30 Dec

Second Semester Simplify!

simplify

Ok homeschool moms, half the year is gone! We’re on the home stretch… it’s time to reevaluate and decide what needs to stay and what needs to go… Less is more. We know this, we’ve heard it forever. So why do we, as homeschool moms, feel the need to pile more and more into our schedules each day?

It’s simple. It’s comparison. It’s a trap, and it’s exhausting.

I’ve done it, I’ve piled more and more in some attempt to make sure my kids aren’t missing anything that they would get at “real school.” Guess what? They’re missing a lot. They’re missing bullies, secular education, worldly friends, and they’re missing their own comparison traps.

So let’s talk about Less is More and how we can put it into play in our crazy homeschool lives…

Let’s start with the MORE philosophy…

We’ve been doing it since the moment we found out we were pregnant. We compare the way we dress and need cuter maternity clothes. We compare the weight we gain and feel ugly. We compare the cool baby gear we see and we buy a ton of stuff we don’t need.

The comparison trap goes on forever, shoes, clothes, houses, nurseries… do you cloth diaper or use sposies? Homemade baby food or store bought? Breast or bottle?

And now we are here… homeschooling our kids and I don’t know about you, but I am constantly comparing my kids and my schedule to those “thriving” families I see around me. One good friend’s son actually wrote a book before he was 10 years old!! Ok, well, in her defense she truly is amazing and her son is brilliant but I have to know that my baseball obsessed boys aren’t going to write a paragraph without spewing contempt, there are no books in their future. I see lots of families who seem to be all sitting around, knitting, speaking latin, listening to mozart and reading every classic novel known to man. My kids are drawing pokemon figures when we do our read alouds, arguing over spelling words and begging for ten more minutes of recess. I thought I had added all the right programs, techniques, Pinterest worthy homeschool everything. However, I found myself spending much of my time making sure I was doing the latest and greatest for my kids but I wasn’t spending that time with my kids.

 

Now for LESS…

I’m simplifying this January. The first thing I’m doing away with is tedious lesson plans. I came across a post a few weeks back about simplifying homeschool with spiral notebooks. 10 cent notebooks! And guess what guys? It’s genius!

(link to original poster HERE)

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Every night I write their assignments in their notebook but I wanted to take it a step past just school. I’m also including their Bible reading and chores for the day. You see, if you spend all your time focusing on the academics of homschooling you’ll miss out on the character building, Christ-centering, Child-of-God making elements.

I found a really cool way to get the boys not only memorizing their verses, but understanding them as well. (the image below is the property of www.yourvibrantfamily.com)

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(original post HERE)

In their notebook I write a verse for them to look up. They read the verse, copy it in their notebook , restate it in their own words… When they are done with their assignments for the day I can go back to that verse and make sure they understand what it means. It opens a dialogue about Christ and it’s leading to some very cool conversations.

I’m also including their daily chores in their spiral notebook. At the end of the day, when everything is checked off and I make sure they are done to the Lord’s standards, they earn a little painted black quarter that they can use to redeem candy from our school room bubble gum machine. (it only took 18 months to get that in play! my original post here. Our School Room)

candy

 

(this thing costs a FORTUNE to fill!! That’s two bags of M&M’s and two bags of Skittles!)

When I focus more on our basic day, rather than trying to make them Ivy league scholars, my kids get to be kids and less really is more.

So let’s change a bit, let’s simplify things. Let’s spend more time with our children playing Uno and Candy Land rather than filling their schedules with Latin and Theremin lessons. Let them be kids, let yourself be imperfect. Take a breath momma, as long as they have time with you they aren’t missing a thing!

 

 

 

 

19 Dec

When our blessings distract us from our purpose

 

blessingsThis time of year our home is filled with the sounds of Christmas. Mainly in the form of music and movies. I love the classic movies. Frosty is a favorite. Every time my kids watch it (which seems to be every.single.day.) I hear the little magician cry out “Busy, Busy Busy!” and I laugh…

busy

“Me too, Santa, me too”

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t blogged since August. I got busy. Too busy.

In the past few months I’ve started a cake business, actually, I’ve just rekindled a passion. My business is thriving and God is blessing it! I love decorating cakes, I love baking, I actually just love all things cake 🙂

It started out as me doing a cake or two per month, and it’s turned into several a week along with cupcakes and the like. I’m excited to see what God can do with this little business of mine but I also am painfully aware of what the devil can do.

We all know that God uses all things for good.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV

But Satan will use good things too if we are not careful. He is a master of distraction and he uses it to take our focus away from our true purpose.

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversarythe devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8

Cakes are my business, they are my hobby, they are my extra income, but they are not my purpose.

My children are my purpose. Growing them, educating them, validating them, working diligently to turn them into God fearing adults who walk side by side with Christ on a daily basis. That’s my purpose.

Lately, however, I find myself sitting on the couch during nap time looking at cake pictures, inspiration so to speak. I’m checking messages, practicing new techniques… it’s all good as long as I don’t allow it to consume all of me. Sometimes I do though. Sometimes I check out mentally and immerse myself in Pinterest while my kids play video games after school. That’s when this business of mine becomes a distraction from my real purpose. That’s where I need discipline to keep everything balanced. I need to prioritize my time properly, so that my purpose comes before my hobbies.

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

It’s easy to immerse ourselves in time squandering but it isn’t wise. Some days I don’t even pick up my bible, yet I have time to peruse Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I’m forsaking the most important work I have, for the distractions of life.

So what to do? How do you balance the good things that God has given you with, the talents He has provided you with, with the purpose He has given you? I’m still learning myself but I’m finding that prayer is the biggest component.

If I wake up in the morning and immediately open my bible and pray for my day, things go according to plan (most of the time) my priorities stay in check, my distractions are less of a distraction.

However, if the first thing I touch in the morning is my phone, I may not even open my bible. That blows my entire day. Every single time.

There is no magic trick, no “do this and you’ll never be distracted again!” I just have to make prayer and God my priority, He will then make me focus on my purpose. The rest can wait.

 

Merry Christmas!