Institute for Excellence in Writing is my all-time, top favorite company for home schooling! If you've never had the pleasure of hearing Andrew Pudewa speak, you have missed a great delight. The link for today is to their website where you can either listen to his talks on-line or download them at no charge. I strongly recommend listening to all of them, but start with: "What are we really going here?" Also, be sure to request IEW's free magalog! Have a great weekend!
Each year I look forward to attending our state's homeschool convention in Winston Salem, North Carolina. From all over the state we steadily roll in, building like a rising tide. For three days we homeschoolers descend upon the city by the thousands, pushing strollers, pulling totes, packing sessions and perusing vendor booths. If I'm not careful I can find myself drifting aimlessly over the sea of curricula, drowning in the waves of possibility. Look at the shiny new science book I've always wanted to try! Oh, that's the character trait series my best friend was raving about. And over there: the phonics program that will solve all my problems. Be still, my heart - it's the company who has the perfect unit studies with everything you need, all in one box!
Then that still, small voice of reason (or perhaps it's the checkbook) speaks: keep it simple! Don't get me wrong; I'm very thankful for all the choices and options I have in homeschooling my children. I've heard many a story from homeschool pioneers that included, "when we started teaching our kids at home we were barely able to convince ONE company to sell us school books!" But in our zeal to provide our children the very best education we often fall into the trappings of a "newer and better" mentality. Not only is this thinking costly, it becomes an entanglement. Suddenly I feel pressured to use this program, read that book, or try this method because I paid for it. That pressure builds as I push my kids to finish all the lessons, complete all the worksheets, read every page. The results? It steals our joy, discourages our children, and frustrates our husbands.
Let me encourage you to live in the freedom of simplicity. Be content with what you have, keep things simple, and enjoy this incredible journey called homeschooling!
Today's link is to a website that offers a huge magnitude of free resources - too many to even begin to list. So spend some of that extra free time (wink, wink) browsing Donna's website. In particular I like her weekly lesson plan forms (the "Loved Edwardian Planner" is my favoite) as well the printable handwriting paper. Enjoy!
Typically my days are filled to overflowing with responsibilities too numerous to count.
But there is one day a year that I feel the weight of a single responsibility the most. This particular day is the yearly culmination of a daily, and sometimes tedious, responsibility. Which day is that might you ask? Testing! End-of-year testing, to be exact. Since this is an annual academic event all students must endure you might be wondering why it causes me some mild anxiety. That’s because I chose to embark on this perilous journey called homeschooling.
On no other day do I feel the full, heavy weight of responsibility than I do the day my children are tested. Perhaps it’s the
sobering fact that if they don’t do well, I have no one to blame but myself. Or maybe it’s the fear of being judged for my unconventional choice. What if I don’t measure up? What if I’m not doing it right? What if I’m messing my children up? And therein lies the problem: all those “I” statements. The truth of the matter is I secretly feel that the testing is more of a measure of me than of my child’s academic abilities.
But here’s the thing about bearing a heavy weight, be it physical, emotional, or otherwise. If you have enough strength it’s easy to carry the load. Strong arms and shoulders don’t struggle. King David was convinced of this truth with every fiber of his being as he declared over a dozen times in the Psalms that the Lord was, “(his) strength”. And what about that verse we all have memorized in our heads, but seldom believe in our hearts? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
Whether you’re running a kingdom or a classroom, His arms are strong enough. We don’t have to bear the weight alone.
A few months ago I participated in a blood drive hosted by our local community college. Upon arrival and registration I was given a sticker to wear which stated my name and arrival time. After completing my donation I slid behind the wheel of my van, mentally gearing up to return to the front lines of the homeschool battle field. Yes, it had been one of "those days". Winter was too long, spring too delayed, students too whiny, and the teacher too overwhelmed. With a soft sigh I glanced into the rear view mirror, and that's when I saw it. Four words, printed boldly on my sticker; four words that whispered hope to my weary soul: "I make a difference". The Red Cross meant I made a difference by giving blood, but the Lord used those words to remind me that I do make a difference in my children's lives by educating at home.
And so do YOU, friend. You make a difference in those little hearts daily. Yes, it makes a difference that you are teaching them at home, training their hearts, and struggling to "get it all done". You make a difference whether it's changing a diaper, kissing a boo-boo, teaching phonics, or conquering algebra! When you choose to give sacrificially for another's benefit, you make a difference.
I may never know precisely when or how my sacrifice will make a difference in someone's life, be it in an operating room or in my school room. But I firmly believe it will. And so will your sacrifice too, friend, because YOU make a difference!
Hi; I'm Amanda and I'm so glad you stopped by! I hope you consider your time here well spent.