Sunday, April 12, 2015

Top 26 Reasons Why I LOVE Homeschooling

1.  I get to spend all my days with my children.  I get to see them in the sunshine and in the rain.  Their best hours aren't spent with teachers I don't know.  (If you're only away from your children from 8:00 to 3:00, when they're in school - not including extra-curricular activities - you've missed out on over 16,000 hours with them by the time they turn 18)

2.  We get to mentor and discipline them all day, every day.

3.  We have lots of time to spend memorizing His Word and reading His Word - not rushing out the door to learn in a God-less environment.

4.  Everything I teach we can point to God.

5.  The kids have the privilege of caring for lots of animals on a daily basis (hard to do when you're gone all day)

6.  As my children age, we can devote more studies to subjects they're interested in and tweak their courses accordingly.

7.  They have oodles of time to pursue their loves and hobbies.  (everyone finishes at noon except Owen occasionally has afternoon studies)

8.  We can sleep in if we want!!  :)

9.  No commitments to be anywhere, and no rushing out the door in the morning.  We enjoy our delicious breakfast while I read Scripture and a chapter book at the table.

10.  My kids are close to each other and spend the day playing with each other.

11.  My children are not concerned with brand-name clothes and looking "cool."

12.  We eat 21 healthy meals a week together.

13.  I know my children intimately and don't have to "deprogram" anything they've learned or heard in school that is contrary to our belief system and values.

14.  WE decide when they are mature enough to learn about sex, drugs, abortion, et cetera, not their peers.

15.  We can go on vacation any time we want.

16.  We can "school" any time we want - day or night, summer or winter.

17.  Homeschooling gives us more time/opportunity to serve our community.

18.  My children can travel with Daddy when they're older on his work trips and not worry about "missing" school.

19.  The amount of free time we have enables us to read more books together as a family.

20.  I'm not a slave to my home.  My children grow up learning how to cook and care for a home so it's not all on my shoulders.

21.  I don't have to buy them lots of clothes to "keep up with the Joneses" at school.

22.  My children aren't teased or bullied by other children that are out of my control.  Yes, they are teased and bullied by their siblings at times, but I'm right there to stop it.  I was bullied in junior high, and it changes you forever!!

23.  My children know how to care for babies.  My oldest has changed more diapers than I did with my last set of twins.  They get to spend those fleeting days with their siblings that grow up so quickly.  Babies are babies for such a short season!  :(

24.  I save gas by not having to drive my kids to and from school 180 times a year.

25.  I can do in 3 hours what it takes teachers (by no fault of their own) 7 hours to do, and my children never have homework after school.  Yahoo!!

26.  My children are not peer-dependent.  Almost all of our time is spent together as a family, learning from Mommy and Daddy.  How can you teach a 3 year-old to share?  By putting him in a class with 15 other 3 year-olds?  No, from learning from their family.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Can't. Get. Last. Pages. Read.

Sadly, this is a common occurrence in our household while I read. Kids got tired of me this particular morning and decided to film it so I could see how ridiculous I look. Point taken....

video

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Musings....

Yesterday I had to take Owen to the chiropractor at 6:00 p.m. We grabbed some apples, bananas, and clementines, our LSU popcorn bucket to collect peels and cores, and loaded up the truck.

It was a beautiful evening. The sky was blue, and it was in the low 60's. I turned on the book on CD we were listening to - Indian in the Cupboard - and off we went. The kids were quiet, intently listening, and I was enjoying the peace. For about two minutes. Then Luke said, "I'm hot! Can you turn on the A/C?!"

Our truck was parked in the garage all day, it was about 62 degrees out with a nice wind, but Luke is "hot." Since it's finally started warming up here in Louisiana, the kids frequently tell me in the truck that they're hot and they want the A/C on. But then within ten minutes someone else is cold and they want it off. But someone else is still hot.

Which got me to thinking last night about spoiled American children. Yes, I did just go from A/C to spoiled American children. Do my children really have to always be at the right temperature? Can they not feel hot for a good while, or cold? Or thirsty, or hungry? My children (well, mostly Owen) get particularly annoyed when they tell me they're hungry, and I come back with, "Good! It's good to feel hunger! Most of the world's children are hungry because they get only one meal a day!" I honestly don't think they even know what it's like to be hungry. I'll bet they've never had a hunger pain, even for a moment.

I know you're going to think I'm somewhat cruel, but each day I purposefully try to make something "unfair" happen in their lives, deny them something they want, or hold off what they want

My educational consultant, Carole Joy Seid, once said, only half-joking, "The poorer you are, the better off your children will turn out character-wise." Now obviously we're not talking about the "we don't have running water or food" type of poor. I'm talking about the "I can't afford to keep up with the Joneses" type of poor. The longer I'm in this world, the more I think she's on to something.

I love to people watch, and it's interesting seeing the kind of teenagers that we're raising today. (and I'm talking here in general - certainly I've seen many, many amazing teenagers, mostly being raised by close friends :) They seem to lack humility, respect for elders/authority, graciousness, integrity, and ultimately really have NO fear of God. Instead they have this attitude of self-entitlement, pride, lack of hard work ethic. These teenagers will eventually enter our workforce and turn into what my husband has to deal with on a weekly basis in the form of consultants. I'm amazed at the stories he tells me of consultants he hires that won't stay at a particular hotel because they're too good for it, or walking off a consulting gig and hopping on a plane back home because a job was too stressful and not telling him or the client - nobody can get ahold of him for hours and hours.

Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.... We only get ONE shot at this job called parenting. It scares me to death sometimes, frankly. I want so much for my children, but at the same time I want them to have so little materially. I want them to be content with a simple life and be grateful for the few things they have. But most important to me is I want them to love God and walk with Him daily. I want them to be world-changers for Him. I could care less if they do well in calculus. What does it gain the world if they go far beyond E equals MC squared but think they're better than everyone else? What if they become the President of the United States but stain the Office with lies and deceit and immorality?

I don't have any answers whatsoever. I'm just praying my kids won't need psychotherapy when they grow up because I wouldn't buy them cereal or Wii. Lord help me....

Monday, February 8, 2010

Leaving a Legacy...

Last week I attended the visitation of the Grandfather of one of my best friends. He had been suffering from the after-effects of strokes for a few years, so although his death wasn't completely unexpected, it was still heart-breaking. He was 81 years old, and he had been married 64 years. Yes, no typo there - 64 years. He left behind his wife, three sons, one foster son, nineteen grandchildren, and twenty-one great-grandchildren.

I had never met him before, but heard neat stories about him over the years, as well as about Grandmother. From what I heard, Grandfather was a man who loved God, loved his family dearly (he was known to mention the phrase "family, family, family" when uttering the importance of his family), and also was a passionate voice for the unborn. It was very clear that his whole family adored him and he was highly respected at home and in his community.

And Grandmother... I could not even do her justice to describe her because I'm one of the least articulate people I know, but let's just say that she is the epitomy of servanthood. She took care of Grandfather with the most loving heart while he was ill, it makes me cry just to think about it. In an age when we're pushing people into nursing homes (yes, I know sometimes it is absolutely necessary) she steadfastly and faithfully took care of her "Valentine" without so much as a sigh of complaint.

So, thinking about these two precious people has brought me to think more about my own legacy and what I will be remembered for. If I was to die tomorrow, what will be on the forefront of my children's minds? What will they say about me at my funeral?

And, five minutes after I die, what will I wish I had given away? Missionary C.T. Studd said, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last."

I'm 38 years old right now and been blessed with excellent health. Looking back, how have I spent this time that God has gifted me? What have I given my children thus far that counts towards eternity? What have I built into them? What risks do I wish I had taken? Have I given my all? John Wesley said, "I judge all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity."

I want to die to self more and more and more. I don't want to make a decision based on if it's an inconvenience anymore, or if it's going to cut into my "me time." And I want to look at everything that God providentially places before me as an opportunity. I want to serve with my whole self, with a spirit of gratefulness, just like Grandmother.

But I cannot do this without Christ of course. He is the only one who can transform my pitiful attitudes and sense of entitlement that I sometimes possess. The longer I walk on this earth, the more I realize that I desperately need Jesus. No matter how many books I read about being a good wife and parenting (and I've read a lot of them), they will not transform me into who I need to be - only God's Word and His spirit residing in me will.

I often wonder why/how certain attitudes have formed in me and in my generation of women. For instance, beliefs such as "I must have 'me' time." Or "I deserve" to have such-and-such. Or why we all feel we need huge houses and tons of clothes. Or why we spend so much time entertaining ourselves. We've been studying the 1800's in homeschooling this year, and women's attitudes were much different back then. They were much more resilliant and..... they just did what needed to be done and seemed to not complain, and they lived under the harshest of circumstances.

Anyway, that subject will be for another post. :) I'll just leave you with an encouragement to think about what legacy you're leaving your family and friends, and have a vision and a plan for either changing that legacy or adding something even greater!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This is for Steffany

My friend Steffany wanted me to post something, so here's something... :)

We've been in Louisiana one month now, renting from Jimmy's sister until we find an acreage. We decided to move to Louisiana on September 27th, and we pulled out of our driveway eleven days later. Eight days after arriving we went to Houston and Austin for a week to see friends and family, and for Jimmy to compete in the 1/2 Iron Man.

Now I feel like we're settling in. My range of emotions over the move have finally settled, and (ah-hemm) I actually like it here. I don't feel like a stranger in a foreign land anymore. The first week, I have to admit, it was quite a culture shock to me. And I don't exactly know why. I mean, I had been to Louisiana many times before - it's not like we moved to China.

I guess it was the little things. For instance, there's no hiding that I'm a "granola." And... well, there's nothing granola about Louisiana. It's very hard to find raw milk, food co-ops, local grassfed meats. Even the grocery stores here (except for Whole Foods, of course) have a very limited selection of "natural" foods. Scan the butter aisle, and 95 percent of it is margarine and spreads (blecht!). Pure maple syrup, again, 95 percent of the syrups on the shelf are corn syrup and other junk flavored with maple.

So.... who cares, right? Yes, who cares. Must I have raw milk to make me happy? I found out that, unfortunately, yes, I do. Embarassing to say. I stumbled across this quote from John Piper the other day that I love: "Woe to us if we get our satisfaction from the food in the kitchen and the TV in the den and the sex in the bedroom with an occasional tribute to the cement blocks in the basement!"

I want all my satisfaction (peace) and joy to come from the Lord, not from where we live or what I feed my family. I sing "You Are My All In All" with tears running down my face in church. But I'm finding out that it's not really true in my heart. He is my All In All IF... I'm living in the mountains, getting grassfed raw milk, experiencing four seasons, eating local vegetables and fruits from the farmer's market... take it a bit deeper... if my husband is appreciating me, if my birthmom is staying out of trouble, if my kids are healthy, if my friends are not experiencing hardship, if we can adopt again...

The Lord is teaching me a lot in this season of life we're in. First and foremost that He is my Jehovah Jireh - He will provide everything I need. He knows exactly what I need. And let me tell ya, it's not mountains. I need massive heart surgery to splice out the ugliness of all my wants and desires that have nothing to do with Him. I need GOD, folks. That's all I need.

I got a lot of "bad" advice about picking up and moving to Louisiana. Friends would say to me, "Well, what about your dreams? You want to stay in the mountains, so why does Jimmy have the say-so?!"

Jimmy didn't say to me, "Donna, we're moving to Louisiana." It was a decision we mutually arrived at. Would I choose Louisiana out of all the states to live in? No. But I couldn't find anywhere in the Bible that said, "My plans for you are to live anywhere you want. I want you to derive your happiness from the mountains and the food you eat. Your happiness is all I want, m'dear."

Friends, it's not about being submissive to my husband. Although that's important, it's ultimately about trusting God. And God called our family here through a variety of circumstances. I'll admit, I went with a very reluctant heart at times, but I knew deep down that this is where He wanted us. One huge thing that made me a very willing follower was that I've always wanted a hobby farm with a cow, chickens, turkeys, huge garden, fruit trees, et cetera, and I really couldn't do that in Colorado. Having mild winters will enable me to garden year-round and to have many more animals than I'd be able to in Colorado.

God is my Jehovah Jireh. He will provide exactly what I need, when I need it, for His timing is perfect. And it will be for His glory, not my happiness.

The other night I was grocery shopping by myself at night, and two different men at different times said to me, "Hey lady, how you doin?" It really made me smile - people truly are soooooo warm here. And there's so much color! In Park County, Colorado, I really do believe Eli was the only African-American child residing there. And he needs to see diversity in his life. And I've realized I do, too.

The kids and I watched a fabulous movie this afternoon called The Red Pony. The father is from the San Jose area and has always felt like a stranger on their ranch in the West - he says everybody in their town calls him Mr. Tiflin, instead of just Fred, even though he's been there for years. He goes back to San Jose to "find what he wants." When he comes home, however, he makes a great discovery. He said, "It's not where you are that makes you a stranger. It's where you think you're a stranger that makes you one."

So, I was all over the place with this post. And that's all I could pull out of my sleep-deprived self at the moment. But just wanted everybody to know that we're alive and well here, and that Louisiana is really, really growing on this granola girl. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

For All Three Of You Who Read Our Blog.... An Update

Happy 11th Anniversary To Us!

I haven't posted since Christmas time! Yikes! I guess nothing exciting has been happening around here. Well, except Jimmy and I celebrated our anniversary today. No trip to Mexico this year. We hung out at Barnes & Noble in Denver (and I walked out the door empty-handed, which is a miracle in itself) and used our two free coupons to Sweet Tomatoes for a delicious dinner where we had uninterrupted conversation! It was quite a relaxing day.

We're still planning on moving to Louisiana once our house here in Colorado sells. We've had two couples that seemed very interested, but we haven't received any offers yet. In the meantime we're casually looking at acreages in the Baton Rouge area where we could have a small hobby farm. I know it will be a TON of work, but I'm so looking forward to getting all my beef, chicken, turkey, pork, milk, eggs, and vegetables from our own land!

Owen is thriving in the homeschool environment. The only difficulty we're having is I just can't keep up with him. Studies that I've scheduled to take the whole week, Owen is devouring in one day. He loves to learn. Surprisingly one of his favorite things to study is composers! He also loves history.

Eli is full of energy and fun and growing like a weed. He's almost as tall as Owen and very, very fast! I think he's going to be a track star someday. He loves playing Legos with Owen and is learning to build very complex things that he dowloads from the Lego site.

Scout is pure sugar. She is so affectionate and sweet and loves to make new friends. She adores our neighbor Mrs. Mobley and always gives her hugs and kisses after our visits to her home. She also loves to be read to for hours.

Riley is growing like a weed as well - everyone thinks she's six years old, and she's four. She also is very affectionate and loves to cuddle with Mommy and Daddy.

Luke is thriving on his new gluten-free diet. He's been a new child since converting and he's talking up a storm! He gives us lots of laughs with the things he comes up with.

Carson is doing great and loves to taunt Luke. Actually they like to taunt each other. They got in their first "argument" last week while riding in our truck. They were arguing about who was going to ride on Daddy's back when we got home and went hiking. It was quite hilarious.

Jimmy is keeping busy with work, which we're sooooo thankful for. We feel so blessed to have him working from home so much!

I guess that's the update for now. I'll try to post some recent pics of the kids soon!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After....

We had a wonderful Christmas. Jimmy carries out most of our traditions, so all I have to do is buy the kids their presents. It was surprisingly easy this year - each child gets two presents, and I bought them all on the Internet. I try to avoid malls and useless "stuff" out there being pandered to my kids, so I was in heaven being able to do it all from home.

Jimmy read a book called Jotham's Journey every evening to the kids during Advent, and they all loved it. He also continued the yearly tradition of making Christmas tree ornaments with them (while I napped :), despite my telling him that we'll soon run out of room on the tree at this rate. I made homemade egg nog a few times, homemade cocoa, and let them watch a few of the old clay animation Christmas shows. Then, on Christmas Eve, we all watched The Nativity Story.

Christmas morning they got to open their stockings (which contained a box of cereal, a chocolate bar, two mini M&M packages, a little mint, and one small toy) and then I let them have cereal for breakfast (gluten-free of course!). Let me just say that their love for cereal outweighs anything short of a Lego product. Wow.

Giving Back

We struggle with the hyper-consumerism of Christmas and the problem that kids tend to see it as the "gimme" season. So, we try our best to think of ways to thwart it. World Vision puts out a great catalogue every year with things to buy for families in Africa. This year, we went over the options with the kids. They pooled their money together and picked out a goat and two chickens.

After they opened presents Christmas morning, we rushed out the door and drove to Denver. Another family we know has been visiting a..... shall I say very cheap motel in East Denver every year and they let us join in. We knocked on all the doors and invited everyone to a Christmas meal in the parking lot. We served up turkey, stuffing, gravy, bread, and sweets. We also got to hand out lots of presents to the kids there. I don't think any of the families at that motel were planning on celebrating Christmas, sadly.

It was such a blessing to be able to do this and the kids loved it. It is enlightening for them to be able to see families who are living on the edge of poverty. Finding these serving opportunities is important in teaching our children about real joy, being content with what they have, etc. Joy is not the next "gift," "thing," "toy" that we want - joy is inside- and once we accept Christ as our Savior, joy is a choice.

We try our best to not spoil our children, but we definitely fail in this area a lot. About a year ago I served the kids leftovers, and they said, "We had this last night!" I realized right then and there that from that day forward they would have leftovers as much as I could possibly help it. They also have approximately two million Legos in their room right now, and they still always seem to want more! But, we're a work in progress...

I asked the children what their favorite part of Christmas was this year, and they said serving the poor people Christmas morning and getting to have cereal for breakfast. :) (I rarely buy cereal, and if I do it's only for a snack)

That was our day in a nutshell. I hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas!