Celebrating the True Meaning of Easter!

CG_Easter_logoAside from Christmas, Easter is the most significant holiday for Christians. This is more than just an opportunity collect eggs, wear cute bunny ears, and hoard candy. Easter is amazing, redeeming grace. For our family, this is a time to put aside outside responsibilities and simply focus on the true meaning of this holy week. From this Sunday till next, we will focus on all things Easter.

It is our desire to use this week not only for encouraging our family, but to learn from yours! Join us as we focus on the true meaning of this special holiday. We hope to share some of our favorite games, activities, crafts, and recipes which all point towards Christ and His love for us.

Easter Fun: Easter Week Begins
Easter Fun: Resurrection Eggs
Easter Fun: Books
Easter Fun: Egg Decorating
Easter Fun: Resurrection Garden
Easter Fun: Resurrection Rolls

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,”
~ John 11:25

Time to Chime In! : What is your family’s favorite homeschool resource for learning the true meaning of Easter?

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When Disobedience Becomes A Homeschooling Challenge

when_disobedience_becomes_challengeHomeschooling can be a challenge. There are routines to be established, decisions regarding curriculum – or non-curriculum – to be made, discovering how to best help our children learn, and more. The one challenge we don’t need is our children’s lack of obedience.

As any parent will tell you, when a child chooses to be disobedient, life becomes stressful and downright unpleasant. Now, try taking that disobedient child and make them sit through a learning session, on any topic! It’s enough to make one shudder in fear or erupt like an active volcano. Life with a disobedient child is a struggle.

While my OCD nature balks at the idea of stopping all learning to deal with this issue, it usually is the best. When the obstacle of disobedience is removed, our learning day runs more smoothly and everyone is better off.

How does one go about removing the barrier of disobedience and restoring their children to a right relationship within the family and with God?

Pray – As always, all things should start in prayer. Pray first, act second.

Is This Really Disobedience? – We need to determine if this is an act of disobedience. Sometimes our children are not trying to rebel, but are merely attempting to communicate something important or express their personalities. Before we enact justice, we need to determine whether the situation calls for it.

Identify The Problem – If this is an act of rebellion, we need to determine from where the problem stems. Is my child looking for attention? Is there a need which is not being met? Did they not get enough sleep, need some food, or perhaps this is a character issue?

Work Through the Problem – Depending on the situation, we will need to determine the best course of action. My child might just need a few minutes of exercise to get back on the right track. I might need to feed them a meal, make them take a nap, or something more serious. If this is a matter of character training, I will pray about how they should be disciplined and discuss the situation with my husband.

Train, Train, Train – Repetition is good for a developing mind, this is true. However, it doesn’t hurt us oldie-but-goodies either! We need to train ourselves to identify a toxic situation before it becomes a full-blown mess; diffusing the situation early on, if we can. For the littles, we need to train them out of bad character and into good; this means lots of practice! We teach them to identify when they need something and how to communicate this need. We disciple and train for character as often as possible.

Tie Strings – It is just as important to make sure we are reestablishing the relationship with our children as it is for us to train them into right behavior. Training without affection and re-bonding with the disciplinarian leads to further disobedience in the future. Our children need to know we do these things because we love them, not because we are dictators trying to rule their lives with an iron fist. As our children are working through their struggles, we need to constantly be offering encouragement and opportunities for affection. They need to see we love them even when they are disobedient; helping them every step of the way.

Parenting a disobedient child is indeed a struggle. Being a homeschooling parent with a disobedient child simply magnifies the situation. Take the time to defuse the situation, getting to the heart of the matter before the day gets out of hand. With this obstacle out-of-the-way, our day will proceed more smoothly. Who doesn’t like that?

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
~ Ephesians 6:1-3

📢 Chime In!: When your child is disobedient, what measures do you take to get things back on track?

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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 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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To The Drill Sergeant Within

To_The_DrillTo the drill sergeant within my head, may you take these words to heart and put them into action.

Dear Drill,

With four little ‘cadets’ in your charge, you have a full routine of activities before you. Responsibility quickly fills your day, leaving little time for anything else. While I appreciate all you are doing and all the hard work you are putting into training up these little charges, there are a few things I wish to point out to you.

They’re Still In Training

It’s true, you have been given a huge responsibility; one which you are putting your full effort into. However, from time to time, it’s good to remind yourself these trainees are just children. They are going to stumble, fumble, and grumble on occasion. These little ones need not only strict training, but also lots of love. They need to know you are not only able to whip them into shape, but also able to be fun. They need to understand you desire respect, but offer grace. You are firm, but kind. You challenge, yet help. 

As they grow, they will need your daily assistance less and less. However, this does not mean your job will be over. Your job will move from drill to councilor. You will be expected to listen carefully, help them analyze their situations, and encourage them to move forward with confidence. 

Pick Your Battles

In your struggle to train these little people up wisely, you will come across many battles. It is key that you remember not all battles are going to be won and not all battles are yours to fight. Allow our great and powerful leader, Christ, to conquer where you are unable. Afford your charges opportunities to fight battles for themselves, gaining strength from their experiences. 

Stop beating yourself up over battles lost. Focus on the bigger picture, winning the war. 

Trust Your Leader

The Lord, Who called you to this, knows what He is doing. He has given you all you need to complete this mission. Never fear, He is constantly watching you; moment by moment. He is keeping tabs on the situation and is offering help constantly.

Put your faith in Him, knowing He will see you through; even those moments when dolling out thousands of push-ups seems the only answer. He understands your frustration, but He knows you can do this! 

Remember They’re Not Yours

While it might be tempting to think of these charges as your own, please remember they aren’t. Yes, they are in your care, but, in truth, they belong to our Commander. He has given them to you for a short time to help train, but they always have and always will belong to Him.

Train Them, But Love Them

You have been called to a unique mission. You are being asked to train, but to train out of love. Your training IS an act of love, to be sure, but, from time to time, they are also going to need physical affection; even those whose training is almost complete. Never forget to hug them, cuddle them, and show how much you care. A good drill knows there should be balance between being firm and being loving. 

Keep Up The Good Work

Finally, drill, I leave you with this. Do not give up! Your mission might seem frustrating at times. Often you might wonder if your job is really all that important. But, let me assure you, it is vital. What you are doing is of the utmost importance and you need to pursue till the end. Do not allow our enemy to deceive you into thinking you are worthless and of no value. 

One day these ‘cadets’ will be drills themselves. They will look back on this time and remember all you have taught them, putting to use all the skills you are so diligently training into them. May they see you struggle, but always rise again. May they see you move forward with confidence, kindness, and affection; knowing love is behind all you do. 

My dear drill, may the Father continue to give you strength and peace. May He fill you with His love to share with these little soldiers. May He constantly reaffirm His mission for your life, leaving you with no doubt that to this you were called.

Be Blessed,
Cristina

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” II Timothy 2:4

🔔Time Chime In: Write a short note to your ‘drill sergeant’ and share it with us!

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It’s Not Your Fault

As parents, we have a tendency to put our children’s behaviors onto our own shoulders. When they are doing well, we give ourselves a pat on the back. When they misbehave, we berate ourselves and stress over how we could be doing better. Sometimes, it’s important to understand that our children are just human. They have free will and not everything that goes wrong is our fault.

Maybe it’s just me, but when my children act out or misbehave I tend to ask myself what I did wrong. Was there something I could have done differently; am I missing an area in my parenting or character training; or is this an act of rebellion due to something I’ve done?

Now, don’t get me wrong. (Because I always feel the need to qualify.) Sometimes we are the cause of our children’s issues; we frustrate them, hurt them, or just flat-out make mistakes. We are human, too. However, we also need to realize that there comes a time when our children need to own up to their own actions and take responsibility.

Our children are human, just like us. They, too, will make mistakes and need to mature. While it is a good idea to take stock of each stumble and learn valuable lessons, not every stumble is the parents’ fault; this is especially true as our children grow up.

Children, just like parents, have the ability to choose good; to do the right thing. Our job as parents is to model and train them to choose the good. We cannot force the good upon them or make them into robots who will perform well on command. If we are doing our part, we need to allow our children to do their part; mainly, to make those choices on their own.

When our children choose well, we commend them and encourage them to continue. When they choose poorly, we help them learn the lesson and redirect them onto the right path. If our children refuse to choose the good or refuse to be brought back to a better starting point, that inot our fault. They are expressing and demonstrating their free will.

Take stock of each situation. If you could be doing better; do so! However, if you are doing your best and your children are still struggling, learn to let it go. You are doing your part, their choices are not your fault.

Does this mean we have no recourse? Absolutely not! We do the only thing we can do: pray! Pray, and pray hard. Ask the Lord to convict them, guide them to where they ought to be, and bring them back into a right relationship with the family. Prayer is very powerful, don’t underestimate it.

At the end of the day, we are all fallen creatures with free will. Our children are no different from us, they just have a few more lessons to learn. Train them well, disciple their hearts, and help them make those wise choices. If they should choose poorly, instead of heaping on the self-inflicted guilt, focus on the lesson. Not everything they do is your fault.

Time to Chime In: Do you feel guilty when your children act out or rebel? How do you overcome your own self-doubt and move forward?

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” – I John 2:1