Saturday, June 20, 2015

Summer "Break"

Hello. Is everyone DONE with school yet? Are you on summer "break"? (for a home school mom, what is a "break"?) We are technically but the brains are still rolling and the activities still piling on. Which is as it should be and it keeps life interesting.

...midnight coffee run...

I don't know about you but I am already looking at NEXT YEAR! I've been doing this awhile so it is not like I am startling from scratch...more than half of my curriculum is already set because we like what we are using...BUT...there are a few spots that are needing to be filled. For me it is Science. My Artist is in middle school so he is no longer doing science with us - so I need to think about my Merciful One and Pixie - what to do with them? Hmmm... they like animals...we have done Chemistry and Life Sciences...maybe the human body?

What ideas do you have for next year? Anything percolating in your brain? I'm curious, do share...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Because we can!

I have met some of the neatest moms while homeschooling my kiddos. They so encourage my soul. They also challenge me to be free in my philosophy of schooling. They add spice to my day. I take notes of the things that they implement in their own homes, in their own school day, in their life teaching. I am often amazed at how creative some methods are and often times how simple yet productive. I often times am excited about trying new things in my own home.

I have some rockin' moms in my life that I can't get enough of. We "get" each other - we have similar standards in our expectations - we enjoy to execute our freedom in homeschooling. One of my favorite mottos is "Because we can!" So we do. We have. And we have made some awesome memories. We have schooled in some of the strangest and funnest places! "Because we can!"

Chik-fil-A...Starbucks...the the pool...parks...

One of my favorites is the time we went to the see the sunrise. Oh, yes, we did!

So, my FunFriend and I picked a day and planned to leave at 4 make it to the shore by 5 am. Two Mommas and 7 kids... Yup, crazy, I know... We packed sweatshirts, jeans, bathing suits, towels, books and lots of food...blankets and beach toys! We were prepared and we were off!

What a day...we got there just in time to see the sun come over the Atlantic. The kids were a little grouchy because we had been woken up early, hungry because we had been in the car for an hour but when they saw the beauty... they were speechless. The colors and the rocks. The brightness coming over the horizon was just captivating and life giving. What a great way to be truly awakened... It caused my heart to sing...

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes...

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

It was chilly and the kids were running into the water and running back out! It was cold on the feet - it was cold water! It was cold for the Mommas! But oh, joy! Freedom! After our awakening, everyone realized they had to pee - so off to find an open potty on the beach (it was early)...a Dunkin Donuts! Hooray! I will buy coffee in order to use your potty - no problem! Bring it!

The lady taking our order was quick to ask what holiday it was...there were 7 school aged kids running around in the store on a "school day". Good question - we had an answer...

"We are schooling on the beach! Because we can!"

"WOW! Now that is fun! What a great way to learn!" Fun conversation and a connection was made.

So needless to say we set up camp...we ate cold bacon and hardboiled eggs for breakfast...made sandy sandwiches for lunch...we were schooling on the beach for the day. And we did...we had the kids sit for a bit and do some math - then go and play - they would come back and read a chapter of their book - then go play - we did a devotional together - and then they went off and played...delightful! With our older kids we started a book series...I loved sitting in my sweatshirt with a blanket in a circle was restful and we had great discussion. And that was what birthed our little book club. It was such a productive day!

There is something to be said about learning by digging a hole in the sand...the animals...the walks...the shells...oh, we came home with a bunch of those!

My FunFriend and I really enjoyed this day because it was just goodness wrapped in sunshine. It allowed us to break the mold we get into and enjoy the freedom we have in schooling at home! Seriously, we were two happy Mommas sipping coffee, on the beach, while our kids ran wild! Ahhhh....

Can we do this everyday? No...that is not my point...but it is good to break free "because you can!" To take a break and still be productive in different ways. To refresh and to find the joy in "life schooling" with your kids. It is great for your kids because they get a glimpse of the freedom they have to learn in a variety of ways!

Tell me what creative way you have schooled lately?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wonky Curls

Full circle.
Start at one point and go all the way around until you come back to that same point.
All in or all out - can't be both.

I've been full circle. You probably have been too. Some things about it are funny and humbling...other things about it I am still working through. So to give you insight to the lighter side of this we will start at the beginning - my starting point.

I was born. Good starting point.

With a full head of hair... I'm Spanish - I haven't seen any bald babies coming out of Spanish mommies (not saying there can't be...we just tend to be hairy...)

And it was evident early on that I had curly, full bodied hair. Not necessarily ringlets - my beloved little sister got those - but waves. And they just went everywhere OR wherever they wanted to go, I should say. The older I got the frizzier IT got...lots of hairspray in high school just to keep it down. Some of you can sympathize. I learned quickly that the longer I grew it the less it bounced up - so I had long hair...with a lot of waves. The same through college.

A boy fell in love with me and my hair (I'll have to confirm this) so we got married and had some little ones. All born with hair! Surprise, surprise....

But then - a new invention! A flat-iron was born. Straight hair! Yup that is what I wanted - so I got one, a good one. And I flat ironed my curly hair and absolutely loved that I could control it! For years I did this - so much so, that those who knew me during this time never knew that I really had curly hair. I was good about always doing my hair. However, when it rained - bo-oing! - there came the curls...but they soon made products for this too! Bought it. Used it. Religiously.

Straight hair. Predictable. Perfect - especially in pictures. I always looked presentable - this very fact, kept me sane during child bearing years. I so desperately needed something to be "put together" during those years. That is why I think God gave me the flat iron - for such a time as this.

Now I am 40...and a little more. Been there done that...just about...and frankly don't want to do it anymore. So I am not. Back to the starting point. Head full of hair (thank God!) and wonky curls - going where they want to go. And I love it!

My hair is not super long anymore - no patience for that - but it is as ornery as it has always been. However, something has changed on my view of my God-given curl. It's mine. And now that I have learned to live with it - I love it!

I have discovered new shampoo/conditioner...DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser/Conditioner... I have learned that I don't need to wash my locks every single day and I don't have to feel dirty about it! Whew! I am discovering new and lighter products to force my locks into obedience...a false sense of control, I know. Hopeful but false.  And I am training myself and my "hair braiding daughters" not to run my/their fingers through my hair..."training" is the key word here.

I love the fact that my curl is a little different every day... I love the fact that my hair is unpredictable...keeps me edgy. I love that I have found ways to tame and enhance it. I love the fact that people who haven't seen me in a few years don't recognize me. They literally do a double take because they recognize the face but the hair doesn't match their memory. I get a kick when people think I've gotten a perm! It is in those moments when I have realized that I have made it completely back around.

There is something about knowing and being okay with who you are. I think for us women we do battle with this for years. And for some it is shear torture and for all of us it is a monster we need to slay at some point - in some form or fashion. I came across something in Real Simple magazine...

Q: What is one hang-up that you plan to let go of this year?

A: I'm no longer playing the comparison game. I used to ask myself things like 'Does she look younger than I do?" and "Does he have a better lot in life?" I've learned that there are only two outcomes from engaging in such matchups. I either feel a bit of that green-eyed monster - which leads to ingratitude or I feel entitled to congratulate myself for something that may well just be a gift of Providence. I'm happy with who I am now, and that includes my life situation, my abilities, and even my warts. [...even my curly hair]
- January 2015 issue, p.13

Because we were created... We were designed...We were purposed to be the way we are. Our hair was not an after thought. It was thought out. And God had it in mind that I looked best in curly, wavy hair.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Psalms 139:13-14 (ESV)

Years ago I would have argued that God had given me the wrong head of hair... I'm sure He got a kick out of listening to me complain and watching me straighten my hair. This is one way to see God's enduring patience with me. But by His grace He allowed me to come full circle. As it seems with other things too.

I love my wonky hair.

It's unpredictable and random and free.


I hope you have embraced whatever is wonky about you too!

Did I mention that I am letting my "grey" grow freely too?! Might be my next post...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pieces that fit...

I really enjoy the mental challenge of a good puzzle. There is something about getting on a roll and putting pieces together...and the whole picture coming together. Simple satisfaction.

This weekend we took advantage of our local art museum...The Philadelphia Museum of you hear Rocky music in the background? Do you see him running up the stairs?...that's nothing - I did it in heels! That has nothing to do with this post...

It really is a beautiful building - just the architecture alone...the details...the size...the presence as it sits on the hill - and that is just the outside! The inside was just as amazing and beautiful. And what it held on its walls inside resounded with creativity, imagery, colors, details, imagination...perspective.
All of them depicting a story...a time...a place...a message.

What great opportunity to teach our kids museum etiquette, discuss what we see or don't see, what was used to create, what the painting was "saying" to us, who/what was the focus of the painting, etc. Good discussion...

TheArtist: "This picture is realistic, look at his body bent that way and look at how his fingers are curled  up, but his body is not torn up enough. The nails are too small..."

Pixie: "This is dark...I see a man in the corner."

TheMercifulOne: "Who is that girl? She looks kind. I like her."

Then we went to another area to see a performance - Modern Art. We prepared our kids by letting them know that this would be a different perspective on art. We wanted them to see it first for themselves and then we would talk about it. A 40 minute performance with modern dance and music.

The dancers were amazingly talented - foot rhythms, smooth moves - random. Hardly any interaction with each other, slides, leaps, on and off the stage without warning. The music included a cello, flute, clarinet and violin - classically trained, experienced - random. The instrument strings we scratched, none of the instruments played together, all independent and erratic. 15 minutes into it they were bored. But we sat it out until the end.

I personally enjoy some Modern Art...but I have to admit, I am picky. I have my own personal qualifiers for what constitutes as art...I believe these come from is a reflection of something, with a story about something and/or a message (whatever it may be...). So Dad stepped in and explained Modern Art in kid terms - he spoke about artist's drive to go against the grind, rebelling against that which is traditional, expressing themselves, etc. Kids chimed in...

Pixie: "What was their story? It was not what I expected..."

TheMercifulOne: "Why would they play their instruments like that - it was yucky."

TheArtist: "It was like a puzzle, but each piece was a piece from a different picture. It did not make the whole picture."

There was no order. There was no purpose. The title didn't fit - it could have been titled anything! It did not reflect anything but randomness and chaos...

God is not a God of chaos - He is a God of order...

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace--as in all the congregations of the Lord's people.
1 Corinthians 14:33

What was interesting was that the dancers were skilled - in very traditional methods...the musicians were skilled - in very traditional methods. But because of man's rebellion we choose to use it out of context - and it is just pointless. What beautiful living art we would be if we refined the skill of being one with our Maker. Of being in sync with the Master. Of being representative of His handiwork and not taking it upon ourselves to "perfect" what He has in mind. To revel in His art...

I want to be in sync with the artist of my Life. Lately, I realize I have not been. Many days running and incorporating my agenda and not His. Guilty.

Even forcing myself into situations I have no business being a part of. The beauty in this is that He gently picks up the pieces that are out of order (me) and places us where we belong. He knows where we need to be. Here or there...on the edge or in the center. Regardless, we complete His plan for the picture that He is putting together.

This is a good reminder for me as I head into my day of schooling. We, together as a family, are making living art. We need to be in sync with our Maker so that we can partake in this puzzle of life. Otherwise we will resemble that performance and relive it - which was not pleasant the first time around!

Friday, August 29, 2014

It's Time for School? I'm Gonna Be Late!

" THIS year we are gonna go to bed at a decent hour, wake up early, get started and wrap up school so we can PLAY!"

Yup, those were MY words...I like Charlotte Mason's philosophy of learning and free time...I want to implement it more in my day...I want to get school DONE! The latter is what it really boils down to. I want to check "their"...really "my"...boxes of tasks and be DONE! Efficient, no lallygagging around...wham-bam get it DONE!
bold statement, red sign, done

Oh, how I am humbled...every year...about this time...

I have a plan... I am on a mission... I will not deviate.
Until. I. fail. first.
I wake up late...Physically, I have not...but emotionally I have not prepared myself this year. I am the tardy one. O grace to start over.

This year has been a doozy of a year - a consuming summer... there has been much unrest. Deep, life altering unrest. My mind and my heart have been over "there"...with my friend battling cancer...with my "sista from a different mother" choosing a different path...with the hardship of a legal rest. No time to prep and relish in the fun of preparing for a new school year.

But the school year is HERE. Like yesterday...tomorrow. I have started and we have had good days. So far I like the curriculum I have selected (in a fog)...God always does this for me. Every year I am amazed at how timely the things we are learning about criss-cross with some life happening. Providence. Regardless of my fog and lack of having pre-prepared, I am confident we will have a year of good learning.

Where I am "late" and "failing" is in my surrender.
Giving God my year. Giving God my children. Giving God my heart. Giving God my goals. Giving God my agenda. Giving God my planner. Giving God my boxes to check.
Allowing Him to direct my days. Allowing Him to work in my children. Allowing Him to change my anxious, consumed heart. Allowing Him to rewrite my goals. Allowing Him to direct our days.
To go where His Spirit leads.

I know this because I caught myself today becoming furious because my children could not tell me the "history of England"! Really?!?!! I didn't know the "history of England" until 2 days ago...and I am getting wound up they can't repeat it back verbatim? Oh that God would extend grace through my children.

So I am here - pondering my day. And realizing that I am late for school. I am not prepared. My eyes are off my Teacher. How can I teach them if I am not learning myself. Which leads me to a beautiful, providential criss-cross. This week we have been studying and memorizing 2 Timothy 3:16-17...say it with me...

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness. So that the man of God might be competent, equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17

I was discussing with my kids the reality and the power that Scripture can have in our lives if we allow it to penetrate. I was corrected in that moment and reminded that God has spoken and is speaking. Am I listening? Or am I allowing myself to be consumed. I am in training and I must allow God to speak His ways into my life. I desire to be equipped for good I must allow His words into my heart and mind. That the things of this world would fade away...and I would be left with Him. Him alone. My sustainer. My very breath.

sunset, open arms, giving it to God

So in that moment my "expectations" dissipated...because who are we kidding - they were unreasonable...and I had to come to a place of surrender. A place of preparing my heart to once again take on this calling of educating my children. Because we can get it DONE...but it doesn't do us any good if it never challenges and molds our hearts and bends us towards Him.

DONE can't be my goal. Jesus has to be my goal.

Showing my children Jesus in the midst of gaining knowledge is what brings lasting wisdom. That is really the only box I want to "check" this year.

"So we will go to bed at a decent hour, wake up early, get started and see how Jesus reveals Himself to us today."

Oh, how I love (this is a difficult word to type...but I know it is good for me...) being taught...reproofed...corrected and trained.
Especially by a gently Teacher.
(that I need to mimic a little better...) 

Share with me your "back to school" struggles and victories!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

FCS :: Grace to "get it"

I am hoping you are hanging in there with this book study... Chapter 4 is a long one we are taking two weeks to go through it, so we don't miss anything. There is so much to be said about this 'parenting' thing - it is so much more! Parenting is educating! A home education takes place regardless of where our children go to school. As a nation we are failing at "home educating" our children, we are leaving them to be educated by the world. As parents this falls on us... Oh Lord, have mercy! Call us back to what is right - to what is You!

These chapters cause much pondering for me... my own heart...considering the heart of my selfish children's tantrums!!!! Oh the responsibility is almost unbearable...until I gaze at Christ.... He bore the greatest die for His children. That would rebel, that would not desire all things right, that would be satisfied with the cheap and easy...

What does the Lord require of us?
To do kindness...walk humbly with our God. 
Micah 6:8

To do justice... to do what is right versus what I want in that moment. To let go of myself for the sake of Christ...which in turn becomes for the sake of those around children. I know I don't always choose to do what is "right", because I don't always consider my decisions in this way. If I am honest they are usually based on what "I want"... which unfortunately not always "right" because in the short term they satisfy "me".
Oh, Spirit open my eyes to the opportunities in my day to do what is "right" according to You. That I may sense your nudging to stop and evaluate my heart. That he rightness you bring about in me would overflow to those around me. - Amen

Love kindness... to love it so much that I pursue it! To love it as much as I love coffee...seriously, I pursue this on a daily basis - I'm not always looking to be kind. I may be by God's grace at times, but intentional...not often enough. And yet I am reminded that God pursued me because of His kindness...He didn't have to, He wanted to.
Oh, Spirit give me a desire to pursue others with kindness. Help me to see need in the lives of my children - areas where they are lacking in character - that in kindness we can show them the right way. That it may remove evil intentions or selfish desires and bring us back to what is right. - Amen

Walk humbly... oh, pride! To not seek glory for myself but for the Jesus' renown... Often times I realize that my kids are doing things for my sake...and it is in those times I realize how I need to point them to "why"...because the Bible tells us so...or Jesus requires it of us - they are learning for their own sake, so that they can see God for who He is in History, His absoluteness in Math, His creativity in Science, etc. It is in our humility that we can see God in all His glory - our pride blinds us.
Oh, Spirit lower me. In my teaching, in my directing of our day, in my explanations...let them see the reason we do is You! It is for you we live and breathe and have our being! - Amen

Oh these chapters cause me to motives! I am still that child before the Lord, needing to learn, needing reminding, needing His grace to "get it". The same am I needing to be with my own children. Grace to "get it".

At home there is home they can learn, make mistakes, be corrected in love and experience grace. Grace to "get it".
Thank you Jesus for the opportunity to have them home and for teaching me these lessons over and over again. I am always in need of Christ, always in need of forgiveness, always in need of your guiding Spirit, always in need of your tender mercies...grateful for their lives, the responsibility to mother, for the time...thankful that you are pursuing them to know You. - Amen

Friday, March 28, 2014

FCS :: Trust & Obey

Obedience of the parent, first.
Obedience of the child follows.

It is interesting how we limit obedience to a child doing whatever the parent requests. But if we dig deeper and want to pursue obedience in our children we must first, as the parent, obey Christ. We must come to that place where we know God to be our Authority. He has already laid out our parameters to follow in loving our children well. Understanding them, knowing them, seeing their sin for what it is and extending discipline for their sake and allowing them to taste grace. That is how He is towards us!

For the parent we must understand the implications of abusing our authority and we must take on the responsibility of truly educating our children in the way of the Lord. Self-control is essential, so that our children can come to trust us and be reassured that they are considered. It is with His Word that we rebuke and bring forth freedom from sin in the lives of our children!

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
- 2 Timothy 3: 16-17
Parents should seek, prayerfully, to become worthy leaders with understanding, wisdom, and love. - p.57
 With obedience comes great freedom. We enjoy freedom in the Lord when we are in His will. We need to trust God's ways and obey them. A child too, will have great understanding of the boundaries set before them, if they are consistent and loving. And they too must learn to trust and obey us as their authority in order to experience freedom in relationship, not only with us but with God. Therefore, it is so important to make our words and requests count. That what we ask of them we truly require and expect to be completed - well.

As my children are growing I am enjoying the fruit of having been (mostly...) consistent when they were little. This was not easy (and I failed miserably at times...) - and I paid the price when I was lacking in my consistency. There were many days/nights when it felt like they would never get it when mommy said "no!" or when I found myself "loosing it" because of my frustration. And it was important for the Holy Spirit to correct me so that I could adjust and correct my actions and ask my children for forgiveness. The transparency that it brought was so freeing. To lay it before God and my children allowed them to see that I am not perfect. And on the days that followed and they saw my frustrations rising, it was my MercifulOne that asked... "Mommy, should we pray for you?" YES! YES! YES! A million times YES! And on days when they were having a hard time being obedient, it was precious for my soul to have them confess "Mommy, I am trying...I'm sorry." and so we prayed for strength to keep trying to obey the first time - and more patience for Mommy...

So it is that our relationship is more than just parent & child or Master & servant... It is a relationship with the understanding that it is good to be in fellowship with one another with the loving boundaries that the Lord has shown us. And that obedience is good - it gives the parent/Master the opportunity to protect and bless. It gives the child/servant protection, freedom to live fully and the privilege to enjoy all the goodness that comes from the parent/Master. We get to fully enjoy one another!

Jesus is our friend and we can fully enjoy Him!

I want to fully enjoy my children - they constantly amaze me. And I am humbled by my responsibility for them and the trust that they have in me as Mom to do right on their behalf. And the only Right is God's way.
Onto Chapter 4! It is a longer chapter...but hang in there!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

FCS :: Word Study for Chapter 3 (and Link Up)

Authority & Freedom

children, freedom, home schooling, education, authority, chalotte mason

AUTHOR'ITY, noun [Latin auctoritas.]
1. Legal power, or a right to command or to act; as the authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over children. Power; rule; sway.
2. The power derived from opinion, respect or esteem; influence of character or office; credit; as the authority of age or example, which is submitted to or respected, in some measure, as a law, or rule of action.

Romans 13:1-7 :: Submission to Governing Authorities 
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.

"Authority is that aspect of love which parents present to their children; parents know that it is love, because to them it means continual self-denial, self-representation, self-sacrifice; children recognize it as love, because to them it means quiet rest and gaiety of heart. Perhaps the best aid to the maintenance of authority in the home is for those in authority to ask themselves daily that question which is presumptuously put to our Lord - 'Who gave thee this authority?'" - CM

FREE'DOM, noun
1. A state of exemption from the power or control of another; liberty; exemption from slavery, servitude or confinement. freedom is personal, civil, political, and religious.
2. Particular privileges; franchise; immunity

Freedom is found in obedience.

OBE'DIENCE, noun [Latin obedientia]
Compliance with a command, prohibition or known law and rule of duty prescribed; the performance of what is required or enjoined by authority, or the abstaining from what is prohibited, in compliance with the command or prohibition. To constitute obedience the act or forbearance to act must be in submission to authority; the command must be known to the person, and his compliance must be in consequence of it, or it is not obedience. Obedience is not synonymous with obsequiousness; the latter often implying meanness or servility, and obedience being merely a proper submission to authority. That which duty requires implies dignity of conduct rather than servility. Obedience may be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary obedience alone can be acceptable to God.

Deuteronomy 5:33
Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

"...the principle of obedience is within him (the child) waiting to be called into existence. There is no need to berate a child, or threaten him, or use any manner of violence, because the parent is invested with authority which the child intuitively recognizes. It is enough to say, 'Do this,' in a quiet authoritative tone, and expect it to be done. The mother often loses her hold over her children because they detect in the tone of her voice that she does not expect them to obey her behests; she does not think enough of her position; has not sufficient confidence in her own authority. The mother's great stronghold is in the habit of obedience." - CM


Monday, March 17, 2014

Authority and Freedom

Chapter 3 :: Authority and Freedom

"There are good and evil tendencies in body and mind, heart and soul; and the hope set before us is that we can foster the good so as to attenuate the evil; that is, on condition that we put education in her true place as the handmaid of Religion." - CM

freedom, resting, trusting, experience, homeschool, learning

Education has a place of purpose, it serves something, it reinforces Truth, without it Truth may struggle in the hearts of man. And so education must submit to Something greater than itself. Willingly. For the soul purpose to fulfill its calling.

Who is in authority in our lives? And how do our children see authority as a good thing? It is a good thing - left on our own we destroy ourselves... It is in our nature to run from gain what we claim as 'freedom'. But after you have lived a bit you realize what the reality is... running from authority doesn't lead us to freedom, it makes us a slave to another....and this applies to everyone. Parent included. We are called to be good examples of authority - not dominating but understanding the child. So that their best is before us, considered and acted upon.

Our guide for right and wrong is the Bible and it is that simple - this is for the child as much as the parent - and it should set up our home standards for living out life and learning. Our teaching should be an overflow of what the Holy Spirit is teaching us. And when we have to correct the child's character is should be presented from scripture itself. So that the child can see and understand that the standard we live by is God' is not man made. We can also sympathize and share how we struggle with the same sin...and there are appropriate consequences.

"Authority is that aspect of love which parents present to their children; parents know what it is to love, because to them it means continual self-denial, self-representation, self-sacrifice; children recognize it as love, because to them it means quiet rest and a gaiety of heart." - CM

surrender, freedom, home school, trusting, learning
We surrender to God because He is love. He is our authority because He is good and just. Guaranteeing that our best is before Him and He acts on our behalf. He has already made the ultimate sacrifice in Christ and that brings us rest in our hearts... So we submit to Him and use His word as our guide in order to teach and be taught. Freedom.

Keep reading and digging in...
Word Study Wednesday...lets look up both these words to gain a deeper understanding... authority and freedom

Thursday, March 13, 2014

FCS :: Rich Mind-Food

FCS :: Chapter 2 :: Rich Mind-Food

Warning:: This post has the potential to make you want to become a gourmet chef!

I love to eat...
I love to eat good food...
I love to eat fresh food...
Food that is unique...
Food with various textures...
Food that has layers of robust flavors...

I'm hungry now - this may be a short post...

I love a new and good recipe and finding an occasion to make it! (So send any you might have, my way...)

This food that I pursue brings me much pleasure...brings me much much so that I love to talk about food! A small (to medium-sized...) obsession...

So it should it be with learning and cultivating in your home a love for learning. You need to set the table for this rich meal... a comfortable place, removal of distractions, some "quiet" toys for the little ones and a good book. A "living book"... what is that? A book that is written so well that the book comes alive. A book that takes you in and makes you the main character. A book far from twaddle... There are some good ones out there!

Why would we serve up such a great meal for our children?
Because it is important for us to value the child and be purposeful in elevating all things that concern the child. One of the many concerns that we should evaluate is time - and how it is spent. Is what they are doing profitable? Or is it exasperating them? We need to set priorities for them...and ourselves. (ouch!) Streamlining learning so it is not burdensome goes hand in hand with evaluating their time. It needs to be enlightening so that it does not rob time for play...real play.

Why would we make this great meal enjoyable? As opposed to just practical and because it is necessary? 
Play is necessary and it needs to open the mind to imagination and it needs the freedom to make messes and try new things. Charlotte Mason scheduled her lessons early and half of the day because she valued the child's play time (p.24). There is also no room for boredom when the meal of learning is enjoyable... Children already come to the table with an appetite to reading to them chapter by chapter satisfies them... It is an active experience of the mind, personality and language (p.30).

"(the book should be...) really valuable for its own sake, accurate, and interesting, of a kind that the child may recall...with pleasure" - CM

So what is after this meal?
Dessert!!!!! Oh, Narration!!!!! The proof is in the pudding... "can you tell me the story?" This is where the child brings forth the fruit of what he has already taken pleasure in. It is simply delightful to hear "in their own words" what they have gleaned and taken in. Try it. Read, have them listen and then have them tell back...delicious!

Excellence in learning requires serving up excellent mind-food. Expect high standards, but let them be appropriate to the individual (respecting who they are...) who is progressing at his own rate of development (p.36).

There is much delight in partaking of something excellent.

All this For the Children's Sake...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Word Study : Excellence

FCS : Chapter 2 Word Study : Excellence

EXCELLENCY, noun [Latin excellentia.] The state of possessing good qualities in an unusual or eminent degree; the state of excelling in any thing.

1. A valuable quality; any thing highly laudable, meritorious or virtuous, in persons, or valuable and esteemed, in things. Purity of heart, uprightness of mind, sincerity, virtue, piety, are excellencies of character; symmetry of parts, strength and beauty are excellencies of body; an accurate knowledge of an art is an excellence in the artisan; soundness and durability are excellencies in timber; fertility, in land; elegance, in writing. In short, whatever contributes to exalt man, or to render him esteemed and happy, or to bless society, is in him an excellence

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." - Philippians 4:8
"This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." - Titus 3:8
Chapter 2 is all about excellence...not as an impossible accomplishment but as something to aim for. Because the reality is we are called to it. We were made to focus on the most excellent One. We were made to know the excellent One. We were made to love like the excellent One.
He has given us His most Excellent. Jesus.

And if we follow His example as Father, we as parent should desire to give and share all things excellent to our children. Not in the form of temporal "things" but in the form of elevating "eternal" things - that will open their minds to being able to grasp and see God for who He is. God is in the simple and in the deep. Knowledge of Him is what sustains us.

"Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this:
Wisdom preserves those who have it." - Ecclesiastes 7:12
Excellence doesn't need to be a high place for us but rather a humble calling in all things. Because we can't attain it on our own - we need His excellent help. Daily.

Being mindful of how we or others are "feeding" our children is our responsibility.

:: Fat & Happy ::
Fat in rich education, Happy because we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.

"There is no normal child who will not respond to proper feeding physically, spiritually or mentally. " - FCS p.40

 What did you take away from this word "Excellence" today? Please share...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Children are Born 'Persons'...

As I am finding my rhythm with this book study that is taking place in my living room every week and blogging about it as we go along, here is a simple schedule on how we will be diving in and walking through each chapter...

Mondays :: a short & sweet preview of the chapter in For the Children's Sake... to encourage your reading of the chapter and to highlight some topics of interest. 
Wednesdays :: dig deeper with a word study based on the chapter - feel free to do your own!
Fridays :: a blog post about the chapter and our discussion - hope you will join the discussion in the comment section below!

So grab your book and a cup of coffee and read along - jot down quotes or notes (helps me remember things...) in your notebook and lets share thoughts!

children, hands, identity, education, individuality, persons

Preview of Chapter 2 in FCS... "Children are Born Persons"

Do you agree? Do we really treat them this way? Not on a pedestal, bending to their every cry, but with respect of their mind and soul? Insuring that we are expecting excellence and handing them over to themselves with understanding of their responsibilities as a human being created in God's image?

Whew...sometimes I struggle to remember this basic truth...our society is trying to make this an untruth...we need to take hold of this principle and make it a breathing reality.

In this chapter Charlotte Mason "challenges us (as parents or teacher) to identify the child's actual needs and capacities; to serve him as he is, on the basis of what is right and good for him as a person." p.14  NOT on the basis of what is convenient for us.  And the reality is the child has everything he needs to learn and self-educate...

"If we have not proved that a child is born a person with a mind as complete and beautiful as his little body, we can at least show that he always has all the mind he requires for these occasions;
that is, that his mind is the instrument of his education and that his
education does not produce his mind" - CM

clear path, perspective, beauty, child learning, education, growing, blooming Twaddle... for the mentally inferior and useless stuff produced for children by adults; this only devaluing their minds and therefore, keeping them from excellence in education and in all thing "life". This boils down to a disrespect of their minds... by giving them this "pre-chewed mind-food" we rob them of thinking for themselves and coming to their own conclusions about everything! Shame on us!

The challenge is giving the child generous portions of healthy and rich "mind-food", raising the bar of excellence and allowing the child to master at their own rate. In efforts for them to be satisfied in their learning and their accomplishments. Ultimately finding joy and educating themselves!

"There is no normal child who will not respond to proper feeding physically, spiritually or mentally." p.40

Education is truly meant to be an active experience of the mind  - encompassing everything about a child, their personality, their gifts, their interests and their language.

This chapter details some specific examples of how to implement this principle thru narration and valuing the child's accomplishment based on their abilities - at various stages. It also shares how to celebrate excellence and to be patient in realizing it in the child as they take ownership of their learning. It is a beautiful thing when you see a child loving what they are learning!

The bar is set high for us as parents and teachers...but we don't do this in our own strength. We have One that has gone before us...look at how Jesus taught...with parables that require us to listen, evaluate and draw our own conclusions...that we may "tell back" and apply them to our lives and find freedom in a deeper knowledge and understanding of who He is. Application is a form of narration, it shows what we have truly learned. God has given us grace in our learning; therefore, may we extend it to those that sit at our feet.

Go and read..and deeply learn. Apply it as you learn it...
Word Study Wednesday... the word "excellence"

Post your comments about how the principles in this chapter are changing the way you think or educate...

Friday, March 7, 2014

FCS :: HeartLearning

mother daughter, teaching the heart, homeschool, education, discipline, Charlotte Mason

Chapter 1 :: What is Education?

Oh, what a delightful discussion! It really did ignite my fire again to re-hash and re-embrace this question...especially with these moms seated around me. I was YOU six years ago! Deathly afraid of what I was taking on, yet knowing deep down that it would be sooooo good. And that it would be the best thing I could do for my children... my family... myself. To cross this mental/heart bridge meant asking this question and coming to a conclusion that would be the foundation for my "why do I home educate?" I had to answer this for myself and I honestly believe you have to do the same.

This question is really for whatever route you choose to educate your children...private or public or home...because there is always "home education" taking place. And it matters.

How did the chapter challenge you? It seems like a simple question really... one that you can give a one word answer to...


Those two words cannot be separated really. They go together. You really can't do one without the other otherwise you really aren't doing either. That was the gist of our discussion. Let's dig deeper... chime in, share your thoughts...

When does heartlearning begin? According to the modern definition it begins on day one of "general knowledge" a.k.a. kindergarten... but is that reality? Heartlearning really begins from day one and continues until we die - perfected in heaven! The pruning and trimming of our character produces sweeter fruit if it is done early and consistently. And it frees our heart to learn "subjects" when the time comes - with maturity and discipline that will keep you sane!

We shared with one another what heartlearning looks like in the beginning...for the parents it is looking at the child as a God created "person" instead of another responsibility to add to your list. It means building up the endurance of consistency in discipline. For the child it means learning obedience the first time, developing endurance in listening, having sin gently pointed out and realigning with Christ. As you/they grow in this, it looks like being vulnerable and transparent with your children - asking for forgiveness and prayer when you need it in order to keep it is a time of letting them take a hold of their learning for themselves. It is never too late to start working on the has its own tendency for evil, but if its love becomes Christ it can be resurrected for His glory. And that is our goal with any home education!

"For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come..." - Mark 7:21

Extending grace both ways as we grow together is paramount. And it takes place while you are doing "life"... in the moment. Some things can't wait until it is time for "class".

Being creative in teaching self-discipline is HUGE...pull out the play-doh, beans and a cup, initiate read-alouds (start with 10 minutes and increase accordingly), shaving cream in a baggie, crib time for toddlers/room time (so mommy can enjoy some quiet...), quiet play time, learning how to play well with others... Make it something you do, they will expect it, want more of it and thoroughly enjoy it. It blesses both of you at the same time. The older they get the more you let them dive into what they are interested in - beading, learning how to sew, drawing, playing an instrument, building a shield and sword...

Hear will fall and some days it is just plain ugly. But get up and do it again. You will soon be up and running...and you will look back and realize six years have passed by and you really, really, really like the people your children are becoming! The challenge of homeschooling is not the "subjects" nor even teaching those "subjects" but it is the heart condition of the student. Because some days that is all you see - the yuck inside...and it is disheartening and makes you want to give up - but don't because there is hope for our hearts if we take them to Christ every time. This is where consistency is key...

"There has never been a generation when children have so desperately needed their parent's time, thoughtful creativity and friendship.
The culture is out of step with the Word of God.
Other pressures threaten to take away sanity, stability and simple humanity." pg. 10

Charlotte Mason provides a framework for us to build upon - and what we build will be unique to each of us. That is the beauty of home educating, in whatever capacity you do it - no two home schools will be alike! They will have the personal touch of our Creator. Hooray!!!! There is much freedom in this...

"We are raising a generation of custom built children - no factory models here... The academic goal of homeschooling is not to teach a multitude of things to an adequate level, but to tutor in the most important things to an excellent level." - Teaching the Trivium pg. 42

...the heart is the most important...

Let the hearlearning begin! us first, and for the children's sake!

It was refreshing to start here... let's continue onto Chapter 2...
read, journal & share your thoughts here...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FCS :: Word Study for Chapter 1 (and Link Up)


Perfect for a word it Wednesday?
God knew...

(This is a warm-up to the actual blog on Chapter 1...coming Friday)

word study, education, book study, charlotte mason

Lets start off with a simple versus old

Modern Definition : EDUCATION
The act or process of imparting/acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgement and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

Webster (1828) Definition : EDUCATION
The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the the manners and habits of youth and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science is important ; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents/guardians who neglect these duties

WHOA. I went through the "process"... I received "general knowledge"... I did okay. By the world's standards I would be considered "successful" - except that I left my profession to educate my kids...not highly regarded by most. Noble, maybe.

manners. instruction. discipline. tempering tempers. religion.

Where have these gone? Today, they seem to have vanished. And if I watch or read things around me I am saddened. Downright depressed. How would things be different if it was so engrained in us as parents that these were our responsibility and they mattered? That it would bring life or death to our children... not just physically but spiritually.

How different would we be if our hearts were invested in to the point of being known? That what God had purposed us for we really lived out? That the world around us would point us to Christ because we took the time to develop innate skills of observation, to develop submission to an ultimate authority, to curb our tongue and tame our tempers.

How different would our world be if the education of the heart was priority? How differently we would approach our awe instead of cursing.

The point here is that education is beyond the classroom. It should penetrate our hearts. It should shape our loves. It should curb our sinful tendencies. It should cause us to bow before a God worthy of praise - because we have witnessed His science in creation, we have evidence of His providence in history, we have sensed His absoluteness in math and therefore, learned of His character. All the while being awed by His love and mercy towards us in a broken world.

The goal is not to be perfect but to be pursuant of all things holy.
For the children's sake.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy,
think about such things." - Philippians 4:8

So that they may see Him for who He is.

Read Chapter 1...write down your thoughts in your journal or share them here...
How is this challenging you? Did someone invest in your heart education? How different would you be if someone had?

Let's meet back here on Friday to discuss our findings of Chapter 1... be rich in understanding!

Link up below for Word Study Wednesday, thank you! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

For the Children's Sake

Charlotte Mason, Book Study, For the Children's Sake, homeschooling

Book Study: “For the Children’s Sake”Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

Hello…I say this a bit sheepishly because I have been “gone” for a bit (I have blogged here before…). Not “gone” for the sake of being “gone”…but “gone” because the timing wasn’t right and because I believe that I have discovered a little bit more about this journey called “homeschooling”. Oh, the learning for my children’s sake and re-education for my sake is never ending. Jesus is the best teacher and we have a lot to learn! So all this to say... Hello, again my friend... and it is good to be back to share what and where the Holy Spirit has taken me and is opening my eyes to see in a fresh new light, again, with more insight and understanding and application.

I want to invite you to pull up a chair and join me on an upcoming journey.... For the next six to eight weeks I will be doing a book study - along with a few new moms who are on the fence about homeschooling - on a book by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay titled “For the Children’s Sake”. I love this title…because it is convicting from the get go. It is NOT about me!!!!! It is about the calling that God put in my heart when I did not have a clue what all “it” meant. I’m actually glad I did not have a clue because I probably would not have surrendered my heart to ever do it! (I know me...I'm 'bout you?) But the Lord knew it was the right time to plant the seed so that in time it was the most natural thing to do when it was "school time" for my children. It is not about me…it is about the purposes that the Lord wants to accomplish in and thru my children.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 
 - Isaiah 55:8 (I love the word "declares" in this...we got to hear it!)

In my years of home schooling Charlotte Mason’s biblical principles have always been present – sometimes I studied her philosophies intentionally and other times it was in the background of other methodologies. I think what has always captivated me was her belief in truth and it solely coming from Christ.  Education deriving from our knowledge of God, His son Jesus and the understanding that comes with the Holy Spirit present in our learning. 

"A child should be true to himself, aware of his weaknesses of character, admit when he is cross, selfish, clumsy, lacking self-control, etc. But he should also understand that because he is a child of God, his soul is precious and he can attempt great things for God because so many beautiful possibilities are available to him." - Charlotte Mason
No matter the age…so like my children, I am digging deeper by once again boiling down my intentions of “schooling” to the foundational principles that remind me of why I do this. For my children’s sake.

Pretty simple…but somehow it is so easy to complicate matters.

So if you feel so inclined, join us. Grab the book off your bookshelf or quickly order it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble… You may also want a notebook to write your thoughts down…it is a beautiful thing to see the journey the Lord takes you down as you journal. It is where I see evidence that I am actually learning! Praise God for pen and paper!!!!...and coffee!

By the way...I love Gina's descriptive of her homeschooling...
"...we are a Mason loving, unschoolerish, principle driven homeschool..." I can so relate...ahhh...