Review: Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”

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If you’re like us, you occasionally enjoy incorporating media in your learning day. When that same media helps us draw closer to the Lord and gives us a deeper understanding of the world He created, you know we’re jumping for joy. This past month, we had the opportunity to review Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” by Drive Thru History® and we’re incredibly excited to share this resource with you!

Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” is a beautifully boxed DVD set which includes 3 DVD’s, with a total of 18 episodes, and a complete study guide. Throughout Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”, our host, Dave Stotts, takes us on a journey similar to one Jesus’ disciples would have taken as they spread the Gospel throughout the world, carrying out Jesus’ instructions. Used in tandem with each episode, the included study guide will prompt further discussion with thoughtful questions and illustrations to spark the mind.

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Rather than include Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” in our daily homeschool studies, we instead chose to incorporate the episodes into family time at the end of each day. Snacks in hand, we gathered around the television and watched an episode each evening, Monday through Friday during the course of the review. Each episode lasting no more than twenty-five minutes in length, this was a beautiful way to end our day together.

Our immediate impression was of the care which was taken in creating such quality material. The boxed set itself was lovely. The study guide was clearly laid out, with brief questions all were encouraged to participate in answering. The episodes themselves were fantastic. Cinematically, the videos were incredible. The quality was beyond expectation and overflowing with professional graphics. Frankly, we’ve never seen a history series better made!

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As our review took place leading up to the month of Easter, Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” came at a good time. Our first episode opened with a quick review of where we left off in Drive Thru History® “The Gospels” and proceeded to walk us through an amazing adventure sharing the spread of the Gospel after Jesus’ ascension. As we progressed through each episode, we were shown such incredible sites as Stephen’s Church and Monastery, the harbor at Joppa, the ruins in Corinth, Ephesus, Malta and more. From Pentecost to the seven churches of Revelation, we followed the Gospel message being taken out into the world and the sacrifice of those who spread the message of Jesus.

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We truly enjoyed reviewing Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”. Dave Stotts did a fantastic job as guide; finding a perfect blend of respect and lighthearted, engaging information which encouraged our family to dig deeper and learn more about the spread of God’s Word. Each episode was filled with beautiful locations, amazing historical information, and Spiritual encouragement. This has been a blessed month.

Our only regret in doing this review is that there were only 18 episodes. We would have gladly sat through several more hours of the series. Our consolation is that four other series are available for us to review and enjoy: Drive Thru History® “The Holy Land”Drive Thru History® “American History”, Drive Thru History® “The Gospels”, and Drive Thru History® “Ancient History”.

If you’d like to learn more about Drive Thru History®, along with Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”, please visit them at their website. You can also find Drive Thru History®. on social media sites such as FacebookYouTube, and Instagram.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Drive Thru History® has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Share with us… If you could pick the next location for Drive Thru History®, where would you like to go?

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The Practice of Oral Reading

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I’m sure we all encourage our children to read. Silently. But, how much time is spent on reading aloud? Oral fluency seems to be necessary for good comprehension and an enjoyable reading experience.¹ If we aren’t already doing so, adding oral reading to our homeschooling routine might be of benefit.

Since their births, we have tried to instill a love of reading in our kids. Even before they could understand, we would read to them or read in front of them. However, reading to them isn’t enough. I want to make sure that as my children are growing, they are also reading to me.

There are some great ways to encourage oral reading. We can model how to read; ideally with us reading fluently to our children. We can read often; every day I make time to read with each child and have them read to me. We can read as a group; our family could memorize a poem and say it together.

What makes a good reader? One indication they are doing well, is that they are reading with expression; they will sound happy when it is called for and sad when necessary. Another pointer is that they are reading without struggling.

If you are looking for a great way to incorporate oral reading into your homeschool learning day, look no further than your book basket! If you care to find something a little more formal, I would highly recommend McGuffey’s Eclectic ReadersThe key is to read at least once a day, preferably reading the same passage throughout the week. This might seem boring at first, but the repetition is important. Reading the same words over and over, builds fluency and helps your child become comfortable with the text. After a day or so, your child will be less anxious about the words; focusing more on expression and delivery.

When children read out loud, we can better detect their struggles and offer them positive feedback; helping them complete their learning goals. This is especially important for children who are already struggling with reading, giving them the help they need to be stronger readers. Our children’s education will flourish when they are fluent readers. Fluency may seem out of reach, but it can be achieved. With consistent practice and constant encouragement, our children will ultimately reach their goal.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

~ Joshua 1:8

 We’d love to know… Does oral fluency play a part in your homeschooling day? How do you find ways to encourage your child to read aloud?

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Give God Your Story

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If anyone had asked me to share my testimony, the story of how I came to have a relationship with Christ, I would have told you it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t until recently I fully understood just how important my story really is.

I was actually what most people would call a “good kid”. No drugs, never drank, didn’t smoke, didn’t ditch school on a regular basis – Hey, I wasn’t perfect! – and I did what I knew would please my single mom; knowing she worked doubly hard to be our everything. See what I mean? It doesn’t sound like much of a testimony does it. What could this ‘good’, little girl have to say that could be so important?

But, here’s the thing… The problem with being a ‘good’ girl is that it’s all too easy to think you actually are good. You tend to rely on your efforts, on your ability to perform, and on your good deeds. It leaves no room for the grace of God. While I would have denied I was trying to earn my way into heaven, I was certainly living as such. As a friend told me, I was missing heaven by 18 inches. The distance from my head to my heart. It wasn’t until I was encouraged to attend an apologetics class at our church that I truly began to appreciate what God had done for me. My faith became real. I realized God is alive and active, and He requires something of me; my obedience.

Now, I have never given my testimony before large crowds. I probably never will. I don’t know how many people would even find my testimony to be worth listening to. But I do know one audience to whom my testimony is vital. My children.

My children share my experienceThey are being raised in a Christian home. My children go to church. My children are being given Biblical teaching day in and day out. If they are not careful they will quickly become what I was; someone relying on their own goodness to get into heaven.

Maybe your testimony isn’t as simple as mine. Maybe the Lord has done amazing things in your life; the person you are now is far different from the person you were before you came to know Christ. Has anyone heard your story? Do your children know all that God has done in you and for you?

“But I can’t share that with my kids! There is too much; it’s too horrible; it’s too harsh.” I don’t know what your testimony is, but God does. Pray about what God has done in you. Pray about how God would have you share what He has done. Maybe He will have you share some of your story; maybe He will have you share all. Maybe He will only have you share with your family. I am not here to force you into telling your story, only asking you to consider how God could use your story to bless others and help them come to a greater understanding of His goodness.

Think of it this way. This isn’t YOUR story at all, it’s God’s. This is less about us than what God is doing in us. This is about His goodness, His grace, His mercy, and His love. It’s about taking something less than perfect and making it truly good; not good in and of itself, but positionally good in Him because of His goodness imputed to us.

When the time comes, don’t be afraid to share your story. Whether it be to the entire world, the world around you, or the little world which resides in your home; may the Lord be glorified and honored for all He has done.

“…’Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’”

~Mark 5:19

We’d love to know… Has the Lord led you to share your testimony with anyone?

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Am I Under Attack?

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The following article was written for our monthly PSP newsletter. With permission from our principal, we are sharing this with you; praying you are as blessed by the heart of his message as we were. Enjoy!

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Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go ballistic? You know the kind… the kids are constantly fighting, everything you say is taken in the worst possible way, getting the basics done, even those things they normally like doing, is like pulling teeth, and then the other stuff starts: the car won’t start, family and friends alike seem to be deliberately seeking to annoy you, dinner burns, the dishwasher overflows all over the kitchen… you know the day – the day from Hell! We all have had them, and for the record, there are more to come.

It is actually very easy on a day like that, provided you take even a moment to step back and look at it altogether, to realize that the battle is on. For some reason, there are the general trials and struggles of daily living, and then there are those days when, for whatever reason, you have been ambushed by a nefarious enemy who knows how to push your buttons, and seemingly has pushed every last one of them. It’s called spiritual warfare. The Bible is not silent on this issue (thankfully), and gives us great encouragement as we receive our marching orders.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

~ Ephesian 6:11-13

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”

~ II Corinthians 10:4-5

These passages remind us that our weaponry and armor is from God, that our adversary is spiritual in nature, that our enemy is cunning, and that we can be victorious. While we are able to recognize the warfare that we engage in as such, our children, at least initially, are not. It is our duty, as good soldiers, to train the next generation of soldiers for war.

“There is no neutrality in spiritual warfare. Either one is an active combatant or an unwitting pawn.”

In Matthew 12:30 Jesus told His disciples, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” He quite clearly stated that everyone is either in one camp or the other. While outright combat is pretty easy to recognize (most people recognize getting punched in the face as an attack), there are a few things that fall into the warfare category that we would do well to consider, and prayerfully train our children properly regarding such tactics: not only how to recognize them, but also how to avoid using them on others.

Assassins: These are people that come into our lives, either long-term (family, coworkers, etc.) or for short period of time. They differ from those obvious fires that approach with guns blazing to storm our fortress in that their attacks are subtle. Their weapon of choice is usually poison, either coming with false doctrine and robbing us of the joy that our relationship with God should bring, or poisoning our hearts with discontent, gossip, slander of others, or the introduction of compromise. We should realize that this type of agent is not necessarily a deliberate assassin. It is quite possible that they can be a friend, who genuinely loves us, and does not realize that the enemy is using them to drive a dagger straight to our hearts. Teaching our children to analyze the influence that others have on them is difficult because it requires a great deal of self-evaluation along the way. Nevertheless, assassins abound, both intentional and clueless varieties.

Friendly Fire: These are the wounds we receive from our own side. In this category would be sibling rivalry (when all parties involved are believers), comments said without thinking that wound our hearts, and the myriad actions prompted by our own carnality and not-yet-dead sinful natures. Even on our worst days, we don’t wake up devising ways to hurt our family and friends (that would make us an assassin), but a believer can still accidentally discharge a loaded spiritual gun. In those times when we do so, we are usually aghast when we realize what has happened.

It is not always comfortable to ask ourselves the question, “Whose tool am I being used as right now?” but that is exactly how we must teach ourselves (and then our children) to think if we are going to avoid injuring our own backup in the fight. If we are not actively trying to promote peace and unity, it becomes very easy to become an agent of division.

Another point to consider is that this type of attack is rendered completely ineffective if we practice what we are taught in Scripture regarding forgiveness, praying for one another, and loving confrontation when necessary. Parental discipline may still be required for little Johnny when he gives in to the flesh, but siblings can choose to forgive rather than hold a grudge and seek an opportune moment to return the favor with a well-placed volley of return fire.

Double Agents: “Whose side are you on anyway?” This category is for those so given in to their own carnality that it is not easy to tell where they stand. They say they love God and want to serve Him, but their behavior swings back and forth to such a degree that it becomes easy to question their motives and feelings. They differ from those engaged in friendly fire in that there is less remorse, or even none, when confronted with their own deeds. Are they saved but really carnal, or worldly and presenting a facade (perhaps they have even deceived themselves)?

In any event, we don’t want to leave that question in the minds of others regarding our own conduct, nor do we wish for our children to be used as tools in the hand of our adversary. Teaching them the importance of self-evaluation, through the lens of God’s Word, is an important part of their own combat training as we bring them through boot camp in preparation for deployment wherever their Commanding Officer may send them.

It is our hope as parents, teachers, and solders in the army of the Lord Jesus Christ to raise up a generation of champions for the Kingdom of God. To effectively do so, we need to teach our children to not only recognize the tactic, tools, and wiles of the enemy, but also to avoid becoming his unwitting pawn against their own fellow soldiers. “Who am I a tool in the hand of right now?” is a question we all need to learn to ask ourselves more often.

Forward! Charge!

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The Sanity of Friendship

Have you ever had one of those days when you just needed someone to talk to? Someone who would understand and sympathize; offer great advice and pray with you? Life can often be rushed. Between cleaning house, doing laundry, fixing meals, animal care, child care, ministry, and add homeschooling on top of that… life can get downright crazy! Talking to a good friend helps to keep life in balance and sanity intact.

Talking helps me to unwind, reevaluate my standing, and gain perspective from an outside source. It helps to know someone who will tell you the truth no matter what; who will give it to you straight, but with love.

I have been blessed with a few women in my life to whom I can talk about anything. Whether or not we both homeschool, there is no subject that is taboo. We can talk about marriage, children, our walks with the Lord, our fears, our doubts, and our struggles. There is no harsh condemnation, just constructive criticism. There is no pressure, just honest advice. There are no such things as “too many details” or “getting to the point”; the point is the relationship.

It is great to have a friend who will take your side. It is even better to have someone who will tell you when you are wrong. It is lovely to have a friend agree, but equally valuable when they offer a different viewpoint. Someone who can be real with you and let you be real in return.

A friend is a friend, no matter the distance or the differences. You are friends not because you are exactly alike, but because you each bring something different to the table. You are a better person because they are in your life.

I have been blessed with a few women I can truly call friends. I pray that as my children grow, they will see how much those friendships mean and develop some of their own.

I pray that you have such a friend. If not, I pray the Lord would bring them into your life and, while you are waiting, you would be that friend to someone else. Who knows where the Lord will lead?

“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.”
~ Proverbs 27:9

We’d love to know… How do your friends help you remain sane?

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Do We Have Bibliophilia? Probably!

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Bibliophilia or bibliophilism is the love of books. Accordingly a bibliophile is an individual who loves books. A bookworm is someone who loves books for their content, or who otherwise loves reading.
– Wikipedia

That, in short, describes the people in our house perfectly. Our home consists of several thousand books, not including the thousands more we borrow from the library each year.

Even if we weren’t homeschooling, books would have been an important part of our lives. My husband had a collection consisting of several hundred before we got married. When we got together, the set was increased by my addition of several hundred. Before kids, we added another hundred or so. Since having kids… Oh, my!

We have discovered books aren’t just an important part of our lives, they are essential. Not a day goes by that we don’t use several books to help us get through our studies and keep us entertained.

We have reference materials for art, history, science, logic, apologetics, Biblical studies, and so much more. Our collection of books is vast and eclectic. We have a little bit of just about everything: comics, graphic novels, classics, fables, poetry, art, architecture, design, mystery, adventure, fantasy, and logic. We have Stephen King, Norman Geisler, Roald Dahl, Shel Silverstein, C.S. Lewis, and the list goes on.

One of our favorite activities is perusing the public library; nabbing the latest and greatest, along with the old and well-loved. We now have five library cards between the six of us and, even then, often max them out. We have been known to check out a hundred books a week. And our interest lists keep growing.

I find it interesting that when people see our cart full of library books – Yes, we have a cart. A bag just wouldn’t hold them all. –  they immediately assume we homeschool. It’s as if the books are an arrow pointing to our methods of education. We’ve also found it interesting that some parents hinder their children from selecting a larger number of reads from their local library. One parent was overheard to have told their children, “Two books. No more.” My children were horrified. However, it was a great catalyst for conversation. I’m sure the mama had a justifiable reason for her statement.

Should we ever find ourselves in a predicament and not know what to read, there are several resources available. Honey For a Child’s HeartThe Book Tree, and Books Children Love are just a few. Fortunately, we don’t have to use these resources very often. There are always great reads waiting in the wings!

Books are a huge part of our lives; they bring us together, entertain, and instruct. We’re extremely grateful to the Lord for the multitude of resources He’s made available to us, and the many books we’ve been blessed with over the years. May He bless us with many more!

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

~ Philippians 4:8

 We’d love to know… Do you love books, too? Which book is your favorite?

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Why That Inexpensive Grocery List Might Not Be Working & Why That’s Okay

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I’m sure most of us have been here. We spot a blog post, Pinterest article, Instagram photo, or something along those lines, advertising one family’s ability to spend what seems a minuscule amount on their grocery bill and we immediately perk up. What’s not to appeal? But upon further inspection we quickly realize it won’t work. Not for our household. What’s wrong with us? Absolutely nothing!

Now I can hear some of you dear readers already. The questions are rolling around in your heads. That’s okay, we can be honest with one another. Am I condemning these lovely people with their amazing lists? Nope. Never. I wish could make these lists work; truly. But here’s the thing…

Their family is NOT my family. Their needs are not our needs. Their location not our location. Their children not my children. (You get the point.) So while I would love to make my grocery bill total look like theirs, it just won’t work. And the same is true in every area of life, not just groceries!

Whether it’s how we homeschool, parental choices, reading materials, or anything else; the minute I start comparing myself to others I lose sight of what God is trying to do in my own family. It’s wonderful to be inspired and encouraged to explore options to be better organized, but the minute I become discontent with what I have or start doubting the path the Lord has put before me, is the moment I need to put distractions aside and ask for wisdom.

Maybe the Lord has something to show me, a better way we could be using the resources He has blessed us with. On the other hand, maybe I am merely meant to congratulate another family on how well they are doing in their adventure of life. What I am not to do is feel condemned or belittled if I am following God’s lead.

I want to be frugal and those lists are inspiring, but my life isn’t someone else’s life. We live in different locations, with different needs, with different families. I am not to compare myself to others. Instead, I am to do my best where I am. If that’s $50 per week on groceries; great. If it’s more like $120; that’s okay, too. If it’s homeschooling in a more classical sense, beautiful. If we’re eclectic and learning hands-on, that’s just as lovely.

So, when we see that article announcing, ‘My Grocery Bill is only $50, and You Can Do It Too!’ Go for it. Give it a shot. If it works, awesome. If not. Don’t sweat it. Send that writer a “Hallelujah” and then ask God what His plan is for your family. Because – let’s face it – whether you spend a little or whether you spend a lot, just knowing we’re even having a meal is a blessing. No matter the cost.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
~ James 1:5

We’d love to know… What is one grocery item you tend to splurge on?

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Including the Littles in Our Learning

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Our children are not as little as they used to be, and learning has progressed to a point where we can all sit together and focus on the day’s activities. But this was not always so. I fondly remember sitting at the kitchen table with all three of my girls; mommy bouncing between them, trying to breathe and exhibit patience while attempting to simultaneously help them. Just when I thought I had things under control I would spot my son out of the corner of my eye. Not quite old enough to school along with his sisters, it quickly became apparent that he too needed attention and an opportunity to learn. It was time to get creative!

Balancing four kiddos during homeschooling can be challenging enough, but when one is not quite school age, it can get a little tricky. Along the way we have learned some fun tips and ideas on how to include our little learners and make them feel welcome at the table.

Set up a play area just for them. While my daughters were doing school, my son had a section of our living room set up just for him. There he could play, read, and create without worrying about anyone else invading his space. He also learned how to keep himself occupied without needing anyone to entertain him.

Rotate daily play toys. Each day of the week, I tried to give him something different to keep him occupied. I would also try to make sure there were several options for that day. For example: On Monday we might have Legos, his pirate ship, or his talking Mickey Mouse. On Tuesday we might have his train sets, his board games, or his books. I tried to not make all his toys accessible at once, as this would cause boredom and make it harder to keep him occupied. If he asked for one specifically I will make the trade, but I only left it out for that day.

Include them, as much as possible, in what you are doing. While my son enjoyed play time, at some point he become interested in what was going on at the table and wanted to be included. To help him feel welcome, we provided coloring pages or tracing papers he could use. When possible, we made sure he participated in our unit activities. (i.e. When we learned about magnetism, he played with magnets. When we learned about the Civil War, he got to be dressed up as a soldier and play a drum.)

Start them on their own learning day as soon as possible. Children as young as three and four can begin their own learning day. This will encourage them in their love of learning and start the “schooling” process off nice and easy. All of our kids started their learning day at three years old. Nothing too complex or too time consuming; just enough to get them used to sitting at the table and putting their mind to the task.

Get the big kids to help out. Being able to keep yourself occupied is an important skill. However, it is nice to have someone to play with after a time. When one of my girls was finished with her studies or needed a break, she would hop on over to little brother and help out. She would play with him, read to him, and help keep him entertained. This allowed me to help out the others or to just get things done around the house.

Having younger learners and babies in the house can be a challenge, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Learning to include our littles can be an exercise in joy and set the stage for their future schooling adventures. With a bit of patience, organization, and creativity they too can join us at the table. Then the real fun begins!

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

~ Matthew 19:14

We’d love to know… How do you – did you – include your littlest of learners into your schooling routine?

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When Our Audience Doesn’t Applaud

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The blank looks on their faces aren’t exactly encouraging. Nor are the complaints which are starting to rain down as my instructions are beginning to sink in. For all my planning, prepping, and organization, my audience is not enjoying this lesson. Where was the applause I was hoping for?

I wish I could tell you every homeschool day was a great one. I’d love to say my kids enjoy each and every lesson planned. I’d even settle for informing you that my children appreciate all my hard work. But, the truth is they don’t. When we have grand expectations of how our audience (children) will respond and we fall short of that expectation, life can become discouraging. What are we to do when our kids doesn’t applaud our efforts?

Pray – Prayer is key. Before we get upset, discouraged, or make a move, we need to pray; asking the Lord to show us truth.

Be Humble – No matter how much effort we put into these activities, lessons, or projects, we aren’t perfect. Even if we spent all day ‘perfecting’ our ideas, we need to understand our children are human, too. The concept might be great, but we’ve chosen a bad time or our children aren’t ready for this quite yet. Allowing pride to take hold would only cause further damage and prevent future lessons from being successful.

Be Realistic – Wouldn’t it be great if all our efforts were always recognized and everyone loved everything we do? Yeah. I’d like that, too. But, we live in reality. The truth is, not everything we do is going to be applauded. If we stand around waiting for people to notice us or are unhappy when we aren’t given the appreciation we feel we deserve, we remove ourselves from being of service to others and to God. God isn’t looking for someone who has wonderful audiences and receives thunderous applause. He’s looking for someone willing to serve, even when no one appreciates them.

Remember Our Real Audience – Who is our audience? God! While I’d love for my kids to think everything I do is simply wonderful and get pats on the back for even mopping my dirty floors, I need to remember I don’t serve my kids. I serve God. What matters is He sees and He knows. Even if no one else in the world ever realizes all I do, God sees and He cares. My efforts are not in vain, if all I do is done unto Him and for His glory.

Let’s face it. We all like being recognized for our hard work. I am no different. But, when my focus becomes appreciation instead of righteousness, I am in danger of losing my audience altogether. Instead of worrying about praise, I need to be focusing on pointing my children toward Christ.

It will never matter how much I have done, but it will always matter how much Christ has done in me, through me and for me. If I am not pointing people to Him, the praise is in vain.

“Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart:…”
I Samuel 12:24

We’re curious… Now that you’re an adult, and better appreciate the hard work which comes with parenting, do you ever go back and thank your parents for all they did?

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What If I Could Do It All Over Again?

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As a few of my children near the end of their learning adventure, I can’t help but reflect on the years we’ve spent together. The fun, the adventures, the friends, and, yes, the struggles. I suppose it’s natural to wonder what life – homeschooling life – might have looked like if we’d done things a little differently. But if I could go back and do it all over again, would I change anything?

Perhaps maybe one or two things. Perhaps…

I would have liked to be more purposeful in nature journaling; take more hikes and stress less over tests; there are resources I would have loved to own; books I wish I’d read; and places we could have visited. I would take back my moments of weakness, unkindness, and impatience; replacing them with a more Christ-like representation of myself.

But then the Lord reminds me this is not possible. Not only because time-machines have yet to be invented, but because each step of our journey has been just that. Ours. That cannot be replaced. And I don’t want to take back a moment. Not the spills, the mistakes, or the heartache.

As I reflect on each memory I might like to redo, the Lord speaks to my heart and reminds me of the beauty which followed. The life lessons, the spiritual gifts we gained, and the compassion instilled in us. For every resource we made-do without, we learned ingenuity and resourcefulness. While we might not have gone on many vacations, we’ve visited every haunt in our area and could probably write our own field trip guide. No, we didn’t hike or nature journal when the kids were younger. (I can hear the collective gasp.) But we are making up for lost time and my children have a great appreciation for God’s creation.

Our learning adventure has not been perfect. But the Lord calms my heart and reminds me no one’s journey is and yet everyone’s journey is. It is perfect for them. All those wonderful things were meant for just us. All of the hard, the challenging, were specifically designed to help our family grow.

As we launch into another calendar year, I am encouraged. One of our children will be graduating, and we will no longer have elementary students in our home. My heart grieves just a little knowing this part of our journey is almost over. Yet I take joy in knowing it has been a blessed adventure, and it’s not over quite yet!

How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.
~ Psalm 119:1

We’re curious… If you could start your learning adventure over again, what would you like to do differently?

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