Daily Focus - June 2013

  • Unfulfilled Days

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Jun 30th

    Do homeschooling parents ever admit that life is anything but one blissful moment after another with their children? If they're honest, they will. As much as we would like to proclaim homeschooling's benefits and see our children's lives through rose-colored glasses, we must also attest to our children's sinful behavior that causes disruption in the home and unproductive homeschooling days. Children easily demonstrate sinful actions of selfishness, greed, jealousy, and other undesirable characteristics that require daily correction and training in righteousness. Like management in the workplace, wise homeschooling parents must allow for down times in academic productivity to address the more important issue of character building in their children. Read More...


  • Poor, Pitiful Me

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Jun 29th

    Standing in the basement doing laundry, I wondered, "How much of your life do you sacrifice before there's nothing more to give?" I was missing a beautiful summer day outside and feeling frustrated that there was so little time for the things I enjoyed. I dreamed of relaxing in the sun with an ice cold glass of lemonade and a good book or riding my horse into the open pastures near our ranch. Homeschooling seemed to be consuming my entire life, and each day I felt a little more drained. If I wasn't teaching my children, I was cleaning their messes. Would there ever be time again for me? Read More...


  • Handing over the Reins

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Jun 28th

    Our homeschooling day had been long and filled with interruptions. My toddlers had been cranky, and phone calls about organizing activities at church had put us behind schedule in our schoolwork. Herding my children from one subject to the next as quickly as possible, I felt like a trail boss blazing through our schoolwork. However, as the sun began to set, I realized we weren't going to finish our lessons for the day. Finding the best stopping point in our studies, I told my children to quickly put away their workbooks. My husband would soon be home from work, and it was time to pull out the chuck wagon to feed all my hungry hands. Read More...


  • Sacrifice or Blessing?

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Jun 27th

    God allowed me the privilege of teaching my children many things in 25 years of homeschooling. However, during those same years, my children also taught me several important lessons. First, I learned to savor the joy of life's moments. Reading a story or having time to talk was far more important than keeping the house perfectly organized and clean. Second, I learned to experience the wonder of God's creation through a child's excited eyes. Everything is fresh and new to a little one, and God desires me to experience each new day in the same way. Perhaps the most important lesson my children taught me was to have an unquestioning faith in God. Even when homeschooling cut the family budget in half, my children's faith challenged me to trust God for every need. Undoubtedly, I was the one who received the better education in our family's homeschool. Read More...


  • Rod of Righteousness

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Jun 26th

    Do you find disciplining your homeschooler difficult? I did for several different reasons. First, I hated being the policeman and the temporary conflict it caused when teaching my children. Being esteemed as their hero with all the answers was much more fun. Second, administering fair justice for the offense wasn't always easy to determine. Many times, what appeared to be misbehavior in one child was actually caused by the deliberate aggravation by another child. Most of all, I found disciplining my children difficult because I knew my own failings to meet God's righteous standards. More often than not, I usually found myself committing a similar offense within a few days of disciplining them for the very same thing. Read More...


  • Priceless Treasures

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Jun 25th

    Attending local household and farm sales became a favorite activity for my son and me during our homeschooling summer break. We loved searching for new treasures, and my son learned the fine art of bidding on items as they were auctioned. As we arrived at one particular farm sale, however, my spirit was saddened as we meandered through tables and boxes filled with antiques and old-fashioned keepsakes. An elderly widow who had lived alone for many years had passed away, and all that remained of her life was sitting before us. From homemade potholders and doilies to exquisite crystal and china, each item once treasured by this old woman was now for sale. The value and memories they held meant nothing to the strangers purchasing them, and each item sold for next to nothing. "How sad," I said to my son. "These things should be selling for much more. They might as well be giving them away!" Read More...


  • Unseen Worlds

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Jun 24th

    Summer science was a part of our homeschool curriculum. One particular experiment my children enjoyed was discovering the minute world contained within a square foot section of our lawn. After plotting and marking their sections, my children would lie on the grass for hours and take note of creatures and insects that would otherwise go unnoticed. Roly-poly bugs, ants, winged insects, beetles, and a host of other bugs, worms, and spiders comprised the intricately designed order of this small universe. Each new discovery brought an excited response of, "Mom, come and see this. Isn't this cool?" Like explorers in an unknown world, my children learned to see what most people miss in God's creation. Read More...


  • Swinging High

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Jun 23rd

    As I washed the dishes and looked out the open kitchen window, I could hear their childish competitive banter and knew trouble was looming. Although taking a break from homeschooling during the summer provided more opportunities for my children's friends to visit, it also required more supervision of their activities. I watched as each child began to swing harder and higher. Just as I decided to dry my hands and walk outside to tell them to stop swinging so high, the entire swing set toppled over and crashed to the ground, along with the children. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, but the bumps and bruises taught each of them a valuable lesson in humility. Read More...


  • False Assumptions

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Jun 22nd

    Do your parents find knowing how to help when you homeschool difficult? Although my parents had raised seven children of their own, they always seemed hesitant to watch my children when I needed a helping hand. At first, I thought my children might be misbehaving during their stay, but my parents assured me that was not the case. However, after declining my request to watch them several times in a row, I finally asked, "Mom, why don't you want the kids to come over?" Read More...


  • Who's in the Middle of the Storm?

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Jun 21st

    Summer storms were always a scary time for my young children. When the weather turned blustery on hot summer nights, I usually heard my two oldest children running down the hallway to my bedroom. Even though they had learned Bible stories of Jesus' power over storms and problems, their little hearts were simply too frightened by the strength of a threatening storm. Understanding their fears, I would let them crawl into my bed while the lightning cracked and the thunder boomed. Then, after the storm passed, I would carry their sleepy little bodies back to their own beds. Read More...


  • Leading by Example

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Jun 20th

    When homeschooling your children, you often find yourself face to face with personal challenges to grow intellectually and spiritually. Relearning algebra and geometry in order to teach my children high school math was difficult, but memorizing their Scripture verses was even harder. Scripture memorization had been a discipline I failed to apply to my own life until my son asked one day, "Mom, do you know all these Scripture verses, too?" Admitting that I didn't, God convicted me to start hiding His Word in my heart right along with my children during their Bible lessons. Read More...


  • God's Gifts

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Jun 19th

    My son was sitting at his desk with a contemplative look on his face as he studied his lesson for school. With his Bible open to Romans 12, he was struggling with identifying his spiritual gift and how he might use it in Christian ministry. "Mom," he said. "I really don't know what gift God has given me. What do you think my spiritual gift is?" Read More...


  • Toads, Turtles, and Tree Houses

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Jun 18th

    When summer months came to our homeschooling family, I had a hard time keeping up with the activities of my young sons. As they explored the farm, they frequently left their new discoveries on the kitchen counter to share with me. Unfortunately, these tremendous finds failed to provide the same enjoyment to a tired and skittish mother who was deathly afraid of reptiles, spiders, and creepy insects. I was never quite sure if I wanted to open their gifts of love or not! Read More...


  • Fitting In

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Jun 17th

    The benefits of homeschooling are wonderful, but there are times when parents face difficult issues. As children grow into their teen years, they realize that homeschooling sets them apart from the mainstream. Wise parents will understand their teenager's need for acceptance during this transition into adulthood and provide an added sense of belonging. However, no matter how much affirmation you give your child, his true value and uniqueness will only be confirmed as he realizes and understands his worth in God's eyes. Read More...


  • Thanks, Dad

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Jun 16th

    Homeschool dads, as well as moms, have the double responsibility of not only being a parent but also being a teacher. My dad had to learn how to share with my mother the daily tasks of teaching, maintaining a home, and balancing finances. As a child, I didn't understand or appreciate the responsibilities he faced, but as an adult, it's easier to see how important my father was in my upbringing and how he impacted my life. Read More...


  • On Target

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Jun 15th

    What plans have you made for your children this summer? During our first years of homeschooling, I made the mistake of failing to plan activities for our family. Tired of schedules and organizing throughout the school year, I wanted to take each day just as it came. Although this idealistic thought of allowing my children to play and explore on their own worked initially, I soon found them bored and looking for things to do. Coming to me for suggestions, I realized that even in summer, they needed a purpose and a plan for each day. Frittering away the summer was simply not going to do, and I needed to stay in tune with God's plan for their lives. Read More...


  • Old Glory

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Jun 14th

    As we started the day with the Pledge of Allegiance, holding the flag was considered an honor in our homeschool. My father was a World War II veteran who had passed on his love for history, country, and flag to his children and grandchildren. Sharing heroic stories of combat and bravery, my father instilled a sense of pride and respect for the American flag, especially on June 14. Read More...


  • Heavenly Ears

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Jun 13th

    I never understood the old saying, "Parents have eyes in the back of their heads," until I became a parent myself. After several messy disasters and naughty pranks played by my children, I learned to be in tune with the symphony of sound during our homeschooling. Even if I was in the kitchen preparing supper, I knew what each child was doing in other parts of the house by the noise involved. In fact, the only time I really worried was when there was no sound at all. Total quiet usually meant one of two things. Either all my children were reading a book, or they were into trouble. Read More...


  • Homeschooling in Reverse

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Jun 12th

    As a homeschooling parent of young children, I couldn't imagine teaching my children through high school. My days were only focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic skills. Thinking about teaching college-prep courses was mind boggling. When talking with my husband about our children's future, the business manager in him said, "Why don't we start where we want our children to be educationally, spiritually, and emotionally in 12 years and work backwards from there." Read More...


  • Going Under

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Jun 11th

    I'll never forget the day my son almost drowned. As I sat on the pool's edge after giving my son a swimming lesson, I watched as he played with his homeschooling friends. Since several lifeguards were on duty and the water was only waist-deep, I decided to close my weary eyes and rest for just a moment. Presuming my son was perfectly safe, even though he had only just started to learn how to swim, I allowed myself to drift off. Read More...


  • Choosing Wisely

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Jun 10th

    Choices are the very thing parents love about homeschooling, but they can also be very frustrating. After making the huge decision to homeschool, parents are immediately faced with a barrage of additional choices, such as which curriculum to use, what teaching method to follow, and countless other where, when, and how questions. With so many variables, new homeschoolers reach out to homeschooling experts for guidance. However, God created every child and home uniquely, and what works for one family might not work for another. Although the experience of other homeschoolers can help to guide us, ultimately only God can show us the perfect homeschooling plan He has designed for our family. Read More...


  • No More Weeds

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Jun 9th

    Heading out the door to do morning chores before the heat of the day, my youngest daughter looked at me and implored, "Mom, do we have to pull weeds this morning? Can't we just go do something fun and play?" Read More...


  • Reaping the Reward

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Jun 8th

    Homeschooling doesn't always produce immediate rewards. Sometimes, many years go by before the fruitfulness of your faithfulness is revealed. Hours will be spent in loving and patient academic instruction of your children, as well as hours in training in righteousness, before the benefits of homeschooling are seen. Personal spiritual battles will be fought against doubt, fear, and discouragement when they cause you to think, "This homeschool thing is just a waste of time." Most of all, God's promises will also need to be claimed as you base your homeschooling on the truth of the Bible. Like all worthwhile endeavors, homeschooling will yield its fruit in due season if you are willing to wait on God's timetable instead of your own. Read More...


  • Playing with Money

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Jun 7th

    Playing shopkeeper was one of my children's favorite math games while homeschooling. Frequently, we would set aside our math workbooks and set up our little store to learn money values, counting, and subtraction principles. Using miniature replicas of food items, a toy shopping cart, and a cash register, my children played for hours and never realized they were learning in the process. Substituting real money for play money made this educational game even more exciting and lifelike. Playing frequently, my children progressed until they could easily add amounts mentally and count back change correctly. Due to their play, handling money became second nature. Plus, they also learned a lifelong principle — no money, no purchase. Read More...


  • The Homeschooler's 23rd Psalm

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Jun 6th

    The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to live on less sleep. He leadeth me through the noise of many voices. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me to teach the right lessons each day, for His name's sake. Read More...


  • New Birth

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Jun 5th

    As I tucked my two oldest children into their bunk beds, I felt the pull of my own bed calling me. Our homeschooling family had relocated near our mission organization's headquarters, so my husband and I could receive extensive child evangelism training. Late nights in preparing teaching visuals for our training lessons, studying biblical doctrine in-depth, and maintaining our homeschooling schedule had frazzled us both mentally and physically. Each night we were half asleep before we even laid our heads on the pillow, and tonight was no different. However, as I reached to turn out the light after reading a story to our oldest son and daughter, my daughter asked, "Mom, how can I get to heaven?" Smiling, I realized this was the moment I had been praying for since the day she was born. Read More...


  • Big Deals

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Jun 4th

    Just like other school children, homeschoolers also use excuses for not completing their schoolwork on time. As my children grew older, they learned several pat answers to justify their procrastination, including their favorite, "Don't worry. It's no big deal." Of all their excuses, this one probably annoyed me the most. Failing to acknowledge their wrongdoing and take responsibility for their actions, this glib remark downplayed the importance of planning ahead and the significance of keeping a promise. I quickly realized if I didn't hold them accountable in small things, my children would also not be accountable in larger things later in life. Read More...


  • Summer School

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Jun 3rd

    The first day of summer break was here, and my children were excited to enjoy a different homeschooling schedule for the next several months. Expecting a new routine, my children were surprised the first morning when we started our day with a Bible lesson and prayer. "Mom," my young son said. "I thought we weren't doing school during the summer months." Read More...


  • Wanted: Homeschool Teacher

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Jun 2nd

    Have you ever thought about how an advertisement would read for a homeschool teacher? If truthfully stated, the ad would probably go something like this: Read More...


  • First-time Requests

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Jun 1st

    "I'm not going to tell you twice," I said to my daughter as she sat with her nose in a book. Frustrated, I thought to myself, "How many times do you have to ask your children to do something before they obey?" Expecting immediate obedience from my children seemed dogmatic, but our homeschooling was never going to survive without their willingness to obey when first asked. As I began to teach and maintain this new discipline, extra effort was required to reinforce my words. However, as my children learned to obey me, I knew they were also learning something even more important — how to obey God when He first asks. Read More...