Daily Focus - August 2013

  • No Fear

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Aug 31st

    Let's face the facts. There are some people who shouldn't homeschool their children. For whatever reason, they lack the resources or ability to teach, and their children would do better in a conventional school setting. However, there is another side to the coin. Many parents who should be schooling their children at home are not. Responding in fearful apprehension, they use the excuse, "It's great others can homeschool, but I could never do that!" The status quo or their own inhibitions have convinced them of failure while God waits for them to believe in His wisdom and guidance for success. Read More...


  • One Step Back

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Aug 30th

    Have you ever started your day sensing something was wrong with your homeschooling? As I crawled out from under the covers, I knew we needed to set the academics aside and let the day just happen. Our family relationships had been growing distant, the stress level had been building, and our homeschooling was feeling more like a chore than a blessing. Our family needed to experience the joy of being together again. Phonics rules, spelling words, and algebraic equations could wait. Today, I simply wanted to enjoy my precious children and play. Read More...


  • Obedient Love

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Aug 29th

    Homeschool disciplining would be easier if, like new clothes, our children came with a label. Directions would clearly state whether to use hot (spanking), warm (time out), or cold (grounded) water and when to line dry (take away privileges) or tumble dry (extra chores/community service). Unfortunately, our children don't come with wash and wear tags. We must rely on the Lord's wisdom to guide us when correcting and instructing our children in obedience. Read More...


  • Fresh Starts

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Aug 28th

    Every August, our homeschooling year started the same way. After the brown delivery truck left our driveway, four excited children would eagerly tear open the boxes of curriculum. Workbooks and teacher's guides would be laid on the floor and quickly checked against the packing slip. Then, like opening gifts on Christmas morning, my children would delightfully spend the rest of the day thumbing through the pages of their new curriculum. Inevitably, the fresh, colorful workbooks caused everyone to become so motivated that we began homeschooling the very same day. Read More...


  • Hang up the Phone

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Aug 27th

    Distractions can eat up a day of schooling faster than you know, and there seems to always be plenty of them. Many days I've wondered, "Where did the time go?" The time I lost was usually spent on things that seemed beneficial or constructive. One of these was the temptation to answer the phone. After all, it may be an emergency, right? Read More...


  • If I Had Known

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Aug 26th

    Looking back over your homeschooling experiences, what would you do differently? Enjoy these reflections gleaned from other homeschooling parents just like you: Read More...


  • Call the Yellow Bus

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Aug 25th

    “Well, I guess you’d better quit. Just call the school and have them send the little yellow bus to pick up your kids tomorrow,” I said sarcastically to my friend who was discouraged after a long week of homeschooling. These were certainly not the most encouraging words to say to a fellow homeschooler, but it was effective. Responding with a renewed commitment to homeschool, she sought the Lord’s guidance and changed her curriculum to better fit her daughters’ learning styles. Read More...


  • Truth or Consequences

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Aug 24th

    Until I became a homeschooling parent, I never knew how obvious a young child looks when telling a lie. Living together 24/7 gives you a distinct advantage in reading your child’s body language and facial expressions, and my children knew I could tell instantly when a lie was coming from their lips. In addition, my children’s respect for our house rules also helped to curtail lies. Knowing they would receive a lessened punishment for telling the truth, they were quick to tell on themselves and confess their wrongdoing. Read More...


  • Back-to-School Tools

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Aug 23rd

    Would you like to know the best back-to-school item to have for a profitable year of homeschooling? No, it’s not a new computer, and it’s not a new microscope, math manipulative, or the latest educational game. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that the most effective tool you have is simply the positive words you use to encourage your child. No high-tech gadget or apparatus can ever leave as profound an effect on your child’s education as saying things like, “Wow, you did a great job on that test!” and “How did you learn that so quickly?” Though it seems too good to be true, affirming your child with words of praise is the quickest way to motivate him to higher academic achievement. Read More...


  • Letting Go

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Aug 22nd

    It happened today. I knew it was going to come someday, but I wasn’t quite ready. My five-year-old son and I were walking back from the barn after doing the evening chores. As we headed toward the house, I felt my hand reach for his to walk back together. In just that instant, my son’s hand pulled away, and I knew he was growing up and letting go. Read More...


  • Following Traditions

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Aug 21st

    I hate to admit it, but the first years I homeschooled, I tried to make our homeschooling a carbon copy of what I experienced in a traditional school. Following the same regimented routine I remembered, I attempted to convert our home and teach my children with standards and techniques meant for a classroom of 25 children. Thankfully, God helped me to discover a more robust way to teach our school lessons, and my children became happier in their studies. Read More...


  • Peaceful Sleep

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Aug 20th

    The human body’s need for sleep has always amazed me. God has designed us to literally turn off like a machine for eight hours or more each night. Science tells us sleep is something our bodies need to do. It is not an option. During our sleeping hours, some parts of the brain actually increase their activity dramatically, and certain hormones are produced by many of the body’s major organs and regulatory systems that continue to work. Read More...


  • Young Love

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Aug 19th

    I’ll never forget the day my son declared his future marriage intentions. As we sat in church Sunday morning waiting for the service to begin, a new family filed in and sat in the pew opposite ours. For the next several minutes, I watched as my son observed the youngest female member of their family—a vibrant, freckle-faced redhead with a smile that went from ear to ear. Just as the pastor stood up to announce the first hymn, my son pulled on my sleeve and nodded toward the crimson-haired beauty. With all the earnestness a six-year-old could muster, he proclaimed, “Mommy, someday I’m going to marry a girl just like that!” Read More...


  • Too Many Loads

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Aug 18th

    Does your burden seem heavy today? Too many loads of laundry, too many ungraded papers, half-finished art projects, or birthday cards left unwritten? Sometimes we are overwhelmed with all that has to be done as a homeschooling parent. Read More...


  • Homeschool Stereotypes

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Aug 17th

    As a homeschooling parent, you likely know the frustration of being stereotyped. Unfairly, mainstream America has deemed us unfashionable, overly protective, dogmatically religious, and socially backwards. Like other stereotypes that develop from negative assumptions, homeschooling parents suffer from unjust labels with unfounded perceptions of their true character. Added to this misconception is the fact that homeschooled children are also stereotyped. Read More...


  • Less than the Best

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Aug 16th

    When your children turn in assignments that reflect less than their best effort, what do you do as a homeschooling parent? I can recall a specific instance when my teenage son had, once again, turned in less than his best. Although I could have graded his paper accordingly, his halfhearted efforts were simply not acceptable this time. Scanning his poorly written essay, I asked, “Do you really think this is your best effort?” Read More...


  • Security Blankets

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Aug 15th

    What makes you feel safe? Is it a clean bill of health from the doctor, a well-stocked pantry in the kitchen, or a large balance in your checking account? We all have things that make us feel protected, but life can throw you a curve. In just a moment, everything can change. Read More...


  • Great Aspirations

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Aug 14th

    Have you ever wanted to do something great for God? You know, something great like being a gifted Bible teacher, a talented Christian singer, or an inspirational evangelist? I did, but as a young mother living in a remote rural area with two small children and one on the way, I couldn’t imagine how. I wanted my life to count for God, but for the most part, no one knew I even existed. Our single income left our family with one vehicle for my husband’s use in getting to work. I was isolated and made irregular trips into town for groceries, library books, and church activities. Most of my days were consumed with simply homeschooling, cleaning house, and caring for my family. “Not much opportunity to do great things for God,” I thought to myself as I prepared for another homeschooling day after my morning devotions. Read More...


  • Over the Edge

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Aug 13th

    All of us start homeschooling for a particular reason—some defining catalyst that throws us over the homeschooling fence. Some homeschoolers make the decision to teach their children due to a negative experience with public school. Prompted into action by their children’s negative attitudes and personality shifts, these parents are concerned about meager instruction, the absence of godly curriculum, or a threat to their child’s safety.   Read More...


  • Mission Impossible

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Aug 12th

    Have you been weighing the pros and cons of homeschooling and trying to decide what to do this year for your children's education? Although the idea of schooling your children at home seems like a daunting task, you can successfully teach them. Planning schedules, purchasing curriculum, and making lesson plans may sound foreign to you right now, but God will help you if you simply pray and ask for His leading. Not only will He send the encouragement and support you need from homeschooling families, but He'll also show you where to get the ideas, resources, and supplies you need to complete the task. Read More...


  • Foolish Mothers

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Aug 11th

    As homeschooling mothers, we hold within our hands the power to create a wonderful school day or a horrible one. Our attitude can dictate a day filled with joy or one filled with tense anxiety. In Proverbs 6:19, the Lord says that strife is one of the seven things He hates. Strife can develop from many situations, including heated debates and unresolved arguments with your husband. Left unchecked, marital strife can cause you to be abrupt and short with your children, and if you aren't careful, seeds of anger, bitterness, and hate could be planted in your children and ultimately destroy your home. Read More...


  • Nearsighted Homeschooling

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Aug 10th

    As I drove home from our back-to-school shopping spree, I felt confident that I had finally purchased everything we needed for a successful school year. My schoolroom was ready, the curriculum had been ordered, and now these additional school supplies would complete my preparations for starting our year off right. Smiling smugly to myself, I thought I had everything under control. Read More...


  • Subject to Change

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Aug 9th

    If there’s one thing you can count on as a homeschooling parent, it’s change. Like the weather, no two days are ever exactly the same. More times than I can remember, my best lesson plans and organized activities were altered by the day’s events. Whether my children became absorbed in a particular topic and spent more time studying or an untimely interruption caused a delay in teaching a lesson, it was necessary to make adjustments without becoming anxious. Whatever failed to be taught one day was usually made up within the next few days, and I learned not to worry about the setback, as long as we continued to move forward with our studies. Read More...


  • First Words

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Aug 8th

    If you homeschool young children, chances are you constantly correct their pronunciation of many words and verb tenses. Correcting their speech becomes a daily task and one that should be taken seriously in order to instruct them in proper grammar usage. “Hangaber” and “Sgetti” were our children’s first words for hamburger and spaghetti. Although the correct words were eventually learned, our children continued to pronounce these words as they had first said them. Unfortunately, they remain a part of our family’s vocabulary even today. Read More...


  • Signs of the Time

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Aug 7th

    When taking nature hikes for science, one homeschooling activity my children especially loved was looking for animal tracks in the soft mud or snow. Identifying creatures from their tracks became a favorite game, and my oldest son especially took to the challenge. With a field guide in hand, not only did he learn to identify the shapes of particular animal prints, but he also learned to read other signs as well. Bruised or broken vegetation, hairs snagged on branches, feathers, opened nuts, and scratches in tree bark all provided additional signs in determining an animal’s trail. Read More...


  • Wayward Children

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Aug 6th

    Nothing breaks a parent's heart more than living with a disobedient child. After investing so much time teaching godly values and academics, homeschooling parents are especially discouraged when their children refuse to live according to God's Word. Read More...


  • Love's Compassion

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Aug 5th

    Parents who teach their children at home have a tendency to sacrifice the fruit of gentleness on the altar of homeschooling. Ever the exacting teachers, we sometimes forget our role as merciful comforters when educating our children. My foolish insensitivity to my children’s needs was revealed one day when my daughter came running into the house. Whimpering, she cried out, “Mom, an ant bit me!” Read More...


  • The Writing on the Wall

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Aug 4th

    My daughter’s feet pounded on every step as she went up to her room. I should have known it was going to be “one of those days” when I saw the mood she was in the very moment she woke up. Everything had been a test—eating breakfast, getting dressed, doing schoolwork. “Why can’t kids just do as they are told?” I thought to myself. Read More...


  • Day by Day

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Aug 3rd

    As a homeschooling parent, do you ever wake up in the morning and want to run away and hide from your responsibilities? Last night’s dishes, last week’s laundry, and yesterday’s schoolwork all clamor for your attention. Your baby’s cry reminds you of yet another need, and your young toddlers seek your affection and time for play. On top of that, your church is having difficulty finding help with Sunday school and the nursery, and you know you should offer your assistance. Exhausted before the day has even begun, you throw the covers back over your head and think, “Why would God give me all this responsibility? Doesn’t He know I can’t take care of everything? Where can I go to get away from all of this work?” Read More...


  • Starting Over

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Aug 2nd

    Almost three years ago, I watched as my youngest son left for college. He was the last of four children, and my homeschooling years had come to a close, or so I thought. The heartbreak I felt in the symbolic finality of his saying good-bye was immense. Sure, I would see my adult children and share wonderful moments together in the future, but our family would never be the same. Added to my overwhelming feeling of loss was the apprehension of a fifty-plus retired homeschooling parent’s future. “What now?” was the question that continued to reverberate in my mind. Read More...


  • Cup of Water

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Aug 1st

    “Why would you want to stay at home with your kids? Are you NUTS?” Have you ever heard these questions when you told someone you decided to homeschool your children? Most homeschooling parents have at one time or another. We are a different breed that receives little or no recognition from the world for our efforts. Expecting applause or appreciation for teaching our own children are dreams we have long since given up, along with paychecks and promotions. So, how does a homeschooling parent cope with the lack of support and affirmation he needs to continue educating his children at home? Read More...