Daily Focus - November 2013

  • What's Next?

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Nov 30th

    One technique I commonly used to motivate my children when homeschooling was the cliff-hanger. I would entice my children's appetite to learn by only presenting enough information to get them excited. Reading only to a climatic part in a story, I would stop and say, "If you want to find out what happens, you'll have to read the rest for yourself!" This tactic was a great motivator, especially for my oldest daughter who couldn't stand not knowing the ending. Read More...


  • Hiding Out

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Nov 29th

    Do you feel empty today? Is the idea of homeschooling your children overwhelming? Some days, you just don't feel like being profound and inspirational. You would rather hide in bed under the covers or lock yourself in the bathroom for several hours. The last thing you have is your act together, and you don't feel like disciplining yourself to keep going. Saying "yes" to your selfish feelings and jumping into irresponsibility would be so much easier. Read More...


  • Five Kernels

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Nov 28th

    My children loved studying the heroic story about the Pilgrims in our homeschool history class. The Mayflower voyage, Squanto's corn planting and hunting lessons, and the first Thanksgiving all captured my children's deepest interest; however, the one story of the Pilgrims that most affected my family was the story about the "Starving Time" during the spring of 1623. Read More...


  • White Dog - Black Dog

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Nov 27th

    A new day to homeschool waits in front of you, but already your restless mind is walking you through the countless problems and chores left over from yesterday. You feel the negativity crawling up your back like an impending viral cold. Once again, you face the choice of feeding the white dog of hopeful expectations and thankfulness or the black dog of despair and complaining. Which dog will you choose to feed with your thoughts? Read More...


  • The Real Deal

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Nov 26th

    Seated with my children in the living room, we had just begun our homeschooling day with devotions. The morning had been hectic like usual, and I wasn't in the best of moods. No matter how hard I tried, the starting time for school seemed to be getting later each day. Feeling incompetent as a teacher and trying to make up for lost time, I quickly asked my children, "Is there anything we need to pray about?" Several needs were expressed by each of my young children, which I hurriedly wrote down. However, as I started to pray, my son interrupted and asked, "Mom, what about you? Is there something you need prayer for today?" Read More...


  • Tough Teaching

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Nov 25th

    "But Mom," my son cried. "I know I already did these math problems! I don't want to do them over again. My paper has to be somewhere!" Read More...


  • Fleshy Teaching

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Nov 24th

    Do you remember the day you decided to homeschool? You knew you needed to make a change in your child's education, but you had no clue how to get started. You felt helpless and utterly dependent on God's guidance, and you waited on His leading to know where to go and whom to talk to for advice. Read More...


  • The Pit Hours

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Nov 23rd

    The toughest time of the day for homeschool moms of young children has to be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. For some reason, God chooses to give children a second wind after supper, but He forgets to include the moms. We have to collect the pieces of a long homeschooling day that lie strewn throughout the house and also give baths, read nighttime stories, and put the children to bed. With our energy levels already running on empty, all of this work seems like a formidable, medieval castle. Where are our knights in shining armor to rescue us? Read More...


  • In High Places

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Nov 22nd

    Standing in the rotunda of our state capitol, I knew this homeschooling field trip was going to be a memorable day for my children and me. We could feel the history of past generations all around us as we visited our state senator, a long-time family friend. We had come to see the compelling process of how a bill becomes a law, and we weren't disappointed. Read More...


  • Anger Management

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Nov 21st

    You never mean to use anger to discipline your children, but sometimes it becomes part of your homeschooling day. Perhaps you're too tired to get up again to reinforce your correction for the millionth time, or maybe you subconsciously model the parenting you received when you were a child. Whatever the reason, you find yourself caught in the deadly trap of yelling at your children to make them obey. Read More...


  • Another Day at the Sink

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Nov 20th

    If homeschool parents had lecture podiums like school teachers, mine would have definitely been the kitchen sink. From this central location, I was able to deliver endless hours of instruction in spelling words, poem memorization, and multiplication facts. Multitasking from this "lectern" proved to be the only way I could complete daily lesson plans and my chores of washing dishes, preparing meals, and cleaning messes. Read More...


  • The Done Box

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Nov 19th

    Sitting in the corner of our kitchen like a trophy on a mantle was the done box. Each homeschooling year began with a new box to collect each of our children's completed worksheets and lessons. Originally designed to provide documentation of our children's schoolwork to state authorities, the done box came to represent something different throughout the homeschooling years. Read More...


  • Author Unknown

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Nov 18th

    As I stood in front of the formidable shelves of books in our local library, I wondered where to begin. Finding thought-provoking books with godly and moral values shouldn't have been so difficult, but it was. Frustrated, I prayed and asked God to help me in my search for wholesome literature for my children. "Consider the source" came to my mind. I realized God was prompting me to first study the authors, and then I would find the right books. Read More...


  • You Can Do It

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Nov 17th

    Have you been experiencing setbacks lately while homeschooling? Are your children rebelling or acting bored? Do friends continue to harass you about your decision and worry that your children will be socially inept by the time they graduate? Is all the hard work of balancing time for your spouse, your children, and yourself just too much? Are the unpaid bills or unfinished chores keeping you awake at night? Maybe God never really wanted you to homeschool in the first place. After all, if He did, things wouldn't be so hard, right? Read More...


  • My Incredible Journey

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Nov 16th

    The story of God's people, Israel, in the Old Testament draws a striking parallel to my journey as a homeschooling parent. For years, I had been caught in the bondage of believing that public school was the only way to educate my child. Miraculously, we experienced God leading our family out of this "slavery" and through our "Red Sea" when He provided a path to teach our children through a homeschool satellite program. Chased by the Pharaoh of the school system with threats of truancy, we walked though our difficulty on dry land and watched as the waves crashed over those who worked so diligently to keep us from teaching our children at home. Read More...


  • Give Praise When Due

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Nov 15th

    Do you think praising your homeschooled children will cause conceit and pride in their character? Since I received few compliments as a child from my stoic Dutch and German parents, I wondered if my praise would lead to an over-inflated ego in my children. I struggled with this question and searched the Scriptures for an answer until one day I read, "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Read More...


  • Pouting Pains

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Nov 14th

    Rebellion has many faces, and the big pout on my daughter's face was definitely one of them. With three other children in our homeschool classroom, she didn't like being the one who had to wait for help with her questions. Watching her body language, I realized there was a much bigger problem waiting to be dealt with than the one in her math lesson. Read More...


  • Signs of Christ

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Nov 13th

    If your homeschooling family is like most, there are probably many symbols of your faith located in your home. We had several crosses throughout the house that our children made during art class, and our refrigerator was plastered with new Sunday school papers each week. We had the word "Jesus" made with barbed wire and hung on the wall in the kitchen. We even had a screen-saver on our computer's desktop with changing pictures and Scripture passages. Read More...


  • Matters of the Heart

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Nov 12th

    Is there anything more agonizing to homeschooling parents than watching their child struggle when taking a test? Whenever my children went through contortions trying to remember facts hiding in their memory banks, I wanted to run to their rescue. Sometimes, I even went so far as to drop a few hints to help them succeed in their efforts. Surprisingly, my children perceived just the opposite about my feelings. Thinking I enjoyed using my red pen, they didn't understand the ache in my heart when I corrected their wrong answers. As their parent, I didn't want them to fail. I wanted them to triumph in their tests. Read More...


  • Sowing and Reaping

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Nov 11th

    Learning to read and enjoying good literature were seeds we consciously planted into our homeschooled children. We cultivated in them a desire to read by first reading to our children when they were young. As they grew older, they mastered phonics rules and eventually became avid readers themselves. Read More...


  • Homeschool Hunger

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Nov 10th

    The book I was hungry to read had been sitting on my desk for over two months. Stacked neatly in a pile with other half-read books, I wondered if I would ever get to read it. I wanted to be a successful homeschooling parent who remained teachable, but my limited time prevented me from indulging in every subject I loved. Instead, I challenged my intellect by thoroughly researching the subjects I taught my children. Read More...


  • It's Too Hard

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Nov 9th

    Motivating our homeschooled children to learn can seem like a daunting task. Many times we hear them say, "It's too hard," and we are tempted to put off teaching difficult lessons. Whether you are attempting to teach your child how to research material for a term paper or the proper steps for long division, step back and teach in smaller increments to keep him on track. Help your child learn the lesson one step at a time, and this will bring him more success in learning the information. Read More...


  • Great Expectations

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Nov 8th

    Countless times during the day, homeschooling parents are approached by their children with a request. Expectantly, they come for advice, help with a problem, or words of encouragement and love. The thought that you might not have the answer, the time, or the ability to help never crosses your mind. Most homeschool parents gladly respond by doing all they can to meet these great expectations. Read More...


  • Showing Off

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Nov 7th

    My son and daughter had finished their schoolwork early and were heading out the door to go on a long bike ride for the remainder of the afternoon. I was looking forward to the additional free time from our homeschooling day to work in my flower garden. I waved and smiled as they left the yard and said, "Have a nice time." Little did I know, the plans for the afternoon were soon to change. Read More...


  • Good Intentions

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Nov 6th

    Another morning was getting away from me. I knew I should have gotten up early when I heard the alarm clock, but the covers felt so good on this crisp, fall morning. Certainly God wouldn't mind if I prayed to Him while lying down under the blankets. As I began my prayers, I felt my body start to drift. Shaking off the sleep, I started once again, but the sleepiness came back. An entire hour later, I was still in bed. I was late to start homeschooling my children and knew I would be playing "catch up" for the rest of the day without God's strength or guidance. Read More...


  • The Diagram of Life

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Nov 5th

    Learning how to diagram sentences was emphasized in our homeschool. We always began by diagramming the verb first, the subject next, and then the remainder of the words in the sentence. The constant review of this technique caused my daughter to tell me one day, "Mom, I can't even read a sentence anymore without seeing it diagrammed in my mind!" Read More...


  • What's Cooking?

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Nov 4th

    What type of food do you serve at your homeschool cafeteria? My children's favorite benefit of homeschooling was the fresh and delicious meals we made together as a family. No canned or prepackaged entrees were allowed. Learning how to cook was a mandatory lesson we incorporated into each child's curriculum. All the family appreciated the tasty A+ lessons of lasagna, stir-fry, oven-baked pot roast, fresh pies, cakes, breads, and salads. Read More...


  • Who's Responsible?

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Nov 3rd

    Our monthly homeschool meeting was over, and we were cleaning the house after everyone had left. The young children of several couples had played together with our four children for most of the evening, and there was a trail of toys throughout the house. Walking to my son's room with my hands full of toys, I stopped short as I went through the doorway. I couldn't believe my eyes as I stared at his broken bed. The scene told me that the bed had been converted into a trampoline, and from the look of things, whoever had bounced on it had a good time. Read More...


  • A New Perspective

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Nov 2nd

    Imagine going to a job each morning where you can set your own schedule. You arrive when you want, take breaks whenever you want, and leave for an extended lunch hour without anyone breathing down your neck. Answering your phone calls and emails is regulated to a minimum each day, and the work responsibilities and goals you have are varied. There is no dress code or security passes to wear around your neck, and no one cares if you eat at your desk or play your favorite radio station. Your boss is off-site, and you can manage your workload to best suit your needs. Your work is rewarding and exciting, and you usually see immediate results from your efforts. Wouldn't we all love to have a job that fits this description? As a homeschooling parent, you do! Read More...


  • The Perfect Homeschooling World

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Nov 1st

    Unfortunately, this world is not perfect. We live in a fallen and sinful world that tempts us (1 Corinthians 10:13). Every day I must go to the One who is perfect for strength, wisdom, and guidance to live my life as a shining example of His love to my family and the world. I am not perfect, but He is (Hebrews 7:25-26)! Read More...