Tuesday, May 23, 2006

You May Be a Homeschooler If...

  When I was little I was in and out of doctor's offices for a few years due to a medical condition that I won't bother to go into because most doctors I talk to don't even know what I'm talking about when I try. Anyway, some of the clearest memories of all of those doctor's visits, aside from all of the needles, are sitting in the waiting room with my dad singing "The Waiting Song", it went something like this... "We're bored, bored, bored, bored, etc. " :). Oddly enough, at five years old it actually seemed to make the time go faster, looking back I bet my dad didn't so much think so :). My four year old has recently reinvented "The Waiting Song", using our recent study of cells as a catalyst. She needed my help with something the other day and I was busy with the baby so I asked her to go into another room and wait for me. It took me awhile to get done with what I was doing and when I came into the room where my four year old was, I found her lying on her back, holding her feet, calmly singing, "All of these cells are bored, all of these cells are bored, all of these...".

Everyone Should Have A Garage Sale :)

   It really makes you evaluate your every purchase from a whole new angle :). I have recently been combing through the house yet one more time trying to, once and for all, weed out all of that *stuff*, and holding a garage sale trying to get rid of it :). Up to a couple of years ago I was addicted to sales ads and the clearance aisle at Wal Mart. You also would have found me at other's garage sales many Saturday mornings and stopping in at consignment shops every time I passed just in case they had something new that I wouldn't want to miss. You have no idea how much of the stuff sitting out on those tables at our garage sale were things I had picked up on just such a table not so very long ago! Part of me looked on in anxiety hoping that my *stuff* didn't become an undue burden on someone else, wondering when I sold yet another toy or video, do they really need that? Many people would comment when they saw our tables heaped with toys, "Your kids must be growing up!". "Nope", we'd answer "We have three girls under eight and another baby on the way, we just had too much stuff!". Many looked at me as if I were crazy :).
   This was the third time in two years we have dug all of our *stuff* out of the garage for others to find a new home for and we have done very well every time but there is something even more valuable than money that I have gotten out of the experience -I've learned what *stuff* is! I've learned something isn't a bargain just because it's a great deal, you have to actually have a use for it. In other words, if you find yourself thinking, "Oh! I could...!" your first response to yourself should be, "Yes, but will I?". Often the answer is probably not, don't we already have enough to do?! I've also learned the lesson of quality over quantity, that one nice $10 dress for your daughter's doll that she plays with ALL of the time is a much better deal than 10 "things" from the dollar store that will end up lost, broken, or at the bottom of the toy bin for life (or at least until the next garage sale. Two or three God-honoring books on the planets are better than a dozen that teach from an evolutionary world view. Your one year old will get a lot more enjoyment from a sandbox, even if that is their only birthday gift, than if you splurge on a bunch of...whatever. And I have learned that it's when you start seeking first "all of these things" instead of "the Kingdom" that all of those other things call out to you and before you know it your home is a cluttered mess and you realize what you thought you "needed" has become but a snare to you.
    Isn't the "straight and narrow" hard enough to traverse without having all this *stuff* cluttering our way?
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all of these things* shall be added unto you."
Matthew 6:33
*Food, drink, and clothing...not *stuff* :)!

Friday, May 19, 2006

From the Heart

    Tomorrow is a big day for my sister, she has worked very hard these last four years to become a teacher and tomorrow is the big day! Graduation!!!  It will be a big day for my mom and dad as well, tomorrow marks the end of their children's "formal education", though all of us smart people know that we never really stop learning . My younger sisters were homeschooled their entire school career until college, and I was for most of mine. For those of you who get nervous about homeschooling through high school, you may be comforted to know they were much more prepared for college than most of their classmates and did great despite never having set foot inside a classroom before they started college, including being granted full scholarships! In honor of all of them I'm posting a poem my sister recently wrote, enjoy!

From The Heart
The garden was my science lab,
It's what I liked the best,
As I studied how the plants would grow,
And the life of each garden pest,

Math class was in the kitchen,
I'd often find it a treat,
To add, convert, and measure,
Just to end up with a sweet!

History was a joy,
As I learned about the past,
I'd day dream of Early America,
And how it changed so fast,

"Language is important,"
My teachers often said,
"It's what you use to express yourself;
To share what's in your head,

My father taught me math and science,
My mother history, language, and art,
My sisters were my only classmates,
And education came from the heart.

~Tessa Whitson
My mom's three girls...

(LtoR) Tessa, Shelby (Me), and baby Amber


My three girls...

(LtoR) Tori, Baby Bethi, and Bri


Now a new generation of little girls are acquiring an "education that comes from the heart". Maybe it's time for a math lesson in the kitchen...

A Funny...

    My 4 1/2 year old just came up and asked me what cartoons are, can you tell we don't watch much TV? The "Cartoon Song" by Chris Rice was playing, prompting her question, and after that I enjoyed asking them one by one which ones they knew, a whopping two (Scooby-doo and Kermit the Frog) out of sixteen (counting the Looney-Tunes and Animaniacs) for my eight and four year old combined.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dear Mommies,

 My oldest daughter and I have just recently finished reading through "The Hiding Place". She was spell-bound. Not only was this her first introduction to the raw evil humans can inflict on others (outside of the Bible) but she was especially intrigued by the very real presence of God and the miraculous answering of prayer revealed again and again. I hesitated to share the book with her because, as her mother, I wish I could shield her forever from the darkness. But, as that is impossible in this fallen world I felt that this was the best way to introduce that fact and I strongly felt the Lord's leading that this was the time. Yes, it was horrible, but God was there.
All of that to say, it has been a very long time since I have read the book myself and I had never read it as an expectant mother with three young children under my wings. I would like to share a couple of excerpts with you:
   "The woman next to me on the relay bench was an intense Communist woman named Floor. She and her husband had managed to get their two small children to friends before their arrest, but she worried aloud about them and about Mr. Floor, who had tuberculosis. He worked on the rope-making crew at the compound next to Phillips and each noon they managed to exchange a few words through the barbed wire separating the two enclosures. Although she was expecting in September she would never eat her morning allotment of bread but passed it through the fence to him. She was dangerously thin, I felt, for an expectant mother, and several times I brought her a portion of my own breakfast bread. But this too was always set aside for Mr. Floor....
   ...The sound of the firing squad [in the men's camp] was heard more and more often. One lunchtime when the bell sounded to return to work, Mrs. Floor did not appear at the bench beside me. It always took a while for my eyes to readjust to the dim factory after the bright light outside: it was only gradually that I saw a hunk of black bread still resting at her place on the bench. There had been no husband to deliver it to...
   On the morning of September 1 Mrs. Floor gave birth to a baby girl. The child lived four hours."
   I know it can get kind of monotonous living the same routine every day, sometimes we forget that we are doing the Lord's work. And it is the Lord's work, after all He said, "Whatever you do for the least of these..." (Matthew 25:40) and, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Jesus Christ." (Colossians 3:23&24). What a privilege that this is the work that the Lord has given us to do, and never will I view it in the same common way again. For the last week I have been caught unaware many times with thoughts such as, "Mrs. Floor, and countless other mothers, did not have the ability to feed their little ones a filling breakfast every morning." or, "What a blessing it is to be rocking my baby right now...what if I had been born in another time or place?". During various times of the day I will feel this little one kicking in his secret place and I will be overcome with gratitude that I can provide him with the nutrients that his little body needs to be born healthy. It is almost overwhelming to think of what those mothers must have been going through. How desperate Mrs. Floor must have been to keep her husband alive! How often she must have laid on her overcrowded cot at night and dreamed of another time when her family would be together again and her husband could romp on the floor with their little ones and she could drift to sleep in his arms every night, just as it was before the war. What must that morning have been like after giving birth to her precious little daughter? Did she hope or despair of the future? Oh mommies, let us never take our families for granted but let us remember that for every time we must wipe a runny nose, there is a mommy somewhere grieving for a little nose she will never wipe again. For every meal we must prepare there is a mommy wondering when her children will have their next meal and where it will come from. When you are rocking your baby, and baby just does not want to sleep, think of Mrs. Floor and the baby she was never allowed to rock in a sweet clean nursery or a cozy living room rocker, I'm sure she would trade places with us in a minute! May we never take these "common" tasks for granted but let us live up the experience to its fullest! Let us rest under the covering of our blessed husbands, breathe in the fresh baby scent of our new borns, delight in the soft sleepiness of our toddlers dozing on our laps at night, drink up the twinkle in our preschoolers eyes- and praise the Lord that our eight year old has to learn about "the raw evil humans can inflict on others" out of a book, we could have been there...

Tuesday, May 9, 2006


My eight year old excitedly proclaimed from the kitchen. I had no idea what she could possibly be talking about and was even more at a loss when I looked up to see her bearing the Cheerios box with a huge grin on her face. "Look Mom!", she said, "They've finally figured it out and they're spreading the message! Maybe now more people will homeschool!". What, you're wondering, could the "message" have possibly been on that Cheerios box? It said, "Your child's favorite teacher: YOU". I doubt Cheerios was approaching it from the viewpoint of homeschooling but you have to admit that that is the logical conclusion!

 Bethani had a wonderful first birthday. Lee was off the day before as well so I actually got the cake done the day before for once :). I made a butterfly (her room is decorated in lavender butterflies) and I have to admit it was the best looking cake I have ever done and very easy! Her special first birthday gift was a sandbox (we've given up quantity for quality, wish we had learned that one a few years ago, but more on that in another post I'm currently working on) and we went to the zoo and then Chuck E. Cheese for supper. I'm not sure exactly how, because we've only been there about four times in nine years, but somehow it has become a tradition to go to Chuck E. Cheese for first birthdays :). She loved the zoo! We let our season tickets expire over the winter so it was like the first time at the zoo for her and she was enthralled. You knew every time she caught sight of a new animal because she would make a sound like she was hyperventilating :)! So, my baby is officially a toddler now. A few weeks ago she would scream if you tried to make her sit through a book, very uncharacteristic for our family! But she finally found one she liked and now it is not uncommon to see her come up to you with a book in her hands and plop down in your lap saying, "ook, ook". Such sweet blessings He has given me :)!
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Psalm 103:1 !