Like Me, Please Like Me

Like are, Please Like MeBefore you start thinking this article has anything to do with appreciation of this post or following us on social media, let us put your mind to rest. This issue goes much deeper than superficial likes online. No, we’re discussing the danger of allowing our desire to be liked by people to be put before our desire to be righteous and speaking the truth.

I’d like to tell you I am never bothered by such trivialities as being liked. I would love to say so. But this seems to be one of my personal struggles. I could go through my reasonings. I won’t. They are unimportant. It’s enough to admit this area of weakness and confess the Lord is helping me see things through His eyes.

I like being liked. We don’t know of a single person who doesn’t. But there comes a point when things have gotten out of hand. There, friends, is where danger lies.

As a parent, if approval prevents me from discipling and training according to God’s will because I’m afraid of my children becoming angry or not liking me, I am not doing my job. If I am afraid of speaking truth for fear people will stop following me or be offended, I am not standing for righteousness. If my desire to be liked outweighs my need to do the right thing, something is wrong.

Please understand. When possible, we ought to lead with kindness, gentleness, and love. These can still speak volumes, and should. However they ought never to be used as a scapegoat from doing the right thing.

Ironically, in the long run, by seeking approval I please no one whom I truly care about, especially not the Lord. Alternately, when I live for God’s approval, all else seems insignificant. If I am going to be liked, let’s make it for the right reasons and all for God’s glory.

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”
– Proverbs 3:1-4

Your Turn!: Interestingly, my husband doesn’t battle with the need to be liked. Is this a guy/girl thing, do you think?

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Instituting a “No Admittance” Policy

Instituting_a_No_Admittance_PolicySeveral years back, my husband voiced a concern regarding our children and fellowship with visiting friends. It seemed fitting our girls should entertain only other young ladies in their private space and the same with our son. We immediately got on board and encouraged this concept with our children.

While this might seem a silly position to take a stand over, we think it has several important underlying points. Our children are being taught to guard themselves from impropriety. I want my daughters to understand it is improper for a young lady to entertain a young man without anyone else present or without proper guardians. The same goes for my son. Our children are being made to understand the importance of not giving the appearance of evil. They cannot be unjustly accused of wrong doing if they are not allowing a compromising situation to arise.

We introduced the idea of “No Admittance” when our children were very little, helping to make the transition easier. If they became familiar with the rules at a young age, there would be less debate over the issue as they mature.

While at first it was a challenge for them to remember, it quickly became a household habit. Our girls were free to have any visiting young ladies into their room, but if a boy was over the playing stayed in the family room. If an object needed to be retrieved, only our children were allowed to obtain it. As our son grew, he too was encouraged to follow the same rules. He has his guy friends play in his room, but young ladies are not allowed to be in his room with them.

As an added precaution we have also implemented an open door policy. When friends are over, we keep all rooms where fellowship takes place open. This ensures parents can monitor conversation and appropriate behavior, even amongst those of the same-sex. We never want to take for granted our children are safe and on guard against issues.

Visiting friends are made aware of the concept and reassured this is for their children’s safety, as much as our own. Just as we do not wish to put our children in a compromising situation, we do not wish their child to be a party to any wrongdoing.

Instituting a “No Admittance” policy at a young age will prayerfully teach our children important life lessons and prevent indiscretions. May the Lord continually give us wisdom when it comes to safeguarding our children.

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
~1 Thessalonians. 5:22

Your Turn!: What areas of safety has the Lord brought to your attention?

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A Homeschool Open House?

Homeschool_Open_HouseOur local schools have recently all hit the “Open House” phase of the learning year. Do you remember Open House? I do. Vaguely. Only our elementary school seemed to find this necessary, and it has been far too many years since I’ve been there to have a clear picture. What I do recall are billboards overflowing with examples of fine work; instructors explaining their grand plans for the coming year; and hoping my teacher would tell my mother I had made a good impression thus far. No need to start the year off on the wrong foot.

As homeschoolers, how do we show our work to those around us? Or do we bother? Are we concerned that family and friends know what our children are learning? It’s possible we’re not troubled by what the world thinks of our schooling, but enjoy sharing the grand adventures we’ve had. Perhaps this might be the best opportunity to share why we do what we do and how we can better accomplish this goal through homeschooling.

We’re curious…

  • How do you feel about “Open House” as a homeschooler? Is this something you enjoyed in your own education and miss the opportunity, or find it entirely unnecessary? Have grandparents, or other family members, expressed sorrow at having missed such an event?
  • Would you find an “Open House” beneficial in sharing what your children are learning, or that this is best left to a more organic moment?
  • Do you think a homeschool event similar to an “Open House” would be personally helpful – allowing you a glimpse into other people’s learning – or a distraction/stumbling block to the path the Lord has placed your family?
  • In the age of social media, do you feel “Open House” happens pretty much every day via Instagram, Facebook, and other sites?
  • Unless you participate in a PSP which has an organized “Open House” event, how do you choose to share learning experiences with family and friends? Do you have a homeschool room where visitors may catch of glimpse of the fun or a portfolio your children enjoy sharing? Perhaps a large chalkboard graces your walls, with lovely illustrations focusing on the current learning topic.
  • And lastly… How often do family, friends, and visitors ask to see what your children are learning? Not from a critical standpoint, but through genuine interest.

Our PSP has never hosted an “Open House”. Friends’ groups have, and they are lovely. We did used to have display tables available on Promotion Night. Unfortunately over the years fewer and fewer families have expressed interest in keeping up this tradition. It is a deal of work and that night is already quite full. It’s understandable. In our own home, we do keep portfolios which we readily shared when the kids were younger and each was filled with colorful illustrations, maps, and diagrams. These days they are filled with tests, notes, and writing assignments, and we are less inclined to pull them out.

Every once in a while the notion of hosting our own “Open House” strikes me. It might be fun for the kids to host their own event, planning out how to best display our projects and offering insight into their learning. Who knows, maybe one of these days we’ll try it.

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
~ Philippians 4:9

Your Turn!: We’d love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts on all things “Open House”.

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When Did I Become the Mother of a College Student?

Mother_ofa_College_Student?Becoming a parent was an adventurous adjustment. We quickly followed the first with several children. It was surreal to start teaching elementary school. When not a single child was in preschool, I was overcome with the notion I would never again have babies. Now two are in high school, one in junior high, and another about to follow. The years have passed much too quickly, and I find myself once again in awe of where we are. When in the world did I become the mother of a college student?

Okay so she’s not entirely in college yet, but you understand what I mean. How did the years pass so quickly I have a daughter taking college courses and looking to start a job? It seems just yesterday we were playing at the park, studying baby animals, and practicing our Bible verses. Now we’re hunting for scholarships, balancing schedules, attending Bible conferences, and learning to drive a car.

I’m not going to lie. The closer we come to end of this portion of our adventure, I am prone to become overwhelmed wondering if I’ve done enough. Been enough. At times I cry out to the Lord unsure I’ve got what it takes. There are days this feels overwhelming. But it’s just that. Feels. In truth the Lord has this covered. As we follow His plan, He has given everything we need to make this happen. What He began He will be faithful to see through.

Aside from my brief, personal reminisce I am sure you’re wondering what point I have yet to make. Just this. The years are short. Oh, the days feel long at times. Moments feel an eternity at given points. But, overall, these years of parenting are vapor. Before we know it our kids will be adults.

Even as I watch my children outgrow their skids and beg for new jeans, I want to embrace each second I have left. I don’t want to spend each day so focused on the future I am unable to appreciate the present. So we are purposeful in our time. We look for ways to stay connected amidst the busyness of life. We talk, create memories, laugh at one another, continue to learn about the others in our family, and never assume we have tomorrow.

Some might laugh. After all we still have several years to go, don’t we? And yet the last sixteen flew by so quickly and we don’t have another sixteen to go. We have less than half that. This is no laughing matter. The appreciation of now is vital. The building of today key in maintaining a closeness with my children tomorrow.

Even as I type the Lord uses His words to calm my heart and fill me with His peace. When did I become old enough to have teens? I have no idea. What I do know is that it’s been a lovely – sometimes scary – adventure. I can only imagine what tomorrow brings. Until then I will find the joy in today.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
~ Matthew 6:34

Your Turn!: If you could go back to the beginning of your parenting journey, what advice would you have for yourself?

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The Difference Between Being Good and Behaving

The_Difference_Between_Being_Good_and_BehavingGrowing up, my brother and I were always taught to “be good”. This seemed rational to my way of thinking. It made life easier on my mother, it got me in less trouble, and it earned respect from adults. It wasn’t until I started attending school however, “being good” took on a whole new meaning.

Being good somehow became associated with being a snob or being too good for other people to hang around with. I soon became labeled as the “goodie two shoes” who never used bad language, never wore inappropriate clothing, and had to “ask mommy for permission”. It created quite a dilemma in my young mind. Wasn’t I supposed to be good? Weren’t these kids taught to be good as well?

In time, I gained a few friends. They would later confess they always thought me a snob, until they realized I was just a little shy and didn’t do things like everyone else. We remained friends for the remainder of my schooling.

On occasion I still wonder… Aren’t most children raised to be “good” people? Honestly, I don’t think so.

I think most children these days are taught to behave, not to be good. These are two different things entirely! When we behave, we are acting according to how the situation demands. When we are good, we are doing what is right.

As a parent, I don’t want my children to behave. Yes, you read that correctly! Their behavior should have nothing to do with what society commands or expects, but rather should stem from a moral compass which demands righteousness.

Being good goes far beyond behaving, it is an attitude of the heart. It is a drawing nearer to God. His goodness works in us, shines through us, and goes before us. It is an inner beauty that expresses itself in outward action. When we are good, we will listen to our parents. When we are good, we will respect others and show kindness. When we are good, we will do everything to the best of our ability. When we are good, we will do the right thing.

When we teach our children to simply “behave”, we are failing to teach them the most important lesson of all. Guard your heart. It isn’t just about the outward appearances, but who you are as a person. Being “good” shouldn’t be an act, it should be who you are. At the core of my children’s being, I want them to not only be a “goodie two shoes”, but to wear those shoes with confidence, knowing that they are doing the right thing.

“Do good to your servant according to your word, Lord. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.”
~ Psalm 119:65-68

Your Turn!: Speaking of shoes, in a round about way… What are your favorite pair?

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Look It Up: Teaching Vocabulary Through Reading & Research

Look It UpTeaching my children to read at a young age was to the greatest advantage of all involved. It made my job as a teacher that much easier and helped my children to develop an immense vocabulary. If there was one frustration associated with starting out so early, it was a limited vocabulary on the part of the reader. Children can become discouraged if they are reading words they do not understand.

Our family’s solution to this problem was to ensure that plenty of dictionary, thesaurus, and idiom books were on hand. If we didn’t know a word, we looked it up! Our children were taught, first by example and then by practice, to look up all words they were unfamiliar with. If there was a phrase they weren’t sure about, we brought out the idiom books and learned from whence it derived and its meaning.

By now this practice has become second nature. They are frequently seen looking up various topics, attempting to gain a better understanding.

While I would like to own a large collection of encyclopedias for them to use as well, that is neither practical in regards to space or finances. This is where the wonderful world of Google comes in. Under parental supervision, our children are occasionally found to be looking up detailed information regarding such topics as world history, persons of interest, or the feeding habits of rolly pollies. Yes, rolly pollies.

Given the amount of time our children spend both reading and increasing their vocabulary, it ought to come as no surprise that our children use some of the most amusing expressions. I clearly remember my littlest girl at about the age of five. She had just finished an activity and was asked how she liked it. “I found it particularly astounding,” she replied. Okay.

At times they still catch us off guard, using terminology we didn’t think they had developed yet, causing us to chuckle. It is a blessing to see them take such an interest in the usage of words and practice it whole heartedly.

I have no regrets in implementing this practice within our homeschooling routine. Our children are growing by leaps and bounds, stretching their minds and expanding their horizons. Starting early is by no means mandatory, but if the kids are ready and willing, why not give it a try? See where the Lord leads and enjoy the adventure.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” ~Ephesians 4:29

Your Turn!: Do your children surprise you with their mastery of vocabulary?

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When Did Busyness Become A Badge of Honor?

When_Did_Busyness_Become_A_Badge_of_Honor?As I sat visiting with a friend, I began to notice a distinctive quality to our conversation. After being asked about my oldest daughter’s college classes, we had moved into her work opportunities, then on to the general homeschool calendar. Family activities soon followed. What bothered me wasn’t the current topic so much as the pride which seemed to be creeping into my tone. Our ridiculously over-filled routine had me brimming with pride. When had busyness become a badge of honor?

The Lord used that teachable moment to remind me of something important. It is dangerous to allow our worth and value to be caught up in our routine. We are not more successful because we are busy running around town. A lot of tasks completed does not, in fact, make me more accomplished.  It just makes me more busy.

On the flip side, neither is the notion of doing nothing a badge of honor. I am not a better parent, or closer to my children, because we go nowhere and our calendar is clear. I can equally ignore my children at home as not meet basic needs by being constantly on the go.

The goal is to be content with where God has placed us. To be in the center of His perfect will. At times this will give us a full schedule, while others allow us rest. Neither has anything to do with my ability, and everything to do with God’s goodness.

A good place to start is by doing a heart check. When choosing activities, are we doing so because the Lord has prompted our hearts and moved us in this direction, or because everyone else is doing this and I am worried others will think we are failing to be sufficiently involved? Perhaps I am cramming much into our schedule for fear of missing out. If we refrain from activity, are we judging others for their busy lives while we appreciate a season of peace? Neither course of action is wise. Both lead to a prideful heart unfit for service.

When sharing, I want it to be from a heart so full of Jesus I am overflowing with joy at what He is doing. Even if what He has brought is a season of rest. What is important is not what we have done or not done, but how God is moving through that moment.

May the only thing I glory in be God alone.

But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.”
~ Corinthians 10:17-18

Your Turn!: Where does the Lord have you right now; in a season of rest or activity?

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Are High Expectations Bringing Me Down?

Are_High_Expectations_Bringing_Me_DownI wonder how often in life I am let down because my expectations were too great. It isn’t that the event itself was poorly run (although it might have been) or that a certain person failed horribly in their attempts, but rather that I had a greater expectation of the results than I should have.

Since I was young I have always pushed myself to the limit. I knew what I expected of myself and what I could produce. Knowing this, I never settled for less than my best and never let myself stop until the most could be done. While there is no problem with setting certain expectations for myself, I need to be careful that I don’t set high standards for others, expecting them to perform at a level I would impose on myself.

I find this to be especially true in homeschooling. It can be a danger to expect my children to learn at a certain rate, pursue a skill with dogged mindset, or keep working until the job is “perfect”. While my children should have goals, they need to be realistic. The aim should be to do their best, not mommy’s best nor anyone else’s. The intention of learning being that they continue to grow and achieve their best, not what someone else expects.

If I force my children to constantly live up to my own standard of performance, I run the risk of overburdening them and perhaps turning them away. The probability of them becoming frustrated and giving up is high.

Instead, I try to set an example for my children; allowing them to see for themselves what great expectations can accomplish. It isn’t by pushing, prodding, and certainly not by setting the bar too high; it is simply by living and living well.

“As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now, as always, Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Philippians 1:20

Your Turn!: Do you find yourself expecting too much of other people, or yourself?

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Our September Reads


It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! September’s list are entirely from our local library, although a few were special requests. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun.

  1. Women In Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win (Rachel Ignotofsky) – A fascinating collection full of striking, singular art, Women in Sports features 50 profiles and illustrated portraits of women athletes from the 1800s to today including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than 40 different sports. The book also contains info graphics about relevant topics such as muscle anatomy, a timeline of women’s participation in sports, statistics about women in athletics, and influential female teams.
    Having read Women in Science, we were excited for this newest release. While it was interesting to read about these fascinating women, it definitely had a more feminist slant than the first book. It’s worth a look.

  2. Junior Genius Guides (Ken Jennings) – Unleash your inner genius and become a master of mythology with this interactive trivia book from Jeopardy! champ and New York Times bestselling author Ken Jennings.
    This series is wonderful! We discovered them through an Instagram recommendation and we’re glad we took their suggestion seriously and found them at our local library. They grace our homeschool table and all the kids enjoy perusing them throughout the day. We were blessed in being able to find all seven and they’re all great!
  3. Around the World in Numbers (Clive Gifford) – Did you know there were about 10,000 light bulbs on the Titanic? Or that the Eiffel Tower is repainted every seven years—using 1,500 paintbrushes and 60 tons of paint? This engaging collection of statistics encourages kids’ curiosity by sharing some unbelievable numerical facts from across the globe.
    Another Instagram recommendation. I am drawn to picture books and this one caught my eye. It’s short, but incredible worthwhile. There are so many tidbits of information hidden in this book you’ll need to read it more than once to get them all. 
  4. The Adventures of Your Brain (Dan Green) – How does the brain work? What does it do, and what do we understand about it? The Adventures of Your Brain allows kids to explore this amazing and amazingly complex part of our body. Each page offers loads of fun features to play with, so kids will love learning all the fascinating facts!
    We appreciate being inspired by other homeschoolers. This one was also featured on Instagram and purchased through our local library. We love the interactive pages and the detail which went into creating this book. The bonus is that it’s a pop-up!
  5. 100 Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) – One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of a mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family.
    It’s been mentioned we might not fully appreciate this story because we don’t understand the history surrounding the tale. Perhaps this might be true. I don’t know. What I DO know, is that every single person in my book club who signed up to read it, hated it. Including myself. The worst part was I wanted to like it, but couldn’t get past the vulgarity – which I understand is purposeful – and insanity of the main characters. Perhaps next month’s read will be more enjoyable?

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but several of these have been added to our personal wish list for the home. Who knew Instagram would be a source of book inspiration? Even adults can enjoy a good picture book!

Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading!

Your Turn!: Have you ever read a “classic” or an award-winning book only to find it wasn’t all it was built up to be?

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Review: The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by Worthy Kids/Ideals

Review_The_Secret_of_the_ScrollsThis month God seems to be wanting to remind our little family of something vital. He is in control. All He asks is that we trust Him. The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by Worthy Kids/Ideals came at a perfect time to remind us of these truths and encourage our children to dig deeper into their Bibles.

Worthy Publishing Group is an established book company whose mission is, “To help people experience the heart of God.” Of their five distinct imprints and vast selection of titles, Worthy Kids/Ideals creates vibrant children’s literature including The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. The series has only begun with the following incredible reads:

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) Peter, Mary, and their dog, Hank, find themselves spending a month with their Great-Uncle Solomon while their parents are off on a mission trip to Africa. After discovering their great-uncle is an archeologist, the kids begin to explore the house hoping to find something fun to occupy their time, and learn of the Legend of the Secret Scrolls hidden in Solomon’s home. According to Great-Uncle Solomon, only the chosen will hear “the lion” call and be allowed to open the scrolls, being transported back in time to discover amazing truths from God.
Sometime during their first night, the children hear a lion and rush off in hopes of excitement. What happens next is a tale of adventure, discovery, and Biblical lessons as the two children and their faithful pet find themselves experiencing creation first hand, all while attempting to discover the secret of their first scroll and steering clear of Satan. In this first incredible tale, Peter and Mary learn the valuable lesson that, “God Created Everything”.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2) It’s been three days since Peter and Mary experienced creation first hand, and they are impatient for another adventure to begin. As rain pours down, the children begin to wonder if they will ever be allowed to open another scroll. When a game of fetch with their dog, Hank, sends them scrambling through the house, the trio discover a journal written by their Great-Uncle Solomon detailing his adventures as an archeologist. Just as Solomon is about to share his stories with the children, they all hear “the lion” roar!
The trio’s second scroll takes them back to the time of Noah. The children learn Noah has been building the Ark for over 100 years, but time is running short. In just seven days the world will be flooded, and Noah needs help finishing the Ark and gathering the last of the animals into cages. This seems a simple task until the children learn Satan will do anything he can to stop Noah from finishing. It doesn’t help that he also wishes to prevent the children from discovering the newest scroll’s secret. In this amazing second tale, Peter, Mary, and Hank learn to, “Trust God. He Will Rescue You!”

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls are paperback books, suggested for children ages 6-9 with reading levels between first to third grades. While all of my children are out of this age range, I very much wished to explore these reads given the history of the publishing company itself and the lovely illustrations gracing the front covers. Thus, I was willing to overlook the suggested age range and read the books for myself. I read through quickly, finishing both in a little less than an hour. Afterwards, I passed the books off to my ten-year-old son. He finished each book in approximately an hour. We believe the suggested age range is fitting, while the story itself is enjoyable even for older readers. At the end of each story, you’ll find a section which offers helpful information to those who wish to read more. Each book details where you can find passages in Scripture relating to the story.

While we often find judging a book by its cover to be unwise, we are happy to announce The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series is as lovely as it looks! Both stories were enjoyable from beginning to end. The characters were well thought-out and relatable. The stories well-written and entertaining. Honestly, we can’t say enough good things about these books. Our only complaint… When will there be more?!

The Lord definitely wanted to use this month to remind us of His wonderful creation and our need to trust in Him. This is the second story of Noah’s Ark we’ve read, and we’re encouraged that God is in control. The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls were fantastic reads and a blessing to our family.

If you’d like to learn more about The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by M.J. Thomas or WorthyKids/Ideals please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitter or Instagram! To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by M.J. Thomas has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: In The Beginning, Peter and Mary are able to ride dangerous animals as if they were ponies. If you could ride on the back of any wild animal, which would it be?

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