Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Treasured Pearls: Homeschool Challenges

Treasured Pearls: Homeschool Challenges: "Sometimes, there are challenges to schooling at home that you just don't face in the classroom."

I love this! Every pet I've ever had or been around has adored our schoolwork papers. Even the cats want them. Funny!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Children as a Gift Back to the Lord

Eleanor Powell's oft quoted proverb, "What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God," reflects a principle of scripture that comforts us in our earthly labors for him.  As a new school year starts, we find ourselves excited about new possibilities, our growing children's blossoming characters and intellects, fun, new projects and lessons, fresh school materials, and we look forward with hope!

We realize that “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD...” Psalm 127:3, and we determine to do our very best to train them in His ways.  As the days progress, the challenges of the real work of forming young minds and hearts begins to reveal itself.  Bad days happen. Sometimes lessons take a back seat to just plain old child rearing.  Disciplines are meted out. Tears flow. And then, smiles appear again and we remember anew why we are a part of that remnant of God's people whom the world, and even some Christians, dubiously label, "homeschoolers."

We ask God, “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12, and we pull on the strength of His Spirit within us and see like He did as He created this earth that, "This is good."  Soon, the year is no longer new. The materials are becoming, as we, tattered from much use. Nothing looks shiny anymore, and yet, we have weeks ahead to trudge through the depths of knowledge assigned for our growth. Yes, the journey is for "our" growth, assigned not accidentally to both us and our children.

But there is a prize. And we have the distinct honor of laying it at our Savior's feet. There's a story in the Old Testament about a sacrifice which King David wanted to purchase from a man named Ornan. Upon hearing of its purpose, Ornan wanted to give the property to David.  But King David said to Ornan, "No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing." 1 Chronicles 21:24

Our children are God's gift to us. What we do with them is our gift to God. And so we press on, growing alongside our little charges, and purposing for that last mile of the race not to present to God that which costs us nothing.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We Live Learning

I am going to admit something to you that I am loathe to confess as I would like to keep the reputation of all Godly home schooling families intact. Sometimes we watch Tom and Jerry in the morning. We love those old episodes where Tom and Jerry chase each other around ad infinitum, usually ending up in a crumpled heap somewhere only to rejoin life suddenly transposed to their former unharmed state. We* love it. The children were hungry. I was preparing, as my son reverently calls it, "buttuh toast and cheese toast." They paused the recording in order to help mom bring everything into the living room. (Oh, did I forget to mention that? We regularly --not daily-- have a light breakfast in the living room while enjoying T & J.) Then, the countdown began, "18!  17!  16!  15!  14!....." and so on down to zero, at which time the pause was rescinded.

Our home, no, our lives beat with a heart of learning.  We want to know more about God and everything He created. We want to be able to label it, count it, and understand it all.  Our spirits yearn to know more and more.  I'm often asked how many hours a day we spend home educating, and that is a difficult question to answer as we live our learning. We wake up with it, walk with it daily and go to bed talking ideas, methods, and particulars.  We measure, count, consider. My husband and I use up untold moments of time, stopping to explain and define what we are doing; defining words in books we are reading to the children; answering questions that arise from just daily living. We pull out math books to practice and learn arithmetic. We sing the multiplication tables in the car. We play "Guess The Answer," a raucous game of everyone shouting out the answer to a math problem or a fill in the blank from a history sentence, a science snippet, or a part of the list of prepositions, linking, and helping verbs we are studying.

We do not have a set schedule for "classes."  We do sit down to study, but when and where that happens is dependent on our life at large. We just make sure that we get what needs to be done, done.  Some days we dawdle and don't learn or practice a lot. Some days we dig in and make astounding progress. Sometimes our children grasp an idea at the strangest moments, but we see them learning, and it is a joyous process. Education is life.  It is a life-style.  It is an attitude.  It is a purpose. If approached properly as the Word of God details, it is effective and enjoyable. (Deuteronomy chapter 6 gives God's design for the educational process.) Even the hard work is good, as we see our children struggle with their own challenges in learning to sit, focus and concentrate on a task when they would rather be outside shooting baskets. We have fun, and we make demands. It's just like that.  But overall, we cherish the journey together.

God set us free to mold our children as we see fit under His authority. We can accomplish this any way we would like. Some families love the structure of consistent mornings of class work and a guaranteed free afternoon. We prefer to take each day as it comes. We are free to pursue education within the parameters of what works best in our family. We truly learn when we do it the way that fits us. My children have memorized a one hundred sixty event history time line.**  We did it by reviewing it (sometimes) at dinner, (sometimes) in the car, (sometimes) laying on the swing....well, you get the idea.

WE LOVE LEARNING! And my husband and I continue to study and learn, too. God is so big. We cannot stop now!  Won't you join us?

*Author's Note:  The term "we" is used quite loosely, as the author herself very rarely sits down to watch anything at all, save those few moments when mom sits down with children to simply take a moment to relish in their presence. "We" really do love that.
**Our nine and seven year old know it all. Our five year old is still working on it.

The Call

My desk is piled high with work yet undone. I should be minimizing that pile. But I am not. I am writing. And so, I resign myself to the call....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is This Worth It?

The choices the Lord presents me often look like this:  Pick one, Tonya:  The Easy Way;  The Right Way.  Why the two don't match up is a forever unanswered query. I've often thought, "Well, am I going to do this the easy way or the hard way?  The hard way is unquestionably better, but maybe the easy will be good enough."  Problem is, the easy way will never yield the results you will achieve "the hard way."  So, in my house shoes, I pad to bed this night, thanking God that there is one way. The right way. And it is He who promises to give me strength and grace to power through into victory. Oh yes, it's worth it. In the scheme of eternity, a negligible effort. And that's where I live, joyfully.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Healthcare bill passes - Why? And what does this mean to us?

Since the vote for government funded healthcare is the topic of the day, and I was drawn into a friendly debate on Facebook, I wanted to make what I hope is a succinct argument regarding why I do not support government healthcare and why things are breaking apart. Our healthcare situation is better than most, much better, but I do not purport to believe that it doesn't have its problems. Costs are out of control, and if you self-pay, it can get very expensive, but we are in this situation because of our sin in general, not because government isn't fulfilling its proper role. However, health care is not a right. It is a business, but greed rules these days, and when a nation is not righteous, everyone suffers. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. (Psalm 33:12), and therefore, suffering is the nation whose God is not the Lord.

During my Facebook debate, I read the comment: "Thank God it is happening."  And this was my reply.

"I cannot thank God that it is happening, because it is happening the wrong way and could very well bankrupt our nation. When healthcare quality drops and much of what we enjoy now is no longer readlily available, even those who could have paid for it will not be able to get it. Sadly, ill advised avenues are not justified by a perceived noble outcome.

Our constitution does in no way provide for the government to be the provider of its citizens' health care needs. The very framework of our nation provides the freedom for people to be able to provide for themselves. However, things are breaking apart. That is because we are fulfilling the prophetic words of our second president, John Adams: 'Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.'"

I am not looking forward to the changes we are now going to see. I am not saying that I am unhappy that people will get "free" healthcare, but we will soon see that nothing is free. The burden upon businesses will close many business' doors. Availability of current American-quality healthcare will drop. Get ready for waiting in line, as is done with all government programs. If you've ever received government benefits, you know about the wait times. And  now, it is your surgery that you will be waiting weeks or months for. That is, if you are eligible. Rules will eventually have to be enacted to regulate the vast demand (after all, the largest group of elderly in our nation's history, the baby-boomers, are entering their later years right now) and some, most likely the elderly, will be ruled ineligible in order to free the funds for the younger, "productive" group.

As I said a few days ago, this opens a can of worms that no American who understands history wants to see. And therein lies our problem. We have fulfilled John Adam's declaration. Let us pray.

This is my prayer:

"Father, in Jesus name, as a nation, we are no longer a moral and religious people. Our constitution is being challenged because as an immoral and unreligious people, we no longer find it adequate. We do not want to serve You, believe You for our needs to be met, or obey Your commandments for life and liberty, and therefore, we cannot prosper and be in health as our soul prospers. Our collective soul is not prospering. Lord, we need two things. We need revival among Your people. We need American Christians who will once again seek righteousness. Lord, your people are well versed in seeking their dreams, but we are no longer exhorted to first seek You  and your righteousness. Lord God, revive Your people, and revive Your pulpits. Revive the proclamation of truth. Secondly, we need Your mercy. We ask for ungodly leaders to be removed from office, and we ask for God-fearing men who will stand for the unborn, for the protection of Your definition of marriage, between one man and one woman, and for preservation of our true historical values. We pray that our children will be taught the truth concerning our history and our founding fathers, that our heritage would be restored and preserved. Lord, perhaps there is only a remnant of people who will agree with You and Your word. If so, we ask that you protect, empower and make those who believe and speak truth to be a force to win others to You."

Thomas Sowell has some thoughts I believe you need to read. Please find them here:
Thomas Sowell on Health Care

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty

It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.
       --JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN, “Election of Lord Mayor of Dublin,” speech before the Privy Council, July 10, 1790.—The Speeches of the Right Honorable John Philpot Curran, ed. Thomas Davis, pp. 94–95 (1847).


How is it that our nation could be willing to accept nationalized, shall we say socialized, health care when the idea of the government providing our personal needs was absolutely anathema from the perspective of our founding fathers? A little insight from the book of Judges might help us see:

Judges 2:10 (King James Version)

10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

It was shocking, but God's people had actually forgotten all the astonishing miracles He had done for them in acquiring their freedom from the 400-year tour in bondage country. How could this have happened? It happened as a result of His people shirking their responsibilities in training their children in the truth and ordinances of God. He had commanded that they teach them diligently to their children, but they had-- obviously-- not done so. 

And so, similarly, there has arisen another generation in our nation which knows not the price paid for the freedom Americans enjoy. The quarts, the gallons of men's blood shed to ensure our liberty. The viewpoints of those who remember how precious it is to have freedom of choice, freedom of speech, and freedom to elect a national governing body are disappearing, indeed, they have all but disappeared.

Eternal vigilance? We now know not what we would be eternally vigilant for. Our eyes turned inward we moan, "Government, help me." The arisen generation sees the role of government quite differently than did our ancestors. The stories haven't been passed on. The viewpoints, the knowledge and the world-view have neither been imparted nor deeply etched into the now arisen generation; We lost those when we turned our children over to the state.

By sending our children to the state to be discipled (we call it "education" today), the state has steadily groomed our children, raking off the fallen leaves of knowledge which preserve the soil of our heritage. God have mercy on us. Parents, may your eyes be opened and may you bring your children home from the discipleship of the state. God commissioned parents to train, educate and shape the world-view of their children. We alone can impress the vital importance of eternal vigilance to the next generation. Let the remnant be trained, and may God grant us mercy to continue in freedom.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

They Will Be What You Are

I was listening to Tim Tebow field questions from reporters after their decisive victory at the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day. He made it very clear that he is a follower of Christ, a Godly young man, and I found myself thinking, "I hope I can raise a Godly young man, a true follower of Christ." We are Pastors, and the last thing I would want is to raise children who know how to play the church game but who do not really know Jesus in their hearts.

I needed to think this through. That meant pray. My thinking and my praying are often one and the same. Soon, some thoughts from the Lord began to course through my mind, one of them being a quote I had read from William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, many years ago. He said that you must come to the conclusion that you yourself are what you want your children to become. Eventually, your children will do and say and be what you truly are. Don't expect your children to put the things of God first in their lives if you do not, and this means both parents, as the children will often excuse their own sinfulness by comparing themselves to the less obedient parent. It is most important that your walk with God and obedience to Him be  sincere, complete, and withholding nothing.

Do your children see you reading your Bible? Do they hear you singing worship songs to the Lord? Do they hear you telling white lies over a phone conversation? Or do they see genuine faith and obedience in you?

Don't expect your youth pastor to get your children saved. It is your job to lead them to Christ. It is Father and Mother's job to train them in and teach to them the things of God, with Father leading the way. Feel inadequate? Good! You can rely on the grace of God, and most importantly, you can allow your children to see that you yourself are being diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Read a children's story bible with them. Ask questions about the story. Probe their hearts, and yours. Be genuine in your walk with Jesus. Let them see you read, pray, and repent.

Be sure that what you hide, they will see, and if they see any hypocrisy in you, they will despise the Lord you are hoping they will serve. You are their key. Make sure you open the door and walk in with them.

Two good story bibles that my husband and I have learned much from as we have read with our children:
Egermeier's Bible Story Book, Standard Edition with Bible Study Questions, The Warner Press. We purchased at Especially good for the younger children, but we are enjoying it immensely!
The Child's Story Bible, Catherine F. Vos, Eerdmans Publishing. We purchased at
who says about this book: "Originally published in 1943, this is a classic story Bible. Mrs. Vos' husband was a professor of theology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. After years of telling these stories to her children, as they were told to her while a child, she decided to write them down. This is the most accurate children's story Bible you will find." We found it appealing for middle school and even high school age as it avoids cutesy wording and gets right to the spiritual point of things.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Secret of Happiness

I love New Year's Day. It's like getting free money. You wake up and POOF!, a fresh new year just waiting for you to fill it. A new day to hear the voice of the Father God, leading you to fulfill His marvelous will. Just knowing God has good things planned is enough for me. (Jeremiah 29:11) To be able to walk with the Holy Spirit, to have the wonderful opportunity of obeying His leading and seeing what beautiful results occur is a joy beyond words. God makes my life worthy. Fulfilling. Joyous....I am grateful.