Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Women Living Well Review and Giveaway!

I was blessed to be chosen to be on the launch team for a new book that just came out in the stores yesterday.  The book is titled, "Women Living Well," and is written by Courtney Joseph.  The subtitle for this book is, "Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home."  I think that we could all seek out more joy in all of these aspects of our lives.  We are busy as mothers.  Courtney is a mother of two children, she homeschools, and her husband travels a lot; so she has a lot on her plate just like many of us do. 

Being on the launch team, I was given an ebook copy of this book to read, review, and provide a giveaway for my readers!  I am excited to be able to offer this giveaway to you all because the truths provided in this book come straight from the Word.  Courtney backs up what she believes with what the Bible says, and provides ideas and insights about all aspects of the busy mom's life to try to help us to improve our own "walk with the King."



This book comes with so much encouragement for women.  Whether you are a newlywed seeking out how to balance your life with husband, homemaking, and ministry...or whether you are married for a while, balancing more than you ever imagined...this book will give you some practical ideas on how to get it all done.  You may or may not utilize all off the ideas, but you will certainly come away with more in your "tool box" than you had before.  As you read, seek God and ask Him how (if) this can be used in your personal life.  Courtney admits that she is not always the "put together" woman that you see on her blog, in her videos, or on her "outside," but she does her best each day to "walk with the King."  She has her priorities in order and is still able to get it all done much of the time. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

"Voices. They come at us from every side.
We listen to the voices on the iPad. The iPod. The iPhone.
But are we listening to the voice of the great I AM?"

"Just as we cannot charge our cell phone only once a week, being recharged in God's Word is not a once-a-week assignment."

"Are we thirsting for Jesus, or have we made ourselves so busy that we don’t even know our soul’s greatest need—solitude with God?
Do you want to be a better wife? Study your Bible.
Do you want to be a better mother? Study your Bible.
Do you want to be a better homemaker? Study your Bible."

"Women feel that they are placing themselves beneath a man when they choose to help their husbands.  I wonder:  why is it noble to help men in the workplace, help orphans, help widows, help your pastor, help neighbors, or help your parents, but degrading to help your husband--your groom, your lover, and your best friend?"

And these are only a few of the quotes that I have highlighted, and these come in the first fourth of the book.  Imagine what other great gems you are going to find as you read it for yourself! 

Because of my involvement in the launch team, I have been given the privilege of giving away a signed copy of Women Living Well!!  (If you just can't wait to see if you win the giveaway, you can get your own copy here.) 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 13, 2013

FREE Printable, "Praying for My Husband from Head to Toe"

Since I had been focusing on marriage, I wanted to offer this to anyone who can use it. 
 
I made this particular one up by myself after seeing several different ones on the internet.  I give the Scripture reference for each prayer.  I do believe that praying God's Word is a great way to improve your prayer life and to pray for others.
 
This is my first time offering a printable of my own, so I am truly not sure if I've done it right...but if you have problems, feel free to comment here, and I'll get back to you and email it directly to you if need be.  :)
 
Thanks for reading!
 
 
Download the free printable "Praying for My Husband from Head to Toe" by clicking HERE.
 
 

Monday, September 9, 2013

K.I.S.S.! (Keep It Simple, Sister!)

Does your husband know that you love him?  Many times, we believe that we have to spend money to show our spouse our love, or do something “extravagant.”  However, the “little things” mean a lot.  The way that you show him that you love him on a day to day basis is what really speaks to his heart.  We usually don’t need to be reminded of these things in the “courting” phase or the “honeymoon” phase of the relationship, but often, after children and 40+ hour work weeks, the simple, daily things are pushed to the side.  We begin to believe that a weekend getaway or a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant will be the best way to show our love for one another, and we never find the time or the money for such things.  This is often when our spouse can begin to feel like their love tank is running on empty. 

Here are a few simple ways to refuel your sweetheart’s “love tank.” 
  • Steal some kisses!  As you pass in the hallway, stop him and give him a kiss!  Find other ways to “sneak” in kisses throughout the day.
  • Send  him text messages.  Don’t talk about what you need him to pick up from the store, just tell him something that you love about him.  The point is not to just communicate, but to let them know that you are thinking about him!
  • Show interest in his interests.  Even if you aren’t interested, find something about his interest that you can “participate” in.
  • Be the one to make the first move!  Reach out and hold his hand.  Sit next to him and put your hand on his knee.  Give him a shoulder or foot massage unexpectedly.
  • When your spouse arrives home from work, meet him at the door, looking presentable, and greet him with a welcome home kiss.
  • Set up a cheap and/or “at home” date night.  Many times, my husband and I have waited to have dinner until the kids were in bed so that we could have an “at home” dinner date.  We have also had “cheap” date nights simply by taking a walk together while someone was able to watch our children for a while.  (Although I believe that "date nights" are important and that it is good to go "out" sometimes, who you are with is the important part, not where you are.)
  • Compliment him!  Know his strengths, and praise him for how he uses that to bless you, your family, and others.  Make sure that some of your compliments are done in front of others--especially his parents!  This will let them know how much you love him as well! 
  • Most importantly, and oftentimes most neglected, TELL him that you love him!  Tell him often!  Tell him what you love about him!  And, tell your children that you love their daddy!  You and your husband will be their example for marriage if they are ever blessed with a husband or a wife, so make sure that the example that you are setting is what you want for them.
This is my final post in my series of posts concerning marriage.  You can find previous posts in the marriage series here:
How Familiar Are You With Your Husband?
A Failure to Communicate?!
Boundaries Within Your Marriage



Boundaries Within Your Marriage

Soon after my husband proposed to me, our pastor asked us to set up a few “pre-marital counsel” sessions. One of the things that we discussed in one of our meetings was about setting boundaries within our marriage. I did not really think much of it at the time. I am not sure that I quite understood the impact that boundaries really have in a relationship, and especially in a marriage. After almost eleven years, I can now see what an important role they should have played all along.

This is one of those things that you will never know about until you begin talking through it with your spouse, but it is so essential to the livelihood of your marriage. One of the most important areas to set boundaries in marriage, in my opinion, is in relationships with friends of the opposite sex.
When we were married, both my husband and I had friends of the opposite sex. We both went into the marriage thinking that these “friendships” were fine and that they really didn’t need to CHANGE any because, after all, they were just friends. Then, as I would listen to my husband talk about the times he spent with these female friends before he and I met, I started feeling a little sad. Then, I realized that he wasn’t responsive or showing any expression when I would tell him about times that I shared with my friends that were men. But, neither of us talked about it–which made for a bigger mess as the years passed.


After realizing that these friendships were causing some distance between us, I set up a meeting with our pastor and
his wife for another “counsel session,” except this time it wasn’t so light and giddy as it was in those engagement days. I explained to them what had been happening and how I felt. They stated that they had talked to us about this at the beginning and how important it was to have boundaries, especially in our friendships with those of the opposite sex. Basically, neither of us “got it” until we had already hurt the other. If we had just kept going, the faithfulness in our marriage could have been jeopardized.

From my experience, these boundaries with friends of the opposite sex need to be set in two areas. 

The first would be in communication with and about the “friend.”  In my opinion, communication boundaries should involve three things:

1.  How often?  You are part of a family now.  The friend has his/her own family.  Do not take time away from your family to give to him/her. 

2.  How much?  As husband and wife get to know one another throughout the marriage, friendships from the past will come up in conversation.  Dwelling on them and letting those memories take over is where a problem can begin.  You can usually sense from your spouse when he’s heard enough.  I certainly know that I have been able to with my husband.

3.  Public phone conversations only.   If the need arises for a phone call to a friend of the opposite sex, my husband and I have decided that we have these conversations in each other’s company.  This way, nothing can be assumed about what was said in that phone conversation.

The second area for setting boundaries would be in spending time together.  In our marriage, we have decided that it is best to always keep company with friends of the same sex.  If a situation arises that would require time spent together one-on-one, it should be discussed and different arrangements made.

These boundaries may seem drastic to some; they certainly did to my husband and me during those first “counsel” sessions.  However, as our marriage continued, we saw the importance of these boundaries.  If boundaries like these are kept, the likelihood of any compromised faithfulness within the marriage is greatly reduced.  My pastor and his wife have followed these same boundaries in their own marriage; this year, they will celebrate 44 years together!

I have been doing a series of posts on marriage.  You can find the previous posts here:
How Familiar Are You With Your Husband?
A Failure to Communicate?!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Failure To Communicate?!

I received an email recently from a longtime friend and sister in Christ.  We often share prayer requests with one another.  She asked me to pray for better communication between her and her husband.  As she described her situation, I could relate.  The exact scenario that she described had happened in my marriage as well.  I began to think about why communication in marriage seems so difficult.  The only person that we can change is ourselves, so we need to look there first for solutions.

As I thought about how to respond to my friend, I went to the Bible first.  I also gleaned from personal experiences in my eleven years as a wife.  Here are the things that I came up with for improving the way that we communicate with our husbands:

We need to be careful about what we say and how we say it.  “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)  Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”  Who are those who hear?  It could just be your husband, if you are having a private conversation, but it could also be your children.  I try to be extra, extra careful of my communication with my husband when our children are in the same room!  They learn how to communicate by watching us.

Our communication also needs to show submissiveness.  Submission in communication is difficult to define for me.  Where is that line?  Does it change from day to day?  Situation to situation?  Couple to couple?  A great example of this, which I must say that I am guilty of way too often, is that when our husbands start to talk to us about a certain issue, we interrupt to defend ourselves or our position.  He might say, “I feel like you ignored me in front of your friends yesterday.”  Before he can continue, and maybe even before he finishes that first sentence, his wife says, “You shouldn’t feel that way!  That’s ridiculous!”  Sometimes our husbands try to tell us how they feel, and we shut them down.  Yet we complain that they do not listen to our feelings.  Listen to him like you want him to listen to you.  Reply with grace and love as you would have him to reply to you.

Let him lead.  I was given this advice from an older, Christian woman.  As women, we like to talk.  Men are not as vocal.  Let him begin most of the conversations.  If he doesn’t talk much, just enjoy being with him.  Doing this helped me to see submissiveness in a new light.  It also allowed me to get to know my husband better and to become closer with him.  If he begins the conversation, you know that it is definitely something that he is interested in talking about.

There have been times in our marriage that I felt that I could never say anything “right.” This was usually because I meant a certain thing by what I had said, but my husband heard something totally different.  I have heard of this in other marriages as well, so I am guessing that it is common among husbands and wives.  Men and women communicate differently–no doubt.  After a situation like this would happen, my husband would react to what I had said, which had nothing to do with what I had meant to say.  As I realized how often this was happening, I began responding with, “I am sorry if that is what you thought that I meant or that the way I said it made you think that is what I meant, but this is what I am trying to say…” and I would try again.  (“A gentle answer turns away wrath…”  Proverbs 15:1)  After many years of this, we now laugh about it because we so often misunderstand what the other was trying to get across.  “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I don’t know if you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!” (Source: Unkown)  So very true!

Timing is important!  Take time to think about what you are going to say.  The first thing that comes to your mind is not always the best thing to say.  Although this holds true with all relationships, I believe that it is essential in good communication in marriage.  Proverbs 15:28 says “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer…”  James 1:19
reminds us to be quick to listen, but slow to speak.  My husband asked me a question recently as I was getting ready to walk out the door to run errands.  I gave a quick answer, because I was in a hurry.  It quickly turned into a disagreement.  If I had only slowed down and given a better answer, we could have avoided the issue that was created.  Another issue on timing is to not discuss issues with your husband while he is trying to watch a football game or at bedtime.  When he is distracted or tired, he is more likely to “tune” you out, which will tempt you to want to begin nagging.  Even before I was married, I was determined to not be a nagging wife.  I had heard so much about wives always nagging their husbands, saying things over and over, and continuing to talk about the same issue for more time than it’s ever going to be worth.  Many times nagging will lead to interrogating, and then the wife begins to sound more like the mother.  “Why didn’t you take the trash out?  I have asked you to do it several times today, and it’s still sitting here by the door,” would be something appropriate for me to say to my son, but not to my husband.

Our husbands are not our girlfriends.  When I talk to my friends, I usually give them every little detail of a situation, and they do the same with me.  We like the little details.  Men, however, do not.  My husband prefers the condensed version.  Actually, he had gotten to the point that he never listened to any voicemails that I had left for him because he said that it always took me forever to get to the point.  (My more recent voicemails are, “Hey, it’s me.  Call me back.”)  When you have a burden that you want to talk over with your husband, I encourage you to talk it over with a trusted Christian lady first (if the situation is appropriate for sharing)…she will likely want the detailed version.  Pray about it before you talk to him about it as well.  By this time, you have gotten past the emotion of the situation and can give him the facts…condensing it for his listening pleasure!

Most importantly, pray for your husband and for the communication between the two of you!  A few of the Scriptures that I pray over my husband regarding communication are Psalm 19:14, Proverbs 19:14, and Ephesians 4:15.

The issue of communication in marriage is not something that we can avoid.  We should strive to communicate with our husbands in a manner that would be pleasing to the Lord.


(This is the second post in a series about marriage.  The first post can be found here:
How Familiar Are You with Your Husband?)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How Familiar Are You with Your Husband?

While the word intimacy can go in many directions, I believe that there is a solid way to define intimacy.  Intimacy is a deep familiarity with another.  This definition is broad enough to cover all of the ways that intimacy can be experienced and expressed.  Some words that are synonyms or related to the word intimacy are friendship, belonging, closeness, and fellowship.  Our relationship with our spouse should bring those words to life.  When you think of friendship, do you think of your pals or do you think of your husband?  Is your husband a familiar friend?

I remember a time in my marriage when I would have thought of someone else if the word friend was mentioned.  I also remember that turning point when I realized that my husband was (and is) my best friend.  Once I realized that, things changed for the better in our relationship.  I was able to find a fellowship with him that was beyond anything we had experienced prior to that.  What happened to bring about this realization?

I noticed that we were not as close as I wanted us to be.  This made me sad because I loved my husband, and I knew that he loved me, but somehow the closeness just did not seem to be there like I felt it should.  I made it my mission to get close to him.  I know that I can only change what I do, and that the Lord will bless my efforts if I do it with the right spirit.  A few specifics come to mind when I think of the major changes that I made to bring about this new intimacy in our relationship.
  • Express interest in his interests.  My husband likes motorcycles.  While I don’t hate motorcycles, I also have no personal interest in them.  I asked my husband one day if we could go on our “date” night on the motorcycle.  His eyes lit up!  He said, “You really want to?”  I said that I did.  After a few rides on the back of the motorcycle with him, I started to like the motorcycle a lot more!  *wink, wink*  He watches videos online of new motorcycles that he wants to upgrade to at some point.  Guess who watches them with him?  That’s right, I go over to the computer and stand by his side watching the video along with him.  He makes comments, asks me questions about which color or design I like best, and just overall brings me into “his world.”  A friend of mine found it difficult to find interest in the things that her husband liked.  He was into guns and shooting competitions.  She found no interest in these at all.  One day, she decided to go along with him to one of his competitions, and she took along her camera.  Photography is one of her interests.  She took photos of her husband and his friends in the competition, and eventually made him a disc of all of the pictures she’d taken.  Her husband enjoyed this little gift so much that she now goes to competitions regularly, shooting pictures while he is shooting targets!  Be creative, but definitely find a way to show interest in the things that interest him.
  • Build him up.  Tell your husband what you love about him often.  Go back in your mind and think about those things that first attracted you to him.  Think about what he does every day that you may take for granted, such as simply getting up and going to work to provide for the family.  Take time to think about what it is that draws you to him.  Then, tell him.  I took it a step further.  After I told him, I also wrote those things in a little notebook.  I often write little things in it when I think of them throughout the day.  I also took time to go through our wedding video, pausing and playing, to write out our vows.  I put those in that notebook as well.  These are just little things to remind him that he is loved and that I am committed.
  • Touch him often.  Most men’s love language is touch.  It is just a fact.  So, touch your husband.  Hold his hand whenever you can.  I have come to the point that I will
    hold my husband’s hand in the car, on the couch, walking from the car to the store, even when we are lying next to each other in bed.  I walk over to him when he’s watching television, and just give him a peck kiss on the cheek.  If he’s sitting down and I come up behind him, I will play with his hair.  He usually stops whatever he is doing, and just enjoys the feeling.  Touch will usually be returned with touch, a “win” for both of you.
Get intimate with your husband.  It doesn’t mean that you have to stop everything that you are doing and head to the bedroom, but it does mean showing him more attention and getting to know him on a deeper level.  Being “one” with our husbands, as the Bible teaches, cannot be done without getting to know him on an intimate level.

Marriage Series

For the next four days this week, I will be posting about marriage.  I can just see some of the confused looks now, thinking, "I thought this was a blog about raising your children...you know, Proverbs 22:6...raise up a child in the way he should go...so, why a series about marriage?"



I truly believe that my husband plays a huge role in the raising of our children.  Even though he is with them less hours in a day than I am, his role is incredibly important.  I believe it's important for children to have both "Mama" and "Daddy" active in their lives.  I also believe that my marriage will reflect in my children as they grow up.  To have them raised up in the way that they should go, they need to see people living in the way that they should go in their day-to-day lives...which makes the relationship between my husband and I an important part of what they will become as adults. 

I hope that you enjoy this week of posts focused on Biblical marriage.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Day In The Life...

We are beginning our third week of our 2013-2014 homeschool year.  I wanted to share with you all a little about what a typical day in our homeschool "looks" like.

After we have breakfast, we have our Bible time.  During this time, the children all sit on the couch and I sit in a chair facing them.  I tell them what portion of Scripture we will be reading that day, and they all find it in their Bibles.  We usually take turns reading, verse by verse, and after we are finished, I will go over it a little and try to break it down so that they understand it better.  Then, I might ask them questions about the passage we read, if they don't have questions for me.  We then have prayer together.  (If there is a time of the day when we get "caught up," this is usually it.  I don't mind it though.  If they want to spend longer with questions about God's Word, then I feel like that's more important that math, science, and social studies anyway.)



After our Bible time, we have exercise time.  I have always felt that I needed to incorporate more physical activity into our homeschool days...especially at the times when our kids are not involved in sports.  During the "off season" or if we just simply didn't get to sign up during a certain season, I wanted something to get them "active."  So, I found a homeschool P.E. program that goes through the age levels and grade levels...so it can be used for many years to come and with multiple age levels.  It is called Family Time Fitness.  I try to do "exercise" early to get the "wiggles" out before we do any seat work. 


The rest of the day would probably look like chaos to anyone who isn't with us every day.  After exercise time, I go with my oldest boy to teach him his math lesson for the day.  During this time, his younger brother and younger sister do their reading.  After the oldest boy is finished with math, we all meet together at the couch again for language.  After that, the middle child goes to his room with me to do his math lesson while the oldest does reading and my little girl has free time.  After the boys are finished with math, I do math with my daughter while the boys have some free time.  Once everyone is finished with the two "r's," we come together for the final "r"...writing...which is done as we study our spelling words. 

After all of this, we finally have lunch!  It seems like a busy morning, and it is...but I like to get them while they are "fresh."  :) 

After lunch, we work on one of a few "projects" that I'm hoping to finish this year.  Our first one is to learn all 50 states in alphabetical order!  After they have this "mastered," I have a list of things that I thought of over the summer that I have in our plan book. 

I then do language, phonics, and science with my daughter.  Then I do science with my boys.  After that, we all come together again for vocabulary...and our ideal plan is to do read-alouds after that, but after 2 full weeks of school, we still have not implemented it!  :(  So, hopefully, I can fit that in there somewhere sometime as well. 

By the time we have all of that done, it's time for their Daddy to get home from work, so I switch from teaching to cooking...and try to get supper on the table shortly after he gets home. 

Like I said, this is our typical day...but sometimes things don't go as planned, and I just try to get back on plan as quickly as I can.  Sometimes I can get us back on track quickly, other times, not-so-quickly. 

I would love for you to share with me about your typical homeschool day!!!

Linking up at:

Why Homeschool? {Part Four}

Today’s post will be the final one in a series that I have been writing here about the reasons that my husband and I chose homeschooling as the best option for our family.  There are definitely so many reasons that it would take me a long time to cover them, so I touched a little one the ones that were in the forefront of my mind, leading up to our number which is what I am sharing today…

To begin with, I would like to share a little about myself, and what initially and most importantly led me to choose to homeschool my children.  I grew up wanting to be a teacher.  My answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (even as a 4 year old, having no experience in a school), was “a teacher.”  When I graduated from high school, I received a scholarship from the local retired teachers association that they gave each year to a student wanting to pursue a career in education.  I completed four years of college, got my degree, and began teaching in the public school.  My professors in college, and my experience with my colleagues in the school, left a bad impression of homeschooling overall.  I did not like it, I did not want it, and I did not “believe” it could be done.  I was against it as much as I could be against it.  That being said, there were others, who had been teaching much longer than I had, who were much more verbal about and stronger in their anti-homeschooling beliefs than I.  I had never met one child who had been homeschooled, yet I was against it.  I had the opportunity to meet some homeschooled children one day…when I met the man who would later become my husband.  I met my future nephew and nieces.  At that time, they  were 5, 9, and 10.  They were the most well-mannered, respectful children that I had ever met, and being a teacher, I had met a lot of children.  They were not anti-social as I expected that they would be.  The 10 year old filled me in on just about the whole 10 years of his life previous to our meeting!  The 9 year old smiled and chatted with me as if she were an adult.  The 5 year old, being a bit shy, smiled her sweet smile, and played just like all other 5 year old girls that I knew at the time.  I was impressed, to say the least.  As my future husband and I got to know one another better, he expressed his desire to have his children (if he were blessed with them in the future) homeschooled.  I was still resistant to the idea, but he told me to “just pray about it.”  I did just that, and through my time with God, He led me to know that this was the right direction for me and my future family, before I even had a family of my own!  My husband and I married and have been blessed with three children.  At present, they are 10, 9, and 7 years old…and I do not regret one day of being here with them, homeschooling them, or the decision I made so long ago.



The picture that I have included in this article is of my son.  It is a little difficult to see, but he is “preaching” from his children’s Bible.  He often “played” preacher, and his message was always about Jonah.  He would say, “God told Jonah to go THIS way, but Jonah went THAT way!”  Had I decided against homeschooling my children, it would have been the same concept as the story of Jonah as my son so simply understood it.  God told me to the homeschooling way.  Any other direction would have been disobedient to His will for me and my family.  My main reason, the most important reason, that I chose to homeschool my children is because God told me to.  I cannot think of a better, more important reason than that.

Here is the links to the other posts in this series:
Why Homeschool?  (Part One)
Why Homeschool?  (Part Two)
Why Homeschool?  (Part Three)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Why Homeschool? {Part Three}

I am sharing reasons that my husband and I chose homeschooling as the best option for our family in a series of posts.  There are definitely so many reasons that it would take me a long time to cover them, so I am touching on the points that are most important to us at this time, leading up to our number one reason that we chose homeschooling.  Today, in part three, I am sharing one that can be quite controversial.

• “I can regulate what is being taught to my children.”  “I can teach moral values that are not allowed to be taught in public schools.  We can have prayer together.  We can read our Bibles aloud together.  We do not have to teach that things like homosexuality are acceptable because Biblically it is not!  We can teach that abortion is not an option because it is murder.”   One of the main reasons that I chose to teach my children at home was because of what I saw happening in the public schools  (I was a public school teacher for a couple of years before my husband and I got married…more on that next time).  Subject matter that should have been left to parents to teach in their own way and own time became part of the curriculum taught at whatever grade that the “people in charge” decided.  The “people in charge” know nothing about my child, so I do not understand how they can decide which age my child should learn certain things.  Subjects such as sex education should be something that parents deal with, not a teacher who does not my child the way that I do.  The main teaching that goes on in the “sex ed” classroom is “safe sex.”  Sex before marriage is not safe.  The only “safe sex” is no sex.  So, children are taught to go ahead and have sex, just do it “safely.”  “If you do end up getting pregnant, it is okay too because WE can take you (without your parents’ permission or knowledge) and let you get an abortion.”  This is not how I want my children to be taught. 
 
 

Teaching that homosexuality is acceptable is also something that the public schools have begun to do.  Homosexuality is wrong Biblically and even “naturally” because we all know that a man and a woman are needed for reproduction.  Even as young as Kindergarten, where students are anywhere from age 4-6, some of the stories that they were to read would deal with the homosexual lifestyle being “okay.”  This is something that again needs to be left to the parents to discuss with their children and not for our public schools to do.  Evolution is another thing that is taught in public schools.  The alternative (creation) is rarely mentioned, if at all.  I can teach my children how the world and its inhabitants were really created, and about Who created all of it.  I do tell them that some do not believe that this is true, and give them an overview of what they believe happened.  These are the things that I really want my children to “get.”  I want them to grow up to be the man or woman that God wants them to be; one who loves Him and desires to do His will.  I believe that the more time I can spend with them, instilling these values and morals, the better their chances to become Godly men and women when they are grown-up.  “Teach a child the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  I was told many times to “be careful” about the true, Biblical things that I said in my public school classroom because I would “get in trouble.”  I can teach true, Biblical principles and morals to my children at home.

Stay tuned...my next post will finish the series and include our number one reason for choosing homeschool.

Here is the links to Part One and Part Two of this series:
Why Homeschool?  (Part One)
Why Homeschool?  (Part Two)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why Homeschool? {Part Two}

As part of an ongoing series, I am sharing some reasons why my husband and I chose to homeschool our children.  I shared a couple of those reasons in last yesterday’s post and would like to share a couple more with you today.

*  "Being at home with my children and teaching them creates a greater bond between family members.”  My children are at home with me all day, pretty much every day.  I do not feel that I need to say much about this because we all know that the more time we are able to spend with other people, the greater the bond with those people.  My heart has been filled to overflowing many times when I see my children come to me with questions, with confusions they have, with just a random hug or kiss, or to say, “I love you,” out of the blue.  I only have my children for a short time, and they are only this age for a very short time.  I want to be able to form bonds with them that will last well beyond these years!



  • “My children do not have to deal with peer pressure, gangs, or cliques.”  Having been a student in public school myself, and then a teacher in the public school, I have seen more than my fair share of this.  I think we can all agree that these things have terrible effects on our children.  Peer pressure in and of itself is the cause of many young people beginning to drink, smoke, and do drugs.  Even before those things, children in younger grades are pressured to do something that they know that they should not by their “friends.”  Gangs are usually made up of people who meet up at school, decide that they don’t like one thing or another, and will do whatever necessary to stop it.  Cliques, while not as dangerous as gangs, are also very damaging to children of all ages.  I am sure that we all know how the cliques treat others who are not like them.  My children have not had to deal with any of this.  You may say, “Well, they will have to at some point.  Why not now?”  True.  They will have to deal with it someday.  Today is not the day, though.  It is not the time because it is not the right time.  They need to be trained at home on how to deal with things before they actually have to deal with them.  After all, you would not send a person into the mission field without having been trained and taught in the Word, would you?  My children are still “in training.”  Dealing with these things will come soon enough, and my job right now is to prepare them to respond in the right way.

  • As I continue to share our reasons for choosing homeschool, I am leading up to our number one reason.  Stay tuned.  We are almost to that number one reason!

    Here is the link to Part One of this series:
    Why Homeschool?  (Part One)

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013

    Why Homeschool? {Part One}

    When people discover that we have chosen to homeschool our children, they often ask “why” we made that choice for our family.  There are many reasons; some that are more important than others.  I know that I will never touch on all of the reasons that people choose to homeschool, but I will share with you through the coming weeks about most of our whys” in choosing to homeschool.



    “I am able to teach to my child’s interests.”  This is one of the best things about homeschooling, in my opinion.  My child might not be interested in a story about flowers and gardening, but he would love to read a story about dinosaurs and reptiles.  Will he have to learn about flowers and gardening?   Yes, to some extent, but when we want something for “reading,” we can choose the topic most appealing to each child.  We could incorporate dinosaurs into every subject to grab his interest easily.  The regular public school classroom will not be able to cater to each child’s individual interests.

    “I am able to schedule our ‘off days’ to coincide with my husband’s ‘off days’ so that we have more time together as a family.  I love the flexibility of scheduling with homeschooling!”  Because we homeschool our children, we are able to go to my husband’s workplace for lunch from time to time.   When my husband wants to use his vacation days, we can take a family vacation, whether it is summer, winter, spring, or fall.  Since I am scheduling their school days, we can take time off when my husband takes time off.  My children are also able to take advantage of time with other family members who live in other states when they come to visit.  If they were in school, they might get to see these family members only after school hours, and then they would have to make sure to get their homework done, and get ready for an early bedtime so that they would be able to get up early for school the next day.  Since I am the one directing their schedule, we can take time off to spend with our family that we do not get to see very often!

    This is the first in a four-part series.  In the last post of this series, I will share our most important reason for choosing to homeschool.  I hope that you will check back as the series continues...

    Tuesday, August 13, 2013

    Our little corner of the world...

    I have always wanted to have a room totally dedicated to homeschooling...our desks, our books, our materials...  I want it all in one place and not in the "way" of other things in our house.  BUT we don't have the ability to do that right now...for many reasons, so we make do with what we have.  I have typically kept the books in a closet that we don't use or on a table in the corner of the kitchen that we don't use, and just pull them out whenever...  That has always been okay, but it always looked a little cluttered.  This year, we got desks!  My parents in Tennessee "found" some desks at a good price, cleaned them up, and hauled them all the way to us here in South Carolina.  :)  So, this year, we have a designated place for all of our school materials.  His goes in his desk, his goes in his desk, and hers goes in her desk.  It really has made for an easier time finding things and keeping everyone's materials together. 

    We don't have a lot of space.  We designated a corner of the boys room (the bigger bedroom between theirs and their sister's) for school "stuff."  My daughter keeps her desk in her room for most of the time, but we do move it to the boys room for subjects such as spelling where the white board comes in handy.  :)  Here is a picture of the room without the kids, and then with the kids!


     
     
     
     
     
    
    Linking up at:

    Monday, August 5, 2013

    2013-2014 Curriculum Choices: The Year of Change

    The  year before my oldest son was to begin "officially" homeschooling, I searched and researched curriculum choices.  I have to say that across the board, more families have difficulty with choosing curriculum than any other homeschooling decision, at least in my observation.  My decision-making was made easy when my husband told me that he wanted to use the curriculum that he used when he was homeschooled (from 6th grade up), which was Abeka.  I was fine with that.  I hadn't read anything "bad" about it, so we ordered Abeka curriculum.  Things went and have gone well with Abeka...and as you will see, we are still using it for some subjects.  

    However, this past year, I thought about how "fast" Abeka moves through things...and I wondered if things were being covered too quickly.  My son definitely struggled with how quickly the multiplication was taught, and so I knew that we were going to have to make a change in the math department.  Then, as I thought about my own experiences, I thought about the language arts...and how we knew what a noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, preposition, etc. was by the time I was the age of my boys.  Abeka covered some of those, but I felt that it was still done too quickly for my kids to really grasp it.  So, I decided to make a change in that area too.  Also, I was putting a lot of work into their spelling program.  The "activities" that they gave to go along with the words were very short, so my children would have them completed in a day.  So, I would have to make up stuff to go with the words for the other days of the week...which meant more time spent at the computer, making my own "worksheets," and printing them off.  In the earlier grades of Abeka spelling, I liked how all of the words were similar...fun, sun, pat, sat, mat, etc., so that the children were learning, "If I can spell 'at,' I can also spell 'mat,' 'sat,' and 'pat.'"  However, in the higher elementary grades, I felt like the words didn't really relate to one another at all or build upon each other.  I missed that a lot.  So, a homeschool friend of mine told me about the curriculum that she uses that does just that...all of the words are related and build upon one another...so, we are also changing our spelling curriculum!

    I want to say before I move on that I am very glad that we used Abeka and that we will continue to use Abeka for some subjects.  It does move too quickly on some things, in my opinion, but they do have a very solid Christian base for their curriculum, and my children have learned so much by us using Abeka in their beginning years.  BUT without further ado...here are our curriculum choices for this year...

    2nd Grade
     
     
    My youngest child, and only daughter, is going into second grade this year.  As you can see, she is using Abeka for most everything.  Here you can see her Language, Letters and Sounds, Our America (social studies), Enjoying God's World (science), and Health, Safety, and Manners books.  She will be doing some subjects with the boys...for the first time ever!  (More to come on that...)
     
    4th Grade
     
     
    My youngest son will be fourth grade this year.  He is still using Abeka for science (Understanding God's World), social studies (My State Notebook and another social studies text not pictured), and health (Developing Good Health).  He will be using Math-U-See Beta this year.  The first time we've used anything except Abeka for math.  So, this will be very new for all of us!
     
     
    5th Grade
     
    
     
    My oldest boy...my oldest child...will be going into fifth grade.  He is doing several subjects with his brother...so some of the books pictured above are the ones that he and his brother will share.  They will be doing science, social studies, and health together (as well as some other subjects that he will be doing with his brother and his sister, which I'm coming to...).  He will also be using Math-U-See this year...the Gamma edition.  Again, this is the first that he has had anything except Abeka, so he is very excited about doing something new!
     
     
    All Three



    Language:  We will be using First Language Lessons this year.  My daughter will be doing her Language Workbook in addition to this, and my sons will also be doing worksheets from time to time to go along with this.  The lessons in here are short, but very effective in teaching a child exactly WHAT a noun, pronoun, adjective, etc...is and other valid things that I believe they need to know but wasn't focused on as much in their Abeka Language.

    Vocabulary:  We began working with Wordly Wise last year, and I liked it so much that we are going to continue this year. 

    Spelling:  This is the spelling curriculum that my friend told me about where the words relate to one another and build upon each other.  It's called Sequential Spelling.  I'm very excited about trying it this year!

    Our first day of school is August 12...one week from today.  So, I am using this week to get prepared!!  Are you making some big changes in your curriculum this year?  Did you have a year in the past where you make some major changes?  If so, I'd love to hear from you in the comments.  I feel like I'm stepping onto new ground, and am a little nervous about it all!

    Linking up at:


    
    
    

    Thursday, August 1, 2013

    Learning to Speak Life Review and Giveaway!

    As a Christian mom, I am always looking for new ideas to help my children learn God’s Word.  My sweet blogging friend, Carlie Kercheval, and her husband, Michael, have written the first book in a series of Bible studies for children!  She was so kind to allow me to have a copy to review for you all!  She is also giving away a copy to one of my readers! 

    The series that Michael and Carlie are working on is called, “Learning to Speak Life.”  The focus of each book will be speaking words of life to those in our lives.  The first book is a 9-week family Bible study geared for families with young children ages 3-9. This first book is about the “Fruit of the Spirit.” 
     
    This book includes nine sections, one to examine each fruit of the Spirit.  Each section includes everything from scripture references which can be committed to memory and an explanation of what each fruit is to family projects and suggestions for digging deeper, and much more in between!  You will find valuable resources to use in your “Bible time” with your kids.  This study also gets the children involved instead of just reading the verses.

    My children recently memorized the “Fruits of the Spirit” for their Sunday school class.  I am going to use this book to help them not just be able to simply recite, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” but to know and to put those things into practice in their lives.  As these concepts are sometimes hard for children to understand and hard for parents to explain, I know that it will be a blessing to have this book as part of our Bible study time.  I think it will be a blessing to your family as well.

    Enter to win your copy of “Learning to Speak Life: Fruit of the Spirit” below!  If you simply can’t wait to find out who wins the giveaway, go ahead and purchase your own copy.  It’s available on Amazon right now!  You can order your copy by clicking here!


    a Rafflecopter giveaway