Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wait, I Homeschool? Part 1 of ?

This post is not meant to convince you to bring your children home.  
Instead, it is to remind me why I did.  

I homeschool my children.  Never in a MILLION YEARS would I have thought I would type that last sentence.  I am a teacher at heart.  I believe in public education.  I am PRO-SCHOOL.  Yet, I homeschool my children.  I do it for a host of reasons, but first and foremost, I do it because I love them.

Here are some other reasons:
1) They both struggle desperately
It nearly breaks my heart to watch them try to learn new concepts.  Our day, literally, starts at 7:30/8:00 and we go until 4:00/5:00 depending upon the day.  I have two students, two.  Why does our day take this long?  My children struggle.  They are not students by nature.  That does not mean they aren't smart.  It means, they do not learn well traditionally.

2) They are smart,  but not according to most academic measures
Have you ever heard of the Multiple Intelligences?  MI show that everyone is smart.  It's not IF you are smart, but HOW you are smart.   

My kiddos are Nature Smart, Self Smart, Music Smart, Body Smart and Word Smart.  MOST classrooms/schools teach using logic and word smart methods.  In most cases, this approach just doesn't work with my kiddos.  Dr. Kathy Koch has written the most phenomenal book called How am I Smart.  It refers to the Multiple Intellegences.  Her website is here: 

Knowing which smarts are our strengths helps us make informed decisions about how to be more successful, how to enhance relationships, our career, what to do in our spare time, and how to liftdepression. We also can choose to strengthen our weakest intelligences, which will improve our lives. Dr. Koch describes eight:
Word Smart - thinking with words
Logic Smart - thinking with questions
Picture Smart - thinking with pictures
Music Smart - thinking with rhythms and melodies
Body Smart - thinking with movement and touch
Nature Smart - thinking with patterns
People Smart - thinking with people
Self Smart - thinking by reflecting

3) The schools don't have the time or the resources to offer the attention my children need
My children have multiple diagnoses.  They need extra care and attention.  Through painstaking research, daily trial and error, abundant informal assessment, day-to-day work and God's GRACE, I am able to offer that to them.  No one has the investment or the buy in that I have for my children.  No one wants their success more than I do.

Also, In my heart, I am not sure the schools can or honestly should offer the level of one on one that my children need.  I know what it feels like to have a classroom and to constantly feel the strain and struggle of never having enough time, resources, consistency, and plain ol' HELP needed to give each child everything they need.  TEACHERS ARE HEROES!  I believe that with all my heart.  Lord-willing, one day it will be my time to pay back, but today is not that day.

4) God has called me to it
He has called me kicking and screaming!  I never signed up for this.  In fact, teaching my own children is immeasurably more difficult than having a classroom.  Each and every time I think of pulling out of this path, I get a resounding, "NO!"  For such a time as this, I am to be here, doing this.  I am supposed to be teaching my children.  I am often heard to say, "I gave up the job of my dreams, to teach the children of my dreams!"

5) It is the right thing to do for MY children
There will be more on this in another post, but for now, let me give you the short version.  I teach my children at home because it is best for OUR family.  I have no preconceived notions or judgement about you choosing to send your children to school.  In fact, I applaud, honor and esteem your choice.  Homeschooling is not for everyone.  It is crazy how often I feel people almost defend themselves when they say that their children go to school.  Of COURSE they do!  Only weirdos home educate (wink)!  Yet, somehow I have become the confessional/granter of indulgences for lots of people!  I am not trying to convert, convince, connive, contrive or manipulate you in any way.  I am simply choosing to educate my children at home, because it is best for them.

6) It is flexible and fun!
I mean really, how may people can take a couple of weeks to have school at the ocean??  What an absolute gift and BLESSING from God.  My children have had such AWESOME experiences road schooling.  We have had the joy and pleasure of seeing so very much of God's creation and living history.  I get choked up at the thought of it.

7) There are health benefits
Who knew?  I mean to tell you, my children have been so stinking healthy!  Glory to GOD!  Being away from the germs and yuck has offered such a gift for our little family.  Plus, seeing to their daily food intake etc. has also been a blessing.

8) Socialization
Wait, what?  That's right, my children get a TON of socialization.  Again, this isn't to criticize school, but rather to see the good in our family's choice to educate our children at home.  Tell me, other than K-12, when in life do people socialize with only people their own age?
At Work
Social Clubs
Service Projects

Face it, not anywhere.  Our kids serve the homeless, elderly, play with friends and learn with friends EVERY day.  They are very capable of conversing with people of every culture, age, economic status and then some.   It is truly a joy to watch them talk to people and learn from people from all walks of life.

9) Stress Relief and the Slow-Down Factor
Before we started homeschooling our morning scramble was pitiful.  It was a combination of yelling, anger and frustration mixed with breakfast.  We were UGLY.  One of the sweetest benefits of bringing the children home was our morning routines.  We still have structure, but it's so much more relaxed and serene.  Most days are just a morning mix of quiet time and getting ready.  I am a planner, so we still follow a schedule.  But, it is just less rushed and more peaceful.  For us, this has been a gift.

Okay, that is all for today.  I have such random ramblings that need to be written, so stay tuned for the next installment!

Thank you for my children.  I am so grateful that you allow us to be home.  It is truly a gift for our family.  I pray that you will continue to bless our endeavors.  May we keep you first in our home and show our friends and family what You look like.  Thank you for Your Son, Jesus.  It's in His name I pray.  


Monday, March 18, 2013

A Fresh Word from the WORD

Lately, I have been meditating on Ephesians 4:26.  He has had me there for a while.  It says, "'In your anger do not sin':  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (NIV)

For, like, my whole life, I always thought that meant that Ken and I needed to work it out before we went to sleep!  I was sure that at all costs, this meant that we could NOT go to bed in a fight or we were somehow dishonoring God.  In fact, there were times that Ken begged me to leave him alone.  But, the idea of that verse always naggled at the back of my brain leading me to push my agenda.  

Just recently we had a knock down, drag out, doozy of a fight bit of a disagreement.  Words were said.   Looks were given.  Challenges were made.  Bathrooms were cleaned.  Breaths were huffed.  Made-up come backs were plotted.  Through hot tears I found my way to the comfort of His word.  God brought me to cat and mouse clash and combat of Saul and David.  The cliff notes of the cliff notes being: Saul is jealous of David and wants to kill him.  He attempts to do so many times.  Conversely, David also has plenty of chances to kill Saul, but he doesn't.  He has mercy on him.

That really has nothing to do with the post, but that is what I read, and for whatever reason, during that time of study, I found peace.  My body calmed and my anger abated.  When I say peace, I mean like my agenda, my anger, my me-me-me-ness just fell away and I felt merciful.  I did not want to get my way nor did I have a driving desire to work it out right now!  Rather,  I was resting in the redeeming love of Christ.  I was wrapped in blanket of peace.  I was lounging in his lavish love for me.  It was then He whispered, "Do not let the sun go down while YOU are still angry."

In that moment, years of discontentment, pride and selfishness were lain upon the altar.  My eyes and heart were opened and I realized that we were not necessarily supposed to work it all out before our head hit the pillow!  We did not need rapid release therapy for a good night's rest.  Rather, I was to work out MY anger.

Check this out.  The part of that verse that says "In your anger, do not sin" is a reference from Psalm 4:4.  It says, "Don't sin by letting anger control you.  Think about it overnight and remain silent."  Now, don't get excited, this is not advocating the silent treatment.  But, it IS warning us not to let our anger control US.  And, interesting that it says to wait, think and remain silent...overnight!  Such a different picture than my, must work this out or we will die mindset.

Ack, love it when the Holy Spirit opens my mind to new inspiration.

Thank you for giving me a fresh word in your Word.  I love that you open my heart and mind to fresh perspective.  I am thankful for your wisdom, grace and mercy.  I LOVE that your word offers comfort when anger tries to take hold.  Thanks for renewing my heart and mind.  
In Jesus Name, Amen    

Friday, March 8, 2013

Glory Through Glass

The windows of my home are filthy.  When I say, 'filthy', I mean, winter-beaten, dust-covered, outdoor muck and grime FILTHY.  So, yesterday when my 10-year-old stopped mid step and gasped, "MOM, LOOK!" I sorta wanted to walk away.  But, his delight was so contagious that I walked over to him.

"Isn't it BEAUTIFUL?"  He asked.  I was so confused.  Um, yeah, I guess if you love dirt, dust and disgustin'.  "What are you talking about?"  I asked, perplexed.  K-Dog said, "The glorious streams coming into our home!  It's like God is shining right into our house!"

I looked over at the light struggling to break through the nastiness on the windows, not to mention the dust particles floating through the air and almost shrugged my shoulders and moved on.  But, something stopped me.  My son was seeing the the light, the beauty, the iridescence of glory streams breaking through.  He didn't even notice the windows or the dust.  He just saw the lovely.  In his mind, blessings of the Lord were gleaming into our very presence.

Then, I thought to myself.  THAT is how God sees us!  He sees us through the filter of Christ!  When he looks at us, He doesn't see the yeller, the adulterer, the proud, the ungrateful, the drunk, the thief, the liar or the broken.  He sees us at our completion in JESUS!  No, our sin isn't hidden from Him, He's GOD. But when He looks upon us, he sees us through our High Priest's testimony on our behelf!  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made Him who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in HIM we may become the righteousness of God"   

Jesus is like the purifier used sift and cleanse.  When God the Father looks at our, well, our US, He sees JESUS.  This isn't our license to go on a sin safari, rather it's a calling to holiness and gratitude!  What Jesus did when he paid the ultimate price is sometimes overwhelming to me.  What a gift!

Now, I should probably go wash some windows...

Thank you for seeing me and loving me despite my sin.  THANK you for sending Jesus as a substitute.   I love You.  You are mighty, amazing and glorious.  I feel Your streams of love and I am comforted by Your Son and what He did for me.  Fill me with the Holy Spirit, so that I may show others about your grace and mercy...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lord, Have Mercy

Today, I decided to start a journal and I am using this space.  Why?  Because I NEVER use this space.  So, here goes.

I love God.  I mean, I LOVE the Lord so much, in nearly every moment of the day, I think about Him.  My love for Him seasons my thoughts and so many details of my life.  I want everyone to know the intimacy and joy of loving Him.  I am HIS and He is mine.  I tell my kids that He is the most fun they will ever have.  I believe that with my whole heart.  Earth will pass away, but He never fails, they can lean on Him, trust Him, know Him and love Him.  Truly.  Really.  I mean it.  Yet...

I am so underwhelming, it's not even funny.  Every day my inadequacy greets me like wretched, morning, puppy breath.  Nearly every day I worry that the home I create for my family is a therapy incubator.  You know that our home is the perfect environment for codependency, shame, guilt, lack of security, unmet expectations, never living up, yelling, shouting, frustration and basically laying the foundation for years of, "I could never meet my mother's expectations."  Every day, my mind is riddled with self-doubt.  I worry that I am not meeting my children's  needs, that I am wounding them, that I am messing them up for life, that they are on the A-Train to the Hamlet of Hate and Discontent in the Commonwealth of Cuckoo and I am the engineer.  Lord, have mercy!

That's when I remind myself that grace is real.  Like, He died for these moments, for all of my sin, every nasty bit of it.  Some people may think this is a my license to live in a cycle of heinousness.  But, that is not the case with amazing grace.  Because when it's offered, or rather, when I receive it...I want to be better.  I want to do better.  I want to change.  In fact, I get on my knees, fall on my face and pray through tears that HE will cover this day with His blood.  I pray that He will redeem my messes and use this graceless, haughty, stubborn, self-righteous, pitiful, proud, lazy, ungrateful sinner to be their mom, teacher, mentor, trainer, servant, champion and cheerleader.  And, he does.  Lord, have mercy!

Then, I pick myself up off the carpet and I remind myself that I am His.  Then, I remind myself that THEY are His and that same grace and redemption offered to me, is theirs for the taking!  Suddenly, through the darkness, the Light shines through and I offer apologies, love, forgiveness, humanity and GRACE.  Because,
He will.  He does.  He did.  He died.  Lord, have mercy!

Father, I am yours.  Reveal Yourself despite my resistance and unwillingness to let you reign in me.  Help me show my children YOU, and when I cannot, when I DO not, please, offer Your grace.   Thank you for loving me, thank you for loving them, help me to love them more like you love us all.  Lord, have mercy...