Lord, Help Me Teach My Daughter!

As I drove home from dropping my oldest son off at youth group, I used the quiet time to pray for God to show me how to home-school my daughter. This girl is our bouncy, talkative, middle child who cannot stop doing cartwheels or singing. She’s picked out her own clothes to wear since she was 3, and consistently converses with the cashiers at Walmart.

She is the cutest ladybug in the world to me and has a heart of gold and a bed of blankets for any lost puppy on the block. She thinks outside of the box, beyond the horizon and often in Odyssey, thanks to Focus on the Family.

The trouble with this kind of thinking is it’s too big to fit in a classroom or on a math page. She sees pictures instead of the letters that make up words, so phonics was horrendous. Memorizing math facts doesn’t stick unless there’s movement involved and reading a science book filled with “amazing facts” might as well be in Latin.

I’m excited to be sharing the rest of today’s story over at the Classical Conversations website!

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Why Is This So Hard?


By now you probably get the picture: I wasn’t jacked about home-schooling all of my children again when this school year began. I imagined other families buying school supplies to send with their child, not finding where it goes on the bookshelf. I cried every day for weeks and struggled with “If God really called me to this, shouldn’t I enjoy it a little?”

Then God put Psalm 42 in front of my face:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.

I echo David’s honest emotions and am encouraged that a lament like this is included in God’s Word. God doesn’t get mad at us when we’re sad and downcast, He just wants us to go to Him.

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What If I Don’t Want to Homeschool Again

So now that the decision has been made, let’s fast forward to that first week of school. I walked into our office and into this conversation…

“Are you so glad to have all your kids back home and be homeschooling again?” my sweet friend asked as I walked in the office.

Immediately I envisioned my other homeschooling friends, the ones with Michelle Duggar’s personality being asked that same question. I imagined them beaming with pride and saying something like, “Oh yes! We just love to be together. I was made for homeschooling!”

But for me, I frantically searched my brain for words to describe how I felt about the situation, and finally decided on, “Ummm…well…YES.” It was more of a declaration of what I hope for than reality, but hey, you have to start somewhere.

Read the rest of this story over at East Texas Moms Blog.

This post is apart of a series called 31 stories of hope for every homeschooler. To see the entire series, click HERE.


What’s Better Than Good Marketing?

Everywhere I turn commercials and advertisements promise a fulfilled life with the purchase of their product. This message follows me to the Brookshires check-out stand, stares at me as I wait in the dentist office, and even sneaks in at Pizza Hut when I need an easy family meal out.

If I shop this weekend at Kohls’s, I’ll find the perfect outfit to wear to next week’s event. If I buy my bedroom furniture from the local outlet, my sex life will heat up. If I use this discount code I could buy my son the newest iPad and will never hear him say that dreaded phrase, “Mommy, I’m bored” again. Retailers think they can solve all my problems.

Homeschooling is no different.

“Buy this curriculum and your daughter’s reading level will surge three grade levels overnight.”

“Buy this math program and never worry about college.”

“Purchase these additional science project materials and you will be the best home-school mom ever!” (OK, maybe my kids say that one)

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Why I’m Coming Back to Homeschooling

I want to start off today by saying thank you for reading about my journey through grief that I shared last week. When I decided to write every day in October, I wasn’t planning on sharing all of that. But as I sat behind the computer, that is what the Lord put on my heart. So now you know more of what it means when I say “life turned upside down for me.” Let’s get back to the home-school journey, shall we?

By spring break, I began praying about next school. It’ just a habit of mine. That’s always the time I begin preparing for the next school year, so it just happened naturally.

I was praying about whether this public school thing was a new season for us or if this semester was just a time to let the dust settle and we would return to home-schooling again next year.

We decided to go on our first family ski trip over spring break, which felt so official since the kids were in school. When you home-school, you can take spring break any week or month March through May, but this year this was the week!

I had already made up the school decision in my head, but on the drive to New Mexico I realized I hadn’t exactly poured over it in prayer.

I was impressed with how things were going in public school. I was able to have some segments to life and not just have everything mixing with everything else all the time. I had healthy boundaries, space to myself and the ability to go to lunch with my husband if I wanted to. Plus the kids were learning!

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What Will People Think?

So now I’m staring at the answered prayer of a home-school room but instead of arranging desks and study nooks, I’m signing public school enrollment papers, prepping my older child for the STARR placement test, and bringing in my grandfather’s furniture to turn the home-school room into a grandfather suite.

It was a shock to us all.

One evening while I was tucking my daughter in bed, we had the following conversation –

“But mom, what if my home-schooled friends think differently of me now that I’m in public school? What if they don’t want to play with me anymore?”

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A Sharp Twist in the Plan

Over the past two days I’ve told you about the long awaited construction of my home-school room. We left off yesterday with phase one in motion.

The ironic thing is, just as we were staining the exterior log siding and choosing our interior wall color, a 180 degree twist happened in the plan.

It happened one night as I took a shower. That’s where all good revelations originate, right?

This particular evening I let the hot water pound on my back and the Lord pounded His plan in my heart. My grandfather had suddenly changed. He had just come home from the hospital from what we thought was a miraculous recovery. It was a miracle he was still alive, but it was more apparent every day that his recovery wasn’t all the doctors hoped it would be. It wasn’t looking like he was able to live alone anymore.

His bride of over 60 years passed away 3 years ago from her battle with dementia. He cared for her daily until the Lord took her home. And now, it was evident he was battling his own version of that same, horrible disease.

The decisions came too hard and fast to properly think through, but it seemed best to have him come live in our house and see if this sharp decline was permanent or would soon stable out.

His house was only blocks away from mine. Over the past few months I was at his house checking on him twice a day if not sending one of my kids over there a third time. He wasn’t fixing his own food and he was ironing his kitchen towels, walking through the woods to my house in the pitch dark, all of which were not safe!

I thought, He just needs to come live with us. I can keep an eye on him easier here. I’ll add another plate at the dinner table, he’ll have his own space in our new room and he can wander over to his house and piddle around in his shop as he wants to.

All this was swirling around in my head as the water swirled down the drain. But then reality set in. If I was going to take care of my Papa, this man who I adore, there’s not enough of me to home-school my kids too. Maybe I could keep my oldest home, I thought, but I knew the younger two would have to go to school.

Now tears joined the water swirling down the drain as I said good-bye to more of my dreams and plans for my life.

I talked to my husband and parents about it the next day and after much processing and what about this, eventually we decided he would move in with us until May and then we could re-evaluate in the summer.

So after 7 years of home-schooling I parked my car in the office parking lot of the local school to obtain student application papers for my younger two kids. It felt like I was living someone else’s life. This couldn’t be mine.

The kids grieved too. They were excited to do school in the new room as we called it and now Papa was moving in! What happened? Is this really happening to me? We had to lock arms as a family and fight to keep the lines of communication open. My daughter especially took the news hard.

We had heart-to-heart talks every night before bed. I let her be mad if she needed to. I let her cry. I let her ask me whatever questions she had and I always ended our time trying to reassure her that God was in control. He hasn’t left us and will help us get through this shocking change.

But on the inside, I too, was processing just like my daughter. It was hard to have my whole world turn upside down plus I was grieving for my grandfather basically not being him anymore. This man who has been strong my entire life and taken care of me, now the roles are reversed and I’m taking care of him.

But we all had to trust, had to hope in things unseen. This change rocked us, but it didn’t take the Lord by surprise. It wasn’t a slip of paper passed on His desk that He checked OK to. I had to believe this was something He orchestrated like a master Maestro, which gave me hope there was a bigger purpose than what I could see at the time.


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This post is apart of a 31 day writing challenge on the word Hope. To see the whole series, click HERE.



Unswerving Hope Part 2

This is a continuation of a story I started yesterday. Click here to go to that story.

Throughout the next year, one thing after another dwindled away our savings account. My husband was against taking out a loan to do this project, so for now, the Operation Home-school Room was stalled out. The newly poured concrete did make a great bike path and hopscotch canvas.

By the end of that year, a 4 day hospital stay for my husband completely drained what remained in our savings and the day we paid that bill I silently said good-bye to seeing construction out my bathroom window anytime soon.

My hope was dwindling.

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Unswerving Hope

I had reached my max.

I stood in the kitchen and made my way to the bedroom, trying to get there before the dam of tears broke. What stood before me on the way to the bedroom looked like a scene from Mission Impossible when Tom Cruise is trying to enter a room while avoiding the red laser lines.

Hop over the pile of  Legos here.

Don’t slip on the miscellaneous socks there.

Go around the baby dolls in their strollers.

And if I had a dime for all those Nerf gun bullets…I would live in a MANSION!

And that’s just the floor! My tables weren’t any better. Math books, Amelia Bedelia books, spelling words, half written paragraphs scattered over every flat surface.

No matter what room I entered, I couldn’t get away from kid toys and…school! No one had their space, including me, and the walls were quickly closing in on me like that scene on Star Wars.

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What Do I Hope For?


Yesterday afternoon I sat on my newly remodeled back porch and watched a storm blow in. It wasn’t raining yet, but the wind was strong enough to ruffle the chicken’s feathers, sway my hanging baskets and rustle the leaves on the ground. Beyond the trees, I could see the dark clouds moving in over the fields.

As a kid I was afraid of storms, but now I can appreciate the thick smell of rain and sitting under an awning listening to the thunder. And if it gets too scary outside, I can always go inside.

However, I haven’t arrived at that point of serenity about storms brewing in my life. I don’t watch with that kind of peaceful anticipation when I see dark clouds chasing away the sunshine. I’m not rocking in my recliner eagerly smelling the impending rain and waiting for the bottom to fall out.

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