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12 Secrets For the Busy Home Schooler

Life is busy. We rush from here to there. We rush through our lesson plans. We rush to finish another project with the kids. We rush to make cookies. We rush to church and special events. We have to pay the bills and buy the groceries and clean the house and make the meals that nobody wants to eat.

And oh yeah, don’t forget you are a full-time teacher. You have to plan the lessons, prepare to teach, and sit down with each child while the others run amok. Then the toddler makes a mess all over the floor while you were doing spelling with your first grader, and everything must be put on hold while you solve the problem.

We give and give until there is nothing left of ourselves, until we are empty. We handle the chores, cook the meals, teach the lessons, drive everyone to their special piano lessons and soccer practice, rush home to make dinner, tuck the kids into bed, and then drag them out of bed in the morning to start it all over again.

Yet we chose to home school because we value a family where community and creativity our nurtured, where there is joy and warmth and rest, where you are not running from one event to the next. Hidden in our hearts, a small spark, a little wish for something deeper, something more eternal, waits to blossom.

We cannot change anyone. We can only change ourselves. To move our families in the right direction, we must first move ourselves in that direction and trust that they will follow. These twelve life principles are lessons I have learned and forgotten and then reapplied to my life many times over.

1. Get up while the house is still quiet. Get your breakfast. Get your shower. Have a moment to drink your coffee and plan your day. You are worth the extra effort to take care of yourself before you start to serve others. If you let them wake you, you will be 10 steps behind the rest of the day. And you will be too tired and grumpy to tackle the day’s challenges.

If the children wake up before you are ready, send them back to bed. As a home schooling family, you can set your own schedule. Let them read in bed for half an hour or play quietly until you are ready.

2. Ignore criticisms and unwelcome advice. Busy bodies everywhere have their opinions about what you should or should not be doing. I’d like to say they mean well, but I’m really not so sure about that. Most of them just want to feel better about their own selves by tearing someone else down, and very few actually know what they are talking about.

3. Keep a journal. Write your thoughts and contemplate yourself. Take the time to recognize your emotional state. Emotions are often warning messages, helping you know when to rest and when something is not healthy. Take the time to ask yourself who you really are. Knowing and finding yourself are integral for good parenting.

4. Explore your own creative aspects. We have arts and crafts for the kids, music lessons for the kids, and writing essays for the kids. If developing the arts is so important for your kids, is it not just as important for you? You want your kids to be well-rounded, right? So don’t be a hypocrite, and you will find your kids being more willing to jump into their lessons, following your example.

5. Never stop learning. Try new things. Check out books from the library to explore a new hobby and study something you’ve always wanted to know. Your brain is a powerful tool. Whatever style of home schooling you may have, you can always unschool yourself.

6. Eat lunch. And have a snack. At the end of the day, I find that I snap more. Why? I don’t feel hungry, but once I’ve eaten dinner my mood improves. We are finite people. Only God is infinite, and we are dependent on water, food, and God to nourish our lives. So don’t be a martyr and eat something.

7. Insist on an afternoon break. Children need downtime in order to have unscheduled, undirected play. No matter how old your children are, it is good for them and you that everyone gets quiet time alone. Send them to their rooms to read or outside to play, but enforce the rule that you are not to be disturbed during this time.

8. Find time to exercise. Just as it is not your wish for your children to be unhealthy, it is not God’s wish for you either. He cherishes you just as you cherish your children. Parental duties and home schooling should never get in the way of this. Keep it fun, and find a routine that fits into your schedule. Maybe fit it in during your morning quiet hour or during the afternoon break. Or get workout videos that the kids can do with you.

9. Take quiet walks frequently. Not for the purpose of exercise. Not for some goal. Just for the chance to meander and to be quiet. To have solitude. To explore. Adults are goal-oriented. Everything we do has a purpose, whether it is to cook dinner, buy groceries, pay the bills, diet, or get some exercise. We are always striving. Sometimes, we just need to put that aside. So trade favors with your spouse, and take a little time each week.

10. Find time to play. Be a kid again. Children are experience-oriented. They do stuff for the simple joy of being. Growing up has made us lose that eternal quality of just being. Sometimes, we just need to enjoy the experience.

11. Never let life become a competition. We compete to be the best mom, to be the best dresser, the best decorator, the best friend, the most organized, the best scrapbooker, the most creative, the most athletic, the most beautiful. But when I stop to contemplate this, I realize that my value really has no bearing on anyone else. Parents celebrate their child’s first steps, however wobbly those steps may be. In the same way, we should celebrate our own wobbly attempts to grow.

12. Learn to say “No.” Sometimes, one more activity, one more responsibility, or one more event is just one too many. Instead, choose to say “Yes” to being home, to spending time with family, or to enjoying a dinner around the table.

In Business Your Body Language Says it All

Have Busy Hands, Not a Busy Body

I suppose I never really gave gossiping much thought before I became saved. In the world, it’s an acceptable thing to do. Everyone does it so therefore it’s ok. But, much like everything else that goes on in the secular world, once a person is born again, none of what the world does and considers to be normal is acceptable in the eyes of God. When you become in fellowship with Him, you can just feel His eyes as they go to and fro upon the earth to see who is righteous and just before Him. If you truly love Him, you live to please Him and you are transformed into a new being. The old ways just aren’t acceptable anymore, not to God and not to yourself. The Holy Spirit becomes your guide and will let you know when you aren’t pleasing God by the things your are doing or saying. You can’t hide from Him.

I am a fortuneate person because I grew up in a Chrisitian home. Both my parents lived godly lives and they projected this way of life into me. Gossip was never made popular in our home. But as I got older and went out in the world on my own, I didn’t practice all these values in my own life. I just never gave it much thought. I suppose I was made to feel regret later for things I had said, and all that did was destroy trust from others. I often wondered why some people got away with gossip and I never could? The truth is, no one gets away with it forever. God will always reveal this stuff to people so they might come to repentance and confess Christ. He will leave us exposed and looking pretty foolish. I myself got tired of looking like that fool. Because of my human weaknesses I remained in the dark about the right way to be living. I got tired of feeling ashamed for things I had done that I never meant to do. But, you can’t deny the things you get caught in doing and you can’t explain your way out of them. You just hope that you will be forgiven. I finally learned that I first needed forgiveness through Christ so that I could forgive myself for the things I had said and done to hurt others in order to expect them to forgive me.

Now that I’m a different person in Christ I dare not say things about people. Repeating things that are said to me just aren’t tantilizing anymore. I have learned that silence speaks louder than words. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that within me I hold the confidence of someone else. I never feel the guilt or worry that they would ever find out that I repeated something that was not intended to be repeated. Gossip does no more than create problems and negativity to those who come in contact with it. This is not Christ-like living. So why do people who call themselves Christian participate in it? It’s my guess that 1.) Either they aren’t really a Christian or 2.) They don’t know God’s Word very well. Both of which are a real problem.

Some people will justify their Christianity by saying they go to church. As the saying goes; you can sit in a garage forever and that still won’t make you a car! Then on the other hand, if you truly are a Christian who attends church and aren’t living a Christian life then you are in disobedience to the Lord and have no excuse for your behavior. Jesus talks about the dangers of a Christian who knowingly causes someone else to stumble and fall into sin. (Matt. 18:6) God will hold us all accountable one day. To which we can’t offer Him excuses.

The Bible says a lot about the problems that gossiping will cause. I find that people who love talking about others are generally bored. They aren’t keeping busy. This doesn’t mean keeping busy in other people’s affairs. God calls us to serve and serving involves using our hands. If we do serve with our mouths, we should be speaking words of God’s love and truth. This is not gossip, it’s edification. There’s a big difference. Gossip tears people down, God’s Word builds them up.

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica and commended them for their Christian beliefs even during persecution. He wrote mainly on the subject of Christ’s return and how they should be prepared in this event. It still holds true today. We should always strive to be ready for Christ’s return. In first Thessalonians Paul writes about the way Christians should be living.

“Furthermore, Brethren, we beg and admonish you in [virtue of our union with] the Lord Jesus, that you (follow the instructions which) you learned from us about how you ought to walk so as to please and gratify God, as indeed you are doing, [and] that you do so even more and more abundantly [attaining yet greater perfection in living this life].” 1 Thes. 4:1 (Amplified)

Walking as a Christian simply means to submit to Christ and let Him lead you into all righteousness. The only way we can do this to pay attention to what teachers and pastors are telling us. It’s for our own good. It’s not meant to go in one ear and out the other, it’s to be heard and done…every day. Virtue is our goal. Gossiping is not virtuous. Paul knew this and that is why he warns us not to do it.

Here is what Paul says about not gossiping;

“To make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you.” 1 Thes. 4:11

It’s not just a suggestion, it’s valuable life sustaining information for Christian living. We must make it our main ambition to live quietly, which is not talking about others. In other words, mind our own business. If no one can point a finger at us, our lives will be that much more peaceful. By keeping our hands busy in doing things that honor God, that will keep us from being busy bodies and poking our noses where they don’t belong. Then we won’t have to worry about who said what about whom. We can stop this fire of the tongue before it ever ignites.

If you find yourself talking about others, ask God to guard your mouth from saying anything that shouldn’t be said. If you hear gossip simply turn and walk away. Don’t play into the whiles of the devil. Stop and consider how you feel when people are talking about you behind your back. Take your concerns to God, only He can solve the problem. Take action in allowing Him to keep you from creating the problem. If we feel the need to talk, let’s talk about God. Only good can come of it.

Only after talking to God about people are we ready to talk to people about God?