Daily Focus - July 2013

  • Lost Car - Found Faith

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Jul 31st

    My six-year-old son came running to me with crocodile tears in his eyes and cried, "Mommy, I can't find my favorite car! Can you please help me?" Walking with him into the living room, we proceeded to look for his favorite toy race car that he had just received for his birthday. However, our efforts were to no avail as it was not to be found anywhere. I saw the anxious look on his face and knew we had to do something. Taking him by the hand, we sat down together on the couch and prayed. Read More...


  • At a Loss for Words

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Jul 30th

    One day I found my son sobbing in a tree in our backyard. He had just experienced a heartbreaking loss, and there were no words to comfort him. Our outside farm dog had killed 20 of his 25 chickens. Only eight weeks ago, we had brought them home as a school project. Faithfully, he had raised them from small, fluffy yellow chicks to the young, white-feathered chickens that loved to sit in his arms. He had made a roost and a special feeder for them and was just beginning to enjoy gathering one or two eggs per day. Read More...


  • Principle of Multiplication

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Jul 29th

    In the 1930s, Dawson Trotman founded The Navigators ministry with the belief that everyone who is born into God's family is to multiply. Though Trotman started by sharing his faith with just one sailor, by the end of World War II, thousands of men on ships around the world had learned about Christ and were actively sharing their faith. Being saved himself from a life of drunkenness and corruption, Trotman believed if a person would lead someone to Christ every six months and disciple him until he led another person to Christ, within 15 years over two billion people would be living for the Lord. Billy Graham preached at his funeral in 1956 and said, "I think Dawson Trotman has personally touched more lives [for Christ's sake] than anybody I have ever known." Quite a statement coming from a man whose Gospel message of salvation has since been preached to millions! Read More...


  • Mr. Stop

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Jul 28th

    It was just a little thing, really. I mean, who would have ever thought a little bird could make such a difference in all our lives? But he did. Read More...


  • In the Limelight

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Jul 27th

    Did you imagine your role as a homeschooling mother to be quiet and obscure? Did you picture yourself being behind the scenes and working as a support person only? Nothing could be further from the truth! Every time someone asks, "Where do your children go to school," you are immediately thrust into the spotlight and find yourself facing an endless barrage of questions. Read More...


  • Nothing to Wear

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Jul 26th

    Teaching our young children to dress themselves in the morning takes patience. We painstakingly wait as they learn to manipulate buttons, zippers, and shoelaces. However, by far the most agonizing aspect of the morning ritual of getting dressed is the statement, "I can't find anything to wear." As mothers, we realize this statement doesn't mean there is nothing in the drawers and closets, nor does it mean your children have not looked hard enough. What they really are saying is they think the clothes available to them are not good enough for them to wear. Read More...


  • Measuring by Messes

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Jul 25th

    Somewhere in the middle of my homeschooling experience, I made the mistake of measuring what activities we would or wouldn't do by the mess involved. I had lost the spontaneous joy of having fun on a child's level and saw those messy learning times as one big chore. Perhaps I lost the joy because I was so tired physically or maybe because I was lazy. Either case, I deprived my children of many enjoyable experiences simply because I didn't want to make a mess. Read More...


  • Caught Red-handed

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Jul 24th

    The red flags were all there. As a homeschooling parent, you would have thought I would have seen the little signs much sooner — struggling in daily work but getting straight "A's" on quizzes and tests, erased answers on tests, the desire to correct their own work, and teacher keys in the wrong place on the shelf. My trust in my children blinded me to the fact that they ever would succumb to the temptation to take the easy way out and cheat. It was a sad day when I found out the truth. Read More...


  • Shifting Shadows

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Jul 23rd

    Anyone in our homeschool family can tell you that I got the short end of the stick when it comes to artistic abilities. In fact, the only artistic talent I had was drawing stick people! So when two of my children began to demonstrate drawing skills with their doodling, I knew their graphic artist father was the one to teach this subject. Since Dad was at work more than ten hours a day, I needed to supplement his teaching time with some instruction of my own. Deciding to teach the concepts and leave the technique to Dad, I looked for inexpensive ideas to illustrate my lessons. As we returned home from our afternoon walk one evening, the sun was beginning to set and cast shadows of our figures against the farm buildings. The perfect illustration for teaching drawing perspective, our shadows helped me to explain the concept to my young son and daughter. Read More...


  • Quantity Is Quality Time

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Jul 22nd

    Many years ago, parental experts were advocating that quality time was all that was necessary for your children instead of quantity time. This belief possibly began to appease the consciences of some women who chose careers over their children and didn't want to deal with the feelings of abandoning their child to the day-care center. Read More...


  • Treasures on the Mirror

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Jul 21st

    Every week when I cleaned the bedroom, I would always run into them. The time and effort needed to move them out of the way to dust became longer and longer. To anyone else, these items probably looked like a lot of clutter, but to me they were treasures from the heart. Read More...


  • Aren't You Being Selfish?

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Jul 20th

    The words were still echoing in my mind. "If every Christian homeschools his child, what will happen to the public schools?" asked a Christian friend as we chatted over the phone. "Doesn't God tell us to be salt and light in the world?" Read More...


  • Home of Contented Homeschoolers

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Jul 19th

    Because you are a homeschooling parent, chances are your family has given up the two-income dream. You've probably done without in many areas, including new clothes, vacations, and eating out. Have you been noticing how everyone else seems to have much nicer homes and cars than you? Have you been thinking you are being left behind? Read More...


  • Too Hot to Trot

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Jul 18th

    It was day seven of a two-week, 95 degree and above heat wave. I was thinking our homeschool family had done fairly well in not letting our tempers rise like the thermometer's mercury; however, as I walked outside to do the evening chores, I noticed several jobs left undone by my children. Frustrated with their poor performance, I continued to the barn to feed the horses and noticed my daughter riding her horse bareback in the arena. Dripping wet, the horse appeared to be sweating profusely. Angrily, I barked, "Don't you know that you shouldn't be riding that horse when it's this hot outside? Cool that animal down right now and get those chores done like I asked!" Read More...


  • Ingredients for Success

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Jul 17th

    As a young girl growing up, I was forever shaped by two influences from my parents. These two things not only gave me confidence to make a difference in this world, but they also molded me into the homeschooling mom I am today. Read More...


  • Wonderful Words of Life

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Jul 16th

    Sometimes it's not the words you say, but how you say them that can encourage or dishearten your children. Proverbs 12:18 says, "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health." We as parents must guard the words we choose to say as we homeschool our children. Phrases like "good job" or "I really like the way you did that" are great motivating tools to use with your children. Read More...


  • Dear Diary

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Jul 15th

    As I sat reading my thoughts from my prayer journal, I realized just how much my life had changed from the year before. Our first year of homeschooling had stretched me to the limit, and God's Word had encouraged me time and again. Favorite Bible passages and verses were written in entries on difficult days, and the tear-stained pages reminded me of emotional and financial frustrations. However, also recorded were countless moments of joy and discovery in watching my children grow and learn. Looking back, I saw how God had kept His promises and faithfully led me through the exciting and difficult task of homeschooling. Although some prayers were yet to be answered, my written chronicle was an encouragement to continue trusting the Lord for the next school year. Read More...


  • World's Worst Critic

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Jul 14th

    Homeschooling parents can be their own worst critic. Because the teacher inside strives for truth and accuracy, most have a tendency to judge themselves too harshly. Whenever I failed to teach a lesson perfectly or didn't have an immediate answer to my children's questions, I felt like a failure. After all, wasn't a teacher expected to know everything about every subject and have all the answers right at his fingertips? Thinking back, I now laugh at my foolish, unrealistic expectations of myself during those first years of homeschooling. Surprisingly, the hardest lesson learned in our homeschooling family was learned by me — no one's perfect, so learn from your mistakes and move on. Read More...


  • You Be the Judge

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Jul 13th

    Let's face it. When you live together 24/7, a homeschooling family is bound to have disagreements and disputes. Our family was no exception. Daily, I found myself settling conflicts between my children over insignificant issues. While they were young, I realized my direct involvement was necessary in helping my children talk out their differences. However, as they grew older, I encouraged my children to resolve more and more of their own conflicts. Instead of me listening to their complaints and acting as a judge and jury, they learned to take responsibility for their actions and resolve their hurts and disagreements in Christ-like love. As my role became less, my children learned a valuable lesson — judging their actions honestly before God usually eliminated others from having to do so. Read More...


  • Fueling the Flame

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Jul 12th

    Sadly, a homeschooler's passion to teach his child sometimes begins to fade. The daily demands of caring for a household and the intense effort required in homeschooling drains even the most dedicated parent. When the homeschooling fire begins to die out, many may choose a halfhearted approach or adapt a martyr, make-it-through-the-day mentality. Others may stop homeschooling altogether and send their child back into a traditional school setting. The wise homeschooling parent, however, will see the coals growing dim and find the fuel necessary to rekindle the flame of passion first given by God. Yet, how does one go about finding that fuel? Read More...


  • Lessons from an Aspen

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Jul 11th

    Summer vacation was a great learning adventure for our homeschooling family. As we took trips to the mountains, my children experienced lessons from nature that made both science and Scripture come alive. One lesson in particular came from a large stand of beautiful aspen trees. As we hiked past their white trunks, my son shared a fact he had learned from his schoolwork. "Mom, my science worktext says that aspen trees grow from one common root. Is that true?" Read More...


  • Second Guesses

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Jul 10th

    What was I thinking? In a few short weeks, I was going to be teaching my two oldest children at home. As I opened the boxes of homeschool curriculum that had just come in the mail, I reflected on my commitment. Already, the negative feedback from family and friends had caused me to second guess my decision, and I wondered if it was too late to get out. Sure, I had taught my children their alphabet and numbers, but teaching them to read and learn mathematics was a whole new ballgame. Could I really do this? What if I really made a mess of things or couldn't stand the pressure of being home 24/7? As I struggled with these thoughts and others, I took my fears to the Lord and asked, "Am I really supposed to be homeschooling my children, or did I just imagine all this in a weak emotional moment?" Read More...


  • God's Provisions

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Jul 9th

    Preparing for the new school year started early in our home. Lesson plans needed to be made for each child, and boxes of new and used curriculum needed to be sorted. As I began to look ahead into my son's ninth grade science, I realized we were missing a very important component to a successful year — a quality microscope. For the past several years, we had managed with an inexpensive model, but a serious study in biology required something better. However, with my homeschooling budget already spent on curriculum, I had no idea how we could afford this additional expense. Read More...


  • No Worthless Thing

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Jul 8th

    The best decision we made after choosing to homeschool was removing the television from our home. Since both my husband and I had been raised with Saturday morning cartoons, public television, and after-school programs, we found it difficult to let go of the comfortable familiarity of television programming. However, God's conviction was sure as He made us aware of the time we were wasting watching unproductive entertainment. In addition, we both had seen the deterioration of programming and advertising content that included blatant disregard for life, the Lord, and sexual decency. Fortunately, we finally turned off the tube and obeyed the Holy Spirit's promptings before our children became caught in the same trap. Read More...


  • Making Your Mark

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Jul 7th

    Bird watching (ornithology) was a favorite hobby of our homeschooling family in the summer. In fact, it became such a favorite pastime that we purchased a beautiful official field guide on North American birds just to identify unfamiliar species. Each time a family member identified a new bird, we made a mark next to the bird's picture in the book. At first, my children were reluctant to write anything in the pages of a resource book. Past experience in studying other subjects had taught them this was unacceptable. However, as we logged more and more sightings, they became comfortable using the guide and grew more interested in identifying every species contained within its pages. Read More...


  • Pruning Pains

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Jul 6th

    As we walked through the garden one morning during our summer break from homeschooling, my daughter watched as I began to pinch off the tops of several tomato plants. With a shocked look on her face, she cried, "Mom, what are you doing? We've been trying to get these plants to grow for weeks, and now you're destroying them!" Read More...


  • How Big Is God?

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Jul 5th

    When homeschooling limits your finances, do you trust God to provide for your every need? As I sat in the doctor's office and listened to him confirm my fourth pregnancy, I had no idea how God was going to help us afford the medical bills. Homeschooling and daily living expenses involved with raising three children had consumed my husband's total income. I knew we had no way to repay the costs for prenatal care, and I was forced to inform my doctor of our situation as he attempted to schedule my next appointment. Compassionately, he replied, "OK, let's just go ahead and schedule your next visits anyway. If God provides the money, you can pay me. If not, we'll just forget about the bill." Read More...


  • More Than a Celebration

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Jul 4th

    Memorizing historical documents was an important part of our homeschooling history lessons. Unfortunately, my children were less than enthusiastic about this particular assignment. Often, they would forget the value of the words they recited and either speak as quickly as possible or in slow, monotone voices. One day, as my son recited the beginning of the Declaration of Independence at the speed of light, I stopped him in mid-sentence and asked, "Have you ever considered the price that was paid when those men signed the words you're now reciting?" Read More...


  • The Homeschooling Fight

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Jul 3rd

    Christian education is a spiritual battle that must be fought by every homeschooling parent. The desire to see our children raised according to the standards of God's Word requires more than wishful thinking. We must ever be alert to Satan's schemes and the world's ways that try to suck our children into the mainstream of ungodly learning. We must be willing to risk popularity and acceptance to lead our children down an educational path that declares God is at the center of all things and the beginning of all creation. Most of all, we must declare our own love for Christ and be willing to crucify the flesh and its selfish desires in order to win our children's hearts to the Lord. Read More...


  • A Hannah Heartache

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Jul 2nd

    When you are facing mountains of laundry or dealing with childhood squabbles, it's hard to imagine the heartache of couples who long for children. Two of our dearest friends experienced such heartache. For ten years they tried without success to start their own family. Realizing that God had chosen a different path for their marriage, they decided to "adopt" our children and actively help us when homeschooling. Whenever they came to visit, my children would squeal with delighted anticipation and run to the door to greet them. Natural-born teachers at heart, they usually brought a new educational gift to entertain our children, or they would spend countless hours reading their favorite stories. Even though bitterness in not having children of their own could have ruled their hearts, they chose instead to share their lives with unselfish love. Read More...


  • To Please or Not to Please

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Jul 1st

    I loved homeschooling my children when they were four, five, and six years old because it was so easy to teach them. Curious and loving, my children were as anxious to please as they were to learn. Mom and Dad's approval meant the world to them as they attempted to master new skills, and any words of encouragement and affirmation from us were soaked up like a sponge. Granted, at this age my children loved learning for learning's sake, but in large part, they also studied hard, so we would be proud of their educational accomplishments. Read More...