Daily Focus - February 2014

  • The Truth of the Matter

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Feb 28th

    OK, so here it is, straight up. If you homeschool your child, there is no 100% money-back guarantee he will turn out to be a straight "A" student with prestigious colleges knocking on his door when he's finished with high school. That scenario could happen, but it might not. As much as you want the best this world has to offer for your child, God may have something different planned for his life. Your child could go to the mission field or work at an ordinary job living a faithful, God-honoring life in his home and community. Read More...


  • From the Beginning

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Feb 27th

    Every mother is a teacher. I was no exception. God used me to teach our baby how to eat with a spoon, say words, play catch, and dress himself. Daily, I taught our little one everything he needed to know to succeed at home. Then, the school years arrived, and I doubted if I would be able to teach him everything he needed to know to succeed in school. I wanted to homeschool, but people intimidated me about obeying God's call to homeschool. When they said, "You're not smart enough to teach your child," I was tempted to believe them. After all, I didn't have a four-year college degree. Disregarding their comments, however, I decided to relinquish my fears and trust Christ for the wisdom and knowledge necessary to continue teaching my child from home. Read More...


  • Following Directions

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Feb 26th

    What was I going to do? My son had studied all week long for this test, and if I accepted the way he had answered the questions, he would receive a score of 100%. However, there was one huge problem troubling my grading — he hadn't followed the directions. Although I had reminded him to read the instructions thoroughly, he had written his response in the blank instead of circling the correct answer. So, what was more important? Did it matter more that he knew the answers or that he had failed to follow the directions? Read More...


  • The "Home" in Homeschooling

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Feb 25th

    Another typical day had started for our homeschool family, but as it progressed, we noticed the weather changing drastically. The northwest sky looked unusually dark and threatening, and by 2:45 p.m., we knew no ordinary storm was approaching. Hurrying outside, my son covered the garden and flower beds with old blankets, my daughter quickly herded the animals into the barn, and I drove the cars inside the garage and shut the door. As we finished and ran back to the house, the storm let loose with all its fury. Quickly, we ran down the basement steps to my daughter's bedroom and huddled in the corner of her closet. As we watched debris fly by my daughter's small bedroom window and heard the deafening noise of baseball-sized hailstones, we hung on to each other for dear life. Read More...


  • Stricter Judgment

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Feb 24th

    Just when I started to feel good about my teaching abilities as a homeschooling parent, God's Word challenged me again. After reading Romans 12:7 and 1 Corinthians 12:29, I realized that teaching was more than a job. It was a spiritual gift that James 3:1 says is subject to God's stricter judgment. Knowing this, validating the accuracy of what I was teaching became of utmost importance. Someday the Lord would hold me accountable for what I had taught my children about Him, and I wanted to prove myself as an unashamed teacher when handling the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 3:16). Read More...


  • The Hidden Meaning

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Feb 23rd

    My young daughter was only six years old when she began to memorize poetry. She loved the rhythm and rhyme in poems and never had difficulty in understanding their meaning. Metaphors and similes were her favorite "pictures," and she digested the words like a chocolate delicacy. My son, however, was exactly the opposite. Poetry was one subject he avoided as much as possible, and he especially hated reciting any verse out loud. Because of their length, he was overwhelmed by poems like "Hiawatha," "The Lady of Shalott," and "Snow-bound," and he felt they were written in some language he never quite understood. Frustrated, he would say, "Why don't they just come out and say it? Can't they just talk normally, so you know what's going on?" Read More...


  • The Power of Prayer

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Feb 22nd

    Did you really pray for your children today? Although you may be the first to say that your prayers are important, how much time did you actually spend praying — one, five, ten minutes? Were your prayers more than "bless them" and "keep them from harm" prayers? As homeschooling parents, we forget that prayer is the most important thing we can give our children each day. More than our human love and academics, earnest prayer will help our children above anything else in this life. Read More...


  • Packing Light

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Feb 21st

    "OK, I think we are just about ready to go," I said to my husband as I set the last backpack and the lunch cooler by the front door. Looking at all the items that needed to be loaded into the car, he shook his head and said, "Do we really need all this stuff just to go on a field trip for the day?" Read More...


  • One Step Behind

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Feb 20th

    My youngest son was in trouble, and I didn't know how to help him. Daily, he tried to communicate with his older brother and sisters in a group setting during our homeschooling, but he always seemed to be going in different directions in his conversation. Because he processed information more slowly, his contributions to the discussion seemed disjointed and off topic. Frustrated, he began to withdraw and keep his thoughts to himself. Read More...


  • For the Long Haul

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Feb 19th

    Faithfulness can be described as being true to one's word, promises, or vows. Faithfulness, then, according to homeschooling, is persevering in teaching your children even when you're criticized by a well-meaning person who is worried about your child's socialization. Faithfulness also means spending countless hours preparing for daily lessons, teaching a concept until your child gets it, learning to live on less sleep and money, giving more of your time to your family than yourself, and following the One who gives you the strength to do it all: Jesus. Read More...


  • To God Be the Glory

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Feb 18th

    One reason for the success of our homeschooling was the fact that my husband and I complemented each other in our personalities and abilities. He was the explorer and adventurer who loved to take the children on impromptu field trips to see and experience new things. I, on the other hand, loved staying home by the stuff with the comfort and familiarity of the day's homeschooling schedule. Our children loved both aspects of this team-teaching approach, including the secure, repetitive learning environment of my teaching and the surprise learning experiences Dad created. Homeschooling was never a one-man show. We both shaped our children's lives, and we both felt the rewards of seeing their educational success. Read More...


  • Birth Order Blues

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Feb 17th

    A great controversy exists in psychology regarding the relationship between the development of children's personalities and their birth order within the family. After homeschooling my children, one theory I do agree with is the firstborn syndrome. My 18-month-old daughter initially displayed her firstborn characteristics when I brought home her new baby brother. Setting him next to her in the recliner, I could see a look that told me she was not about to share her parents' attention with this new intruder. From that time on, she was always "top dog" in our homeschool family. In schoolwork or play, she was always the leader in control. Although her brother, standing six feet tall, finally outgrew her, the thought to take over never occurred to him. Her rank and authority as the first in the family dictated an unspoken respect and overpowered even his size. Read More...


  • Running Ahead

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Feb 16th

    My daughter's riding lesson had gone well that day. I was proud to see her riding correctly at both a walk and a trot, and I knew she was looking forward to cantering soon. As she circled the arena for the last time, I shouted, "It's time to quit for the day, so we can finish the rest of our schoolwork. Bring her in, and we'll brush her down together." Read More...


  • Timeout for Mom

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Feb 15th

    Did you wake up this morning wishing you could just have a few hours or an entire day to yourself before homeschooling? Imagine the possibilities with that amount of unscheduled time! You could read a book, soak in the tub, actually fold the clean clothes on the couch and put them away, polish your shoes, weed the flower bed, window shop, take a friend you haven't seen in months to lunch, or spend a full hour with the Lord in prayer for your loved ones. Read More...


  • Looking for Love

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Feb 14th

    This wasn't the first time my teenage daughter had brought up the topic of boys. Like any normal young woman, she dreamed of the day she would meet Mr. Right. "Mom," she began, "how am I ever going to meet anyone if we're homeschooling?" Read More...


  • Overwhelmed

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Feb 13th

    Do you ever stand over your young children while they are sleeping and feel that overwhelming sense of love for them? Their sweet, innocent faces conjure up deep feelings to cherish and protect each moment together. However, when the morning light comes and you are in the middle of another homeschooling day, you may also feel another overwhelming sense. This time you are overwhelmed at your inability to be their teacher. Who can keep up with their energy level and all of their questions while they learn? Read More...


  • Surprise, Surprise

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Feb 12th

    One thing you know for sure as a homeschooling parent is that you can never be sure what your children are going to say or do. Every day holds a surprise or two that makes teaching your children anything but boring. At least, that's what I reminded myself as I walked into my son's room one day. Always the practical joker, my son had made a look-a-like mannequin with his clothes and placed it in the middle of his bed. With the mannequin's back facing the door, I thought it was really my son sitting on his bed studying until I touched its body and the head rolled off the bed. If someone had visited our home and walked in the door at that moment, he would have heard me scream and thought our homeschooling family was crazy. For me, it was just another day of laughing with my children and enjoying their creative imaginations. Read More...


  • Flea Friendships

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Feb 11th

    When we first started homeschooling, receiving support and encouragement from other homeschooling families was crucial. Without it, we might have given up in our attempts to teach our children at home. However, as time went on with our small homeschooling support group, I noticed there seemed to be one or two families who always wanted someone else to do the work of homeschooling for them. They loved their children and the idea of homeschooling, but they repeatedly left their children in someone else's care or advocated having other homeschooling families educate their children in a co-op class. Although I was happy to help, I realized later that these families were simply taking advantage of others. When the problem repeatedly robbed my family of the care and homeschooling they deserved, I said "no" more often. Read More...


  • Money to Burn

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Feb 10th

    Can you imagine what your homeschool would look like if you received the same amount of money that public education receives for one child? With $7,500 or more per child, you could buy state-of-the-art computers for each of your children, expand your library with quality reference books, take unlimited field trips, purchase tons of curriculum, buy your own copier and office equipment, purchase high performance microscopes for science, hire tutors to help with high school level subjects, and still have money to burn. Such would be the dream of every homeschooling parent! Read More...


  • Homeschool Seedlings

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Feb 9th

    How many times have you been accused of sheltering your children from the real world because you homeschool? After experiencing this confrontation numerous times, I finally realized an important fact my accusers were ignoring. They sheltered their children from the real world, too. Most caring parents draw a line and set limits on what they allow their children to experience. The only difference between my sheltering and theirs was that I had simply drawn our children's line in a different place. R-rated movies, magazines and books that promoted sex outside of marriage, violent video games, and other activities that violated God's Word were not a part of our family life. The standards I wanted to set were for training in righteousness, not for training in the ways of the world. Read More...


  • Count Your Blessings

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Feb 8th

    How is your homeschooling starting today? Has another late night and early morning drained your energy level and given you an attitude that is less than positive? Fatigue can make cowards of us all and turn the daily housework into mountains and the homeschool responsibilities into huge obstacles. Just when you think you can't take anymore, you need to step back and regain your focus. Your children need you to bring a positive perspective to their learning experience. Read More...


  • Blame Game

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Feb 7th

    "OK," I asked my daughter. "Where is the book report you were supposed to have done today?" "Oh, that was due today?" she responded innocently. "Yes, you knew it was due today. I reminded you last week, remember?" I replied. I could see another excuse beginning to form in her mind, and from past experience, I knew what was coming. Read More...


  • Back by Popular Demand

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Feb 6th

    In all my years of teaching, "popular" was one word I never heard used to describe homeschooling. Many times I heard words like illegal, over-protective, and crazy, but certainly never popular. Going against the educational norm led to some hot debates, especially within my family. When talking to relatives who were certified teachers, I never heard phrases like, "Oh, how interesting!" or "That's great, how can I help you?" Instead, my ability and sanity were questioned, and I was warned about the practicality of such an undertaking. Even today, 25 years later, most people still think it's odd that I homeschooled my children. Read More...


  • Misgivings

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Feb 5th

    Do you ever feel like you haven't accomplished a thing at the end of your homeschooling day? Do you look around and see even more piles of projects to finish and messes to clean up than when you started? Have your children learned a new set of multiplication tables today, but they've entirely forgotten the historical facts they learned about George Washington yesterday? Some days you may wonder if you can be your children's teacher. Maybe they would be better off if they went to school. Stop! Think about what just went through your mind. From where are those thoughts coming? Are they from the One who called you to teach your children and promised you the strength to do it, or are they from the one who would see you fail? Read More...


  • Helping Hands

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Feb 4th

    I brought home more than our fourth child from the hospital when I gave birth that day. I also brought home a whole new set of anxieties about homeschooling and my ability to meet the demands of a family of six. Feeling weak and tired, I knew my energy supply was running low. I simply couldn't take care of a new baby, maintain a house, and homeschool, too. Read More...


  • Godly Legacies

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Feb 3rd

    "And he did evil in the sight of the Lord," read my youngest son out loud as we studied the kings of Israel and Judah in our homeschool Bible curriculum. After reading the same sad statement in regard to three or four more kings, my son looked at me with a sober face and said, "Mom, weren't there any kings who did good in the sight of the Lord?" Read More...


  • I Can Only Imagine

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Feb 2nd

    I can still picture my two little daughters playing their favorite game during recess time from homeschooling. With the "Little House" books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder as their inspiration, they loved becoming Mary and Laura whenever playing alone or with friends. Since we had read the entire series several times during our nightly story time, I shouldn't have been surprised this was their favorite game. Living in the heart of the Midwest made the stories even more alive in their imaginations. Read More...


  • Ahead of His Time

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Feb 1st

    I could hear my youngest son preaching to his older brother and sister in the living room. Earnestly, he was telling them to behave and stop fighting. However, like a bucket of water on a raging forest fire, his words had no effect. Frustrated, he tried again to get their attention, quoting Bible verses that said why they shouldn't be arguing. His strong leadership qualities (his siblings called them "being bossy") and sense of right and wrong would not allow him to walk away from the problem. Unfortunately, because he was their "little brother," both his brother and sister refused to listen to his counsel. Read More...