Joy From the Inside Out

Blessed, I am!  Yet, I know I am not alone in my struggle to enjoy every moment of motherhood.  I love my boys, but sometimes I feel like I’m going to go crazy.   You know what I’m talkin’ about.

A couple of weeks ago my boys were having at it.  After much prayer I read through I Corinthians 13 with them, inserting their name wherever is was written “Love.”  Then they spent an entire day wearing gloves – doing school with gloves, eating with gloves, and learning to consciously think about using their hands for things better than wailing on their brother!  (We all had to admit it was comical when they were trying to eat their lunch with big hands.  And thankfully they haven’t hit each other since).

Then on Sunday morning, one boy was such a grouch.  I reminded him (and me, again) that Satan is extra busy on Sundays, trying to upset people and families.  “We love you!”  Eventually, on the way to church, he decided to put on a smile and treat us with kindness. (I was thankful for the quick resolution.  I realize that this will not always be true here and that presently you might be enduring a long-term rebellion in your home.  Hugs!)

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Then there are times like last night, when one knocked on my door sounding like a barking seal, “Mom!  I can’t breathe!”  I rushed him into the bathroom and turned on the steaming hot shower.  I held him, sang to him, attempting to calm him down.  Of course I was concerned and completely thankful that he woke me up to help him!

In the dark, quiet hours, I got to thinking about how Jesus cares about His children.  About me. Then I began to wonder, what kind of child am I to God?

Basically, what endears us to children is their childlikeness.  The things they do that irritate us, threatening our sanity, is childishness.  (How many times a week do I remind myself to be patient – that they are just 8 and 6 and are in process.  Phil. 1:6!)

Dictionary.com defines them this way (followed by my lists):

Childishnessof, like, or befitting a child: childish games … weak; silly: childish fears.

My short list:

Unrestrained goofiness
Irresponsible, lazy
Doesn’t feel like it – doesn’t do it
Mine!!!
Sullen rebellion
Violent responses of anger
Happy one minute, upset the next
Says things without thinking
Fearful about the silliest things (orange juice pulp?!)
Stubbornness

 

Childlikeness:  like a child, as in innocence, frankness, etc.; befitting a child: childlike trust.

My short list:
Joyful outbursts of laughter
Honest
Trusting
Inquisitive – asks lots of questions
Forgiving
Spontaneous hugs
Excitement about life
Devoted and helpful
Willing to try new things
Natural inclination to believe there is a God and want to know Him better

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Truth: I am extremely prone to childishness, many times every day! And to go even deeper, recently one of my precious children asked me, “Mom, when are you going to be happy?”  GULP.  I am thankful for my children’s insights – so convicting!  With the health challenges I’ve faced the past several months, I have struggled with joy.  Even when I am making myself smile, somehow my children know when it is forced.  God, help me! A verse in Proverbs has been buzzing in my brain this week …

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.” Proverbs 31:25 NASB

I thank God for His patience with me!  He is gracious and slow to anger, always filled with joy.  This past week He has been teaching me about joy and how it is His gift.  When I trust that He is giving me everything I need, including the trials, I don’t need to have a hissy fit like a three-year-old.  I can laugh again!  Today I can smile (from the inside out!), knowing that if He gives me another day, He will be my Rock, my Provider, and my Joy!   Abba, I want to enjoy You and our walk through this life together.  Please make me more child-like in my joy, excitement about life, and in my undoubting reliance on You every day.

 

God’s Living Word …

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:1-6 NASB

“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  I Corinthians 13:11-13

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

 

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This treasure recently came to my attention …

 
 
Developed with Child Evangelism Fellowship, this study Bible abounds with the riches of God’s Word and additional helpful tools to help us communicate God’s truth to our precious young people.  It would be helpful for parents, school teachers, homeschooling families, Sunday school teachers, Bible club helpers, and church children ministry leaders. 
 
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Public? Home? Charter? Christian?

This past week I asked my Facebook friends what type of schooling they have chosen for their children and why.  You may be raising your eyebrows and squirming a bit in your chair, thinking I’m a little gutsy to bring up such a controversial subject.  Curiosity and genuine interest won out over my fears, and the response was incredible.

With a background in both public and private schools, as a former Christian school teacher, and currently as a homeschooling mom, I appreciate the tough decisions these women have prayed over with their husbands.  Their humility and respect for others, with views different than their own, warmed my heart.
Such an excellent discussion needs to be shared.  Some of what you read may surprise you.  I listed the responses in the order in which I received them, and you will notice some discussion going on.  If you don’t have time to read them all, please read the last testimonial.  It comes from a friend overseas who faces challenges most of us can’t even imagine.  Also, if you are interested, I’ve listed some statistics below.
God knows what is best for our families, and He wants to direct and supply.  What is best for my family may not be what works for your family, and it is no surprise, considering the endless variables: location, special needs, options available, legalities, resources, finances, learning style, and convictions. And to make our journey of faith even more exciting (and less self-reliant), the type of schooling we are using right now may not be what God has for us next year.
Thank you to all my terrific friends who took precious time to share.  Each one of us wants you, the reader, to know that while we try to do what is God’s best for our families, we know we are not perfect – but the God Whom we serve is, and He can be trusted.  Readers, please feel welcome to add your comments.  We hope our experiences will encourage you in your parenting for God’s glory!
Joyfully His,
Sara

Summer, Iowa:  “Since moving to another town, we are considering the Christian school here instead of the public one they are currently in … my husband and I both grew up in public schools, but we like the thought of the kids praying in school, learning Biblical truths there where they are not learning where they are at now… I was always a stay at home mom but we didn’t feel home schooling was for us.” 
Rachel, Iowa:  “Christian school – organization not my strong suit and my oldest has mild learning disabilities he’s in good hands at Faith Christian Learning Center.”
Elizabeth, Michigan:  “So far it is Christian school for the 2 oldest and I will home school my youngest boy  for preschool. We want them in a Christian environment, being taught Truth. We LOVE their school, it has small class sizes and amazing teachers. I don’t feel led to home school the oldest at this point, so for now this is the path… for us. I sent the older 2 to Christian preschools, but for Will (and probably Kate, too) I feel like I can teach him at home and enjoy the years that are so wonderful yet go by so quickly.”
Christie, Indiana:  “Home school. The Bible commands parents to teach their children. Home schooling also avoids indoctrination by public schools and bad influences from unsaved pupils in Christian schools. We feel our kids don’t need to spend all day with ungodly influences (public school) on the chance that those kids might get saved. There are other ways to reach those kids without risking the morals of my children. Also, my husband taught in two Christian schools for 6 years. He saw a lot of unsaved kids who were there because they were kicked out of the public schools. That is not an influence we want around our kids. I am firmly against public schools. I know (for some people) there are exceptions. One verse I go to often is Psalm 1:1. I don’t think it is right to send our kids to do something we are told to not do. A lot of public schools have gone really left-wing in the past ten years. Our local one teaches sex ed in 6th grade (it may be 5th, I am not certain). And a lot of public schools have a “day of silence” for the LGBT agenda. I suspect a lot of Christian parents are unaware of what their kids are being taught, which is not right. I know my strong feelings are not shared by all, and I have to try really hard to keep from sounding judgmental. It doesn’t always work. 🙂 I can’t say that everyone should home school, but I do feel public school is not the place for impressionable children from a Christian home.”
Sara: “Christie, thank you for sharing your convictions with us.  My husband attended public school until Bible college, and then went on to state university because God didn’t call him into full-time Christian service. His family didn’t have a lot of money, but he had a godly mother and dad, as well as a strong church.  Tim is one of the most godly men I’ve ever known. Some of the strongest, most solid Christians I know attended at least some public school.  Many of my christian school peers ended up in trouble.  Most of my friends who have kids in public and private schools are extremely involved and know what’s going on. God can help us all in this adventure of parenting! I believe it’s all about faith and parental involvement.”

Tanya, Iowa:  “In Utah they have a charter school that is based around Christian beliefs. They focus on different things … I think there are a few different ones in Salt Lake. Some focus on science and math some technology the one I was talking about used to be a private school and then became a charter school. I think it still had an optional class like a seminary class. It focused on leadership and being a better person in the community. I think. We would send them there if we were still in Utah. But hopefully there is a good public school because private schools are expensive. I had a good experience in public school and did things that I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to do being home schooled. I don’t think I could teach my kids everything they need to know. But to those parents who can you are amazing!”

Sara:  “I know kids from all different forms of education who have excelled and grown up to love and serve God – on the other hand, I’ve seen just as many carefully monitored home schooled, public and private school children who have gone off the deep end when they leave home. There is no guarantee with whatever your education choice. We parents can do everything we can, but our kids (eventually) still have to make the final decision what they are going to do with their lives. I believe we must prayerfully make our decision for our own families and not judge others if they choose differently.”
Jennifer, Minnesota:  “Public school. Both my husband and I grew up in private (Christian) schools. I always assumed I would do the same, but God had other plans for our family. Trust me I enrolled them in the public school with great fear and trepidation… I… felt like I might be throwing my kids to the wolves and that was scary! I have seen God work in their lives and quite honestly my oldest two (6th and 4th) are way more grounded in their faith than I ever was at their age. Their courage and boldness for Christ (sometimes in the midst of ridicule) amazes me and makes me very proud of them and is also a little bit of a rebuke to me in my own life.”
Sara:  “Have you been ridiculed for having your kids in public school, Jennifer?  Not that that matters.”
Jennifer, Minnesota: “No we haven’t been ridiculed for our choice of public education. Honestly though I think all my friends locally have their kids in the public school. My public school mom friends and I recently started a bible study and prayer group. I also have a group here on Facebook to support likeminded public school parents in their children’s educational journey… it’s called Salt and Light. For those of you who have your kids in the public school you are more than welcome to join… let me know. :-)”  

Sarah, Iowa:  “We have actually done all 3, at one time or another. Along the way we have discovered that all methods have their pluses and minuses. I would have to say my preferred method is homeschooling. We are on year 9 of that. I love having the …freedom to choose my kids’ education and to be convinced that their hearts are being educated above their minds. I never planned on homeschooling, but am so glad I did! Now, our sp. needs son attends public school. And that has also been a fantastic choice – for him. We got to a point with him that homeschooling just wasn’t working anymore. Fortunately, we live in a small school district and the student body has embraced Ben. This is our 2nd year at that school and we have had very, very few negative experiences. I have really come to believe that educational choices must be made for each individual child and must be re-evaluated every single year to see if that is still the best choice for that child.”

Sara:  “Thanks for sharing, Sarah. So many people have told me to take it one year at a time and prayerfully consider what God wants for each child.  No matter what we choose, we must keep in mind, as Christie pointed out, that we are ultimately responsible to teach our children and be sure they are brought up in the knowledge of God.”
Mindy, New York:  “I have changed my views on this subject over the years. My conclusion is to seek the Lord’s will! 🙂 Each family, child, school, and situation is different. We as parents are given the responsibility of educating our children. We have …to decide if it is best for us to do that or to delegate that responsibility to others. If we delegate it, we are still responsible to make sure that it happens and to watch for the influences in our children’s lives. We have done the Christian school for a couple years. We have homeschooled for three years. My husband is a public school teacher. We have considered enrolling them in the public school where he teaches. It is a hard decision and one we pray about a lot. I think keeping an open mind, praying, and not judging others for their choices is key in this area of our lives!”
Debra, Kansas:  “I can honestly say that education decisions have been the hardest, most agonizing decisions Jay and I have made as parents. I attended both Christian and public schools growing up, and we have done all three at one time or another. Moving them to public school was a tough decision, but we were in earnest prayer over it, and seeking wise council. My brother in law, who is a godly man, as well as an educator gave us his thoughts, after we sought his advice. (He put HIMSELF through Christian school in high school…) He said, ‘A lot of Christian parents like to complain about the public school environment, but then they pull their kids from the school, as well as their own involvement as parents. The more we do that, the further away the school gets from godly influence. It is a matter of discernment and of prayer.’  That really struck a chord with Jay and I, so when we put our kids in public school, we also put ourselves there. We are heavily involved as volunteers. I have always been room mom for all my kids’ classes, as well as helping out in the classroom several days a week. I currently go in to my youngest’s class on Thurs & Fri to help with reading groups. Then I follow him to lunch, where I can sit and listen to what is going on around him. This type of interaction puts my kids’ teachers as ease with me, and opens up a level of communication that is hard to achieve otherwise. I do not think poorly of parents who chose to homeschool, or put their children in private school. This decision should be made with much thought and prayer. It should also be made with each child’s individuality in mind. (This was a reminder given by a missionary cousin, who reminded me that my two cousins were in different schools at the same time. One child in Christian, one in public.) It is very easy to condemn other parents who made a different choice than your family, without understanding the effort that has gone into the decision. As the Body, we should work hard to encourage fellow believers to be in the Word, and discern the working of the Spirit, instead of making decisions for one another. Sorry for the book. Just my thoughts….”
  
Sara:  “Thank you, Debra!  We have one in kindergarten and one in preschool. This year we partnered with a local Home School Assistance Program and have loved it.  Our oldest attends some classes at the “home school” and we have a library and field trips that have been wonderful. I went to public school through grade 5, then I moved to a Christian school. My senior year I wanted to go to public school, to strengthen my faith, but my parents convinced me to stay. It’s impossible to know what would’ve happened, had I transferred to public high school, but this I know … in Bible college I greatly struggled with assurance of my salvation (typical of those from my background). I finally had assurance of my salvation, and God called me to teach in a Christian school for 3 years. I loved it, and I still love my students, keeping in touch with many of them. Both of my sisters home schooled (they are 10 and 15 years older than I) with mixed results.  One of them did a fabulous job and I admire her greatly –  but I don’t know if this is what God will have for our family all the way through.  I have confidence that God will lead us in the right direction. And I can trust Him for the future of my children. If it were left up to me, we’d all be in trouble. But, with God, I know all things are possible.”
Carol, Colorado:  “We have done all three of the choices Sara mentioned except our public school is a charter school. We have a unique charter school that is mostly Christian teachers. Our kids have great Christian friends and some friends who aren’t Christians who get to see what it means to be Christian. Our kids get an opportunity to show Christ to these kids and invite them to church and witness to them. We want our kids to be able to know how to be authentic Christians. I agree about evaluating our kids and allowing God to direct where our kids should be schooled. It gets even more interesting when they choose college, but that is maybe another topic.”
Jackie, Colorado:  “My 4th grader daughter and 2nd grade son are in our public school right now. We love our school and really love our teachers. Sure, there have been issues with other students, but my kids are learning how to deal with it and it brings out… many great discussions. They are there because my husband and I think that is where they will receive the best overall education at this point in their lives. I think that my daughter has grown and has learned some very important lessons in life, that she might not have experienced otherwise. My daughter’s teacher is excellent and I could never accomplish what she has done with Skyler. Some of her best friends are at school, and are also Christians. My kids aren’t in the system to convert anyone. They are there because that’s what we have chosen for our family. We love the opportunities that are provided/thrown at us. I also enjoy helping at school and meeting children/parents who live in our area. We also teach our children plenty at home, through our church (that they love!), in AWANA groups and whatever else we can think of. I attended public schools, liberal Christian schools, a very strict Christian school and then Bible college. There are all kinds in all of them. I have also known a wide variety of homeschoolers, including my own sister. Quite the array of pupils and quite the array of results. We have no money for a Christian school, I have never had any desire or prompting to homeschool, there are the pros and cons of charter schools in our area, and we love our public school. At this moment in time, this is what works best for us.”
Kay, Alabama:  “We have used both Christian and Public Schools to assist us in our responsibility to educated our children. God had different paths for us at different times in our lives. Also, different paths for different children. One year we had 2 in …Christian and 1 in Public. To echo much of what has been said above, it is OUR responsibility to educate our children and external schools are just tools to help us. It is important to know the needs of our children and what best suits them. My eldest was a bold witness in the public school. The other 2 had a harder time with peer pressure (not that they were bad kids, it was just a harder path). If you are blessed to have the reinforcement of a good Christian school, please don’t take that for granted. If you use the Public School system, I believe it is very important to stay actively involved. The educational need of our children is something that constantly needs to be evaulated. MUCH prayer. And then, when you’re done, you’ll still probably see where you could have done something differently.”

Dawn, Illinois:  “Public: – I want my children to ‘learn to swim with the sharks while I am still teaching them to swim.’ I want them to learn to stand up for God, to have a Biblical worldview in an ever darkening world, to learn that they WILL be different …and have different standards, and to be salt and light. I cannot tell you how many incredible conversations we have had about “the world’s view” on a variety of subjects vs. God’s view. We go to God’s Word and see why we stand for the values we uphold. Do I like all the junk they are confronted with? No. But then again, I don’t like the junk I have to face on a daily basis. I am glad they are still under my influence so I can expose Satan’s lies and guide them into truth.  I would not mind sending them to Christian school simply because I like the traditional academics and because it might be easier to find Christian friends. But – there is no way we can afford the private schools in our area (It would require me working fulltime and then some.)  I have never felt the Lord calling me to home-school. And I stand in complete awe of mom’s who homeschool. It takes incredible self-discipline and I don’t know how they balance it all.”
Sara: “Thank you for all the fabulous input!  Keep the comments coming!”
Kristen, Iowa:  “Homeschool-for many reasons. We never set out from the beginning to homeschool, but I just couldn’t let my kids go. Now we wouldn’t trade it for anything. My husband is self-employed which makes homeschooling so much easier. When he has… a day off, we take the day off and do field trips. I love having my kids with me all day every day. Next year, my oldest will be a senior. He will be taking 3 classes at public school and 3 online college classes from the community college plus some stuff at home. My #3 child runs track and plays basketball for the middle school. My only regret is not having more children (only 4) so I could keep homeschooling. I only have 6 years left of this amazing time in my life.”
Margy, Iowa:  “I attended public schools and my husband attended Christian schools. Before we had children I taught at both Christian school and public schools. We currently have one son in public high school and 2 that are being homeschooled. I have found the education of our children to be one or the biggest blessings and most agonizing decisions we as parents face. We began homeschooling 12 years ago. I have loved it most days and we have had some very memorable and amazing times together; I think our family is very close in part because of it. However, there are those days when nothing seems to go according to plan and you realize that you aren’t perfect or you worry that you aren’t teaching them everything that they need. I think that is normal and thus we always go year by year and reevaluate. We ask, how is it working for each of us and what if anything can we change, drop, add or improve.? 3 years ago, we realized the answer for our oldest son was—this isn’t working. I was crushed because I thought I had “failed” as a homeschool mom and I had planned to go all the way through high school, but I am so glad we changed our plan because it has been a good thing for him and us. Now we are at another crossroads, our middle child, having heard his older brother talk about jr. high, is curious about it. We don’t think, knowing him and his personality, that going to Jr. High full time is a great idea, so we are going to allow him to take 3 or 4 classes next year. Will they all end up in public school for high school? Maybe, maybe not. I will continue to prayfully consider what works for each of my boys, trust my instinct as a parent and educator and listen to the hearts of my children. I am so thankful for the options we all have. It is a great responsibility and privilege that we have the freedom to choose how our children are educated. I am deeply respectful that the choices I make may not be the choices that work for others, I hope others will be as well. God bless each of you in your journey!”

Sara:  “If we decide to homeschool all the way through, we plan also to dual-enroll at some point. We believe it is extremely important and biblical to teach our children how to live in this world, while still in our home, so they are able to receive our help and guidance as they prepare for “real” life.”
Renee, Iowa:  “I went to Christian school for kindergarten & public school for the rest of my schooling. I didn’t notice a lot of negative influences when I was in school but I was a very shy child with few friends & I’m sure schools have changed a lot in the last decade. That said my siblings & I also had the godly influences of AWANA & Sunday school. My parents did a good job of teaching us that not everything they teach you at school is the truth (i.e.-evolution). If I am ever blessed to have children of my own, I hope to be able to put them in Christian school.”
Sara: “Thank you for sharing, Renee!  It’s great to hear your viewpoint as a single woman.  Truth be told, we begin home schooling the day our child is born!”
Lynda, Michigan:  “We have our two oldest in a charter school. The reason started when we had to make a decision on where to put our oldest. We heard that the public school in our district was a great one. We did consider it, but the biggest thing was my job. I homeschooled her for Kindergarten, but was able to get her into the Charter school for first grade. The charter school we have them in is 10 minutes from my work, so if I am working I can take them to school and pick them up without it interferring with my job. We did not consider private, too much, due to the cost and we wanted our girls to “face the world”. We felt that the charter school is a middle, with the worldly influnces but a rich moral influnces that can help our children be better women. I am in the schools each week to see who my girls are interacting with, see the teacher at maybe not such a great moment and how she handles it and to interact with the school staff. We do not feel that it is the schools responsiblity to totally teach our girls. They are getting the achedemics from the teachers at Achieve, something we feel we can not do at this time. We are still teaching them how to interact with their classmates, solve problems with their peers, be an example of Christ and to respect those that Christ puts in authority over them. Like others have mentioned it is not a decision we take lightly with our girls. We take each year and see if it still the best for them . I do want to mention that I am involved in Moms in Touch, a group that mets and prays for their children and the school.”
Anonymous, Foreign Mission Field: ” I just wanted to tell you that I love homeschooling and so do my kids.  My older two take two classes and one class from a mk (missionary kid) school right by our house and love this also.  I love our decision to do what we have done.  We are a very close family and we all have loved doing school like this….but I have also always had the kids in other activities – church and sports and music.  Their lives are crazy busy.  I love that my three teenagers still love hugging me and they are cool kids…____ is 6foot 1inch and very strong and very cool amongst all his friends, but yet loves kissing my cheek goodbye each day at the door of his school. The states also offers so much where kids can be home schooled but then also take classes thru other sources….the best of both worlds.  All just a thought. I hated going to a public school and was very popular but the kids looked for a way to make me fall into sin because they knew that i was saved. we have friends from ______ that took their kids out of (a Christian school) and we were so sad our last term to see how the oldest girl was wearing extremely short short and different things like that ….like my daughter said…she was just so very different and had changed so very much. any way… I don’t normally write long but i just wanted to share my opinion. Every family is different and different things are best for different families and at different times. We have always taken our homeschooling decision at a year by year basis….always open to if it wasn’t working than we would change.  We love it.  I know for (my friend – a Christian school teacher) that the best was putting the kids back in christian school after knowing that homeschooling was not turning out the right way.  I just want you to know the side of someone that was in public school all my life….I craved christian friends and never had one thru my whole life until I became an adult….it was hard!!!  Any way ….I wrote this very fast because of time….I will pray that God will lead you and he has a perfect plan for your family also. Each mom and each kid is different….if christian school is for you than God will provide also….and if it is public school than he will give christian friends and christian teachers.”
Anonymous, Foreign Mission Field, cont’d:  “One of my friends is a school teacher but homeschooling wasn’t the best fit for her. This taught me a lot. It fits us…I love to stay at home…others hate that….so being tied to my kids and home aren’t a bad thing for me. I love the time I get with each one … I love to see them interact and I love to see them helping each other. The other day I caught _____ reading her book to _____ …. I just can’t tell you the benefits that I see….we have a mk school here right by us and I wouldn’t send my kids there full time because I believe that the kids are not being taught by their parents well enough in the area of thinking of others and reaching out to the lonely.  As a family we talk thru every situation ….my kids are far from perfect but homeschooling allows me time to talk thru the character issues that come up each day.. but again I go back to each family needs to do what works best. For them…you just need to search out what is best for you….God will show you.”

Anonymous, Nebraska:  “My kids go to christian school. We just felt it was the right thing for them. Public school isn’t an option for us at all.  Sending our kids to Christian school as opposed to homeschooling them was what they needed. I had a bad experience when my mom tried to homeschool me. That was one factor. Also my oldest daughter needs to be challenged in more ways than I can offer her. My son really needs the structure of a school setting as well. They really need the social aspect of it too. We are basically the only family at our church and this helps them to have a chance to develop their social skills. I admire those who can homeschool their children. We don’t really have the space to do that either at this time. I do have my concerns about sending our soon to be kindergartner to their school this next year, because of some issues with the teacher, but I don’t know what else to do. That is one of my dilemas that I am praying about.”
Anonymous, Iowa: “I enjoyed reading the responses to your homeschool/private/public school question! Interesting! I have enjoyed homeschooling this past year and we are planning to do it again this fall but I plan to take one year at a time. I have people ask me, ‘so are you going to homeschool through high school?’ I have no idea. I’m just working through kindergarten and 1st grade! I realize each child is different but It always surprises me when moms say they couldn’t teach their kids or couldn’t teach them what they need to know. Teaching – especially reading and spelling – has been FUN! I’m not really a “teacher” but enjoy “teaching like a mom.” Thankfully my daughter has others in her life who are able to demonstrate those “real” trained teacher qualities!”
Anonymous, Foreign Mission Field, con’d.: “Another thing I thought about today was the benefit of spending so much time each morning with my kids memorizing scripture.  It is apart of their schooling, and I doubt if they were in traditional schools if i would have ever been able to train them in this way.  I love the time that we spend reciting chapters of the bible and when the three oldest were little it was really a ton of fun. also family devos when they were little were just wonderful. our morning time was so much Bible stories and Bible memorization.  It was a lot of fun.  I still spend about 30 minutes with each kid memorizing God’s word each morning. two of the kids do it together since they are a year apart. _____ has to do it at a separate time as he practices soccer all morning long. then I do _____ and _____ separately due to learning styles but soon I will be able to do them together.  Also the time homeschooling allows them to excel in other activities is super great.  _____ practices her piano 50 minutes a day and does really well. _____ is up to 45 minutes and _____  plays on a soccer club training him to be a pro…he practices all morning long and then starts school at 1pm.  Not all is rosy as I have one that is always bored and always wanting more – it is ______ my fourth and she is super energetic.  She swims four days a week on a swim team but she is super go go go.  This is a little difficult.  I was thinking today how every kid is different not just every family.  ______ is my one that begs to go to traditional school and maybe one day we will decide that but for now I still feel that she is good at home.” 
Anonymous, Foreign Mission Field, cont’d.: “I was also thinking today as I wrote you …of a missionary friend of mine.  Her husband is always wanting her to homeschool their five kids.  It would not work for her…and she knows that …she is a type of person that really needs her away time and her own time.  She is an amazing mom and always finding fun things for her kids to do but to be with them all day would drive her insane.  But she is an awesome mom and so much more creative for her kids than I ever have been for mine. I also have a friend that is a missionary here in ____ and she home schools…but it is not a good situation because she has no patience at all with her kids and really is not a good example.  We have plenty of faults…. I have two that struggle to get a long but it is a teaching situation and they get better and then fall again and then get better and then fall….but I know that God will have the victory.”
Anonymous, Overseas: “I had wanted to comment on your thread about schooling, but put it off because I was worried about eyes around the world seeing. I have too many unsaved friends who read and keep an eye on everything we do…. And I don’t want them to think we are a cult because we don’t like their educational system. Anyway, a thing to consider is that some parents, not many, but some have no choice on their child’s education. I homeschooled my children for the first year of their education and would have gladly continued until I was unqualified for the higher grades. Then I would have considered a good Christian school if money allowed or some charter school or internet variant. But God decided where He wanted our family and placed us in a country where the government controls everything. Homeschooling is not an option and there are no good schools as you would compare with better choices in the states and so we bathe our children and their days in prayer as we send them into the battle of the world daily. But I am persuaded that following God to this mission field and fighting with and for my kids on this level is not a mistake or worst case scenario. God who makes no mistakes asked it of us so it must be the perfect best at this time for my children.  You are welcome to use or post any of these thoughts on your thread, etc. But you would have to not use names or countries in order to protect our ministry here. Thanks.
Side note. I love reading your articles and your encouragment, but I will have to admit that sometimes I must just take a break from reading about American Christianity because to those of us around the world it seems like a perfect fairytale. I haven’t had a single Christian friend in 6 1/2 years, my children do not know other christian children who stand for the right, our church is our family outside of our Bible studies, we have forgotten what it is to sing corporately and so in order to stay content with where God has placed me and asked of me it is sometimes better not to remember what I am missing. So that is why I sometimes do not comment or write often. Not because I do not care.”  

 Statistics

School Preferences (if they mentioned two or three, I included all):

· Charter – 2
· Christian – 9
· Home – 10
· Public – 11

Where I met these amazing women:
· 7 – Faith Baptist Bible CollegeAnkeny, IA
· 7 – Northland Baptist Bible CollegeDunbar, WI
· 4 – Through my church
· 4 – Various other contacts

Location and Status:
· 10 states
· 2 foreign countries
· 1 single woman
· Mostly married women with young children and teenagers
· All the way up to a super special empty nester

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”James 1:5 

Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts – American History Series: Movie Review

This is by far my favorite of the Drive Thru History with Dave Stott series.  Put out in 2009, it’s been out awhile now, so this may be old hat to you.  After watching it I wanted to show it to everyone, especially in our public schools.  It is the raw truth of American history which undoubtedly includes our godly heritage.  And fun to boot! 
Here is my grade for Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts: American History Series …
Availability = B+
This may not be in every public library – we found it in our home school library.  It is available through Netflix, and I found it for 10 bucks (+ shipping) on www.half.com.  Interestingly, it is also in book form, on half.com, for under $3 plus shipping.
Information Resource = A+
I can’t say enough good about it … it will not disappoint!  Information, sights, history!
Knowledge and Sincerity of Host = A+
While Dave may be a bit crazy, this adds to his charm.  His presentation and memory of facts, and his joy and fun contrasted with serious passion, can only be attributed to the fact that he is not only a talented media man, but his heart is in it.  He believes what he is telling us, and is whole-heartedly excited about this country and our heritage.  A few may think he is unprofessional or irreverent.  They may even think his food choices while camping out are scandalous! 🙂
Quality of Film Production = A+
Wow, this is a great ride!  I’m impressed with the elements that would keep not only a child attentive but us sleepy worn out adults, too. It is encouraging to see quality material out there – thank you!  One might see a bit of “National Treasure” imitation in the music and film elements.  I didn’t mind – I enjoyed that movie!  This documentary digs up even more treasure than the movie did.
Spiritual Elements = B
The goal of the film isn’t to evangelize.  It is history with just a smattering of opinion thrown in.  But, one can hardly miss the heart for God in our founders.  Loved quotes from William Penn and hearing the first prayer of Congress at Carpenter’s Hall by the Reverend Jacob Duche September 7th, 1774:

“Lord our Heavenly Father, High and Mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech thee, on these our American States, who have fled to thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent on Thee, to Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give; take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle! Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst Thy people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. all this we ask In the Name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.
Amen.”

“Witnesses record that during the prayer Washington knelt along with Henry, Randolph, Lee, Rutledge and Jay.  The last two were originally the most vocal in opposing the idea of a prayer.  After the prayer a profound silence followed, so deep was the sense of responsibility upon each man present.” (http://www.kamglobal.org/Store/FirstPrayerInCongress.htm … http://www.keepgodinamerica.com/firstprayer.asp)
If you read through that whole prayer, you are dedicated!  As you can see, I can get carried away by this subject … back to the grading process.
Story Substance = A+
While I consider myself a good student of American history, I learned a lot and wished for more.  Let’s say you probably won’t be twiddling your thumbs wondering, “When is this thing going to be over?!”  I greatly appreciate the dedicated researchers and filmographers who compiled this fabulous representation of American history!
Review Summary:
Availability = B+
Information Resource = A+
Knowledge and Sincerity of Host = A+
Quality of Film Production = A+
Spiritual Elements = B
Story Substance = A+
Overall Grade = A

Obstacle to Comfort – George Mueller: Movie Review




As a pre-teen, one biography caught my attention more than the others: George Mueller -man of faith, founder of orphanages, godly example.  Now as an adult, parent, and teacher, this man continues to inspire and challenge my faith.  We had the privilege of watching a video about his life last night.  I highly recommend it.  Excerpt from the website (link found below):

Obstacle to Comfort is a 55-minute video on the life of George Muller of Bristol.  The man became a legend in his own generation.  He was the builder of schools, a supporter of missions and a father to some 10,000 orphans.  The amazing issue of his life does not lie in what he did, but in how he accomplished it.  
 
He refused to inform anybody concerning his needs, mentioning them only to God, in private, on his knees. 

My grade for Obstacle to Comfort …

Availablilty = C
It may be difficult to track down.  We found ours at our home school assistance program library.  Finding it will be well worth the effort.  I found one used on http://www.amazon.com/ for $2.99.  Huge difference from http://www.half.com/ at over $21.  It wasn’t on Netflix.

Information Resource = A+
This video was excellent in describing George Mueller’s background, his conversion, the four most influencial people in his life, how he became a man of prayer, why he never wanted a salary, his pioneer work in founding orphanages … all of this and more upon a clear backdrop describing the current events of his day.  I especially appreciated hearing statistics relating what happened to the orphans under his care after they grew up.

Knowledge and Sincerity of Host = A+
It is hosted by an older gentleman who clearly loves this man who has greatly impacted his life and ministry.  His hands tremble, so he moves them a lot, but I didn’t find it too distracting.  On the contrary, I was touched that he was determined to make the film regardless of physical issues.

Quality of Film Production = B- 
Not terrible for a low budget 15 year old film, but it is slow compared to modern flashy media.  Not a big deal.

Spiritual Elements = A
This story is a testament to God’s grace before salvation, at salvation, and beyond.  There is no possible way that all the answers to prayers and amazing provision were merely coincidence.  Clearly God worked in and through this humble man.  I learned that during the blitz of WWII, when Hitler caused numerous deadly attacks on London, many bombs fell around the Mueller campus.  And people would run to the buildings of Mr. Mueller’s orphanage instead of to storm shelters.  When asked why they would take that risk, they replied, “We know God is here.”  None of the orphan houses, schools or offices were ever harmed.

Story Substance = A+
This true story of faith was illuminated by numerous photos and location visits.  I was moved by seeing faces of the children he helped, the orphanages and schools built through prayer, and photos of the man himself.  Dr. Connolly takes viewers to visit a man still connected to the Mueller organization, who lovingly untucks Pastor Mueller’s personal record books from a safe, showing us his very first book, introducing us to his first orphan.  First of thousands.

Review Summary:
Availability = C
Information Resource = A+
Knowledge and Sincerity of Host = A+
Quality of Film Production = B- 
Spiritual Elements = A
Story Substance = A+

Overall Grade = A-


http://prayerfoundation.org/movies/movie_review_obstacle_to_comfort_george_muller.htm

Don’t Stop Praying




This week our theme at Skinner Academy is “Call Me!”  We’ve had lessons about how to use the phone, reviewing our phone number, and talking a lot about prayer.  It’s been super fun and super challenging!  Our memory verse is short and to the point:

“Pray without ceasing.”  I Thessalonians 5:17


Pray without stopping!  Don’t stop!  Never stop!  Pray all day!  Based on that verse, here are some places the boys and I decided we could and should pray:

  • When we wake up in the morning
  • Before meals
  • After meals
  • During meals
  • In the van
  • At the store
  • At a restaurant
  • When we have a bad dream
  • When we can’t sleep
  • At the library
  • In the bathroom
  • Making breakfast/lunch/supper
  • Doing laundry
  • Before a long trip
  • In a boat
  • While swimming
  • In school
  • Sweeping the floor
  • At church
  • Before we fall asleep at night

We found that the list can get most interesting (and sometimes kindof yucky … like when we’re throwing up)!  But it’s true.  God wants to hear from us at all times in all places.  If you’re like us, we pray before meals, during our quiet time with God, at church, and when we want something or are in trouble.  Sadly, most of our praying is self-centered and locked into habitual times, not nearly qualifying as praying without stopping.

God knows that we have a hard time focusing on Him; we need to talk to Him all the time so we keep our vision clear and our relationship with Him strong.  We can access Facebook and other social networks 24/7 and most of us have a phone with us at all times.  I wonder.  Does that steal from our intimacy with God?   I know it steals from some of the closeness of some marriages, so it must hurt God as well.

Also, we must not give up praying long-term for prayer requests.  After the diagnosis, accident, request, appointment, lay-off or deployment we must remember to continue to pray!

Challenge:  Take one day and try to put this verse into practice.  Pray all the time, everywhere, without stopping.  I’ve never done this before to this extent, but I am going to try to do it today.  I’m going to pray for you right now, dear reader.  I hope you have a great praying-through-the-day day!  🙂


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