Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Reflection on God's Faithfulness...

Southern Psalms - location of the Calling All Women's Conference

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen."  Ephesians 3:20-21

This time last week, I was battling Satan.  I was scheduled to be one of the speaker's at a Women's Conference and Satan was telling me it was impossible.  He has ways of keeping us quiet and at first he was doing pretty good with me.  Telling me I was too quiet and shy to speak in front of people.  Which is partly true - I am more of a quiet person.  Even my own husband said he'd never heard me speak a solid 15-20 minutes!  Yet, the part he was leaving out was that while I couldn't- God could!  I knew it was something God wanted me to do.  At first, I tried to be like Moses and pray for an Aaron but that didn't work either!  God said I had to do it. 

So, the way I saw it, I could either believe Satan's lies and live defeated or I could step out on faith and trust God to use me as a willing vessel for Him. 

So, I had spent the last few weeks - months really- in a spiritual war with Satan.  I had been trying to guard my mind and come back at him with scriptures such as Philippians 4:6-8, 13; 2 Timothy 1:7; and James 4:6-8.  And there I was at the moment of truth, I was the next speaker and I literally felt nauseated.  My legs were shaking, I even wondered if I'd make it up to that podium without falling.  But I did!  And when I did, a peace
that passeth all understanding took over.  God was faithful once again!  There was no way to explain it, except it was a God thing!

I was able to share a little about the importance of being a wife and mom and what God has done for our family, including providing a way for me to be a stay at home mom.  Also, what He has revealed to me during this time on living out my priorities and being more intentional with my time.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to be able to be a part of this Women's Conference.  No doubt, throughout the process, it was me that grew the most.  First of all, in just reflecting and seeing how real He had been over the past seven years.  I could now look back and see that even in my times of uncertainty how He was working all things out for the good of me and my family.   Secondly, as God continued to stretch me and make me step outside my comfort zone, He drew me closer to Him and revealed once again that when I need Him the most - He's always there and will never fail me. 

The conference was on Saturday, then on Sunday we wrapped up another year of Classical Conversations with our end of the year celebration.  Once more, I just sat back and reflected on God's goodness.  So many questions I had when we began this homeschooling journey- to be honest, so many questions I still have- but as I looked over the last two years, I could once again see God's presence woven throughout! 

First of all, I can see His presence in our Classical Conversations group.  I was probably one of the biggest skeptics of all as I went to my first CC info meeting.  I, who had been working with preschoolers for several years, thought it was absolutely ludicrous to try and teach my preschooler a song that lasted almost 20 minutes and covered the entire history of the world-and that was just scratching the surface of their memory work!  However, they sucked me in with their motto "To Know God and to Make Him Known" and the idea of community as I wanted my children to still be involved with other kids.  As I looked around Sunday and saw the community God had given us to help raise our children, I was so thankful for the wonderful families that truly lived out His will for their lives.  

Not only were we teaching our children facts, but  more importantly, we were teaching them what a community truly should look like. On a weekly basis my children were seeing families, that truly valued children and others over material things-which to be quiet honest is so rare in today's society. 
We look so very different within each family:  some with foster children, some with adopted children, some with children from other countries, some with many children, some with one, some seriously struggling with health issues within their families, some with financial issues, and I could go on and on. 
Yet, here we all were encouraging each other, lending a helping hand and trying to teach our children more than anything else - to know God and to make Him known! 
Because really, is there any other reason we should be educating our children? And you know what else - I love that timeline song!  

Secondly, God's presence has been evident through our time at home together "schooling".  In case you didn't know school comes from the Greek word "schole" which means "leisure".   The Greeks considered it a pleasure to be done working and to sit around and read and discuss ideas.  That's how some of the greatest philosophers  and ideas came.  Looking back, it's been in those moments we've slowed down that we've learned the most about each other, the world around us and most importantly, God.  While the future still holds many uncertainties, I'm so thankful for these years at home to give my children a God centered worldview and a strong foundation to build upon. 

I know this has probably been one of my most scattered post ever written; however, after last weekend, it's where my mind has been this week:  Rejoicing over God's goodness and faithfulness throughout our journey so far! 

In closing, I encourage you to not let Satan fill your mind and life with his lies.  Don't live defeated.  Instead, guard your mind and life by knowing and trusting in God's word.  Speaking at the women's conference and homeschooling are only two instances where I've stepped out on faith and witnessed His faithfulness.  Had I of believed Satan's lies or just went with what today's society said I would've missed these two HUGE blessings!   It doesn't always make sense to us, but that's because we only see a few of the pieces of the puzzle at a time.  God has a plan for your life that is "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" - step out on faith and live it!  Then you too will be reflecting on His faithfulness...


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Look Inside Our Homeschool Week

One of the questions I often get asked is "What does a homeschool day look like?"  That's really a tough question to answer because it's different for everyone and even our days often look different from each other; that's one of the beauties of homeschooling!  However, as we wind down this year-I wanted a reminder of what some of our weeks looked like so here's what last week looked like for us:

was an actual "class" day - as in we were in the "classroom" in our basement.  We start earlier on Monday mornings (8:00 am) to be done by 10:30 and head to piano. We begin our mornings with our CC memory work, followed by "carpet time" (calendar, pledge, weather, etc). Then I do reading/language with Miss Priss (Abeka) while the other two do seatwork and tray time (Confessions of a Homeschooler, 1+1+1=1).  Then I swap and Miss Priss does her seat work while I work with the other two. Then I swap back and do math with Miss Priss while the other two do more seatwork and puzzles or another center. One last swap and I do math with the other two (Math U See) while
Miss Priss does her math seat work.  Totally confused yet?   
We then head to piano and run errands!  When we get back after lunch, we usually have read aloud time.  This week we read James and the Giant Peach in preparation for our field trip to see the play on Thursday. 

Tuesday is our Classical Conversations community day. We meet and the children learn their new memory work, do art/music, science and a presentation.  This week we spent some time reviewing and preparing for our end of the year celebration.  Then we tested straw bridges and egg crates that we had built in previous weeks.  It was so fun watching the kids' faces as we tested their projects!

This week for presentation it was just a show and tell. Miss Priss wanted to take her Bible for her presentation.  Ladybug took a new purse she had bought while we were on vacation.


Wednesday was a "traveling school day" as I've come to call them. Since the weather has been sooo nice lately, we've been putting our school work, some snacks and a blanket into a wagon and taking school on the go!  We walk until we find a comfy place to sit - usually by the creek or a pond.   This day it was by the pond!

On our walk back, I had a few extra "students"!
Thursday was a field trip to see James and the Giant Peach with our CC group.  It's always fun seeing a play or watching a movie after reading the book!
Friday was supposed to be back in the classroom.  However, my Mom called and decided she wanted to go to Vintage Market Days and wanted to know if we wanted to go with her.  Had it of been the beginning of the school year, I wouldn't have.  I would have totally stuck to my schedule. However, what teacher doesn't get a little lax toward the end of the school year?  So, we loaded all of our worksheets onto clipboards for the car and went along with her!
We were glad we did because other than scoring an awesome bread bowl centerpiece for my kitchen table, we also met an author's husband and discovered a new set of books.  It was interesting listening to him tell about how his wife had taken her childhood experiences on a farm and written a series.  Each book includes original recipes, songs, and a character lesson.  Miss Priss chose the first two in the series and I can't wait to read them!

Down on Friendly Farm

We made it back home a little after lunch and managed to get in some classroom time finishing up James and the Giant Peach and doing a few assignments on it. 
We wrapped up our school week with a family movie night.  Any guesses what we watched?  You bet!  James and the Giant Peach.  We had gummy worms, peach rings, and peach soda with popcorn.  Not surprisingly, out of the movie, play and book - the book was my favorite :)
So there you have it - a crazy week of homeschooling!