who are you behind the screen?

I recently witnessed a vicious attack on someone’s character via social media. As one who has active accounts on both Facebook and Twitter, this didn’t surprise me because I had seen it before (and have even been on the receiving end of it myself), but it did appall me. The attack was not only unnecessary, but unfounded.

How many times have we witnessed insanely hateful comments posted on someone’s social media?

In today’s “screen” culture, it’s easier than ever to be hateful because of the anonymity. After all, isn’t it more acceptable to be spiteful when you’re not face to face with someone with whom you disagree? When you’re sitting at a desk behind a computer screen or sitting in your recliner with your phone or other handheld device? When you’re on your laptop taking an online college course and someone disagrees with you about a hotly-contested topic?

That distance – sometimes miles, sometimes continents apart – emboldens people, and not in a good way.

In our polarized culture, it’s not unanticipated, although it is unsettling.

Sadly, I’ve seen it among Christians as well. This is perhaps the most disturbing of all, as we are to be in this world, but not of it.  God detests strife among fellow Believers. Yet, it’s easy, even for those who profess Christ, to act like the world and fall into the trap of taking offense and following up that offense with vile words or sharing their disagreements through hateful responses.

Whether in person or online, Proverbs 15:1 still holds true.

It also holds true that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. This can be difficult, but if you are set on slandering someone’s reputation via a comment, post, email, or online message, you would be wise to heed the advice found in Ephesians 4:29: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

In the “olden” days, if someone disagreed, they said it to someone’s face. Today, as we sit behind a computer or phone screen, the words our fingers find to type seem to come more readily and without much thought, resulting in a slew of hateful, cruel responses and accusations, none of which belong in civil conversations over any medium.

Case in point, a dear friend and I are on opposites sides about a much-debated topic in today’s culture. As we were chatting via text the other day, she mentioned her viewpoint in a gracious way. I responded in same and we agreed to disagree. The difference of opinion did not alter our opinions of each other, nor did it cause us to react in a way that would destroy our friendship. She is a blessing to me and life is too short to allow something so trivial to divide us.

I encourage all of us to set ourselves apart from the culture of social media bullying via words. If you don’t like what you’re seeing in a Facebook or Twitter post, scroll on by. (And I’m not talking about pornography, violence, or sexually explicit images. Those aren’t people you should be following anyway). Rather, I’m talking about someone who posts something on the opposite side of the spectrum politically or religiously than you. If you don’t agree with it, scroll on by. If you have something constructive to add to the conversation, by all means, please do it, but in a civil, professional manner. I am the first to tell you I believe in our right to free speech. But hatefulness, slander, accusatory words, backbiting, and strife-causing is not pleasing to the Lord first and foremost, and it’s not pleasing to those who happen to see it on their friends’ timelines.

Rather, let’s encourage each other.

Most who know me know I am a conservative Christian. Most who know me also know that while most of my friends are in the same “category”, I also have several moderate-leaning and liberal-leaning friends. I also have atheist friends and those of other religions. When they post something I don’t agree with, I’m on the move with the mouse button. Nothing says I have to “like” or “retweet” what they’ve posted. But something, or rather Someone, does say I shouldn’t respond with hatred or vile words.

The book of James tells us to be slow to speak and quick to listen. The same can be said for our typing/texting habits.

My own personal mantra? May every word that is communicated through my fingertips be pleasing in your sight, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14, Penny version).

We don’t always have to be right. We don’t always have to have the last word. And we don’t always have to respond in a knee-jerk reaction. Most times, it’s wise to ponder something before responding – if we need to respond at all.

In a world full of hatred, division, and animosity, we (especially if we are Christians) should rise above that and seek to glorify Him above all else.

We can’t glorify Him if our fingers are running amuck with words we should never and would never say face to face.

Other posts on this blog you may enjoy:

How to Host Your Own Sisters in Christ Community Girls’ Night Out

Mom Approved Movies Listing

11 verses about God’s unfailing love

Scriptural antidotes to fear

The great toilet paper caper

6 ways to stick with homeschooling (when you want to give up)

Whether you are new to homeschooling or have been at it for a while, it can, at times, seem overwhelming. So overwhelming that it might seem like time to “throw in the towel.” Let me assure you, you are not alone. If they are honest, most, if not all, homeschooling parents have considered the very same thing, even if for the briefest of minutes (or while in an exhausted state of mind).

Let me encourage you to stick with this important task. I assure you it is worth it.

Here are six ways to stick with homeschooling when you are ready to give up.

Surrender your homeschool to the Lord daily. He will give you the grace, the tenacity, and the motivation to do this extremely important task.

Look for a change of pace. We have switched directions many times with both our curriculum and our schedule. Fortunately, there are many choices for curriculum since no two children are exactly the same in personalities or learning styles. There is nothing wrong with switching up the curriculum to one that works for your child. In the same vein, there is nothing wrong with changing up a schedule that isn’t working. The key is to be flexible. After all, that is one of the blessings of homeschooling – we are not all placed in one box, with one style of learning, one schedule, and one set of educational materials.

Share your thoughts. One of the best things about homeschooling is the mentors. Those who have been there, done that, and received the honorary t-shirt. Yes, I’m talking about the moms (and dads!) – the homeschool pioneers – who came before us. While they will tell you that they didn’t do it perfectly, they are a wealth of positive and encouraging advice. Lean on them as well as those who are currently “in the trenches” with you. One word of caution… choose those whom you vent to carefully. You will want to seek out someone who won’t judge, won’t offer solutions without really listening, or who elevates themselves at your struggling expense. On the same note, avoid those who offer unsolicited advice. I once had an older woman “offer” unwelcome advice. Not only was it poor advice, but she had never homeschooled.

Avoid the comparison trap. This is a super easy thing to succumb to and a temptation we need to avoid.

Take a vacation. Maui would be nice, but realistically, I am talking about a vacation from homeschooling. Just a brief one or two days a couple times during the school year to allow both you and your child(ren) a break from the rigors of schooling and a chance to recharge. Do something fun on those days – something that further connects you to your kiddos.

Have a chat with your pupils. One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is our ability to think outside the box. We don’t have to teach the same things in the same way to each of our children. Nor do we have to teach the same things in the same way that the public schools do (isn’t that one of the reasons we are homeschooling?!). Have a casual talk with your child. What is their favorite subject? Least favorite? What is something they would like to learn more about? Less about? This works especially well for junior high and high school students. By gauging their interests (which can change over time), you can better choose electives that suit their personalities. I always reiterated to my tweens and teens that some classes are mandated (math, English, science, history), but that there are other classes we have some leeway on and can explore as different elective possibilities.

All this to say, let me encourage you to stick with homeschooling. You can do it! It’s one of the most important jobs you will have and for which you are fully equipped. You have been teaching and training your children since their earliest days, and who loves them more and cares about their future more than you? So hang in there and forge ahead!

Looking for other homeschool posts on this blog? Check these out:

You might be a homeschool mom if…15 clues

outside the box homeschool ideas

Looking to homeschool? Here are 7 things to consider

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

Kids write the funniest things!

the importance of respect

My daughters and I went on a 15-mile bike ride today. During our ride, I noticed someone had spray-painted graffiti on the underside of a bridge.

We don’t have a lot graffiti in our small rural town, and when it does appear, it is usually covered up quickly (an excellent way, according to experts, to help prevent more graffiti).

The graffiti by the spray-paint “artists” brought to mind the destruction of property we are seeing on a daily basis in our country. Homes and businesses destroyed. Looters, people burning the property of others, and the list goes on.

When did we get to the point that it was all right to destroy the property, livelihoods, and lives of others?

When did it become all right to, just because we disagree with someone, their beliefs, or their actions, to outright deface, damage, destroy, or demolish their personal property? When did it become acceptable to ruin government property?

Property isn’t the only thing at risk. More disturbing is the general lack of disrespect for parents, other authority, older people, the handicapped, police officers, and people in general. If someone disagrees with someone, it no longer is enough to state your opinion calmly or courteously; there are now more damaging ways to make sure an opinion is heard. Injuring, harming, and even killing people no longer shocks us as much as it once did. We’ve become jaded to the horrific antics of those seeking revenge or acting in pettiness because something is not the way they want it.

Disrespect can stem from bad parenting, learned behavior, hatefulness, anger issues, etc. However, it is ultimately the perpetrator’s fault for their actions. No blame should be placed on others for evil behavior.

How can we teach our children to respect others?

Set a good example. If you are disrespectful to others, from the grocery store clerk to your employer, your children are bound to follow that example, no matter how many times you “tell” them to do the opposite.

From an early age, teach your children the importance of manners. “Please” and “thank you” are far too sparse in conversations these days.

Teach them to be generous and avoid selfishness. Putting others first is a critical component of avoiding self-centeredness.

Set an example for them on how to interact with those with whom you disagree. Role play ideas and encourage them to humbly and kindly state their position when it differs from yours.

Impress upon them the importance of honesty. Honesty and respect go hand in hand. Not too long ago, a friend of ours had her mailbox run over by the neighbor’s visitor to the neighborhood. Rather than admit to backing over the mailbox, the visitor denied it and lied to the police, even though there were witnesses. An easy solution would have been for honesty from the one who ran over the mailbox, a plan to have it repaired, and forgiveness. Instead, dishonesty got the crook off the hook.

Reiterate the importance of treating others how we would like to be treated. A good habit for all of us to remember is to ask ourselves before each action, “Would I like that done to me?” If the answer is “no”, then we shouldn’t be taking that action against others.

Remind them that not everyone is worthy of their respect. However, even so, we must remember that lashing out with destruction on someone’s person or personal property is never the answer.

Above all else, teach them to love and honor God. Respecting and revering our Lord is paramount to loving and honoring others.

Even if your children are no longer young, it is never to late to teach them the importance of respect. And as adults, it’s never too late for us to remember – and exemplify – that importance as well.

Other posts on this blog you may be interested in reading:

the importance of life

the importance of honesty

the importance of priorities

14 things for girls to consider before dating

Movie Monday: Signed, Sealed & Delivered Home Again (movie review)

Movie Monday: Invincible (movie review)

14 things for girls to consider before dating

14 things for girls to consider

As a mom of daughters, we’ve had many great discussions about things to consider before they choose to date someone.

Everyone will have their own personal likes/dislikes. For example, my girls have mentioned they would never date someone who has a man bun, wears skinny jeans, or has body piercings.

While hair and clothing styles and body piercings are all a matter of preference, some things are non-negotiable, and while we need to remember no one is perfect, being aware of the following attributes (or lack thereof) will help you make a more informed choice before you choose to date someone.

Below are 14 things to consider before dating that cute guy.

1. How is his faith walk? Is he growing in Christ? Is he living out his faith? Is he unashamed of his faith? Does he pray with and for you? Is his faith an important part of his life? Does he “walk the walk and talk the talk”?

Romans 12 2

2. How does he spend his time? We have become a world obsessed with technology. While that’s not bad in and of itself, if you are contemplating dating someone who has an addiction to video games or is constantly on his phone or social media, you might want to think twice about whether there would be any room in his life for you. As a matter of fact, a name has been given to cell phone addiction: “nomophobia”. According to techjury.net, “66% of the world’s population shows signs of nomophobia.” And gaming and cell phone addiction aren’t the only addictions to be wary of.

And while video games, social media, and time spent on a cell phone are fine in moderation, look for someone who spends his spare time doing productive things.

3. What is his standard for music, books, and movies? What does he allow to fill his mind? What does he allow his eyes to see and his ears to hear? What goes in will come out in his attitude, personality, and the way he treats others.

4. Speaking of how he treats others, how does he treat…

Your family? A guy who wants nothing to do with your family is a guy to avoid. In addition, a guy who won’t allow you to spend time with your family could have possessive and abusive tendencies.

His family? Some people come from dysfunctional homes, and as such, the guy you are considering dating may not be close to his family. That is tough and there are many logistics involved in that. But is your potential boyfriend respectful to his family? Does he care about their wellbeing? You can be estranged and still care about those you are not close to.

Children? It has been said many times that how a guy treats little children and babies is a huge indicator of the type of person he is. Is he hateful, rude, and sees little ones as a burden? Does he believe babies should be aborted because they aren’t worthy of living? Notice how he treats not only your siblings and his siblings, but also children at functions, such as church.

The elderly? Does he view them as precious creations of God or as wasting society’s resources?

Animals?  Your potential guy doesn’t have to be a dog or cat lover to be kind to animals. But you don’t want to date someone who mistreats or abuses animals.

5. How does he treat you when you can’t do anything for him? Does he take care of you when you are sick? Is he there for you?

6. How does he handle disagreements? Does he withdraw, get into a raging fight, or blame everything on you? Guaranteed that if you date (and later marry!) anyone for any length of time, you will have disagreements. It’s natural for two people to not see eye-to-eye on every subject. How he handles conflict speaks volumes.

7. How is his work ethic? Is he lazy and unmotivated? Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, a workaholic?

8. Is he loyal? Will he defend your honor?

9. Is he honest? Does he keep his word? Does he do what he says he’ll do? Is he honest when speaking with authorities?

10. Does he have a servant’s heart? There are multiple ways to serve others and it’s not a one-size-fits-all. But is he using his gifting to make the lives of others better?

1 Peter 4 10

11. How does he handle your concerns or fears? Lightly? With care?

12. Does he respect you? Or does he coerce, guilt-trip, pressure, or force you to do things that are against your convictions, make you uncomfortable, and/or aren’t safe?

13. Does he show any signs of an abusive temperament? In other words, how does he treat those he is no longer friends with or girls he formerly dated?

One thing my daughters and I have discussed often is the high rate of abuse suffered by young women in “romantic” relationships. A horrifying statistic from the website loveisrespect.org states “Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year”. Further, “Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors”. The rise of cyber abuse has contributed to the problem.

As a mom, this frightens me more than I can express. We can’t see all of the warning signs in a potential abuser, but we can be aware that abuse does exist and be on the lookout.

14. How is his overall character and integrity? One of my favorite quotes is that assessing one’s integrity is done by seeing what they do when no one is looking.

C.S. Lewis

Webster’s defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty”. Character and integrity are crucial and a huge part of someone’s personality. Does your potential boyfriend stand for what is right?

Stand even if alone

In our house, we put an emphasis on intentional dating. Not dating just to date, but rather seriously contemplating who to date and whether that person could be a potential long-term prospect. This helps to “weed out” those who could never be potential mates for a variety of reasons, and helps eliminate the emotions, heartbreak, and problems that arise from failed “romantic” relationships.

 

 

Other posts on this blog that you may enjoy reading:

4 ways to reconnect with your spouse

10 ways to help your kids choose good role models

Looking to homeschool? Here are 7 things to consider.

7 tips to help safeguard against an entitlement attitude in your kids

Movie Monday: Chronicle Mysteries – Recovered

 

you might be a homeschool mom if… (15 clues)

might be homeschool mom 15 clues

People joke about homeschool moms in long denim skirts, with no makeup, and hair buns with a dozen children and a van held together by duct tape. They make all meals from scratch and have three freezers each full of “make and freeze meals” as a backup.They live in the country, grow their own food, and can everything from jam to green beans.

Sure, there are many homeschool moms who fit that description, but there are also homeschool moms who wear sporty exercise clothes, have ponytails, wear makeup, and have pink glittery painted fingernails, have less than a dozen children, and drive an SUV held together by duct tape. That mom lives on the edge and never knows what’s for dinner until 15 minutes prior. She lives in a subdivision with an HOA, and her garden consists only of flowers. Canning never has been and never will be on her radar.

One of the things I love about homeschool moms is their diversity. They come in all shapes and sizes and live in a variety of neighborhoods from city apartments to farmhouses in the boonies 50 miles from the nearest town.

So, with this wide assortment of homeschool moms, how can you spot one? Or how might you give it away that you are one yourself?

You might be a homeschool mom if…

*You stalk the UPS guy each day as you patiently (or not so patiently!) await your curriculum delivery every August.

*When you go school clothes shopping, your main purchases are pajamas (for school uniforms, of course).

*Everything that happens during the day is a teaching opportunity because you think outside the box for assignments to give your kids a well-rounded education.

*You are ecstatic that your new otoscope arrived in the mail today. This will make the perfect addition to the stethoscope and oximeter you’ll use for teaching health class.

*You are just as thrilled (if not more thrilled) than your kids when you find a perfect insect specimen during a nature walk. Good thing you ordered that high-powered microscope that has been helpful for just about every scientific observation from a piece of lint to an insect leg.

*As part of their writing assignments, your kids write letters to the editor of the local newspaper on the topic of their choice. Their opinions are well-known throughout your community.

girl doing schoolwork*You use grocery shopping as an opportunity for math, menu planning, economics, and P.E. (loading bags from the store, to the car, and from the car to the house builds cardiovascular health and strength). Your children know all about pantry patrol, food organization, and pantry stocking procedures.

*Your children have the most varied and funnest P.E. classes that include family bike rides, hiking, jumproping competitions, volleyball games, and badminton wars.

*You’ve been majorly crushing on that cute principal at your homeschool.

*Your living room hosts a permanent homemade blanket fort because that’s where your kids love to do their schoolwork.

*You are well-known and loved for all the treats your kids make in baking class and deliver to friends in the neighborhood.

baking with mom*The stares from fellow shoppers at the grocery store as you shop with your kids during the day no longer phase you and you have the entire “socialization argument” down to a science and can recite it in your sleep.

*Your kids can glance at a piece of correspondence, a newspaper article, or an online news story and pick out all the grammatical errors in 20 seconds or less. And they’ve written their own novel in a year as an English assignment.

*The librarians at the local library can see you and your “students” coming from a mile away because you’re the ones who bring a U-haul to the library to load up all the books to check out.

*Your kids are avid readers and hurry to complete their work so they can start reading through that stack of books in the U-haul from the library.

little boy readingAnd there it is in a nutshell…how to know you’re a homeschool mom!

 

 

 

Check out these other posts from this blog:

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

the importance of living out your faith

Movie Monday: Unplanned

Looking to homeschool? Here are 7 things to consider.

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

Kids write the funniest things!

 

 

6 suggestions for getting through the rough times in life

6 suggestions for getting through

There is no problem God can’t solve.
There is no promise God can’t keep.
There is no prayer God can’t answer.
There is no person God can’t save.  ~ author unknown

I have no idea who wrote the above quote, but it’s a truthful statement that applies to anything life throws at us:

There is no problem God can’t solve – The husband who just lost his job and has no idea how he’ll support his family.  God can solve the problem of unemployment.

There is no promise God can’t keep – The teen who’s all alone and depressed with nowhere to turn. When God says He’ll never leave her nor forsake her, is that a promise she can trust? His promises in His Word are trustworthy.

There is no prayer God can’t answer – The bad news he just received that he has cancer. Does God hear the prayer that’s being sent for courage to endure and for the healing of an illness? He hears our every prayer.

sick man

There is no person God can’t save – The spiritually single woman who longs for her husband to know the saving grace of  Jesus Christ. No one is beyond God’s saving grace.

So what can we do when faced with the difficulties of life?

Here are some suggestions for getting through those particularly rough times.

1. Spend an abundant amount of time in prayer. I have found in my own life that the times when I’m going through difficulties are the times when I grow in my relationship with the Lord. I am reminded anew to surrender to Him, lean on Him, and put my hope in Him, in every situation.

2. Draw upon God’s Word. During a particularly rough time in 2007, I drew great comfort from Psalm 91.

Psalm 91 4To this day, it remains my favorite verse in the Bible. Here are some other verses to lean on during the troubles of life.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28

Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you. ~ Psalm 55:22

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. ~ Psalm 121:1Psalm 121 1For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~ Isaiah 40:29-31

3. Reach out to and rely on a friend, someone who’s faith is strong and someone who will be there for you for the duration of your situation. It’s true that you find out who your true friends are when you’re going through a difficult situation. That type of friend will be there for you through the good times…and the bad.friends4. Seek assistance from your pastor, one of the elders, or your Bible study leader. Many churches now have Biblical counselors who apply the Word of God to the hardships of life.

5. Ask for prayer support. One of the biggest blessings is our church’s prayer chain. Ask for prayer support from those you trust and who are committed to interceding for you.

6. Think of a way to bless someone else. The quote that states “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” is definitely a good one to put into practice.kindness2Sometimes life’s challenges seem overwhelming. You wonder if God is really there and if He truly cares about what you’re experiencing. He does care. Very much. And He loves you so much that He sent His own Son to die for you.

Don’t give up hope. Reach out to Jesus. Cry out to Him. Trust in Him. And depend on Him.

Friend, He loves you so much.

 

 

 

Other posts you may enjoy:

the importance of relying on God

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

10 suggestions for dealing with the corona virus situation

Movie Monday: Where Love Found Me

Movie Monday: Indivisible

 

 

 

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

Life is hard. Things don’t always go as we’d like. Discouragement, disappointment, fear, and anxiety can overtake us at a moment’s notice. Everyday we are faced with trials, hardships, and frightening news about the world around us. What should we do when faced with these feelings?

Everyone, at one time or another, needs to be reminded of God’s love and that He never leaves us.

God’s Word has much encouragement for the burdened heart. Here are 12 inspiring verses of God’s promises to be with us and give us comfort no matter what life tosses our way.

Isaiah 66 13

Jeremiah 29 11

1 Peter 5 7

Psalm 91 4

Philippians 4 13

Psalm 29 11

Psalm 46 1

Psalm 147 3a

Psalm 46 10a

Psalm 23 2-3a

Psalm 55 22

Isaiah 41 10

 

Other posts in The Scripture Series you may enjoy:

11 verses about God’s unfailing love

scriptural antidotes for fear

10 Bible verses to start off your day

Should we cancel 2020?

should we cancel 2020

I recently printed off our camping list. As I gazed at the things we would need (some I can’t even find in stores anymore) a thought struck me. I already miss the “olden days.”

Olden days as in the era I grew up in? Olden days as in the 1800s where I like to place my characters for my historical books?

No. Olden days as in last year. 2019.

A friend of mine said he wished we could erase 2020 from the history books. His comment gave me pause. What if what we are facing at the present lasted forever?

Should we just cancel 2020 altogether? Maybe start over?

One thing 2020 has taught us is that life can change on a dime.

One minute we were going about our days waiting for spring and the next minute we faced the news of a dangerous virus, sheltering at home, businesses closed for the foreseeable future, unemployment, isolation, and a toilet paper shortage. Simple freedoms we took for granted slipped away before we even had a chance to notice. Social distancing replaced hugs and handshakes and masks became the new great divider.

Fast forward to riots, violence in the streets, cities burning, the taking of innocent lives (including children), civil unrest, and unparalleled division. Personal safety threatened.

The issues that struck fear to our very core struck us in ways that escalated heart rates, blood pressure, and the peace we longed for.

For those of us in Christ, we know this is not our permanent home. We have an enduring hope, knowing this craziness we are experiencing is but a blip on the radar of history.

When all history – and not just 2020 – fades away into the distant past, one thing will remain.

Take His hand. Revel in His peace. Cling to the One who gave you life and who gave His life for you. Our hope is in Him.

So while we can’t, and shouldn’t, delete 2020 from the history books, we can look to the One who will never change. Whose love endures forever.

Isaiah 40 8

Looking to homeschool? Here are 7 things to consider.

looking to homeschoolSummer is going fast. Before we blink, it will be time to again think about the upcoming school year. With the current COVID issues, some schools aren’t slated to open this fall. Others will open with strict cautionary measures.

Time and again, I’ve heard from several parents who are considering (or have made the decision) to homeschool, which raises the question: what things should you consider if you are contemplating homeschooling this year?

#1: Motive. People homeschool for many reasons. Some of these include:

COVID – this wasn’t a reason until this year, but it’s becoming a common reason for deciding to homeschool.

Religious reasons – parents want to be able to raise their children in a school that allows God to be at the forefront.

The freedom to be able to instill their morals.

Their child has experienced a negative situation at their public school, for example, bullying.

To be able to teach their child at a rate above what the public school teaches.

To be able to teach their child at a pace needed for a child with special needs.

The child has other health issues that would be better served by a home education.

More freedom during the school day in all arenas of daily life.

Ability to choose and tailor school curriculum to specific learning styles. (A one-size-doesn’t-fit-all education).

A more efficient school day.

And many, many other reasons.

What is your motive for homeschooling your child? It’s critical to examine those motivations to better equip you for this decision.

#2: Children’s learning styles. It’s helpful to learn your children’s learning styles. There is a thorough explanation of seven different (some primary, some secondary) learning styles on the Homeschooling Mom blog. The styles include visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (which most of us are somewhat familiar with), as well as, reading/writing learner, mathematical/logic learner, social learner, and solitary learner.

Most children are mix of one or more styles. If you are in tune to what style(s) your child is, you will be better able to teach them. Neither of my children share my learning styles, but if I was to teach in one of those styles, I likely wouldn’t be effective. As a homeschool parent, you have the ability of being able to teach in whatever learning style(s) your child falls into.

#3: Curriculum. One of the concerns I have heard from people considering homeschooling is that they won’t (i.e., aren’t educated enough/don’t have qualifications) be able to teach their child in certain subjects. Let me reassure you that there are so many curriculum choices, some that are even self-grading, that this challenge will not be as big of an issue as it could at first seem. Co-ops are also helpful for this.

A little reminder: you have been teaching your child since their first days. Who better qualified to continue teaching them?

Seek out those who have already homeschooled or who are currently homeschooling and ask what curriculum they use. Be prepared to change your curriculum if it doesn’t work. I’ve done that many times with my girls. We have the freedom to choose what will work best for our children, and if something doesn’t work, there are many other choices.

Be willing to think outside the box. For instance, maybe your child who doesn’t much care to write can give some oral reports for history class, rather than writing a report of what she has learned. Or if you have a child who loves to write, perhaps doing a novel in a year would be just the thing to add to her English curriculum.

Some of my choices for high school curriculum can be found here.

One final note: curriculum can get pricey. Keep in mind that you can purchase used curriculum at a fraction of the cost.

#4: Your support system. If you are going to homeschool, you will need a support system.

A support system begins with your spouse. If your spouse is not on board, it will be an uphill battle. I’m thankful my husband (our principal, math, woodworking, and science teacher) has been on full board since we began homeschooling many years ago.

You’ll also need the support of other family and friends. Homeschooling can be difficult and lonely at times, and their support will be invaluable.

The support of online Facebook groups is also helpful. We have a local group for which I am an admin, and it has been a great place to bounce ideas off each other, find upcoming events and field trips, and even buy used curriculum. I am also the member of numerous national Facebook homeschool groups, which provide a different and even broader range of opportunities.

Find a mentor mom, someone who has been there, done that, and survived to tell the tale. We have several of these in our local Facebook group. Their experience and advice have been priceless.

Local co-ops are also a great place to find support.  I taught a homeschool P.E. class for seven years to upwards of 40 teens and tweens during our busiest years. I also taught Constitutional Literacy and Biology Lab. During those times of teaching, and the times when my daughters attended other classes, I was able to reinforce those bonds with other homeschooling moms and dads.

#5: Be mindful of electives. One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is that our children have a wide variety of electives. My oldest daughter took a woodworking class with her dad as the teacher. She built me a birdhouse, built herself a dresser, and assisted my husband in redoing the counters and moldings in our kitchen and bathroom.

My youngest daughter takes a quilting and sewing class from a friend. This has enabled her to sew a skirt, two quilts, and a host of other smaller projects.

#6: Don’t worry about socialization. This is a huge concern for people who don’t homeschool. Between church youth groups, volunteer projects, sports, co-ops, and fair/4-H projects, homeschooled kids are more than socialized. The difference between being socialized as a public school student and being socialized as a homeschool student is that the parent chooses how they want their child to be socialized and who they want their child to be socialized with. This eliminates negative influencers and incorporates positive role models and interaction with every age group.

#7. Use this time to build relationships with your children. My absolute favorite thing about being a homeschool mom is the relationships I have built with my daughters. For example, each day, I bring a topic to the table during breakfast, where we discuss it (no topic/question is off limits). We’ve had some great discussions about the things that concern them most.

In addition, being together more often than the few hours they would be home were they public schooled has allowed us to grow closer. I wouldn’t trade that closeness for anything.
Time with KidsNo matter if you decide to homeschool, or what homeschooling method you choose , offer your decision to the Lord. Ask that He guide you, direct you, and help you to glorify Him in your choice to homeschool your child.

 

Other posts on this blog that might interest you:

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

5 fun summer activities for kids

outside-the-box homeschool ideas

10 good things that could come from the corona virus pandemic

10 suggestions for dealing with the corona virus situation

Movie Monday: Unplanned

 

 

 

 

the importance of living out your faith

the importance of living out your faith

A friend recently told me a very inspiring story. When she first moved across the country for a new job, Lynn wasn’t sure what to expect in her new town. Her first Sunday there, she headed to a church, hoping to fellowship with like-minded believers and find a church home in the process.

No one welcomed her. No one said “hi.” No one even acknowledged her presence. And this was a small church.

Throughout the week, Lynn visited a local business. A woman who worked there invited Lynn to her church. “And I’ll be waiting by the front door for you so I can show you around,” she told Lynn.

Sure enough the woman was there. She showed Lynn around the church, introduced her to others, and encouraged her to come back the following week.

Lynn did.

When Lynn was diagnosed with breast cancer a short time later, the congregants of her new church drove her to her chemo appointments 95 miles each way, brought her meals, mowed her yard, and prayed with and for her. All with only knowing her a short amount of time.

She told me with tears in her eyes that these precious brothers and sisters in Christ had become her family.

Another friend, Sarah, in another town recently went through a nasty and unwanted divorce. Betrayed, broken, and hurt by the man she still loved, she stumbled into the church she had attended with her husband for the past year, sobbing and asking if someone would please pray with her. The secretary looked perplexed and called for one of the elders in the building. Rather than praying for her, he suggested she find a divorce support group, then ushered her out of the church.

Sarah has yet to find a new church home.

A blog post on how churches should welcome and support fellow believers?

On the contrary. Rather, my blog post is one about how important it is to live out our faith.

We, as Christians, have been given an important responsibility. To love Jesus and to love His church and to share the Gospel with nonbelievers.

Here are some suggestions on how we might better live out our faith.

Be the light. Sure, we hear this phrase often. But what does it mean to be the light? Consider the following verses:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14-16

“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” ~ Ephesians 5:8

Ephesians 5 8

We are to stand out from the rest of the crowd. We are to show our light and be able to give an answer for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15). We aren’t to blend in and look like the world, but to look like one of His. Yes, there truly is a difference between us and someone who doesn’t proclaim Christ.

Definitely a tall order in a world that puts a high emphasis on things that are anti-Christian.

Be a doer, not just a talker. When we say we will pray for someone, we need to take that promise seriously and not just say it, but follow through and do so. Prayer is important and effective. People are hurting and struggling with a multitude of issues, from grief to serious illness; from job loss to homelessness; from addiction to the difficult road to recovery.

Reach out to those around you. Our world moves at a dizzying pace. We are ever consumed with busyness and a focus on our ourselves. What if we instead took the time to care for those less fortunate? To help someone in need of help? To lend a listening ear? To ask someone how we can serve them, and then offer to follow through with their request? To be a giver rather than a taker? Jesus consistently reached out to the less fortunate. He loved others with genuine passion. When we serve others, we serve Him. (Matthew 25:40-45).

In today’s world, it’s not always “popular” to be a Christian. We are encouraged to dim our lights or even put them out completely. Rather than follow the world’s demands, let’s  vow to live out our faith daily with the confidence that we are called to a higher purpose and live for Someone greater than anyone on earth.

As someone once said, “You may be the only Jesus some people see.”

it is impossible to

 

Check out these other blog posts:

the importance of perseverance

the importance of authenticity

Movie Monday: Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Road Less Traveled

surviving shingles – part 1