Daily Focus - October 2013

  • I'm Sorry

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Oct 31st

    I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom with my makeup case in my hands. There seemed to be a sense of irony in the fact that I was putting on a pretty face for the rest of the world to see, but inside I was an angry and ugly homeschooling mother. The morning had gone from bad to worse with my husband's car that wouldn't start, a broken washing machine, and my mother's "helpful" advice. I should have talked to the Lord when I felt the tremors coming, but instead, my pent up emotions erupted onto my ten-year-old son like a violent volcano when he failed to complete his math assignment. I had quickly said, "I'm sorry" for my outburst, but my son's expression told me I had hurt his loving heart. Read More...


  • Snakes in a Sandbox

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Oct 30th

    Homeschooling while living in our "little house on the prairie" in western Nebraska was both exciting and dangerous. We lived with sand burs, relentless wind, prairie dogs, harvester ants, coyotes, scorpions, and worst of all, rattlesnakes. Read More...


  • No Brainer

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Oct 29th

    What seems an obvious choice to us as homeschooling parents is not so easy for our children. When we ask "What were you thinking?" to our children for making foolish decisions, we forget that we, too, found ourselves in difficult situations when we were young. Many times, the only thing that separates our choices from our children's is a few years of wisdom from having been there and done that. What is even worse is when we as homeschooling parents make foolish choices, even when we know the right thing to do. Read More...


  • The Call

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Oct 28th

    Receiving "the call" late at night is the dread of every parent — homeschooling or not. Our call came around 12:45 a.m. one early Saturday morning. The officer on the other end of the line told us our son was being held at the police station. As we drove to town, I was thankful our son wasn't dead or injured in a car accident. However, I knew that the discipline his father and I were planning may make him wish he was dead. Read More...


  • Left Behind

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Oct 27th

    I saw the expression on my youngest son's face as the last of his older siblings packed to leave for college. Saying "goodbye" to his sister was going to be very difficult. As the remaining two children left at home in our homeschooling family, they had shared so much together, but our family was transitioning once again. My son was starting to realize that with all his classmates gone, he would have to homeschool alone. Read More...


  • Dressed to Kill

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Oct 26th

    What did you look like this morning as you began homeschooling your children? Were you still dressed in your pajamas or sweats? Did you prepare yourself as if you were working at an 8 to 5 job, or did you skip the time-consuming effort until later? Busy homeschooling mothers don't always have time to put their best foot forward each day, especially with their appearance. We cheat by putting our hair in a ponytail again and wearing disheveled clothing as we stand instructing our children in their schoolwork. Read More...


  • Grandma Goodbyes

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Oct 25th

    As Grandpa and Grandma drove out our yard to return to their home nine hours away, my daughter sat looking out the living room window with tears in her eyes. Each time they came to visit, I dreaded the day they were scheduled to leave. The emotional heartache my young daughter experienced made concentrating on homeschooling for the next several days difficult. Read More...


  • Gray Areas

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Oct 24th

    The quiet time I was experiencing with the Lord before my homeschooling day overwhelmed me with conviction. I watched as the morning sun's rays attempted to burn off the gray cloud of fog that had settled as a blanket over our farm. The cool night air had met the warmth of Earth, and the resulting fog was locked in a battle with the sun's rays. As the strength of the sun's light grew more brilliant, the lesson God was teaching me also became clearer. Read More...


  • Paralyzed by Fear

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Oct 23rd

    "I'm never going back to the mountains again until we have a better car," I said resolutely to my husband. This trip was the last time I would risk getting stranded because of car problems. Our homeschool field trips to isolated mountain areas in Colorado would just have to wait until we could afford a new vehicle. Read More...


  • Divine Lessons

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Oct 22nd

    Homeschooling that is led and guided by the Holy Spirit proves to be the most successful. Prayerfully choosing curriculum, daily schedules, lesson plans, field trips, extracurricular activities, or even books used for reading or literature class allows God to influence your children's education. God is the best at customizing our children's education because He knows the future plans for each of their lives (Jeremiah 29:11). Read More...


  • Time for Church

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Oct 21st

    On Sunday morning when you say, "It's time for church," what response do you get from your homeschooled children? Depending on the age of your children, those words bring a variety of responses. Teenagers roll over and want to sleep another two hours, elementary-aged children would rather play and dislike getting ready, and toddlers are too young to care, but they require extra effort in preparing diaper bags. Read More...


  • The Last Thing I Need

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Oct 20th

    Learning not to give unsolicited advice to my homeschooled children was difficult as they were growing older. I usually went overboard in my explanations in case something would go wrong. I wanted to save them from failure, expense, and pain. However, I learned that some of the most amazing lessons are taught to our children when we wait to rescue them. As they struggle to find the correct answer or make the right decision, they are being prepared for a life led by the Lord. Read More...


  • Out of Control

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Oct 19th

    Learning to drive in our homeschool driver's education class looked much different than the normal driving class most young people attended. Dad's job was to teach our children the laws and rules for operating a vehicle, but what he truly enjoyed was instructing them in driving safely. During his instruction, he showed our children how to steer back onto the road if one wheel slipped onto the shoulder, how to stop in an emergency without locking the brakes (this was before anti-lock brakes), and his favorite — how to drive in icy conditions. Read More...


  • Daily Reminders

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Oct 18th

    Brush your teeth, pick up your room, make your bed, do your chores, wash your hands, practice the piano, and take out the trash. The list of reminders we give our children each day goes on and on. Every day we remind our children to do things they should already do without being told. Read More...


  • Wisdom from Above

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Oct 17th

    We had just spent another day going over practice questions that might be used in the ACT college entrance test. My son was getting tired of the extra school work required to prepare for this important test, but I ignored his grumblings. After all, didn't he know that he had to be the smartest child there? I had high expectations to say the least. Read More...


  • Compared to What?

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Oct 16th

    My youngest son's discouraged face told me there was more to his frustration in receiving a "C" on his spelling test. I saw there was deep emotion waiting to be expressed. I offered a listening ear and a patient hug, and he began to share, "I'm not as smart as everyone else in this family." He thought he wasn't as good as his siblings, and he wanted to be an "A" student, too. His broken heart reflected my own childhood experience with insensitive teachers comparing my performance in school to high-achieving, older siblings. Read More...


  • Four-legged Classmates

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Oct 15th

    Is there anything sadder than watching a dog say goodbye to his favorite boy or girl as he or she goes off to school? Every day, countless pets are separated from their young masters as they leave for school, but not with homeschoolers. We are the fortunate ones who enjoy the privilege of having four-legged classmates to comfort us and make us laugh. Read More...


  • Best Friends

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Oct 14th

    Have you ever watched young girls interact? They can be the best of friends one moment and dire enemies the next. Because of petty differences and easily hurt feelings, young girls are notorious for having a new best friend each week. My homeschooled daughter found it difficult to keep up with these fluctuations in her friends. What she wanted most was an "Anne of Green Gables" kindred spirit in whom she could confide (Philippians 2:20). Read More...


  • Sick Days

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Oct 13th

    Because of sickness, the winter of 1988 was the worst interruption to our homeschooling days. Chicken pox hit our family hard, and for one long month, homeschooling was set aside as I worked to nurse my four children back to health. Every two weeks, one after another, my children fell ill and laid on the couch to recover. Every day was consumed with making healthy recipes, wiping runny noses, and finding activities for my children to occupy themselves while healing from the red, itchy sores. Quarantined, I wondered, "Will I ever see the outside world again?" Read More...


  • Under the Bed

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Oct 12th

    I'm sure I wasn't the first mother who had to deal with her child's deception while homeschooling. One day I found toys that were supposed to have been picked up and put away pushed under my son's bed. I sat down on the bed and wished I could escape the correction that needed to take place in my child's life. The mess under the bed would be much easier to ignore than dealing with my child. Thankfully, at least this deception could be fixed, even though the time needed to discipline would rob teaching time from our homeschooling day. Read More...


  • All Alone

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Oct 11th

    Is the feeling of loneliness hovering over you like a cloud today? Has homeschooling taken so much of your time that you haven't seen your friends for days? Do the piles of housework, schoolwork, and unfinished projects feel like a wall separating you from the rest of the world? Do you and your husband pass each day like two ships in the night? Do you wonder if anybody cares or even knows you are alive? Again, here you are facing another day of homeschooling all alone. Read More...


  • Teacher or Mom

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Oct 10th

    As much as I enjoyed homeschooling my children, there were days when I longed to be only a mother. Moms have the fun job of displaying tenderness by kissing away hurts and telling their children they are wonderful, but God had an additional task for me. He also wanted me to be my children's school teacher. I had to take out the red pen and correct their papers to challenge them to study harder. Finding loving ways to critique their work and push them was not always easy. My children were forced to respect and relate to me both as a mother and a teacher. Read More...


  • In the Distance

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Oct 9th

    Today was especially difficult as a homeschooling mom. I was beginning to believe my three-year-old daughter would be wearing diapers until she was 21. I was also frustrated with my son's lack of understanding fractions. I was ready to give up and let him learn to measure in whole numbers for the rest of his life. My life seemed stuck in the "forever" of this time. My children would never move beyond this point in their education, and I would never do anything different as a woman. Each day would be a repeat of the last with homeschooling, doing the laundry, cooking, and fulfilling church responsibilities. Would there ever be an end to this seemingly endless repetition? Read More...


  • I Am Not Ashamed

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Oct 8th

    Most parents — homeschooling or not — have experienced a time when their children were embarrassed to be with them. The sting of this rejection can hurt our feelings, but if we are to succeed as homeschooling parents, we must move beyond our feelings. We must address the issue of why our child is embarrassed and not become defensive or retaliatory in our response. Read More...


  • Mrs. Clean

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Oct 7th

    Inside the house, the kitchen sink was full of dishes, and the laundry baskets were piled high with dirty clothes. The floors were full of crumbs, and the windows had enough fingerprints to fill the files of the FBI. Outside, the lawn looked like a herd of horses needed to chew it down, and the children's toys were scattered from one end of the farm to the other. Company was scheduled to arrive for supper, and the meal was not yet prepared. I laughed to myself, wondering which of these tasks I would actually accomplish in addition to our homeschooling day. Read More...


  • Totally Lost

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Oct 6th

    Some days, even the best homeschool teacher has trouble communicating a lesson. Whether you're teaching equations in algebra or diagramming sentences in grammar, a change begins to occur in your child when he does not comprehend the information you are covering. You've seen the look — a blank stare, a squint, eyebrows up in the form of a question mark. The body begins to fidget, and unintelligible utterances come from his mouth. He doesn't have a clue what you are talking about and is totally lost. What are you going to do? Read More...


  • Let's Play

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Oct 5th

    The favorite words of every young girl or boy are "Do you want to go play?" What homeschooled child can resist an enthusiastic mother or father who wants to ride a bike, hide in tree houses, or dig in sand boxes? Our children love leaving the academic schoolwork behind and spending time together just having fun! Read More...


  • Homeschool Tattletales

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Oct 4th

    My son could hardly wait to talk to me one day during our school time. I could tell he had something important to say and was anxiously waiting to share the news. As soon as the words came out of his mouth, I knew where the conversation was headed. Midway through his first sentence, I interrupted him, and a surprised look crossed his face. I asked, "Are you telling on your sister for a particular reason? No one likes a tattletale." Read More...


  • Two Are Better than One

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Oct 3rd

    The majority of the teaching in homeschooling falls on the mother. She is the one who usually stays home and oversees the schoolwork. However, what is the responsibility of dads in the homeschool process? How involved do they really need to be? What most homeschooling moms long for is a team teacher in their husband. Teaching at least one or two subject areas or even helping with daily chores, such as washing clothes or making supper, is a big help. Read More...


  • Speed Kills

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Oct 2nd

    Timed reading tests for comprehension were a killer for my homeschooled children. They really disliked this part of their curriculum. No matter how hard they tried, they always seemed to miss one or two questions because they were not able to read the entire story within the allotted time. My children found timed reading tests quite frustrating because they wanted to get every question correct. Read More...


  • I Quit!

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Oct 1st

    Now that you have homeschooled for a few months, are you finding it difficult to stay motivated? Is homeschooling not quite what you expected — too much work? Giving up is not the answer — giving in to the Lord is. "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:3-4). Read More...