Daily Focus - September 2013

  • Playing Hooky

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Sep 30th

    Does staying under the warm sheets sound appealing to you this morning? Would you like to sleep in and take the day off to get caught up with all the housework? After all, chores would get done a lot faster with four pairs of little hands to help. Read More...


  • Dry Times

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Sep 29th

    Have you ever experienced those moments during your homeschooling year when creativity seems to have shriveled? You know your lessons, but the inspiration on how to make them fun has dried up. Your children have already done the suggested activities in your teacher's manuals, and they need something new. You try to think of what to do, but the ideas are just not there. Read More...


  • The Ongoing Battle

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Sep 28th

    Is homeschooling here to stay? According to recent statistics, over two million children homeschool in the United States. Organized state associations, local support groups, and Internet forums, blogs, and websites give homeschoolers a sense of security that the public accepts home education as a viable educational alternative. In fact, even Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court listed homeschooling as a viable educational option in a ruling in Morse v. Frederick. Read More...


  • Divine Guidance

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Sep 27th

    If ever a parent needed the wisdom of Solomon to resolve disputes, it's a homeschooling parent. Since we live with our families 24/7, we face more instances of sibling conflict than other families. Unfortunately, homeschooled children are no different than any other children and will fight over the most trivial things. Like Solomon, many times you're forced to stand in judgment as you physically separate two children who are arguing. Worst of all, there's no teacher's guide or answer key to give you the helpful information you need to resolve problems. Applying the right discipline to correct your child's behavior requires discernment from the Holy Spirit and wisdom from God's perfect curriculum — the Bible. Read More...


  • The Great Pretender

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Sep 26th

    Someone has once said that children can see right through you. If you doubt, watch as you attempt to teach your children or a class of young people. If you are nervous, scared, or unprepared, they will quickly take advantage of your weakness. Read More...


  • Pillow Talk

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Sep 25th

    As I opened my eyes to another homeschooling day, sunlight was just beginning to filter through my bedroom windows. Realizing that I had slept through the alarm, I quickly threw back the covers to jump out of bed and start breakfast. However, as I did, I was surprised to find my two youngest children snuggled in my blankets. Quietly waiting for me to wake up, they were holding a book and eager to continue reading the story we had only half finished the previous day. Smiling, I said, "Okay, let's just start school right now." Tucking each child in the blankets on either side of me, I opened their book, and we began to read together. For the next 30 minutes, we all enjoyed our unconventional classroom, and I thanked God again for the spontaneous joys of homeschooling. Read More...


  • Saving Sammy

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Sep 24th

    Have you ever had those moments in time when you saw something about to happen, but felt helpless to stop it? I was having one of those moments as I watched my son's black lab take notice of a car coming over the hill about a mile from our home. In that instant, I could see and sense what was about to happen in my mind. Read More...


  • Shortcuts

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Sep 23rd

    Life is full of shortcuts. High-priced technology has changed the way we live and made shopping so easy we can get what we want with a simple click of a mouse or a wave of a debit card. Although technological advances have also made homeschooling easier, there is one aspect to teaching our children at home that can't be fast forwarded — your children's spiritual growth. Developing biblical values and godly character requires a daily, concentrated effort in building God's truths precept upon precept. Money simply cannot buy instant access to Christianity or purchase shortcuts in learning God's lessons in humility, obedience, and submission. Read More...


  • Where Is God?

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Sep 22nd

    My son was only six when our family invested in a quality telescope for star gazing. Star charts and nightly excursions to see the planets and stars became part of our homeschool curriculum. My young son's strong interest in this subject amazed me, especially one night when he asked, "When are we going to see God?" I realized then that he had been expecting to see God in the heavenly night sky through the telescope's lens. Read More...


  • Quiet Encouragement

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Sep 21st

    Children love secrets, and one joy I experienced as a homeschooling parent was teaching my children the thrill of being secret gift-givers. Following Christ's illustration in Matthew 6, I encouraged them to ask God's guidance to think of ways to bless their family, friends, and neighbors. At first, this task was difficult, since little ones like to tell everything they know. However, as my children grew older, not only did they become thoughtful and generous givers, but they also became quite adept in disguising any connection with the gift. Countless times, I found myself humbled and encouraged when receiving a gift at day's end without knowing who had laid the treasure on my pillow.   Read More...


  • As Close As It Gets

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Sep 20th

    As I read the statistic on the Internet, all I could say was, "Wow, praise God!" According to the National Home Education Research Institute's website, approximately 2 million children were educated at home in the United States during 2010. What a difference from when I started homeschooling in the early 1980s! At that time, there were only an estimated 50,000 children being educated at home each year. As I considered the figures and did the math, I realized that since 1985, homeschooling has grown nearly 4,000%! Read More...


  • Broken Promises

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Sep 19th

    "But you promised," whimpered my ten-year-old daughter. "You said we could go swimming if we finished all our schoolwork." Although the words were softly spoken, they echoed in my ears as she left the room. "Only a little disappointment," I justified to myself. "She'll get over it." Little did I know this broken promise also broke my daughter's faith in her mother's word. Read More...


  • Old Mother Hubbard (Part 2)

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Sep 18th

    When we were done praying, my children and I got up and started our day. Not even 30 minutes had passed when I heard a pick-up truck coming up our driveway. Unbelievably, our pastor from a town 15 miles away walked to the door and handed me an envelope. The pastor said someone at church had given the envelope to him on Sunday, but he didn't know what was in it. He just "happened to be going" to the town near our home and decided to drop off the envelope. Then, just that quickly, he was gone. Read More...


  • Old Mother Hubbard (Part 1)

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Sep 17th

    I felt like Old Mother Hubbard as I went to the kitchen cupboards that morning. I don't know why I even bothered to look. I knew there was nothing in them to make a meal for my four young children. The situation looked rather bleak for a cook who could make a meal out of just flour, eggs, and milk, but today I didn't even have those ingredients. I looked out the window at the winter snow that covered my garden — no vegetables to be found there. What was I going to do? Read More...


  • Secondhand Lessons

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Sep 16th

    Much like the rural, one-room schoolhouse of years ago, homeschooling families enjoy the unique benefits of learning academics together. After practicing our multiplication tables one morning, I quizzed my daughter and asked, "What is four times five?" Expecting her to answer, I was totally surprised when my four-year-old son replied nonchalantly, "20." Sitting on the floor quietly playing with his toy cars, I didn't realize how much he had overheard during our math lesson. Without even knowing it, my young son had learned the same information by hearing me teach his older sister. Read More...


  • It's Mine!

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Sep 15th

    The yelling echoed off the walls of our schoolroom for the last time that day. All three of my homeschool students were being sent to different corners for another timeout. I shook my head as I walked away and wondered, "Why is sharing so difficult for young children? They are always worried about getting their ‘fair share' of everything!" The new art supplies we had purchased were an enticement to selfishness, but certainly not worth the name-calling and fighting I had been hearing. Today was another opportunity to help my children understand that God gives us everything we need. We can afford to share with others. Read More...


  • Homeschool Complaints

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Sep 14th

    Is your homeschool infected with the whining disease? Like the early stages of most health problems, you may not recognize its symptoms at first. When assigning schoolwork, especially in your child's least favorite subject, this dreaded disease usually starts with an exasperated sigh. Next, it spreads into a short question such as, "Do I have to do this assignment?" If not diagnosed and treated early, the whining disease finally takes over your homeschool completely until you hear things like, "Why do I always have so much schoolwork to do? I don't want to do this!" Read More...


  • By Their Fruits

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Sep 13th

    How long do you need to teach your children at home before you "officially" become a homeschool family? Like the tests that evaluate a child's academic performance, you can assume homeschooling has arrived at your house when the following are true: Read More...


  • Glory Days

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Sep 12th

    "I'm bored," complained my oldest son. "I don't have anything to do." Normally, those words created images of countless tasks to give my son during our homeschool day. However, today I sensed the Lord asking me to teach a lesson from His Word instead. Read More...


  • Tragic Memories

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Sep 11th

    There are certain moments in time that people vividly remember in connection with a certain date in history. My mother can recall exactly where and what she was doing when Pearl Harbor was attacked in World War II. I can recall where and what I was doing when John F. Kennedy was shot. My daughter now recalls where and what she was doing the day the World Trade Center's twin towers burned and crashed to the ground. For three days, homeschooling stopped, and we, along with millions of others, watched the awful events of those days. Her thoughts are forever recorded below in her poem written shortly after that tragic day. Read More...


  • Second Chances

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Sep 10th

    How many times in your life have you wished to go back in time to do something over? Maybe you wouldn't have bought that expensive car, chosen that college, or passed up an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus. All of us would like a "do over" in something. Read More...


  • Who Speaks for God?

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Sep 9th

    During the early 1980s, there were few voices that publicly championed the cause of homeschooling. Fortunately, the men and women who did speak out were effective, powerful, and passionate communicators who left a lasting impact on my life. As a young parent with two preschool-aged children, I paid attention to their knowledgeable research, books, and advice against traditional schooling. Willing to go against the flow, they set the precedent for today's modern homeschooling movement and inspired thousands of homeschooling families just like mine to do the same. Read More...


  • Holding Grudges

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Sep 8th

    For several days, I had been watching my oldest son and daughter interact. Like a pending thunderstorm, something was definitely brewing between them. The conflict began when my exuberant son ruined his sister’s art project by running excitedly through the room. Although the damage was unintentional, my son’s less-than-sincere apology awakened a vengeful spirit in my daughter’s heart. The conflict culminated the following day when my son again raced through the room and ruined another project of my daughter’s. Exasperated, my daughter responded by intentionally destroying her brother’s history project. Read More...


  • Transitions

    Posted in Daily Focus on Saturday, Sep 7th

    After the initial excitement wears off, the first year of homeschooling can seem quite challenging. Parents and children adjust to new routines, and things don’t always go as smoothly as planned. Gears grind as schedules get interrupted, children misbehave, and new disciplines are learned. During this crucial transition period, many homeschoolers feel overwhelmed and think they made a mistake. Some even give up and say, “Homeschooling is too hard, and it’s not for me.”   Read More...


  • Homeschooling's Price

    Posted in Daily Focus on Friday, Sep 6th

    I’m feeling selfish today. I look at the schoolwork waiting to be corrected and this week’s lesson plans still waiting to be finished, and I want to escape somewhere. My life seems like it’s not my own, and I resent the fact that I can’t do what I want, when I want. Homeschooling requires me to be so disciplined, and I’m starting to feel trapped. I want to take a break from housework, diapers, schedules, and endless questions, but I’m the one in charge. I feel like a huge burden is on my back. Read More...


  • No Other Gods

    Posted in Daily Focus on Thursday, Sep 5th

    Somewhere in my homeschooling experience, my children became the focus of not only my day, but also my entire life. I found myself thinking of their needs constantly and became self-absorbed in making their lives happy and successful. Although a measure of this devotion and attention was appropriate, there was a surplus of affection that was being misdirected. My children had become my idols, whom I worshiped with all my energy and time. Read More...


  • Connecting the Dots

    Posted in Daily Focus on Wednesday, Sep 4th

    Dot-to-Dot lessons were some of my children's favorite math worksheets. Each time we used the dot-to-dot method to review counting in our homeschool math lesson, my children excitedly followed the dots and guessed what the picture would be when they were done. However, in their excitement to finish, sometimes they would hurry too quickly. They would count incorrectly, miss a number, and the result would be a distorted picture. Forced to start over, they would begin again and count more carefully until they finally exclaimed, "Look at what I made!" Read More...


  • Escape Routes

    Posted in Daily Focus on Tuesday, Sep 3rd

    From the time my children were old enough to understand, fire drills were part of our homeschool safety lessons. Sounding the smoke alarm, I instructed each child how to escape in the event of a house fire. My children always thought it was great fun to climb out their bedroom window and meet outside at our flag pole. In fact, they each learned their escape routes so well that it only took a matter of seconds to vacate the house. Read More...


  • One More

    Posted in Daily Focus on Monday, Sep 2nd

    As a homeschooling family, does it seem like your laundry is an endless assignment that never gets completed? As my son and I finished the last load one morning before starting school, my daughter walked in with yet another basket of dirty clothes. With his sense of accomplishment deflated once again, my son turned to me and said, “I think taking care of dirty laundry is like fighting against sin. There’s always one more waiting to be cleaned.” Read More...


  • Homeschool Firsts

    Posted in Daily Focus on Sunday, Sep 1st

    Do you remember the first time your baby smiled at you? How about your baby’s first tooth, his first word, and his first step? As parents, we treasure these precious moments and record, photograph, and preserve them in our children’s baby books. However, God has given additional “firsts” to homeschooling parents—our child’s first ABC’s, first time counting from one to ten, first book read alone, and more! All these first experiences with our children are lasting memories that are priceless. Read More...