You Talk Too Much!

you_talk_too_muchOur children, with the exception of one, are very outgoing. They talk easily amongst their friends, family, and even with new acquaintances. Even the one who is seriously shy often opens up after a few moments. They like to talk about what they are learning and ask others what they are being taught. Our children will generally carry on a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere, on almost any topic. While we encourage our children to share, it’s also important they learn to listen.

One of the subtle arts of parenting is teaching our children proper communication. Yes, to share. But also to listen. Learning when to speak and when to remain silent can be a challenge. One some of us adults – myself included – are still learning to master. Perhaps we could all use a refresh in this area?

Learning to Listen First – Speaking is the easy part. Speaking well harder. Not talking and listening would be the biggest challenge. Listening not for an opening during which we can finally speak, but genuinely caring what the other person is saying and giving them the entirely of our mind. Oh, to perfect this step alone would be a dream.

Learning to Ask Questions  Often the best way to open doors of communication is not by telling, but by asking. By seeking information from others we encourage them to talk with us and share their lives.

Learning to Identify Those Who Will Receive – Let’s face it, not everyone wants the entirety of our plans for summer vacation. Nor should they. Some are not ready to hear our fantastic homeschool adventures. And not every possible debate needs our input. We need to weigh our words; identifying what should be shared when, and with whom. It’s not a matter of other people not caring, as much as our caring to give people what God has directed in His timing.

Learning When to Speak – Equally challenging is knowing when to finally open our mouths. May the Lord give us wisdom and grace!

Learning How to Speak – Sometimes sharing can be done with pride, a smug attitude, or a sense of “knowing all about it”. It can also be harsh or bitter. We want our words to be kind and humble always.

Learning When Someone Wants Help – Confession. I like to help. It’s taken me some time to realize not everyone who is expressing frustration or anxiety really wants constructive input. Sometimes they just need a listening ear. May we be that which is needed most.

Thank God for close friends who make communication easy. We are incredibly blessed by those few who allow us to vent when needed, either when upset or ridiculously excited. We never have to weigh my words, calculate if we’ve spoken too much, or worry about interrupting. And our friends know they can count on us, too!

When addressing the rest of the world, may we err on the side of caution more than not; choosing our few words with care and giving those we meet Jesus. It’s more important they see Him and hear of His good deeds than anything we could possibly offer. When in doubt, we follow this sage advice, “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise;…”

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”
~ Proverbs 10:19

Your Turn!: This does beg the question… How much talking is too much?

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

Advertisements

Do My Children REALLY Need Help?

do_my_children_really_need_help Our kids are usually pretty good about doing their lessons; most of the time. However, every once in a while, these kiddos decide they just don’t want to do the work and would rather try to con mom into giving them the answer instead. It can be hard to determine whether they actually need help or are just being lazy.

Normally, I love helping my kids. I help them cook, clean, learn new skills, and have fun with them. The one time I won’t help them is when they aren’t really asking for help, they are looking to get out of work. What’s a mom to do?

Look and Observe – Before simply giving my child an answer to their question, I first want to be sure I’m paying attention and understand if my child needs help. More often than not they know what to do. It’s just faster to ask mom. However, if there’s a genuine need, I want to give them my full attention so we can master this area of learning.

It’s New – Once I look at the work, I need to determine whether or not this is a new skill. Sometimes they need the help and others they are merely intimidated by the newness and want me to tackle it for them. I will walk them through the problem and guide them to finding the answer for themselves. More than likely, they’ll also see additional practice in this area over the next few weeks, just to make sure we master this skill set.

It’s Been a While – Especially after several weeks off (during holiday months), coming back to book work can be a challenge. While these skills may have been taught in the past, it’s been a bit and my kids could use a little help with review. I won’t give them the answers, but I will walk them through the process and guide them to the answer. Additional work over the course of the week might also be an option.

It’s a Lot – Yeah, they know how to do the work; trust me. However, the problems staring them in the face are daunting. The thought of having to work through ten long division problems just isn’t appealing. (And why would it be?) When this concern hits us, I weigh the skill being taught. If this is a skill they’ve done many times, I will usually reduce the amount to be done and watch as they work through the rest. If it’s new, I sit next to them and we walk through all of them with lots of encouragement from mom.

They’re Being Lazy – It happens, even with my kids. The kids have decided they don’t want to do their lessons and figure if they nag mom enough she’ll give in and, in frustration, pick up the pencil to show them how easy it is to work the problem. (It’s been known to happen. Sad, I know.) Sure, I could let it slide and let them do the work another day or pick up the pencil and do the work for them, as mentioned, but what would this teach them? Our kids need to learn that not all work is easy. There are going to be days when we don’t want to finish the work, but that is part of maturing. At that point, the lesson is no longer about the work in front of them, but about teaching them diligence and good work ethic. I will encourage them, but finish the work they will and without me writing the answers in for them!

I Help – Let’s face it, at times we all need help. If the help needed isn’t a matter of shirking responsibility, mommy is more than willing to help. All they have to do is ask!

As parents we want to help our children. Sometimes helping our children means teaching them to help themselves, gaining independence and confidence. I will help our children, if I can, but doing work for them is where I draw the line. Some things they need to do themselves.

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
~ Titus 2:7-8

Your Turn!: How do you determine the difference between your kids needing help and them trying to shirk responsibility?

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

Why Aren’t My Kids Doing That?

Why_Arent_My_Kids_Doing_ThatDo you want a recipe for disaster? Come on, you know you’re a tad curious. Here you go… Take a well-intentioned and involved parent. Give them social media, opportunity to compare themselves to lovely but very active friends, and kids who enjoy doing things. Heap on a bit of nagging guilt they aren’t doing enough, and then set them loose. Before long said parent will start asking themselves the inevitable question, “Why aren’t my kids doing that?” And there you go!

I’ll be the first to admit I am totally speaking to myself on this matter. I enjoy being active. I hate the notion of missing out on an incredible opportunity. I want my kids to be able to do everything and anything their little hearts desire. Well, maybe not everything, but everything good. There in lies the trouble. How do I determine what is good for my children? Not everything is black and white. This isn’t necessarily a moral issue, but one of wisdom. Just because Johnny is in basketball doesn’t mean my little man needs this. Or wants this. Or that we can afford it. Or that we have the time. There is much to be considered. The same goes for homeschooling. That curriculum – field trip, academic course, college prep class, etc. – highly recommended by my community might be lovely, just not for us.

Before we bury ourselves under mounds of guilt or stress our families, perhaps the better question to ask would be whether or not our kids should be doing that. Whatever that is. Instead, we often spend too much of our time comparing ourselves to others and attempting to add yet another thing to our ever-growing list of to-do’s. And should we discover we can’t do that then parental guilt sets in.

When I’m tempted to travel this path of destruction, may the Lord remind me of these few things:

He Hears – Not my complaining mind you. (Although He is too often forced to hear me groan.) The Lord hears my heart! He knows my anxiety stems from a desire to minister to my babies and give them what is best.

He Understands – That disappointment and stress I’m feeling seems overwhelming, but He knows what I’m going through. He also understands better than I what is best for my children.

I Cannot Do it All, Nor Am I Being Asked To – This post is not being written by Supergirl, no matter how much I’d like it to be so. I need to stop expecting to function at ridiculous levels of busy and wearing that badge of honor. Then remember the Lord isn’t asking this of me either.

I Am Me – Simple, right? I wish! There are times I have to force myself to remember this. I am not you any more than you are me. Or that family down the street with the perfect lawn. Nor the homeschool family in the community who seems to be excelling with flying colors. I am not them. I am me. And all God asks is that I be what He wants.

There is a Time for Everything – Just because we aren’t doing that right now, doesn’t mean we won’t ever do it. It needs to be in God’s timing or I don’t want to move. God’s timing is always best.

This Has No Power Over Me – That nagging guilt? The stress of doing everything for all my people? I don’t have to claim it or keep it. By the power and the grace of God, I have the ability to hand those over to Him and let them go.

That recipe I shared with you? Ditch it. Trust me on this. It will leave a bitter taste in your mouth, have you feeling empty afterwards, and rob you of all joy. Instead may we learn to appreciate the wide world of ideas which surround us for what they are, possibility. Let us admire one another’s adventures, yet remain confident in our own. And above all, seek first the kingdom of God. He’ll add whatever else is needed.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
~ Colossians 3:23

Your Turn!: What is one opportunity you’re glad you took advantage of this year?

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

 

Does Your Child Have a Mentor?

Does_Your_Child_Have_a_MentorI was flattered, truly. Here was a mama entrusting her daughter to my care, asking me to mentor through the process of becoming engaged and married. Unfortunately, what followed was less mentoring and more a mom looking for me to back her up on everything she said. As my own daughters approach adulthood, these memories come to mind and I find myself asking a few pertinent questions. Does my child need a mentor, and how do I go about getting one?

I am by no means a “young mom” any longer but this doesn’t mean I have it all down or that I don’t need guidance from time-to-time. So today I hope you’ll help me out. Because the truth is my experience with mentors is slim. Slim to none. I grew up in a generation that thought older people had nothing to teach us, and the older generation was fed up with us and left us to our own devices. Even within the church, I confess I’ve never had an older lady mentor me. I wish I had.

I always thought mentors were people the Lord naturally brought into your life. People you admired, respected, and thought could teach you something. It didn’t need to be one person who fit the bill. We could obtain mentors for various aspects of growth and learning. One might show us how to be a better wife, while another seemed to have the parenting thing down. We might respect someone’s business and wish to glean from their wealth of knowledge. What mattered most was that our mentors be wise, patient, willing, and Godly.

So here I stand. – Okay, sit. – Wondering what your thoughts are on helping our children find appropriate mentors….

  • Did you have a mentor growing up?
  • If so, how did you find your mentor?
  • Do you consider your parents mentors?
  • Do you have a mentor now?
  • Did you approach your mentor, seeking them out, or did the Lord naturally bring you together?
  • Do you feel your children need outside mentors? (Assuming they look to you first.)
  • Have your growing children expressed a desire for a mentor or naturally found one?
  • How can we facilitate Biblical mentoring for our children?
  • Is it our responsibility to find our children a mentor or their own?
  • What should we be looking for in a good mentor?
  • Should our mentors be older than we are, or merely more experienced?

There are so many fascinating aspects to this discussion, and we look forward to hearing all your helpful thoughts. While it’s obvious we don’t have all the answers to this topic, we’re confident in this… God knows what our children need even more than we do, and will provide if only we ask.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17

Your Turn!: Please share your thoughts on this topic, and help others who are seeking answers!

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

SaveSave

When Our Children’s Anger Feels Personal

When_Our_Children's_Anger_Feels_PersonalShe just snapped at me. Why did she snap at me? As I walked by her room, all I did was poke my head in the doorway and ask if she needed anything. Instead of the cheerful response I was hoping for, I received a scowl and a short reply. Now, I’m nursing hurt feelings and wondering why my child’s anger feels personal.

Am I the only one who takes their children’s outbursts to heart? Please tell me I’m not alone. It’s difficult enough managing feelings of guilt when I know I’ve stepped out-of-bounds, but even more of a challenge when I’m left scratching my head wondering what has gone wrong. What’s a parent to do?

We Need to Pray – First, foremost, and always. I pray for myself and how I should handle this. My child, so they are willing to hear. I pray for wisdom, to know when to speak and when to remain quiet. That the Lord’s will be done and relationships restored. Reading Scripture is also key. The Word allows God to speak to my heart and direct my steps.

Emotions Have Nothing to do With This – How I feel about this situation is not important. Yes, I am hurt, but I need to step back from the pain and evaluate the situation for what it truly is. A lesson, a spiritual battle, an opportunity to disciple my child, or a character training moment. I want the emotion to run clean through me, so there is nothing left but Christ and what He wants for our family.

This Isn’t About Us – Often, I hoist my children’s choices upon my own shoulders and this is wrong. They are their own people with freewill. While I am responsible for discipling and training my children, I cannot dictate their every move or be held accountable for their actions; they have to choose to do right. Their guilt is not my own. Instead of making this about me, I need to redirect my thinking towards drawing my children closer to the Lord and what He wants to do in their lives.

What’s Really Going On? – Poor behavior is without excuse and should be dealt with. There will be consequences for stepping out of line. But before we can determine appropriate ramifications or restore relationships, I want to understand what is happening with my child. Sometimes the action is unintentional; they were interrupted while finishing a project and acted without thinking. They are hungry or tired. Other times there are deeper issues at work. When the Lord opens the door, we communicate and start moving towards resolution.

Our Responsibility – While I am not directly accountable for my children’s poor choices, I do have a responsibility to fulfilling my role as a parent. I need to ask myself if I am discipling and training the way God has commanded, and whether or not I am being as involved as I should be. Then am I able to move forward with confidence.

I love my children. I enjoy seeing their happy faces light up as we’re having fun and learning new things. So when they are having a hard day or a tough moment it breaks my heart. Especially when they choose to take it out on me. Through the guiding of the Holy Spirit and a large dose of prayer, I’m learning to step back and remove myself from the equation. This isn’t about how I feel. What’s important is understanding my child and guiding them toward a righteous relationship with their Father.

May He be magnified and glorified in us and through us, as long as we have breath.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,
keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
~ Proverbs 15:1-4

Your Turn!: What is your favorite way of “Tying Strings” with your children?

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

It’s Okay to Be Tired

Its_Okay_to_be_TiredLike all of you, I tend to be a busy person. From the moment I get up till the moment I force myself into bed, I am on the go. I pride myself on how much I can accomplish in a single day, and tend to judge our overall success based on this factor. Pride can be a challenge. It’s no wonder there are times I feel downright exhausted. So why does it surprise me when I get to that point, and at what point had I started viewing my being tired as a weakness?

I want to choose to look at being tired in a positive light.

First, I have put in a solid day of ministry and fun; no matter how that manifests itself. Whether we are doing a little learning at home, going on nature hikes, spending the day on an art project, or simply baking cookies; being a mom and an educator is hard work. When we add outside factors into the mix, it’s no wonder where all that energy goes. I have definitely earned that tired!

Second, the Lord is telling me it is time to take it easy. My Father is gently reminding me I cannot do all things; I need rest to refresh my body, soul, and mind. A moment, or two, of relaxation does not make me negligent. It is a subtle reminder I am human and need a break.

I should give a word of caution. Taking a day off now and again, or needing to get a few more hours of sleep in the evening is not the same as feeling tired day after day. Trust me, I’ve been there. There is a significant difference. When we notice a trend toward a continual tired, it is time to take the matter seriously. Don’t put it off. Go see a doctor and deal with the issue. This is too important to ignore.

Being tired is not a weakness, no matter what my pride is trying to tell me. Being tired does not mean I am being lazy, or that I am lacking. Being tired is not a sign that I am failing. When friends ask if I’m a little tired they are not being mean or unkind; they simply care and notice I am probably pushing myself to an unhealthy limit.

While it is true there are certainly constructive ways to reduce the amount of things being done and streamline our routine, the fact is there are weeks which just hull me out completely, leaving me tired. It’s life. It’s to be expected and that’s okay. The issue isn’t whether or not we will get tired, but how we handle these moments. We shouldn’t see being tired as a weakness, but a natural occurrence and an opportunity to take a breath. Being tired is a sign of a job well done, even if the job is serious playtime. It’s a time to enjoy well-earned rest and allow the Lord to renew our spirit.

Of course, taking the occasional nap might not hurt either.

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
~ Jeremiah 31:25

Your Turn!: When was the last time you took a nap?

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

2017’s Top Posts

2017_Top_Posts

2017 is officially at an end. Before completely kissing off the old year and tipping our hats to the new, let’s take a few moments to look back on all the fun we’ve had during the past twelve months.

Top Posts of 2017

School Lunch, A Reason to Homeschool?
A Hot Topic
I Loved Morning Basket, But We Dropped It Anyway
Dwell on These Things
A Homeschool Open House

It’s been an awesome year getting to know so many of you and learning how the Lord is working through your homeschooling. Thank you for sharing your tips, words of wisdom, and links with us! We love having you join us in the adventure of homeschooling, and can’t wait to see what the coming year will bring.

Your Turn!: We’d love to read your top attractions of 2017! List two of your favorite posts that you’d like to share.

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

All I Want for Christmas is… (Part IX)

All_I_Want_For_Christmas_IsAs far as I’m concerned I don’t need a single present under the tree or even a piece of coal in my stocking. While both are appreciated, my soul is set on a few other goodies. Not necessarily things to be wrapped, but much-needed gifts. Join us during the month of December as we explore several blessings we’d love to receive this Christmas.

…..

I did it again! I keep telling myself I am going to put an end to this nonsense, and yet here I find myself back in the same place. I’ve gotten a grand total of four hours sleep, and I’m now paying the price. The silliest wish for Christmas by far this year is a desire to get more sleep!

I always intend to go to bed earlier; really, I do. But by the time the kids are settled for the night I just want five minutes to breathe slowly and enjoy a chapter of the book which has been sitting on my shelf for days. Before I know it, one chapter has turned into ten and the clock is so blurry I can’t even tell how much trouble I’ve gotten myself into. Sleeping in is an option, I suppose. However I’ve always struggled with this. Daylight offers too many adventures, learning opportunities, and things to do. Who can sleep once the sun rises, encouraging me to embrace the day and make the most of each moment?

Ultimately it appears what I’m asking for is more time in my day to do the millions of things I’ve planned plus downtime for less active pursuits; then get a full night’s sleep so I can do it all over again the next day, and the day after that. – I did mention this was a silly request. – Silly because in truth I have all the time in the world I need. I simply choose to overfill my day. The lesson lies in seeking the Lord to oversee every second of every day so that each moment is overflowing with Him, especially in the stillness.

Perhaps it is because we have too few moments we appreciate them. If given all the time in the world, we would take them for granted and they would be wasted. By limiting our time we are forced to make the best use of our moments, giving precedence to Kingdom goals.

More sleep would be grand. Oh, it would. But the culmination of our Christmas list comes to this: May we use the time we have, the resources we’ve been given, the gifts of the Spirit, and the blessed relationships in our lives to further the Kingdom of Christ. If by sleep I can better accomplish this, I thank the Lord. And if by less pillow time I can meet a need, praise be to God who sustains us. May He be glorified today and always.

“I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.”
~ Psalm 3:5

Your Turn!: If you could either give up eating or sleeping in order to get more accomplished, which would you choose?

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

All I Want for Christmas is… (Part VIII)

All_I_Want_For_Christmas_IsAs far as I’m concerned I don’t need a single present under the tree or even a piece of coal in my stocking. While both are appreciated, my soul is set on a few other goodies. Not necessarily things to be wrapped, but much-needed gifts. Join us during the month of December as we explore several blessings we’d love to receive this Christmas.

…..

Living in America, truth be told, we are a little spoiled. Even when times get hard they are nothing compared to what some of our brothers and sisters experience on a daily basis in many other parts of the world. So it is with no little shyness and humility that I share one of the last items on my Christmas wish list. One of my personal prayers for the coming year is to finally go on vacation.

Before I have CPS breathing down my neck, or a concerned family member texting me, please allow me to elaborate. We do take breaks from learning. When I say I’d like to go on vacation, I mean I would like for my entire family to be able to take a few days break and get away from home to enjoy one another’s company. Not mom spending the day out with the kids while Pop works; not a day trip where we have to rush home so Pop can get to work the next morning. Not even a business trip turned family adventure. A genuine, we might need an airplane, vacation.

Believe it or not, with all the hustle, bustle, and struggle of the last few years, we haven’t been on an honest-to-goodness vacation in over five years. Maybe not even then. It’s about time, don’t you think?

It’s a funny thing. While I’m sure the kids would enjoy a large trip to somewhere like Disneyworld or a cruise to the Bahamas, what excites them most is renting a cabin in the woods and watching it snow. They would also like to know what it’s like to fly in an airplane. It’s not the destination as much as the traveling they want to experience. Most of all, it is undivided attention and family time they’re looking forward to. I’d like to be able to give that to them.

Before the kids all graduate, and we no longer have the opportunity, we’d like to take advantage of the years we have left and make some memories. Together we’ll learn the art of saving for a mutual goal, using our money wisely, planning the adventure, and making the most of these God-given opportunities. I don’t know where the year will take us, but I hope it’s somewhere fun.

“There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.”
~ Deuteronomy 12:7

Your Turn!: If you could take your family anywhere for a week’s vacation, where would you go?

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

All I Want for Christmas Is… (Part II)

All_I_Want_For_Christmas_IsAs far as I’m concerned I don’t need a single present under the tree or even a piece of coal in my stocking. While both are appreciated, my soul is set on a few other goodies. Not necessarily things to be wrapped, but much-needed gifts. Join us during the month of December as we explore several blessings we’d love to receive this Christmas.

…..

It’s there on the tip of my tongue. My internal critic has made an appearance, and she has a desire to express her displeasure with this particular moment. The lights are not as grand as last year; the weather is not crisp enough for her seasonal pleasure; and perhaps that cocoa wasn’t quite as rich as she prefers. Following my desire for a grateful heart, the second item on my Christmas Wish List is a tongue which speaks kindness.

I’m all for expressing opinions and sharing ideas. But there comes a point when “expressing myself” has now launched into complaining. I think, if we’re honest with one another, we all know when we’ve crossed this line. Observation becomes finding fault. I am not speaking with the intent of edification, sharing in the moment, or even learning a lesson. I am unhappy with something – or someone – and I am using this as an opportunity to unleash my inner critic.

Outside of the fact that this does literally no good, it is actually causing harm. I am allowing a root of bitterness to have a place in my heart which will bond to other areas of displeasure already allowed to find a foothold, and before I know it I am a sharp-tongued mama who has nothing pleasant to say. Speaking of this mom, what is this teaching my children? If I am being critical, my children will mimic this trait and develop into adults who have formed this bad habit.

Often it is not what we say, but how we say it. Thus, I might point out that the hot cocoa could use a tad more chocolate, but it in a manner which expresses thanks for what I have been given while playfully addressing my addiction to the cocoa bean. And in those moments when there is absolutely no way to make what I feel like saying palatable for other people’s ears, this is the perfect moment to say a prayer and ask the Lord to minister to the condition of my heart.

As we move quickly through this Christmas season, my desire is to not only be grateful for what I have, but to purposefully choose kindness. I want my tone to be kind, my words to be sweet, and the intention of my heart pure. While we move through the hustle and bustle of the season, these “gifts” will only enhance our celebrations. They also bring the added benefit of remaining with us throughout the year to come as we continue on in our homeschooling and parenting adventures.

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
~ Proverbs 31:26

Your Turn!: Which does your palate prefer: white, milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate?

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

SaveSave

SaveSave