Category Archives: Homeschooling

Dangerously Low Resources, Part II

The last few days I have been pondering the term “dangerously low resources,” the crisis message that recently appeared on my computer screen. Too bad that we don’t all get a message that pops up on our foreheads when we are dangerously low on our own resources.

For example, when I have skipped too many days in prayer and Bible reading, and I am crabby with everybody, disrespectful to my husband, and generally a disorganized mess, wouldn’t it be great if the message “dangerously low resources” popped up before my eyes?

Or, if my husband and I have been busy with the children and their activities, stingy with babysitting money, have had too many nighttime critter companions, and suddenly find ourselves out of sorts with each other, wouldn’t the dangerously low resources message be a sweet kick in the pants?

There have been times when I have been out shopping, say, at a specialty foods store like Whole Foods or even at the disorienting and numbing Wal-Mart, when the DLR message would have saved me some pain later.

Inventory your life today and see where your resources are dangerously low. Perhaps you haven’t had a bubble bath in a while, or a novel you have been wanting to read is still on the shelf. Maybe it’s been since your last baby was born that you have spent real time on your face before the Lord. Maybe you’ve added a bit to your credit card rolls, thinking a little here and a little there won’t hurt you. In any case, we are so often too busy to see where our resources are lacking and almost kill ourselves trying to make things happen without the fuel required.

Jesus would recognize the daily depletion of his resources, and would often arise early and go away from others to be alone with the Father. If even He needed to re-fill his resources, just think how much you and I need to do this. And just think what can happen in our lives if we do.

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Filed under Babies & Kids, His Banner over Me, Homemaking&Cooking, Homeschooling, Thoughts

Don’t ya just love the ‘net?

I just hate it when I sit down to teach a lesson and realize I need something, say a stopwatch, in order to finish the lesson and only God knows where one is in the house ( I don’t mean to take His name in vain, I literally mean this!)

So today, I thought “Aha! I bet there is one on the internet!” Sure enough! Here it is…

Online Stopwatch

It was really fun…the kids loved playing with it and they didn’t even realize they were learning ‘tenths’ in the process. I made them say the time properly each time, as in “Five and three tenths seconds.” We took turns covering up the timer and tried estimating how long 5 or 10 seconds were, using different methods, like “one and two and three and…” or “one mississippi, two mississippi….” For us, the ‘one and two method’ worked the best. My oldest even estimated 10 seconds exactly…no tenths at all. Cool.

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A Schedule for All Seasons

It seems to be in my very nature to resist schedules.  As immature as it sounds, schedules are very boring to me, so as soon as a new schedule’s novelty wears off, I find it very hard to follow.  Being that routines are mini-schedules, I have very few.  I recognize this as bad.  And it sometimes gets me into trouble.  It certainly explains how I can forget to put on deodorant from time to time.

Thankfully, God has not given me a child that absolutely must live by tight schedules.  Or if He has, I have not recognized it yet.  But I do recognize the need for order and a good schedule definitely has its place.  My struggle has been to find the balance of variety and spontaneity with good sense and order.  Over the years, I have swung the pendulum between ultra-scheduled with every minute tidily assigned to  under-scheduled, as in complete chaos under the charming euphemism of creative scheduling.  Neither works for me.

In my search for the answer, I turned in the Bible to the Book of Self-Management…oh, wait, that’s not in there, is it?  Actually, I’m sure it’s in there, with pieces scattered throughout the whole, but I’m not wise (nor disciplined) enough to read it and apply it with such aplomb.  I am still wading in the shallows and the answer is probably found in the deep after years upon years of searching.  I will probably have to rely on the word of others who have plumbed that particular depth.

In the meantime,  I have been amused by the answer I have found in the book of nature.  God has shown me that schedules can be comforting and exciting at the same time.  Take the seasons for instance.  He provides regularity and rhythm -winter, spring, summer, fall – yet dazzles us with dramatic change.  And never does he leave us to get too comfortable with one season.  We find that just as we are tiring of one, we witness little signs of the next appearing.  Yet, just as soon as the season we were just in passes, we find ourselves looking forward to it again next year.

This is the kind of schedule I want for our family.  The question is what does that look like in our house?  How do I apply the same principles of rhythm and regularity but keep just enough variety to keep our spirits burning with creativity?   Or, in other words, how do I cook three meals, get everyone dressed with chores done, grow minds and bodies and make everyone look forward again to the next day, wondering what new adventure might befall?

I see the blueprint all around me…it’s just making it happen that’s the tough part.

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Filed under Babies & Kids, Homemaking&Cooking, Homeschooling, Thoughts

Treasure hunting

I love books. Especially ones that you find “buried” somewhere like hidden treasure.

I recently scooped up a complete 1954 set of Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedias at an estate sale. Thinking I found a treasure chest of rare gems, I inquired wistfully about the price. “Five dollars.” What? SOLD! The lady jokingly said she preferred her encyclopedias on CDs. True, they take up less space, but the real joy of an encyclopedia is accidentally flipping to a page on Coal, and finding it enjoyable, when you really set out to read about Chocolate. Children, in particular, get hooked by pictoral encyclopedias. What child could resist a picture series entitled, “Six Chapters in the Life of a Cheese?”

The best thing about my 1954 set is the engaging way the entries are written. Written before post-modernism, the information is authoritatively stated and designed to impart responsibility to the reader. The title page offers this objective:

To inspire ambition, to stimulate the imagination, to provide the inquiring mind with accurate information told in an interesting style, and thus lead into broader fields of knowledge, such is the purpose of this work.

Of course, many entries are outdated and even shocking, like the picture of Japanese children being fumigated for lice with DDT, under the entry Parasites (are those children even alive today?).But even these open up great conversation.

Reading encyclopedias aloud to younger children can help to hook them on non-fiction. At that age, the line between fiction and non-fiction can be rather blurry. Under Camping, I read this entry to my kids:

“Horace Kephart, famous authority on camp lore, gives us the key to the problem when he says: “Ideal outfitting is to have what we want, when we want it, and not to be bothered with anything else.”

My son let loose a little chortle, and in all sincerity said, “Well, that’s a horse’s opinion.” I looked blankly at him, then it hit me! Horace…horse. All kinds of treasures are to be found in these books!

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Filed under Great Books, Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Life Inside the Pinball Machine

My last 10 minutes:

Walk to girls’ room to get a diaper…hear glass crash on kitchen floor, stick baby in high chair, clean up glass…while in kitchen, see unpacked groceries still on counter…put 2 bags away…hear my son walking around, so check to see if he has finished his math…on the way, hear baby fuss, turn around to get her down out of her high chair…oh, yeah, the diaper…going to girls’ room but see my oldest girl, looking flushed again, so I feel her forehead (fever still!) and make her lie down, now hear the t.v. on, so go and stop the ‘illegal’ video, sit 4 and 7 y/olds back down to work, see my posting page open, wonder what on earth I was going to write about 10 minutes ago before I stopped to change a diaper, which, is still in my girls’ room.

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Fall Fever Confession

Fall Fever Confession

I am about to make the kind of confession that anti-homeschoolers just love. After breakfast yesterday, my kids promptly ran into the backyard and played there all day, save for a short break for some noontime nourishment. And I let them. Who could blame me?

It was a beautiful, nippy, yes, even chilly day. The sky was clear blue and a breeze played through the pecan trees. The three oldest were absolutely industrious in their play…they swept dirt, wove mats out of long grass, cut firewood with a small hatchet (does that freak anyone out?), made three rock campfire rings, a potty (yes, an outdoor toilet, although I don’t think it was actually used), a stick chair, and a bed made from two pecan limbs, yarn, and a towel. We have been studying about primitive people from The Story of the World. I think I will count it towards a history lesson.

When DH came home from work, he happily lit one of the fires and we roasted marshmallows. I can guarantee that the kids will remember the day much more than what I had planned. Besides, today it was already back up to 80, so we have to enjoy fall when we can.

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