Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prayer Changes Things

It's exciting to be struggling to get out of bed in the morning and have my two year old ask if we are going to pray. It means that our new routine of dragging our tired bodies out of bed and meeting in the living room to pray together and read the Proverb for the day has made an impression. My other children have made comments during the last two weeks as well. We have all noticed a difference in our attitudes, our abilities to get along with each other and our general well being. It is amazing to see the Spirit working in spite of all our fleshly desires and sinful nature. Believe me, my first thought when the alarm goes off (right now my alarm has a cute little curl on the top of his head) is NOT to jump out of bed and wrangle kids to the couch in order to pray. Whoever says God is not real does not live with us.

The Bible teaches us that prayer changes things; it changes hearts, situations, people and attitudes. I know that to be true because I have seen it first hand. My life is the result of prayer. I was prayed for daily by my paternal grandparents as well as other Believers devoted to prayer. As I look back, I can see where I was protected, guided, and finally drawn into a relationship with Christ. What a legacy those Saints have left!

It is a testimony to the power of God, as well as to His love for us, that prayer works. God has given those of us who have chosen Him as their Lord, a link to His supernatural power. We get the priviledge of being used as a part of His plan. I have always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself; to do a "great" work. Haven't you always wanted to make a difference? God is the One who put that desire in each of us.  And of course, He has equipped His people with the ability to make that difference through the power of prayer.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7  Did you see that promise? The peace of God will guard our hearts and minds WHEN we pray about everything with thanksgiving!  If we are willing to invest our time and give everything to Him, we will receive a 100% return guaranteed! I will take God as my investment advisor anytime!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

First Week- Homeschooling Down!

What a week! Brian has been working out of town for most of the week and we started our first week of school. It has been a tiring and busy process but, I feel good about our accomplishments.  And although our schedule looks better on paper than in real life, we have faithfully started each day with prayer, Bible Reading and our character traits study. So,we have focused on the important stuff all week. Another miracle? Everyone has been out of bed before 8:30am!

With 1- PreK, 1- 1st grader, 2- 4th graders and 1- 9th grader, I am a little frazzled at times but, that means it is NEVER boring!  We are starting with the basics this week and adding new subjects in the following weeks. So this week's schedule looked like this:
      8:00am wake-up with all gathered on couch for family prayer and Proverbs reading
      9:00am Breakfast
      10:00am Study of this week's trait- Gentleness, older ones do their Kay Arthur Bible Studies, all work on their AWANA
      11:00am Language Arts (Total Language Plus for the olders and Click n' Read/Spell for the 1st grader), Reason for Handwriting for everyone except the 9th grader
      12:00pm Lunch Break
      1:30pm Math (Teaching Textbooks for olders and Math-U-See for the 1st grader)
      1:30pm PreK Workbook from Costco
Next week we add History (Beautiful Feet- US History) and US Geography (Trail Guide to US Geography) and the week after that we add Science and Spanish and finally we start Piano lessons again for the older girls. That's the plan anyway.  Our days will get longer but I hope we will be in a rhythm by then and it won't get too crazy as the other subjects are added. We will see.
It is fun to watch the youngers learn just by hanging out while the olders work through their lessons. It makes my job way easier in the long run. The whole one room schoolhouse thing is alive and well here. My olders are great helpers and the little ones love being taught by their big sisters. I feel very blessed to be able to homeschool these awesome kids! I do have a few kids that are more challenging then others. However, this only adds to the reward when I see them finally "get it" or when they actually complete the lesson without me sitting right next to them the whole time.

In the evening, when they are in bed and I am grading papers, I get to reflect on the day and what we covered. I get to thank God that I am able to be here, right now, right at this moment, doing exactly what I am doing. I am so grateful. There are many times where I feel like I am not able to do this stuff; where I feel so "unqualified". I thank God for those moments however and I pray they continue because they keep me focused on Christ's ability and my inability without Him. I am reminded constantly that I can't but God can. God is so good. He will always be there guiding, teaching and encouraging me. Praise the Lord!

So, what will happen next week? I am not sure but, I do know that we will keep Christ as our focus and start our day off with Him every day. With His covering we can't go wrong!

PS- Next post I hope to have some pics of our homeschooling life (can you say LAUNDRY piles?) :)


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Avoid "Doing School"

I read an article in our state homeschool newsletter today that was very encouraging. It's a message I have heard many times over the years but, I am a forgetful human and need constant reminding of why I do what I do. Why do I homeschool? Why do I purposefully watch for "teachable" moments? Why do I look for opportunities to learn more about biblical model training, character building, mothering, "wifeing" (not a word but it works here- maybe) and growing disciples?

First of all, I do what I do because I love Jesus and I want Him to be proud of me. It's like any child with their parent or someone they admire and look up to I suppose. I desire to hear these words when I finally see my Lord face to face, "Well done my good and faithful servant...". Won't that be awesome! To have the King of the Universe, the Creator of all things say that He is proud of you? Wow!

The other reason I do what I do is that I want my children's strongest desire to be the same as mine. I want them to be able to say, without me involved, that their desire above all things is to know and love THEIR Jesus. Not mine, not because of my husband or myself, but because they know Him so well that they can't help but want to know Him more and more. Children that hunger and thirst for Jesus- now that's a legacy.

So, how do I (we) do that? Avoid "doing school". It's not about workbooks and finishing texts. It's not about making all the field trips and being a part of all the co-op or church activities. It's about doing whatever it takes to make Jesus and His Word as the foundation of our home. It's about being students in His Word ourselves and modeling that for our children. It's about loving Him with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength and our neighbors as ourselves. It's about developing a servant's perspective by becoming more and more like Christ and less and less like ourselves. What I love about this approach is that it puts everything into perspective for me. I must be Christ focused. It makes me a better teacher, mother, wife and Daughter of the King.

In the real world what does this look like for our family schooling? Well, our daily plan is that we come together before we are even all put together in the morning and pray that God uses the day for His glory. I say "plan" because this is a new thing for us and we are still in the process of making this a habit. The next thing we do is have Character and Bible/AWANA as our first topics of our school day. It helps us (and especially me) remember that He is the only good and perfect thing in our lives and should always be given the priority.

The next thing we want to do is to apply what we have learned. How do we do that? In our own families. The first character quality we are studying this year is gentleness. How can we show that to each other? What is the opposite of gentleness and what does that look like? Where do we find examples of this quality in Scripture? I am using a form of the 49 Operational Definitions of Character Qualities this year. I can't wait to see those light bulbs over our heads as we study these traits this year.

Finally, I hope you notice that I say "us" a lot while I am discussing schooling, home life, etc; because it is about us. It is a family experience not an individual pursuit at this point in our journey. Sure, we all must have an individual relationship with Jesus and that is our ultimate goal but, in order for our children to have that kind of supernatural relationship with Jesus they must have a foundation in the natural through their earthly relationships. God has given us as their parents that job. We must model the ups and downs of life and show our need for a Savior though it all. The good, the bad and the ugly.

My prayer is that our family will be that sweet aroma of sacrifice and well pleasing to our King. I know that is Christ's desire for us as well. What a blessing to have this great privilege! We get to teach our children about The One True God! We get to show them His creation and how it was made just for us! We get to avoid "doing school" and instead we get to LIVE school! We serve a great God! Amen? Amen!