September 9, 2013

The Way, the Truth and the Life

Yesterday was a special day, not just because it is Sunday, which is always special here. My husband and I are quite involved in our church. We are the worship leaders-him on guitar and leading singing, I am on the piano and singing. We have other members of the worship team, but we never know who will show up, so Matt and I are the backbone. Not only that, but he is very involved in the technology area, creating a website, putting the sermons online etc. And we both help with the children's ministry, him more than me.

But, that's not what I'm talking about. Yesterday we had a baptism service. Our church doesn't have a place to baptize, so we all go on Sunday evening to one of the church members' pool, and have a service. My husband played a few songs, our pastor gave a short message about water baptism and what it's purpose is, and then two of my daughters- Alexa who is 9 and Sarah who is 7- along with my nephew who is 10, were baptized. What is so awesome is that it was THEIR idea. They decided they needed to do it, and we told the pastor and they set a date for a service. Two other little girls were baptized too. Last year we had a service and I tried and tried to get Alexa to do it, but she wasn't ready. And then, it was her and my nephew's idea this year.

This is a big deal, because it shows that they have an understanding of their personal relationship with Jesus, and that they want it to be made known outwardly. You have to be brave and step out to do something like that in front of so many people. I recorded a video yesterday but we haven't gotten it uploaded yet. I plan to when it does and then you can watch these little children make their decision known to the world.

It helps me to see that even though at times my girls don't seem to listen to me, or care, they really are understanding more than I realize. They have learned compassion for others, child like faith and trust in God to provide, to heal and so on, and that His Word is the truth, all from us and our church family. This is amazing because they are so little. Because my faith and understanding has grown, I've been able to pass it on to them at a much younger age, and they're way ahead of where I was in my understanding at that age. My goal in raising them has been to give them even more than what I had, though I had a lot, and it seems to be happening :)

I don't want to say that I'm proud of them, but I am, and a better word would be Blessed. I have been able to see some fruit of the work I've put in. There are a lot of times that the devil comes knocking, trying to make me feel like what I do is nothing and unimportant, that I've not accomplished much in my life and so on. Honestly, it's hard to see that that is a lie at times, because I can't see the bigger picture or the fruit of my work, but then, I do get to see it and that is a reward! I was able to see that all I do does have a purpose, and it is working, and they are receiving it and using it. That is a wonderful blessing and is truly a great reward. And I know that I wouldn't be able to do it without the power of the Holy Spirit. My husband and I rely on Him to lead us, and He does.

There's no better way than to live for Jesus.

"Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." John 6:68

When life sometimes feels very hard, when a difficult situation or even an impossible looking one comes up, and thoughts of just quitting try to circulate in my mind, this verse almost always comes to me. What else would I do? The only answer is to dive deeper into Him and lean on Him, keep His Word before my ears and ears, renewing my mind to believe the impossible, that He will make a way, cast my care on Him and He will fix it, because He loves us.

September 5, 2013


My posts are so sporadic here I know. There are just many many things in this woman's head, and whichever is the most important is what takes the majority of my thinking.

So we started school last week, both public and home. Someone may be wondering why I have a child in the public school and the rest here at home. My oldest was born, special. She has had some unique challenges in her life, and part of her learning has been through the public school. I have done a lot of different things with her, and overall considering the dynamic of the family, she does best in her class at school. There is such a small class and so many teachers that she gets lots of one on one, plus all therapies are free. They do an awesome job, love her and she gets very specific teaching there. Here at home, mom is so busy with everything and everyone, and everyone pushing and pushing my buttons, that honestly she wouldn't get that kind of attention. At the moment, through much prayer and seeking God about it, this is where she needs to be. Leiah is there temporarily, she has a bright future.

The other girls also went to the public school, but our desire for them to have a quality Christian education has led us to homeschool.And so, we all started last week.

My perfectionism and aversion to schedules certainly rose up last week, but we had a good first day despite it being SO BUSY!!!! The next day I was really tired....We schooled Mon, Tues, Thurs, Friday and then of course the long weekend. It feels like we've been doing school for a long time though. The main problems I ran into were:

~Children not doing their best work or trying
~Children not interested in the work and not paying attention
~Not having all my homeschool curriculum yet
~Narrating, or the lack of it

So I put up some rules with Scriptures about those things-doing their best, being respectful, not complaining...and then my husband, who has named himself the principal, has reinforced all of it with dire consequences if they give me a hard time. That worked well. LOL

I realized that the way to not fail at this, is to recognize that I am not qualified and cannot do this, and I need, NEED, Jesus. He can do all these things perfectly, in love. I must completely give this to Him and let Him work through me. Then, yesterday, my second oldest daughter, Alexa, totally got into one of the books we've been reading. (The Sword in the Tree) She only had to read two chapters but ended up reading like six! Wow, and today, they wanted me to read more from the book Famous Men of the Middle Ages. Praise the Lord, He worked on them! And, the narration has gotten much better.

So, currently we have been studying the Middle Ages. I know I have not done things conventionally and am not going through history like everyone else, but if this is the last year we homeschool I wanted to be sure to get to this period of history. So we are reading "Famous Men of the Middle Ages" which begins with warriors and barbarians during the Roman empire. They are learning that people used to believe strange things (pagan gods) and that without Jesus, people were ruthless and cruel. And, they are realizing how wonderful it is that we are so free here in America. We are also reading "The Sword in the Tree" told during the time of knights and castles. We are supposed to begin a Viking book, but I'm going to read it first because it looks well above their level and I would need to read it aloud. We are planning to start a lapbook tomorrow that covers the middle ages.

They are learning about the early explorers in geography and we are reading a book called "Around the World in a Hundred Years" They really like learning about this and doing maps.

We have begun dictation with Alexa, who is in 4th grade. It's the Charlotte Mason version of spelling for children. They study a sentence or more depending on age, identify any words they don't know, practice spelling it on paper and out loud, then they write it out while I dictate it to them. I watch closely to see if she has misspelled anything and if so, I cover it up with a sticky note. This helps her to not get a mental image of the word spelled incorrectly. Then we do it again after she studies the word. She missed a word today, so I plan to try again tomorrow. I am using this book
It's from Simply Charlotte Mason. ( I am also using the history guide from there as well.

For my second grader, we are using some traditional workbooks for phonics and spelling. They are reading the nature readers from Christian Liberty Press for science until I can order the science course from Apologia. We were going to start a literature lapbook this week but the book I picked just wasn't great (Treasure Island, old version). I mean, I wasn't compelled to read more than a few sentences, so I'm going to look for a more dumbed down version. We aren't used to the harder books yet!

We typically start between 8:30-9am and finish by 12:30. I have a friend that is now tutoring them in math, so on the days she comes we don't do math unless instructed to by her. So the girls are being taught by a variety of people and are getting a 'feast of ideas' as said by Charlotte Mason herself. I am gradually going to be adding art study, composer/music study and piano lessons, and foreign language.

My goal for this year was to really give them a full and engaging education, which meant more from me, but I wanted them to enjoy it and have a good experience. Last year I was just learning, so we didn't do a lot of extras, but I wanted to stretch us a bit and see what we could do. So little by little we'll get it all worked in. I plan to phase out the workbooks to just maybe once a week for Sarah, and focus more on good literature and narration, but I felt she needed some practice with spelling, writing and phonics rules.

All in all, it is going well, and we are all learning a lot.