?" our hearts cry out when we are young.
We seek our one true love, believing that romantic love will fill us with happiness forever. Then we marry someone who isn't perfect and we are still seeking to be loved and appreciated.
If only our parents had loved us more. If only we had better friends. If only we had a boyfriend or girlfriend. If only our children appreciated us.
Why are we always seeking more?
We had a need inside us to be lavishly loved. Our hearts cry out for it.
We long for words, actions, attitudes from others that communicate love, kindness, warmth, and understanding. We long for others to place high value on us.
There is a problem, though. People are flawed. No one loves perfectly. No one can be our all in all.
Have you ever bought a new pair of shoes because you are having a bad day?
Is this the best way to comfort our hearts?
Sometimes we spend money to reward ourselves for a job well done, but more often we spend money frivolously when we are struggling emotionally or just worn out from the cares of life.
Unfortunately, when we spend money we haven't budgeted for, it has to come from somewhere. It may postpone something we are saving for like a new house or family vacation. Or it may add to our growing debt. Then we deepen the frustration or sadness we are struggling with.
Hey, I get it. There's something that feels good about whipping out that credit card to purchase things you don't really need. But, like all quick fixes, the momentary delight soon vanishes.
I think we live in a battle zone. We face real pain, real discouragement. But those things are not our enemy--that's just the result of living in a fallen world.
The real enemies we face our satan and his demons who lie to our hearts and through the world we live in. We are bombarded with lies that buying something will help us feel happy. We spend our money on what is not bread--it will not feed our souls.
God has a different plan.
Employers send their employees to workshops and professionals have to maintain their licenses with continuing education. There's a lesson here!
We, who pour out our lives, need to be filled back up with times of refreshing and equipping. Our spirits need to be refreshed with joy and truth! Our minds and hearts need to be equipped with knowledge, wisdom and understanding to teach the next generation!
First of all, we need to plug into the source!
We need to be plugged into our Source of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ. Meeting with Him daily is worth whatever effort and sacrifice you have to make. He is our Equipper! He trains us to love and teach our children.
Jesus is our model, traveling with his disciples, who constantly asked questions and then just didn't get it. Patiently, Jesus repeated lessons over and over again, using stories and visual illustrations (vines, sheep, and children) to make the lesson clear. Jesus asked lots of questions, causing people to stop and think! Above all, love and compassion flowed from Jesus to his disciples. He was their Father, Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd all in one!
There are additional ways to be equipped to home educate our children that we are going to talk about, but none can replace going to our Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Lord, King, and Friend Jesus.
Teenage rebellion is a myth. Some teens rebel. Some teens don't. Teens that do rebel don't rebel because they are teenagers.
In primitive societies, boys hang out with dad learning to be a man and girls hang out with mom learning to be a woman. They go from child to adult without any drama or angst.
In our nation, until the 1920's, children reached puberty later (usually around 16-18) and got married soon afterward. Again the transition was pretty smooth between childhood and adulthood.
The 1920's was a paradoxical time for America. One of the most frugal Presidents ever sat in the White House vetoing spending bills and bringing down the national debt, while Americans themselves were offered and accepted with glee the brand new "Buy Now, Pay Later" philosophy. The bubble burst, of course, at the end of the decade. However, in the meantime, money was flowing and families were moving to the cities and suburbs from the farms.
Teens had more time on their hands, less hard work to do, and more money to spend. Suddenly, a new thing happened. Young people were living to have fun and play, instead of working hard to help their families and preparing to have their own families.
One thing we can't ignore during the teenage years is the impact hormones have on our teens.
Our sons struggle with anger, sometimes excessive.
Our daughters struggle with a wide range of emotions ranging from tears to giggles.
The excessive mood swings in our beloveds are caused by fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Whew! Say those words ten times fast!
Adolescent boys produce ten times more testosterone! Have you ever seen the rage of an addict on steroids? Maybe your teenage son is more self-controlled than you give him credit for.
At the beginning of puberty, the pituitary gland swings into action releasing Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). In boys, these hormones tell the testes to produce Testosterone and sperm. In girls, FSH and LH tell the ovaries to produce estrogen and eggs.
Other changes happen.
I grew up in the church, but also in the world until I was saved at the age of 16. I have regrets.
I wanted to raise my children to live wholeheartedly for Jesus so that they could enjoy purity and the freedom of purity.
That is not an easy task.
Well, my children, though they live in a Christian home and attend a church full of believers living wholeheartedly for Jesus, are bombarded by the world through ads, movies, commercials, internet, work, college, homeschool co-ops, relatives, and friends.
A year ago, my Instagram was hacked and some dirty photos were plastered all over it. Suddenly the pastor's wives page was not a safe place to be. Yikes! It took my daughter and I hours to get the site shut down. I was horrified and apologized privately and publicly to everyone I knew. I have no idea who did it. However, the reason I mention this is because after that incident, I was bombarded with pop-ups on Facebook, Amazon, and anywhere else I went on the web. I was horrified and report the "invites" to pornography. This showed me that if anyone has any contact with anything pornography-related online, whether they choose to or not, they will be bombarded with "invites" to see more.
The world is seductive and calls to our children's hearts. The world calls to my heart. How can we all stay pure in a seductive world? How can we steer our children away from moral disaster?
Where is the Battle Zone?
The internet has completely changed the way we live and relate to one another.
The internet has changed homeschooling for our family. My older kids did not go online much until college, while the younger ones spent their teen years in a world of social networking and Wikipedia.
Young people today email, chat with friends through instant messenger, talk to people in chat rooms, play games, create blogs, create YouTube stations, create websites, and surf the net. They research online and build relationships online.
There is so much at our fingertips today with just a click of the mouse. We can read classic literature, look up how a senator voted, get the latest news, and read our favorite blog.
Yet, is the internet a safe place?
I am sorry to tell you that the internet can be a dangerous place, too. We must protect our children from the criminal and evil activity that takes place online.
We need to protect our children from the following things:
How Can We Protect Our Children?
Let me take you back in time to when my oldest daughter, Katie Beth was 12 and her younger sister Julianna was 9. Jimmy was a newborn baby, Shine was almost 2 and Jenny Rose was 6.
With four daughters to prepare for motherhood and homemaking, I had set aside Thursdays to teach my daughter homemaking skills such as sewing, cooking, baking, hospitality, needlework, laundry, interior decorating, and card-making.
Our homemaking days were precious days. This, of course, was before the hustle-bustle of high school.
For several years I enjoyed my homemaking days alone with the girls. But other years, other homeschooling moms joined me and we have co-oped. What fun and fellowship for the girls as they learned skills that I don't have such as knitting and cake decorating.
Edith Schaeffer, a twentieth century heroine for Christ, wrote two of my favorite books: L'Abri and The Hidden Art of Homemaking. I love her style, her love for Jesus, and her wisdom. She was one smart lady. And she devoted her life to husband, children, home, and fulfilling the Great Commission. She is a personal heroine and example to me.
Edith Seville Schaeffer (1914-2013) was born in Wenzhou, China to missionary parents who worked with China Inland Mission. Her Chinese name, given to her by her parents, was Mei Fuh, or “Beautiful Happiness.”
Years later, while Edith was in college, she was attending her Presbyterian Church when a visiting Unitarian pastor gave a sermon against Jesus, the deity of Christ, and the Bible. She was outraged and prepared to set him straight publicly. Before she could speak, another young man stood up and said, “My name is Frances Schaeffer and I Know Jesus is the Son of God.” The young man shared his testimony and gave clear evidence for why the Bible is trustworthy. Edith added more to his statement, defending the faith. The couple got married three years later.
While Frances was in seminary, Edith sewed wedding gowns and men’s suits to bring in extra money. After graduation, Edith pastored alongside her husband for three years. A growing concern for the invading liberalism invading mainline denominations rose in their hearts. The years after World War II were fraught with turmoil, confusion, liberal theology, and doubt. Francis and Edith went to Switzerland as missionaries and founded L’Abri Fellowship, a place to learn about the grace and truth found in Christ.