Saturday, November 22, 2014

seeking wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
James 1:5

Good morning!  I hope you are all finding your Saturday to be full of sunshine and time with your family.   This semester has really flown by.  Our homeschool on the farm has just finished week 12 of our main curriculum and this week begins the "birthday season."  In addition to that we are nearing the busiest season of all with our kids and their livestock and 4-H projects.  Our  next month or two of weekends will mainly consist of showing goats and lambs.  In the moments between (and they are few) we will work together on fair projects and sewing projects.  On top of the normal things, it is already time for me to begin my school planning for 2015-2016.  My daughter will be a senior.  I can't even believe that is possible!  So this week has me pondering life.  I chose the Bible verse above for inspiration because this week has been a week of questions in my small circle of friends.  Where ever I go people are seeking wisdom.  For one mom it is wisdom on filling out college applications and sending her son into the world.  For my church it is on how to find a new pastor and rebuild a church one day at a time. For one family member it is how to deal with current health issues and waiting patiently for a healing surgery.  When I have a few moments of spare time, I like to read books.  This week the book Love the Journey has me  also seeking wisdom in how to "keep a quiet home."  This is intriguing to a mom of 5 kids ranging from almost 17 to 18 months.  ;-)  I know others have things in which they seek wisdom.  No matter the depth of the wisdom we seek, God gives generously if only we ask.  So I want to encourage you to ask God for the wisdom that you seek as you make decisions about your future.  No matter how big or small the wisdom you seek, God has promised to give generously to all.  

Mrs. P

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

garlands of grace

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.  They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.Proverbs 1:8-9

I found the verse above this morning.  I really love it.  I think when I am teaching my children, I might just start saying to the children that I'm giving them garlands to grace their head!  I'm sure they won't think that is weird at ALL.  :-)  Seriously, I had not really thought of all that a mother teaches in that way.  It gives me such a pretty visual of all of the daily work we as moms do.  Reminding your son that he needs to wear deodorant...a garland of grace.  Training a toddler to not stick her finger in an electric socket...a garland of grace.  Helping a teenager navigate interpersonal relationships with other teens...a garland of grace.  Serving uneaten green vegetables to grumpy children...a garland of grace.  Teaching kids to wash and fold their own laundry...a garland of grace.  Copying Essentials Charts A-F and drilling vocabulary and spelling rules....yep, that too is a garland of grace.  I think today while I'm working with my children and teaching them all of the millions of things I teach each day, I will look at them and think about the garlands that will one day grace their head and adorn their necks.  I will remember that a soft answer turns away wrath and I will pray for extra measures of wisdom from God in this job that we call motherhood.  I don't know about you, but I just really needed to see my work as something beautiful today.  This is the time frame in the school year where we can get bogged down.  We are on our 3rd schedule and it still doesn't work without flaws.  We are lagging behind in a subject or two or we have a student or two really pushing back at our selection of curriculum, book, or even pencils (anyone else have kids who only like ONE pencil, that is perpetually lost???).  So I hope that this morning, this verse brings joy to you and encouragement like it did to me.  Many blessings to you and your students this week. 

Mrs. P

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Toddler size videos

  Karyn Henley is an oldie, but a goodie.  I took my oldest to one of her concerts at our church when Miss A was just 2 years old.  Children love her music.  My youngest loves her so much that I need to purchase one of her videos or CD's so that she can listen in the car.  I'm sure my teens will be thrilled to add her to the car playlist.  It's about time we listened to something besides Frozen these days.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

A mom of not one, but TWO teens!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give  you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

This evening my girls, Colton and I are anxiously waiting for the big boys to come home from a hunting trip.  Tomorrow morning, Connor will be 13 years old and we are decorating the house to welcome he and his dad home and celebrate his 13 years of life.  We are hanging ribbons, laying the table with camouflage partyware, wrapping presents and trying our best to make the house festive for Curtis and Connor when they get home.   I even wrote a birthday wish on the school chalkboard, and then for fun I diagrammed it!  It was a S-Vt-DO, imperative, simple sentence, in case you were wondering. ;-) As excited as we are about our plans for the return of our big boys from a weekend trip, it is nothing compared to the plans the Lord has for us!  The Lord is planning even greater things!!!  He loves us even more than I love my great big ol' 13 year old son and my husband that I have missed all weekend.  I hope that you will take that message with you this week as you teach and love your own children.  Remind yourself of what the Lord declares in Jeremiah 29:11.  I think it will bless you as we near the end of our first semester of schooling and the beginning of the holiday season.  

Many blessings,
Mrs. P

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

And the little ones were climbing the walls...

So this year, I have made some changes in our homeschool at the farm.  What I have found is that a toddling cutie pie AND a busy 4 year  old are adding new challenges to the school year.  I daily remind myself that many years ago I had a toddler and preschooler while homeschooling.  The difference?  Well that would be that I was only schooling one child and she was in 1st grade.  And as much as I never would have believed it at the time, 1st grade with one student is a BREEZE compared to herding the littles while attempting to teach a classical curriculum to a 5th, 7th, and 11th grader...oh and also leading bi-monthly online literature discussions and weekly tutoring of CC Essentials.  

I started the year all hopeful and giddy.  I do love to start a new school year after all!  I filled my diffuser with Young Living Essential Oils and we started out.  By mid morning, the diffuser had been spilled, I had pulled a toddler off at least half a dozen places of considerable height (she gets her climbing from her older sister!), and had spent more time dealing with temper tantrums than I care to confess.  Had I realized just how humbling my first week of school was going to be, I would have baptized myself and the children all in JOY!

We are now into Week 11 of Tapestry of Grace and I'm still struggling with a daily routine that gives all of the children time with me in addition to time for me to do the regulars, like keeping house, doing laundry, preparing meals, and preparing for my weekly classes.  So in the midst of all my busy busy, I was encouraged to stop and read Love the Journey.  I will admit that I skipped ahead straight to the scheduling sections, but I still was blessed beyond belief.  I was grounded in things I already know, but needed reminding.  I was encouraged that everyone who homeschools has similar challenges with large families.  I was reminded to make my priorities God honoring.  I was filled as I read and am continuing to read this book.  I can't recommend it enough for the new homeschool mom or the seasoned homeschool mom who just needs a refresher.  She bases her advice and words straight from scripture and it really is a fantastic book for the homeschool mom.

In addition, I'm also going to link some other toddler/preschool specific training articles that I have found helpful over the years.  Part of my issue is that I was so busy when my 4 year old was a toddler, that I neglected a lot of training that is essential to peaceful preschool years.  He is an absolute delight, don't get me wrong.  However, because of that it is at least twice as hard to train him in those childhood skills of attentiveness, obedience, and gentleness than it would have been  had I trained him as a toddler. below are the links.  And, I know this post is very random.  However, I was just so excited as I read Love the Journey that I had to share it on my blog for those 2 or 3 who may still read it.  ;-)

Raising Godly Tomatoes  
A very clear and concise plan for how to gain first time obedience.  You can read a lot of good information on the website or purchase her book to have it all in one place.  The basic idea is that you keep your children close by to train them, rather than punish them.  They must be close to you at all times in order to train them and prevent them from developing bad habits.

Tips to Build Attentiveness in Preschoolers
This is a new blog I have found.  It uses the premises of Charlotte Mason, to train the character traits you desire.  I adore the Charlotte Mason way of education and that is part of why I have switched to Tapestry of Grace.  It has a Charlotte Mason "feel" to it and incorporates handicrafts and living books.  I also love that this author encourages game playing to train these skill of attentiveness.  I have yet to find a child of any age that doesn't love to learn through playing games.

So now I guess I will get back to my morning and focusing on loving my journey in the homeschool life.  I hope that if you find this post, it brings encouragement and joy to your homeschool day.

Mrs. P