I Can Do This!

I_Can_Do_ThisWhen my kids were really little, they required more hands-on assistance. I would stand at their side while they used scissors. I anxiously held out my arms as they tried the monkey bars or learned to ride a bike. As they’ve gotten older, I’ve come to learn my kids need a chance to be independent. Space to make mistakes, room to grow, and the ability to see for themselves they really can do this.

I am an organizational freak. I organize everything from my sock drawer, to the knives in the kitchen, to the cleaning supplies in the garage. Everything has a spot, a plan, and a purpose. Thus, allowing my children freedom of such areas can often kill my nerves. What if they don’t put things back properly? What if they bungle the whole lot and it takes me ages to put it back together again?

I also tend to be a worrier. (Can you tell?) What if my kids get skinned knees; scraped up elbows; cut themselves; or worse? I obviously need be right by their side to ensure they aren’t going to kill themselves or burn down our house in the process of their experimentation.

How are these things at all related? If I am not willing to set aside my worry and my desire to have everything just so, my children will never learn to do things for themselves. In order for our children to learn independence, I must relinquish some control. I must be willing for things to become messy so my children will learn to clean and organize better. I must be willing for them to have the occasional bump or bruise so they can learn to ride that skateboard.

One of the hardest challenges of parenting is understanding when it’s okay to let go and when you still need to hold on. My children must learn to do things for themselves, by themselves, without mommy standing over their shoulder. And, they want to. It isn’t them which is holding back, but me!

It starts with baby steps, giving them smaller projects. When they prove faithful in the little, we give them more. At some point, they are able to clean without me having to check their work; I can depend on them to organize as well as I (sometimes even better). Through trial and error, our children cook without my worrying about them being burned or cutting themselves needlessly. They are able to work on artistic endeavors without ruining the flooring or leaving messes for me to clean up.

In order for them to be ready for adulthood, their responsibilities and their independence must increase and my hand-holding must decrease.

Does this mean we are never around? Of course not! We will always be here for our children. But, instead of doing things for them, we offer guidance and counsel. We wait for them to seek out wisdom, instead of interjecting at the earliest possible moment. We grow out of our initial jobs, and gain new ones.

Am I there yet? Truthfully, no. I still hover, peeking around corners so my kids don’t see me, waiting to rush in and save them from disaster. But, I am getting better. I am learning to let them try new things, gain new experiences, and branch out. I am also learning God has this under control. He loves my children more than I ever could; He will protect them, provide for them, and help them. My job is temporary, His is forever.

“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13

🔔Time to Chime In: What is one thing your child has done, on their own, which at first caused fear, but brought about independence and growth?

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10 Ways to Fail As a Teacher

10_Ways_to_FailAt the end of each learning year I try to self-evaluate. As my children’s teacher, are there areas which could use some improvement? How can I help my children better understand what I’m trying to share with them? Is there anything I’m doing which is preventing my children from drawing closer to the Lord?

Perhaps my evaluation ought to begin with ways in which I could be failing. Hey, you have to start somewhere!

  1. Force Curriculum – While I’m all for exposing our children to various pursuits, and require our children learn all core subjects, there is a significant difference between mandatory subjects and forcing curriculum. Algebra is non-negotiable in our house, but I’m all for trying various companies and methods to find which works best for each child.
  2. Do Everything in a Book – Nothing frustrates a child more than having their nose stuck in a textbook all day. I need to make sure I’m offering a good balance of book work, hands-on projects, and active outside opportunities.
  3. Make Them Do Everything – I know there are a lot of awesome activities in that language arts book. It can be very tempting to make my kiddos do every-single-one. However, that might not be the best way to encourage a love of learning. I need to pick my battles and be willing to let a few stray addition problems go. On occasion. Maybe.
  4. Don’t Listen to Them – Am I talking over my kids? Constantly? Do I allow them to (respectfully) share their thoughts and opinions? Perhaps if I listened more, and truly heard them, we might get a little further.
  5. Confuse Them – Am I being too vague in my teaching? Am I explaining things fully or in a manner which they can understand? Am I teaching to them or at them? If I am teaching for the sake of teaching, with them taking nothing away, what is the point?
  6. Be Demanding – Do this! Do that! Come here! Sit down! Be quiet! (See the problem here?) None of this is being said with love, kindness, grace, or understanding. I need  to make sure I am tempering my responses, requests, and commands with affection. It helps; it really does!
  7. Offer No Free Time – I need to be careful how much time we are spending with organized activity. Too little can be an issue, but so can too much! Want to drive your kids crazy? Take away all free time.
  8. Refuse Questions – I know it’s frustrating being interrupted when you are in the middle of a thought. But, what if the interruption leads to wonderful things?! What if you need to be interrupted because your child just isn’t getting it?
  9. Lecture Often – This topic always conjures up images of Mr. Ben Stein. Me standing at the front of the ‘room’, book in hand, chalkboard behind; I’m droning on and on regarding a topic my kids have lost all interest in, thanks to my monologue. While I’m all for a pointed lesson on a given topic, I need to evaluate whether I’m being helpful or just speaking to hear my own voice. (Ouch!)
  10. Forget Character Training – Here’s a biggie!! While I don’t find public school teachers responsible for character training (they aren’t the parents after all), I cannot get by with this excuse. I AM the parent! It’s my job to train my child in the way he should go. Shoving through a stack of textbooks and paperwork does my child little good if I am not teaching them how to be righteous in the process.

I’d like to offer up a sigh of relief (and a quick chuckle); I’m not completely failing as a teacher. However, I can also see areas in which I might need to relax. I tend to want my children to finish every single problem, in every single book.

Overall, we’re doing pretty well. The kids love learning, we’re progressing nicely, and our family is centered on Christ. With His help we’re accomplishing more than I could have ever dreamed. Perhaps I’m not doing such a bad job after all.

“May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb.”
– Deuteronomy 32:2

🔔Time to Chime In: List your top 3 ways to fail as a teacher!

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In This Alone

This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me,that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24

In_This_AloneI admit, there are times when my vision becomes skewed. It is in these moments, the Lord must remind me it is in Him alone I am satisfied.

How often do we start idolizing the things around us? Our spouses, our children, and our family can become the focus of our lives. Our jobs, our homes, and our financial status can start to define us.

What about our homeschooling? Do we boast in our ability to homeschool or to homeschool well? Has homeschooling itself become the very center of our lives, instead of the values upon which homeschooling was built? Has progress, for the sake of progress, become our goal?

May we not make an idol out of homeschooling itself. May we not focus on the act, the daily progression of lessons. Instead, let us rejoice in our children’s ability to draw closer to the Lord. May our homeschooling be a means of helping our children understand Christ better, and may we boast in this alone, that our children walk with God.

🔔Time to Chime In: Take a moment to brag about what the Lord has been doing in your homeschooling. How is He working in your lives?

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It’s Your Night!

It's_Your_NightWhen my kiddos were little, I would eagerly soak up wisdom I found in other homeschooling families. What worked for them, what didn’t; ideas I wanted to incorporate into our own family’s routine. One of the funnest ideas I heard was ‘It’s Your Night!’

My friend has several daughters. Once her daughters entered high school, her girls found themselves responsible for dinner one night a week. From start to finish, one meal a week, their job was to handle dinner.

Planning Dinner

One of the many important aspects of cooking dinner once a week, was for the girls to plan the meal for themselves. They needed to learn how to decide on a meal which could be made within a given budget, thus teaching them to be financially responsible. They needed to take into consideration food allergies, what their family liked or disliked, and how long it would take them to make the meal.

Shopping for Dinner

After their menu was approved, the girls would need to turn over their grocery list to their mother, who would then do the shopping for them and make sure the girls had what they needed.

Cooking Dinner

From prepping to the actual cooking, the girls did all the work. They cut, chopped, grated, and cleaned everything for the entire meal themselves. The girls learned how to manage their evenings, ensuring they had enough time at the end of their day to prep and serve dinner at a reasonable hour. They learned how to cook, and developed their own methods of working around the kitchen.

Serving Dinner

Besides cooking of the actual dinner, the girls were also taught how to set a table and serve dinner to their family. They learned proper table setting, how to make clever name cards (for fancier meals), fun napkins folds, and more. The girls would go out of their way to make their tables look special, fun, and meaningful.

Cleaning Dinner

Just as mom would do, the girls were also responsible for cleaning up after dinner was over. They would clear the table, wash the dishes, and make sure the kitchen was just as they had found it before starting the meal. Clean and tidy is the goal!

…..

While, at first, these girls needed help and encouragement from their mother, they soon began to develop their own rhythm. They could cook almost as well as their mother and took pride in their night. They learned appreciation for all mom does on her own nights in the kitchen; this was laying good groundwork for when they were managing their own homes.

These girls are now fully grown, married and with families of their own. I can see the results of the discipleship their mother so lovingly took care to provide. These young ladies are wonderful hostesses who still love creating a lovely table. In fact, they often host holiday meals to perfection.

This year, my oldest is starting high school. I think it’s high time we started implementing ‘It’s Your Night’ in our own family! Together, we will pick one night of the week (not necessarily the same night each week) for her to work her magic. At first we’ll work together to help her become familiar with creating a meal entirely on her own (the kids already help on smaller scales now). As she progresses, she will be working completely on her own.

Hopefully she will learn to not only enjoy these nights but start looking forward to them; making each meal her own. I know she can do it. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how well she does. And, after all, it means one less night a week for me!

🔔Time to Chime In: How often are your high schoolers in the kitchen?

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A Kids’ Eye View of Homeschooling

A_Kids_Eye_ViewWe often hear adults sharing their views on homeschooling. Most of us weigh in with our thoughts, opinions, and experiences. But, how often do our children get a voice? When are they allowed to share their thoughts on the whole homeschooling thing? Well… how about now?

My four kiddos: They’re silly, creative, adventurous, mostly obedient, and the sweetest bunch you’ll meet. When they aren’t talking your ears off, they’re usually sitting in a corner with their noses in a book or creating something which baffles this adult’s mind on the computer. Today, they’re sharing their thoughts on all things homeschool. (Take it with a grain of salt!)

What We Like About Homeschooling

  • We don’t have to go to ‘school’.
  • We don’t have to wake up early.
  • We don’t have to have vaccines.
  • No homework.
  • We can skip stuff.
  • No school uniform.
  • We don’t have to worry about getting in trouble with the teacher.
  • We don’t have eight hours of work.
  • We don’t have to wait for our classmates to catch up; we go as fast as we are able.
  • We work at our own pace.
  • We’re with our family.
  • We know everyone in class.
  • The teacher helps you more.
  • We can get up whenever we want need to.
  • Lots of field trips.

What We DON’T Like About Homeschooling

  • Um… (crickets)
  • You have to actually learn.
  • When you don’t want to do school, your parents tell you it builds character.
  • You still have to do chores.

What We’d Do Differently

  • Rewards for doing perfect work.
  • No school at all. (As if!!!)
  • Doing school work in a different order than I do now (of my own choosing).
  • More hands-on activities.
  • More field trips.
  • Learn more elective activities, which aren’t necessarily academic but are definitely useful (e.g. archery, horseback riding, swimming).

What We’d Tell Families Who Are Considering Homeschooling

  • We learn more than we would have in public school.
  • We have more flexibility.
  • We pick our own routines.
  • We have more field trips.
  • We spend more time focusing on the academic studies we are interested in.
  • We can school huddled under mounds of blankets.
  • We can homeschool with our dog.
  • We grow closer as a family.
  • We read books all day long (even between subjects).
  • We can catch up on subjects we’re behind in much faster.
  • Our parents know exactly what we’re learning.

While I don’t believe in giving kids everything they want (the multiple requests for more candy are definitely falling on deaf ears), I do believe in allowing our children to voice their opinions. Some of their suggestions were helpful; we could definitely be enjoying a few more field trips and hands-on activities are always fun. Others; well… let’s just say they will be shelved for now.

Either way, it was fun hearing what the kiddos thought about our adventures in homeschooling.

🔔Time to Chime In: Go ask your kiddos these same questions! We’d love to hear their thoughts.

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The Yearly Assessment

Year_End_AssessmentIt’s here. The ‘official’ end of another year of learning. The time to assess what worked, what didn’t, and what’s to come.

Over the course of our children’s learning, I’ve found it helpful to do a quick year-end review. With the kids adding input, we discuss what worked, what we hated, and what we’d like to do more often.

Language Arts

This is one subject we all agree upon: it works! We like the curriculum, we like the layout, and we like the pace. We are currently using aBeka and that will probably stand for our coming year.

Reading

While we all love reading, we found this subject to be a trial this year. Mommy had the brilliant idea to hand out reading lists with ‘required reads’ on them (I got the lists from The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer), to be completed by the end of the year. Unfortunately, Mommy forgot that what works for one child, isn’t necessarily going to work for another. Thus, two of our kids did really well finishing off the lists (the older ones), while the younger two really struggled with this.
For next year, I think we’re going to change this up a bit. I will have a short list of books I would like them to read, based on our history/science lessons. Other than that, they are free to read what they like. For my high schooler, her reading list is going to be slightly more challenging than her siblings’ and will include writing assignments as well.
While I’d love them to read the classics, forcing them to read what they don’t like will only kill their love of reading and this is not the goal. I will continue to encourage it, but take one day at a time.

Arithmetic

This is another subject, thankfully, which is working pretty well. Don’t get me wrong, my high schooler isn’t happy about doing algebra, but she’s learning tons and doing well with the aBeka curriculum.
I think we’ll be sticking with this until graduation, for all four of the kids.

History

This subject was a total bust. For the last two years we have been using aBeka for history and science, and, unfortunately, it isn’t working! Oh, they’re learning; a little. But, they hate it! The reading is long, boring, tedious, and repetitive. There are very few activities, and Mommy was constantly supplementing with her own activities. Even Pop thought the material was boring, including unimportant details while not mentioning others which should have been included.
Next year, we are going to be switching curriculum entirely. The base of our learning will be from The Story of the World. So far, just planning it out, I’m loving it! It’s short, to the point, has tons of activities, and leaves room for your own additions.
For our junior and senior high schoolers, we are going to be supplementing our family lessons with work from Western Civilization. I even found a helpful, online site which has tons of activities. We are all looking forward to the change.

Science

As I mentioned a moment ago, science was not working for us either. This subject, if possible, was even worse than history. While I like aBeka for their language and arithmetic, history and science just wasn’t working for our family.
Next year, we will be using Biology: A Self-Teaching Guide. Biology; even for the littles? Absolutely! As a family, we will be covering the basics of biology together. After a quick initial lesson, the children will each be given hands-on activities and reading at their level. This is going to be a fun, experimental year in our homeschooling. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Music

We all enjoy music, but the kids found this subject a bit of a trial this year. While they like classical music, they really wanted to branch out, learning to play more contemporary Yearbook #3 (2013-2014)songs.
After a little thought, we purchased/downloaded sheet music for them based on some of their favorite tunes. Classic Disney songs, music from Charlie Brown, and more are now being heard around the house. Frankly, I wish we’d done this sooner. They still play the classics, but it’s been fun hearing them play a few favorites as well.

Computer Tech

Our kids have always been encouraged to learn computer technology. We have quite a few art programs, editing apps, and devices on hand for them to use. This year, we took their lessons a step further. We brought in programming, animation, and drawing tablets.
Next year, we’re going to bump up their lessons just a bit more. We’ve invested in a camera, film equipment, film editing apps, and more. Our goal is to help our kiddos learn to make their own films (and help mommy make videos for this blog!), edit them, and upload them for others to see.

Home Ec.

While I’d love to tell you I have been on top of this one, I probably could have been doing more. We bake – on occasion – we cook, clean, and do a myriad of other activities, but nothing with a definitely goal outside of household maintenance.
Next year, I would like to make a point of finishing embroidery projects. I’d like to start and finish a quilt. We are going to be instituting “It’s Your Night”. (More on that later this week.) I’d like to use all those fancy cake baking tools I bought which never get used.

P.E.

Just one more area where we started off strong, but ended weak. Our kids are technically getting enough physical exercise to meet the required goals. However, they are probably not getting enough for what their bodies need. They aren’t overweight; they aren’t lazy, either. No, we just don’t get outside enough.
Next year, I need to make a point of finding fun ways to get ourselves outside and active. By nature, I am not a physical person. I don’t like running around. I like activity with a purpose. So, I need to find our purpose and get a move on. We could go hiking, biking, or… (See my problem?) I don’t really know what to do. It’s time to give it some thought. ‘Cause, I don’t really care to play sports and neither do my kids.

Spanish

We’ve tried several different programs, but, for us, Rosetta Stone is what is working best. The kids are free to work at their own pace and learning a lot. Until the Lord directs otherwise, we’re sticking with it.

Overall, the year went pretty well. There are a few changes which we need to make before starting the next ‘school year’, but nothing we can’t handle. Before we get started, we are going to spend a little time simplifying life; trimming off the excess, so we can focus on what’s truly important.

It’s interesting to note, while this might be the ‘end’ of our ‘official’ learning year (what we file on paper), our learning never stops. True to most homeschooling families, learning is an everyday event in our home; it’s only the filing of paperwork which changes. However, doing a quick assessment before moving forward is always of benefit.

🔔Time to Chime In: How is your year going so far; what’s working and what’s not?

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A Toast To All The Girls: Homeschooling the Ladies

A_Toast_To_All_The_GirlsI think most of us agree, there is a significant difference between bringing up boys and bringing up young ladies. While each child is unique and has their own personality, we firmly believe in raising our children to fulfill the roles the Lord has prepared for them. Through the blessing of homeschooling, we have the unique opportunity to train up our children to fulfill their God-given roles.

“…urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:4-5

Let’s Hit the Books

While I gravitate towards purchasing curriculum for all three girls from the same company – I really like the format/layout of the overall learning – I also tend to vary the routine and requirements for each one. One child’s strength is language arts, so more is expected of her in this area and we push her to strengthen her arithmetic skills. Another is the complete opposite. Then there’s our third, who prefers hands-on assistance in all things. I do my best to meet each where they are.

Clean Machines

Cleaning isn’t a job for only our girls, but it is more stressed in their daily routines than in our son’s. Considering our girls need to be trained in the keeping of their homes, we spend a portion of each day focusing on these skills.
Our girls have regular chore rotations each day of the week, so they become accustomed to maintaining household responsibilities on a regular basis.

It’s Your Night!

Again, cooking is not relegated to women alone, but we wish to train our girls in providing tasty meals for their families (should they marry). Thus, we spend a portion of each day in the kitchen. Some days we focus on meals themselves, other times we choose to have fun with desserts and tasty drinks.
This coming year, we will be implementing “It’s Your Night!” We’ll be sharing more on this topic during the coming week!

The Big Debate

In our home, we have never stressed college or careers, especially not with our girls. Does this mean we are against girls going to college? Not at all. Our focus has always been that our children be open to the leading of the Spirit; that they be faithful in following whichever path He lays before them. If it’s college and a career, so be it. We have just never stressed that college is a must.
That being said… What we have stressed is that, should our daughters be led to attend college and later get married and have families, they need to remember their first calling: to be keepers of their homes. How they choose to do this is between them and their husbands, through the guidance of the Lord, but keepers they are called to be. While they might like working and be good at it, the Lord has called them to a specific role and they should be faithful in fulfilling it.

It Takes All Kinds

As silly as it might seem, some people are under the impression that all women are the same. We all like wearing skirts, heels, makeup, and doing our hair. While a vast majority of us like these things, there are also some who prefer to live in jeans, wear pony tails, and go natural.
You’d think, having three girls come from the same parents, all our girls would be alike. They aren’t. And, that’s okay. Our girls are learning they each have different preferences and are learning to respect this.

Using the ’S’ Word

Here is a tough one! That dirty word most women can’t stand: Submission! Oh, yes.
Our girls are being taught the fine art of submission. They are being taught that submitting to their pop and to their future husbands doesn’t mean they are a doormat or weak (thank you, very much). It takes strength to have faith in another person, trusting they will make the best decisions on your behalf. It takes strength to let someone make decisions for your family; strength to move forward when someone asks it of you. Being submissive isn’t weakness, but a gracious act of love and respect. When we learn to see submission in the proper light, submission is a beautiful thing.

Raising girls is fun. Our home is full of tutus, dress up clothes, odd assortments of hairbows, and a growing number of shoes. With Biblical wisdom, a gentle hand, and the grace of God, we are raising our daughters to submit to the will of God and serve Him in all they do. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

🔔Time to Chime In: Do your daughters like pink? Not all girls do!

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Let’s Hear It For the Boys: Homeschooling the Fellas

Lets_Hear_It_For_The_BoysAfter having three girls, finding out we were having a boy came as quite a shock to the system. My boy is a completely different creature from his sisters. And, that is how it should be!

I think most of us agree, there is a significant difference between bringing up boys and bringing up young ladies. While each child is unique and has their own personality, we firmly believe in raising our children to fulfill the roles the Lord has prepared for them. Through the blessing of homeschooling, we have the unique opportunity to train up our children to fulfill their God-given roles.

“Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;” – Titus 2:6

Let’s Hit the Books

All four of our children are homeschooled, but helping my son with his studies is significantly different from helping my girls. Boys, in general, require a bit more activity. My son is frequently known to take learning breaks to simply run around. He is also fond of staring out windows, allowing his mind to wander towards more adventurous endeavors. My son does best when I work with him on a one-one-one bases; walking him through his lessons and urging him to keep up the good work. We’ve also learned to keep lessons as short as possible, and as hands-on as possible.

Do Boys Clean?

Not only can boys clean, but they should! As Christians, we believe in gender roles; however, there is nothing which states a man cannot be clean and organized. After all, God is a God of order, is He not?
As a member of the family, our son helps out with chores and household responsibilities. Being the youngest, his helping might seem small at the moment, but he is learning to be faithful in the little until his contribution may increase. He takes out trash, cleans his room, helps out around the house, and helps Pop with the yard work (when he can).

 A Man in the Kitchen! 

Again, we would generally expect working in the kitchen to be more closely associated with women, considering we’re the homemakers and the men are generally out working all day. However, some men really enjoy working in the kitchen and are equally good at it! Besides, it never hurts to add another skill to the tool belt; you never know when it’s going to come in handy.
Our son is not only welcome to work in the kitchen, but encouraged to participate. He is learning to use tools, cook meals, and prepare food for others. He loves it and takes pride in what he makes.

The Art of Being a Gentleman

Let’s be clear here! Allowing a man to be a gentleman does not mean women are weak or unable to do things for themselves. On the contrary, allowing a man to be a gentleman speaks of his gentleness and the lady’s graciousness.
Part of our son’s training is in learning how to be a gentleman. He is encouraged to open doors for us girls, and carry items when able. He is being trained to be honorable, chivalrous, and courteous.

 Whose the Boss? 

One of the most important things I’ve learned, being the mama of a little man, is to understand that is just what he is… a little man! Most men prefer not to take instruction from women. They prefer to be the leaders; forging their own paths and striking out on their own.
Training my son is a fine balance. I am learning to guide him in his decisions and not push him in the direction I think he needs to go. I am also learning to be gracious in my instruction, not demanding. I am also learning to simply leave the bulk of my son’s training to my husband, who understands him better and gives him firmer guidelines.
My son, on the other hand, is learning to accept my instruction graciously and obey even when his father is not present. He is learning to be respectful when wisdom is imparted. He is also learning what it means to be a true leader, one who guides based on Biblical wisdom and Godly instruction. Raising children is not an easy job.

Bringing Home the Bacon

Can women work? Sure! However, by God’s design, it is a man’s job to provide for his family. Whether he be self-employed, works at home, or drives into an office, our men are responsible for taking care of their family financially.
Part of our son’s discipleship is in helping him understand his God given role as provider. He is being encouraged to find his strengths, discover ways to put those strengths to good use, and provide for those under his care. He is learning to be productive, helpful, and take pride in taking care of his family.

Raising boys is definitely a riot. But, amidst all the chaos and torn jeans, is a world of fun and adventure. With Biblical wisdom, a strong hand, and the grace of God, we are raising our son to be a man after His own heart. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

🔔Time to Chime In: Share with us your son’s funniest antics!

We’d love to see a picture of your little man! Instagram your homeschool inspired pictures with the hashtag #A_HomeschoolMom & you might find your picture featured on AHM’s Instagram!

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Taking on the World

Taking_On_the_WorldSo often when I read anti-homeschooling posts or articles, my first inclination is to write back and share “my side” of the story. Were I to attempt to respond to every argument I come in contact with, I wonder how much time would be wasted taking on the world.

While some arguments are worth the having, others are simply pointless. It seems there ought to be guidelines one could follow, to know whether or not a debate is profitable. Talking with my hubby, he has given me a few suggestions I think might be beneficial to keep in mind.

Debate when you have the opportunity to make an impact. Do not argue simply to hear your own voice, but to change the way another might view the situation. While your words might not have an immediate effect, it might be the seed to bring about a future change. If there is no chance they will listen, keep still.

Debate when you have the opportunity to influence a third-party. While you might not sway the person whom you are debating, perhaps there is another listener who might benefit from the exchange.

There are times in which it is beneficial to state our case, perhaps enlightening another with information of which they were unaware. However, there are times in which it is best to simply remain silent.

While it might be fun “taking on the world”, it simply isn’t feasible. Not only do we lack the time to argue with everyone, but very often, it isn’t worth the effort.

Our time here is limited. We need to focus our attentions on the areas in which we can bring about a change and leave the nay-sayers to themselves.

When the Lord opens the doors of communication, we should walk through them with courage and willingness. However, when someone wishes to argue for the sake of arguing, it’s time to shake the dust from our feet and move along.

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”
I Peter 3:15-16

🔔Time to Chime In: How do you know when to debate and when to walk away?

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I Scream, You Scream

In the KitchenWelcome to our kitchen. Here we’ll share our favorite recipes, lament over food failures, test out new gadgets, and discover tips to making kitchen life easier. Join us on this new adventure and share your life experience with the rest of us!

……

While it doesn’t necessarily have to be summer to eat ice cream, enjoying warm weather certainly makes the experience all that more fun! Before summer gets underway, it’s time to brush off (or wash out) our handy-dandy ice cream maker and re-acquaint ourselves with our favorite ice cream recipes.

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream
(No Egg)

Ingredients:

1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, unsweetened
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
⅔ cup white sugar
1½ cups whole milk
3¼ cups heavy cream
2 TB vanilla extract

Directions:

In a bowl, combine cocoa and both sugars, whisking to combine well. Add milk and whisk until sugars are dissolved. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl of ice cream maker. Let run for 30 minutes, or until mixture is thick, soft, and creamy. Transfer to airtight container and freeze at least 2 hours or until ice cream is to a desired consistency. Prior to serving, let ice cream sit at room temp for 5 minutes to soften enough for easy scooping.

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup milk
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions: My Little Ice Cream Makers

Add all the ingredients to a shallow pan. Heat the cream mixture on medium heat until it starts to slightly bubble. Turn off the heat and mix the cream until the sugar is dissolved.  Allow the cream mixture to cool to room temperature. Pour the cream into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Freeze for 3 hours before serving.

Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet

Ingredients:

4 cups cubed watermelon (about one small watermelon)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:

Place watermelon in a blender and puree until smooth.  Measure 2 1/2 cups of puree and pour into a medium bowl. Save remaining puree for another use.
Combine sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest is a small saucepan and place over medium heat.  Bring mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves (about 2 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Pour sugar syrup into bowl with watermelon puree and stir to combine.
Let stand in fridge until base is chilled, approximately 30 minutes.  Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Place parchment over sorbet (to prevent ice crystals) and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

So Cal weather is kind of crazy. Generally speaking, however, it’s warm. In fact, we have two seasons, really: warm and hot! So, ice cream is always a good idea. I can’t wait to test  some of these out this weekend and enjoy the fruits of our labor. In fact, I think it might be time to branch out and create a few of our own!

🔔Time to Chime In: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

We’d love to see you at work in the kitchen! Instagram your homeschool inspired pictures with the hashtag #A_HomeschoolMom & you might find your picture featured on AHM’s Instagram!

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagram, & Pinterest!