In the face of COVID-19, travel bans, school/university closings, ban of groups over 10, how are you coping with the added stress? Do you take all these in stride? Or does it seem to make you uneasy, maybe even trigger your anxiety? Well, I do realize that it is a very different time for us all, and that is why I feel led to share. I am pretty sure there will be more ebbs and flows in the journey.
Last Sunday, my Pastor brought a message on the passage in Philippians 4:4-7. If you will allow me, I would love to break this down as I see it pertains to homeschoolers.
It begins with “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Even when we are told to stay home and can’t do co-op, sports, or play date? Even when we feel cut off from our friends and family? Even when the churches are closing? Yes, what is it that brings you joy in these activities? If it is the connection you feel, then talk to them on the phone, face- time or Skype with them, or send them emails/messages. Keep those connections strong.
These relationships will help to keep both parties encouraged, and feeling invigorated and enlightened!
“Let your moderation be known unto all men.” I almost feel like this needs no explanation. I am sure that we have all seen the empty shelves in the stores. Do you feel everyone only took what they needed? This is also true when we are not in the midst of pandemic times.
“The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing;” As we run our homes and school, we strive to not be stressed or full of care. According to W. H Davies in his poem Leisure, he states, A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.” Specifically, full of care means devoting all your time and energy to that which one perceives as necessary or as duty, without enjoying that which is beautiful. Did you see the beauty of your family, at home, learning, bonding and expressing themselves? How about the beauty of spring?
Maybe something as simple as the beauty of their favorite story time? Make sure you take the time to share the beautiful things with your children.
“but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” We have a hotline that goes straight to God. All we need to do is pray and ask Him. He is a loving God and wants to bless us!
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” For me to know that this peace shall keep my heart and mind through Christ, Jesus makes me feel as if I have superpowers. No strength required. No extreme speed. No higher level of intelligence. All that is required, is that I allow myself to be under His care, in the palm of His hand. That is what is keeping me…what is keeping you? If you need some help with this, please feel free to reach out to me personally, I would love to share His peace with you today!
Every spring, I ponder planting a garden, even though I have not done so in years. It is such a therapeutic undertaking to do the work to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water, and enjoy the fruit of your labor.
Life is like a garden; if you work with those who are in your circle of influence, you can have an impact on their life:
- Family – We have people we call “family,” either by birth or choice. These are the people that are very important to us. We take time to nurture our family as you would the soil in a garden by tilling, fertilizing and removing rocks, etc. Without proper attention, your soil will not yield succulent crops. Ezekiel 17:8 “It was planted in a good soil by great waters…that It might bear ”
- Children – They come to us like a new plant. Small, vulnerable, and needing a lot of attention. We have to keep the “weeds” away from them. We have to feed and water them and make sure they get plenty of sunlight. All these things will help them to grow to their full potential. Matthew 13:32 “…is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among all herbs…”
- Friends – These are the special additions to our life that the Lord sends our way, giving us the opportunity to have a life more abundant. We decide the amount of time we spend with some while avoiding others. This is like selecting the seeds that you will plant in a garden. You plant things that you like to eat, yet you don’t purchase the packages of the foods you don’t like. Mark 5:19 “…Go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord had done for thee…”
So, I ask again, what’s in your garden? A bountiful harvest does not just happen. You need to be intentional, consistent, and loving in each situation, with each group of individuals. The Lord puts people in our lives, look for opportunities to help, encourage, and bless them. This IS your garden!
February: And this is Love !
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” John 13:34
I looked up the definition of the word Christian: “One who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.” Webster’s Dictionary.
As I pondered the meaning of love, with Valentine’s Day approaching, I began to think about the various types of love. I believe the greatest love is the love that originates from being a Christian and wanting to share the love of Christ with others.
All too often, we get caught up in the busy-ness of life, to discover that we have missed opportunities to minister to others.
I would like to share with you my renewed goal of loving others, even as Christ loves us. Everywhere you go, there are people who need something from you. It might be a Word, a look, or a touch.
WORD – Proverbs 25:11 Says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” So imagine if you were the one who needed encouragement how much a word from a friendly face in a time of need would mean to you.
LOOK – Psalm 119:132 “Look Thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as Thou usest to do unto those that love Thy name.” Just as David wanted God to look upon him, as the body of Christ, we should look on others with the love and compassion of Christ. Maybe they have a need that could be met by you!
TOUCH – Daniel 10:18 “Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,” Scripture shows the power of a touch, may we use that power to strengthen and help others daily.
So go out in love and be a blessing today!
As we go into the New Year 2020, what is your vision? Do you know that you can choose how to see things? Your vision is not limited to just your physical sight. Let’s look at some of the things we see and how we can see them.
When your kids misbehave, do you get frustrated and lash out at them? “Does the punishment fit the crime?” If only we could take the time to examine the facts, our hearts, and the right course of action. Choose to discipline in love. Choose not to react in anger.
“He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.” Job 36:10
How about when you encounter someone who is unjust or unfair in the way they interacted with you. Do you react poorly because of their treatment of you? How will they ever be exposed to a better way, unless you demonstrate it? Think of how patient Christ is with us…why not extend that same grace?
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” I Peter 3:18
Why should we make 2020 different? Consider how blessed we are. God is our heavenly Father who loves us. He sent His son to die, thus making a way for us to spend all of eternity with Him. Not because of anything we did, but as a free gift. Ours for the taking; claim yours today!
“And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” I John 2:2
They say 2020 is perfect vision…this is our challenge in the New Year. Anyone can see things as they are, but try to be the one who sees things through the eyes of Christ. Every person you encounter is an opportunity to either share Christ, encourage them in Christ, or encounter their encouragement to you. Recognize that you may be someone’s only example of Christ. Make sure that you praise Him for all the good things in your life, all the people that you love, and every good a perfect gift that He has given you.
“…Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaiah 6:3
December: A Christmas to Remember
It is the time of year when we experience commercial overload; you cannot enter a store without seeing Christmas items everywhere, listen to the radio or watch TV without hearing ads and Christmas Carols and…EVERYTHING is on sale!
Of course, none of this puts a damper on the fact that Christmas is my favorite time of year! It is easy to talk to people, do random acts of kindness, and say what you really feel. With life going by so fast, we don’t take time to keep in touch with those we know; and don’t make an effort to reach out to those we don’t know. Try reconnecting with the true meaning of Christmas.
If you think back over the last five Christmas Seasons, could you write a one-paragraph story about each one? Personally, I feel like they blend together after a while. I may have a happy memory, but I can’t remember which year it happened, or maybe one year all my family was able to be together, but I did not make the time to get pictures of everyone and make it memorable.
Get together with your family, adopt a grandparent at a local nursing home, go on a date with your sweetheart, or all three! Make everything you do memorable. Take pictures, spend time with the children, bake cookies together, there are so many things to do that cost little to no money.
This year, why not make yours a Christmas to remember? Do you remember the reason we celebrate and share this special day with your family? The reason is recorded in Luke 2:9-12,
“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
This one great historical event would change the world. So whatever you decide to do, make sure you include the One who IS the reason for the season! If Christ had not humbled Himself and come as the babe in the manger, there would be no light in this dark world. Since He came as a man, He was able to die on the cross for me. Now THAT is a gift! If you have not received that gift, please let me share it with you this Christmas. It would definitely be the gift that keeps on giving!
Make sure that you and your family make this one, a Christmas to Remember!
November: Fighting the Next Battle
Sometimes the less you say, the more you impact people!
I was honored to attend the THSC Gala last weekend with my husband. We celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Leeper decision that established the legality of homeschooling in Texas. It was a very exciting event as we got to hear from many of the “Pioneers” who paved the way for us all. It all seemed surreal, like a movie from the history channel. The things they had to do to protect their children and their right to homeschool. The limitation of being seen out during the day, the lack of available curriculum with teacher’s guides, yet they persevered because God had told them all to home educate their children. They answered that call and were committed to following through with the task as the Lord had directed them.
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:7
Among all those who were sharing their story was a humble lady that I was privileged to meet. She was the guest speaker of the night, Dr. Helen Jackson. There was no fanfare, and in her own words, she was not an eloquent speaker.
However, when she began to share her story, the entire room was captivated! She spoke of the hard life she had and how she loved to go to the library and read. She was just a kid, not on anyone’s spectrum…until she took the SAT and got a perfect score. She continued to walk us through the events of her life, leading up to her decision to homeschool and ultimately end up in the courtroom during the Leeper case. To hear the whole story, click here. The most amazing part is that in every phase of the court case, they did not understand why it was being dragged out, but the Lord knew!
The end result going forward was the defining decision that would stand as our protection to home educate our children.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” I Corinthians 2:12
Sometimes when the way is not so hard, we seem to forget about the perils suffered by those who went before us. Let us remember all of those who took part in the journey to home education. As you are about to see in the video here – there are those who want to govern and sanction homeschooling. Be proactive and help to keep homeschooling FREE! Please take a few moments to watch this video about bringing home Drake Pardo.
If you find yourself at a place in your homeschool journey where you have an issue or need assistance, please contact the FEAST Resource Center. We are here for you and want to assist in any way we can.
October: Be Approachable
Have you ever noticed that questions are a part of life? It begins as soon as children learn to speak. We all know that within the first 20 words they learn, one of them is “why”?
As parents, our view on questions should be that they are opportunities to teach. Questions should never be ignored but rather encouraged. The first truth to teach children is that God has all the answers!
Recently I found these principles for addressing questions: Teach your children to keep asking questions, but that they should not expect anyone to have ALL the answers. Proverbs 1:7
Know who to ask, when to ask, and how to ask. Deuteronomy 32:7
Teach them to develop a personal devotional time. They need to learn to seek God for answers. James 1:5
Don’t reject the truth because you don’t understand it completely. Job 12:13
Accept the fact that every question does not have a simple, single answer. II Corinthians 5:7
When you still have questions, go back to what you know to be true. Philippians 4:8 Share the answers with others. Do you realize the first person recorded in the Bible to have a question was Satan? Questions can be used for good, or for evil. Proverbs 22:17
Remember, there is a God, and He loves you! He wants His best for you and your children. Allow Him to use you to help your children …start with being approachable. Relationship is more important than having all the answers. Depend on the Lord to guide you, to guide your children, and help you to become what God has for you. If your children do not get their answers from you, they will get them somewhere else. III John 3:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
September: What is Your Superpower?
September is the sign that change is coming, autumn is in the air, and the kids are back to their studies. Along with the return of school comes our need for superpowers. There are so many things to put in motion, activities to plan, lesson plans to make, music lessons, sports, etc. Our abilities make you the best parent- teacher that we can be:
- Everything has a place and everything in its
- Follow a time schedule as well as a daily
- Organize each student’s books and materials for quick access and clean-up.
- Work with one student while tracking the progress of
- Incorporate household chores, like folding laundry, into your reading. Have your student read aloud while everyone else folds laundry. Readers can alternate if you have
- Teach your children math while you grocery shop. They can calculate the price and the ounces to determine which package is more
Flexibility (my personal favorite)
- Realizing that sometimes life happens and you have to adjust your schedule.
- Knowing that you can catch-up with school on a flex
- Having the ability to remain flexible will maintain a lower stress level for your homeschool.
So, now you know, these are not truly superpowers! Please remember that to have real superpowers; you have to trust the One Who is all-powerful. It is in our weakness that He is made strong. He is available to us 24/7. We are too blessed to be stressed. Trust the Lord with your every need.
“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9
August: Just Breathe!
As the summer ends, my thoughts turn toward “back to school” time. I recall the many years that the thought of starting another school year would do the following: overwhelm me, make me feel nauseous, inadequate, and give me the overriding desire to give up. Does that surprise you? Well, it shouldn’t. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you work, or how many homeschool friends you have, we all go through times of self-doubt. What I find interesting was my inability to reach out — surrounded by women and men who possessed valuable knowledge and experience about the very thing I needed…homeschooling.
I think maybe I felt pressured to “know it all” and “have all the answers.” How silly it was for me to add that kind of stress to myself. What I learned from this is that I don’t have to “know it all” or “have all the answers.” I only needed to have the courage to ask those who were in a position to help me. There was nothing I endured that had not already been endured by someone else.
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
I ask you, what do you need help with?
One of the worst things you can do is work alone. I would say the most important thing for every homeschool family is to find a support group. There are support groups that meet various needs: fellowship, scouts, field trips, co-op classes, sports, 4-H, military, and special needs, just to name a few. To find one click here. (Remember that a support group cannot take the place of a church family, they will be there for you during the good times and the bad.) Can’t find a support group where your family fits in? Contact FEAST and we will show you how to start a support group that meets the needs of your family. Surely, there are other likeminded families.
When you need information, make sure you don’t get “information overload”. There are many methods to teach math. This does not mean that you have to try them all! Visit with one of our Curriculum Advisors in the FEAST Resource Center. They can show you samples of different curriculums, help you discover what type of learner your child is and set you on a course for success. You don’t have to take everyone’s advice… you just make a choice that is a good fit for both you and your student. If it is not working, try something else. You cannot imagine the relief I felt when I learned that no one has ever been arrested for purchasing curriculum that was not a good match. If you hit a stump, you can always find a tutor on the FEAST Website.
Find a guide. Whether you know where your child is headed after high school or not, you can seek counsel from the staff at FEAST. They can help you to chart the courses necessary to arrive at the threshold of high school graduation, tweak the chart along the way or totally shift directions when a student has an about-face. No need to fear, our staff is here to help in the no-judgment zone!
Remember, your homeschool is a work in progress, while each student is a separate work. There should be a lot of grace in your homeschool, both for your children and for you!. While our goal is excellence in education, we realize that we are not perfect, as parents or educators. Allow yourself some freedom to experiment and explore your homeschool journey.
July: Let Freedom Ring
Times leading up to the writing of the Declaration of Independence were forged by the overbearing rule of Great Britain. The colonists had risked it all to come to the new world, where they would be free; however, they found themselves oppressed without rights. On July 4, 1776 the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved and the document was published. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states. To this very day, we celebrate many freedoms as a result of this declaration of independence.
Personally, I do not think there would be a United States today, had it not been for the Declaration of Independence. Our forefathers were willing to die to make the colonies into what the people were seeking; Freedom. The documents contain this phrase: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
I can’t help but consider my own life when it comes to freedom and independence. Although my life overall has been comparatively easy, I like to think of things I have today because of the sacrifices of others. This got me to thinking…what would I die for? I will tell you; it is a short list. During my lifetime, I have not ever been faced with that decision. (Praise the Lord) So undoubtedly I would die for my husband and my children. Maybe I would die for a few family members and friends and some freedoms. It is hard to say since I grew up in the United States of America and have not been faced with those decisions.
The happier thought is all of the freedoms that I have as a result of Independence Day:
I am free to worship my God, homeschool my children, live where I choose, work the job
I want… I think you get the idea. I could go on forever.
For me, to understand these freedoms, I must consider the greatest sacrifice that was ever made for me. It was made by a man who loved me more than any other because His Father loved me more than any other. On a cross, He gave His life…for me. This action, like the Declaration of Independence, forged freedom for all those who accept it. Because I accepted Christ, I am free on every imaginable level. I am grateful today that I am free, indeed! If you would like information on this freedom, email me, and I will be happy to share it with you!
June: From The Beach!
Here we are again, summertime! I must admit this is my favorite time of year! Sunshine, flowers, longer days, and less work as the school workload is light. My prayer is that since everyone is coming up for air, parents will take time to read this little letter and invest some much-needed attention on themselves. As homeschool parents, we often put the needs of our spouse, children, parents, even the pets ahead of our own. So as an “older woman,” I am here to tell you to put yourself on your list of “things to take care of…” I feel there are several major areas we need to address:
- SUPPORT: Our families go through many changes, especially when you consider that we spend most of our waking hours together. As we walk through our difficult times, we may not understand that there are other families walking through the same valley. If we seek out those who need or have solutions, it would be to our benefit. When we befriend others, we will find that we may have solutions or find others may have the solutions we seek. Finding support is important to keep the joy in the journey of homeschool parents. So seek out those who can be a blessing to you, or seek out those to whom you can be a blessing.
- ENCOURAGEMENT: As we work in the homeschool trenches every day, many times we ignore our heart issues, or perhaps we don’t even know how to help ourselves out of them. True encouragement is important to homeschooling parents for this reason. It is time that we learn from the lessons that those who have gone before us have learned. Take heed of their education and use it for your own benefit.
- QUIET TIME: Homeschool parents are saddled with the challenge of escaping the noise and action. This is where the importance of routines can help. Create that schedule and make sure to include time for yourself. Make time for things that you like doing…that bring you joy. Empower yourself by training your children to develop habits so that they have their own quiet time. It translates to your quiet time, for prayer, planning, or coffee! You can draw your energy for the day from this time of meditation. Work on these areas to equip yourself because before you know it summer will be over. We will change into the autumn, and we are off to the next chapter.
If you would like help finding other homeschool parents, please contact our FEAST Community Outreach Coordinator,
Jeanette Watje at Community@homeschoolfeast.com or (830)481-2198
She would be happy to help you find a support group or other ways to get connected with other homeschoolers so that you can get the support, encouragement, and even the quiet time you need. “But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalm 3:3 May the Lord bless your summer!
May: Finish Strong
As I sat in church today, Easter Sunday, I was listening to my preacher as he was reading about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Although the account has never changed, this time it hit me from a different perspective. Jesus was arrested, scourged to the point of His bones being exposed, made to wear a crown of thorns, mocked, humiliated, and beaten until he was unrecognizable. Just a ew days earlier, they were all celebrating His entry into Jerusalem as their Messiah. Now they wanted to crucify Him; they were chanting “kill Him”. Then He spoke those three powerful words, “It is finished”. The death of Christ fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah and the promises from God. When Jesus took His last breath, the veil separating man from the Holy of Holies was torn. The relationship between God and man was restored. …”He said, it is finished”… John 19:30 As I pondered these things, it occurred to me, WHAT AN AMAZING FINISH! After the church services were over, my mind returned to the subject of His finish. I began to think about my life, my work, and my ministry. Sometimes when we take on a task, we have a great start. There is excitement about doing new things and I for one, like to start a new project. I can take off in any direction I choose and push my progress until I see the finish line. Unfortunately, it is not always a strong finish. I don’t know if it is because I tire of the task, or get bored with the process. Regardless, there is never an excuse for not finishing well. Whatever the task or project, use Christ as your benchmark to complete it and bring honor and glory to Christ. Taking this challenge, I am resolved to finish strong. I would like to extend a challenge to you, as your school years comes to an end, and you plan the next steps, strive to be like Christ and “Finish Strong”.
“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.“ John 17:4
April: Are You Entitled?
You might not always like something another person does or says, but you honor the fact that they have the right to do it or say it. They are entitled to their opinions. Civility, respect, and common courtesy should be the standard that everyone is entitled to receive.
The idea that others are entitled to be treated with respect is different than people demanding entitlement. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of entitlement “is the state or condition of being entitled” (like a king, ruler, authority) also, “Belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.” In this case, there is the condition of being deserving of the entitlement of certain privileges. I grew up believing that others came first; no one was entitled to anything unless they deserved or earned the privilege. Those that demand entitlement without deserving or earning it are a growing majority nowadays.
Today every little girl wants to be a princess; while every little boy wants to be a king. This self-appointed entitlement doesn’t stop with children but is often carried over to adults that believe they are entitled to everything, deserving or not. This prompted my thoughts to consider the crown: A reward of victory or mark of honor. While everyone seems to be in the quest for the crown, my thoughts go to the One who wore a crown for me. When I remember all that Christ endured; He was betrayed and abandoned. He carried the burden of the sins of the world. He was falsely accused by the religious leaders. He was mocked, abused and beaten by the Roman guards. He was crucified between two thieves. His body was pierced with a spear. And last but definitely not least, He tasted death for us all. Jesus did not deserve all that punishment. He is the Son of God and God the Son! Yet in the greatest act of humility, He said, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.” Luke 22:42
Easter is a perfect time to teach these truths to our children. Although Christ was crucified and died a horrible death, He only spent three days in the grave. On that third day, the angel rolled the stone away to reveal that our Lord had risen from the grave! Hallelujah! It was the single act that moved mankind from living under the law to grace. He was my substitute, the perfect Lamb that was slain; but it was not just for me that He died. He died so that all people might have eternal life. These events gave way to true entitlement. Eternal life is not something earned, yet everyone IS entitled.
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” John 10:28
When you teach your children all these truths about Easter, make sure you teach them to be civil, use common courtesy and respect authority. Truly everyone is entitled to be treated well by Christians. How can we expect those who are not Christians to treat others well, unless we model that behavior for them? “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:7