From Scared Kindergarten Mama to College Bound

Twelve years. 

I was a scared mom, crying, no screaming, out to the Lord for guidance.

I knew He was calling me to homeschool, but I.DID.NOT.WANT.TO!

Turmoil amongst family and my own self-pride were holding me back.

What would people think?

I’m not equipped to do this!

This is crazy!

But God.

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He called me, equipped me, and has enabled our family to thrive. Over these 12 years that we have been homeschooling, it is impossible to list all the things He has taught us, all the ways He has grown us, and all the things He has provided for us.

I never imagined in my wildest dreams we would continue all the way to senior year.

But God.

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Next year will be the LAST year for that little girl. The one I struggled to decide if this was something I could do. And He has done above and beyond all I could ask or imagine.

I can hardly catch my breath. 

We visited our first college yesterday with that little girl, now a young woman. And while it was exciting and nerve-wracking and filled with how-on-earth-will-we-do-this moments, I have such peace.

The peace that surpasses all understanding.

Because I have seen firsthand the fruit of obedience.

I stepped out in faith when I didn’t want to.

And He has done above and beyond all I could ask or imagine.

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So I have no doubt, as we approach this last and final year of homeschooling and ultimately the “real life” we have been preparing for all this time...He’s in control. He is good. His plans prevail.

As we drove home exhausted from a long day, I started to feel overwhelmed. And I was quickly reminded of that little girl and how God has led us this far…not in our strength but in His.

And a supernatural wave of peace surrounded me. 

Seek Him first and this will all fall into place. His plans always prevail.

Will I have moments of doubt and fear over the next 18 months? You know it! But praise the Lord, if I continue to seek His face, those will be overshadowed by His precious peace.

He’s got this. Just as He did 12 years ago. I can rest in knowing that His plans are always good. My fears are replaced by my faith. 

Life in our own strength is not life at all, but life surrendered to Him is abundant and full.

 

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READ MY WHOLE STORY IN MY BOOK CALLED HOME

 


 

This summer, I am hosting a women’s retreat in Gettysburg, PA. In a world of excess, we are going to focus on that fact that Jesus is enough. The world will tell you YOU are enough. But truly, HE is enough. He is all we need. We don’t rely on ourselves, or earthly comforts, but on Him alone.  I have lived with it all stripped away, and I have seen that yes, Jesus is enough. In fact, Jesus is MORE than enough.

Early Bird Registration is Open! Join us for this life-changing and life-giving event. You will spend two days with other sisters in Christ, tired of what the world offers, and ready to live the life that HE offers.

Check out where I am speaking in 2018—-> SPEAKING (UPDATED)

Listen to the Podcast—-> PODCAST

Watch my YouTube Channel–->YouTube

Visit my homeschooling site–>Bible Based Homeschooling

Shop Simply Living for Him——>SHOP (new items added!)

 

Choosing a Verse for Your Homeschool Year

Verse for Homeschool

For as many years as I can remember, we have been choosing a verse for our family each homeschool year. I usually pray about it for awhile and see where the Lord leads.

It has been amazing to do this because we have seen each year how the verses truly fit our family and where He led us that year!

This year every time I prayed about it, I kept hearing this one in my mind:

 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 4 (ESV)

And that was that. I went no further. I declared it our verse for the year.

 

The truth is, as we get further on this journey, and nearing the end for my oldest (only two years left!) this has become more and more my prayer.

How about you? do you claim a verse for your homeschool year?

Share in the comments below!

 

Get your copy of 31 Verses to Pray for Your Homeschool here—> 31 Verses for the Homeschooling Family

Get your FREE  Homeschool Mother’s Prayer—> Free printable for the homeschooling mom

Join me for a Homeschool Mom’s Day Out August 25th!

RSVP here!

Get My NEW Book!

 

Check out where I am speaking in 2017—-> SPEAKING

Listen to the Podcast—-> PODCAST

Watch my YouTube Channel–->YouTube

Shop Simply Living for Him——>SHOP

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When the First Day of School Isn’t Picture Perfect

Dear Mom whose first day of school wasn’t picture-perfect

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Yes, I know it hurts as you scroll through facebook and see picture after picture of smiling children, matching outfits, and hair just so. The chalkboard they’re holding proudly proclaims their grade level…

Yet, your kids somehow don’t look like that. No one wanted to get dressed, let alone wear a new outfit or pretty hairstyle. And grade level? You are wondering where your struggling learner is even at these days.

You try to get the kids in order, so you can take the obligatory picture. After all…everyone is doing it– it’s tradition.

They bicker as you try to get them in a cute pose. They whine. They aren’t digging the picture…and neither are you.

Mom, I’ve been there. I know. Every first day is not picture-perfect. We’ve had years where there were tears, arguments, and big, huge let-downs. Mainly on my part. I had built up that the first day should look a certain way…That we needed to have a new outfit, fresh school supplies, a traditional picture, a gift for each child, a special breakfast… and mostly, great big smiles while doing it.

We build these expectations in our heads about what it should be like. We want the picture perfect life. We want our first day to fit in with the world. 

Well, sometimes life isn’t picture-perfect. What if God doesn’t want that for your family. What if He is using your struggles right now for a purpose to grow your family closer to Him? He isn’t looking at that picture, He is looking at your hearts. It is much more essential to have the inside in order right now, than a picture that portrays perfection.

Moms, if you are struggling with not living up to what you see online...or you have created expectations based on others, let’s remember Who we are living for. We are living for the King of Kings and not an Instagram ideal. When did the Internet become the standard for which we live? His Word is the standard in which we should be desiring to follow. He is the One who has given us these children to raise- let’s not waste it worrying about things that are so unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

So if your day had joys, then celebrate them. If your day wasn’t so joyful, let it drive you to your knees and seek the Lord. He wants us to go to Him. And remember it often in the hard times, where we grow closest to Him.

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And share those joys and struggles with your friends. Seek prayer, and seek support. We are all in this together and we are sisters in the body of Christ. Don’t pretend it’s all together when it’s all falling apart. Authenticity matters. So much. It matters. Shallow relationships based on appearances aren’t real. But the ones who share the nitty-gritty, where you have cried so much there’s no tears left…those are the times, where your girlfriends step in and pray for you, They cry for you. They lift you up. It’s a beautiful picture.

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And remember, the first day, is really just another day. Kids won’t look back and remember all those first days specifically, but you can bet the ones in between, will be what fills their memories- and what you did on those days…what you taught them…will matter. Teach them well- teach them His Word, teach them to follow Him and not the world.

Now, in being transparent…this was our picture yesterday. It wasn’t even supposed to be our first day, but on a whim, we started early. Everyone was smiling and happy because we also got baby chicks yesterday! We always take a photo with our verse for the year, and this year we chose Romans 12:2.

 

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Immediately after this picture, the kids argued about who was holding the chicks, and who was holding them too tight or not right. Later on, there were tears as the high schooler was overwhelmed with her work. Overall, it was a good day, but not without it’s difficult moments. We did work through the hard stuff, and it sure brought me to my knees at times.

This picture is not supposed to represent our whole day. It was a snapshot of a moment, to document our first day. Remember that when you see a photo and take it for what it is- a snapshot of a moment in time. Not a whole life.

 

 

Real Homeschool: Letting Go of the Pinterest-Perfect and Instagram-Ideal Homeschool– NOW AVAILABLE at Amazon.com!

Join me as we create a community, of moms being REAL!

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Will She Be Prepared?

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Two summers.

My baby girl has two summers left before she is officially a bonafide adult and graduated from this journey of homeschooling. And actually, we are in one of those summers right now. So I guess that makes it one and a half summers? 

Sigh.

With each beautiful summer sunset, we get one day closer to the sun setting on a journey that has been so special for us.

And the sun also rises on sweet new days.

(Hear all about our very rocky beginning of our homeschool years here.)

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As I think about our nearing the end of this journey, often times I get panicked. It can be just a small thing that will set me off, but all of a sudden I find myself there in my thoughts, frozen. And I ask myself,

Will She Be Prepared?

Did I teach her enough? Will she be able to handle a college course? Can she write a proper essay for the SAT? Will she know enough? 

Then I fret:

We never spent enough time on handwriting..it’s a lost art….kids these days….I should have…

blah… blah… blah

And I stop. And I am quickly brought back to reality.

While there are many things she may not know, and perhaps she will not be prepared for at first… maybe a challenging college course or that Algebra we struggled with will come back.

There is so very much she is prepared for.

Homeschooling has given us a unique opportunity to use life as our education. We have lived each day together, much more hours together than if she were in public school.

She has watched and observed “real life” unfold daily- the good, the bad, the ugly. She knows about so many things I never did as a teen. 

I smile as I think about a few months back, and how she traveled with me and navigated the way to Arkansas for a speaking engagement. Connecting flights, airports, rental cars. She was my lifeline. She did it all.

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She is independent. She researches what she does not know or what she desires to learn. She takes control of her life in many ways. She even planned an entire trip to Dinsey for us! All we had to do was show up 😉

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So while there may be gaps we left out academically, I have no doubt that she will be able to learn anything she wants to, after the next two summers are over. After all, even though she will technically “graduate,” the classroom she has been in will continue always…LIFE.

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And then I am gently reminded as I glance at my Bible. She is prepared. We have made the most important book a priority. She has all the wisdom and knowledge she will ever need in that book.

While I may have taught her math and science, and writing, and all the in between subjects, nothing at all is more important than laying a biblical foundation. If she knows the Lord, she is prepared for whatever will come her way.

She embraces life, isn’t afraid to take risks, and exudes joy. She always chooses to dance in the rain.

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Yes, my baby girl will be prepared. God will be with her always, and as long as she follows Him, I can rest that I have taught her what she needs most.

 

Get My NEW Book!

 

Join me in August!

Check out where I am speaking in 2017—-> SPEAKING

Listen to the Podcast—-> PODCAST

Watch my YouTube Channel–->YouTube

Shop Simply Living for Him——>SHOP

 

 

Summer School

Right now we are Summer Schooling!

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I love summer. The slower paced schedule and the time outside. Everything in bloom. So much to discover. The warm nights. The sunshine. The yummy treats. I love it all!

Our schedule is slow and our formal books may be closed, but I’ve seen that we are learning just as much as any other time of year. 

I’ve watched my kids in the garden, observing the plants each day.

The little guy points out a bumble bee in the flowers of our tomato plants and exclaims,

“He’s doing what God made Him to do.”

Yes..son…He is.

Or the day we went on a nature study on our property and discovered tons of butterflies in the wildflowers.

“Look! I can see it’s proboscis!”
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We watched endlessly as that butterfly sucked up the sweet nectar with its tongue. Can’t do these kinds of observations in books…

Then there are field trips. We went to a local zoo yesterday and my daughter practiced photography. All of the kids (and this mama!) learned a few new things about some of the animals we encountered. It was so much fun to watch them!

This zoo also has museums with lots of old artifacts that I just love. All kinds of old cars, tools, farm equipment, toys, kitchen tools, you name it! We learned quite a bit!

Just getting out each day, without an agenda has the kids learning. 

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We’ve been able to learn and explore:

  • Berry picking in our yard
  • Cooking and baking
  • Identifying unknown plants
  • Garden work every day
  • Fixing equipment
  • Building Legos daily
  • Library trips on rainy days
  • Watching birds and other animals
  • Studying insects- yes, the boys love catching ’em!
  • Watching tadpoles turn to frogs
  • Card games every day- never realized how much this helps with math for the little guy!
  • Lots of outdoor chores

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Oh, and then there’s been lessons around the house:

  • Setting up the dehumidifier
  • Dealing with a power outage
  • Fixing lawn equipment
  • Learning new chores
  • Fixing a rocking chair that goes back to Grandpa’s childhood!
  • Practicing hospitality- lots of company over in summertime
  • Drying herbs from the garden

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And some of the best lessons:

  • Reading Bibles on the porch
  • Spending time in prayer over various things
  • Living together as a family every day
  • Watching God paint the sky at night

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I’ve learned this summer that you can’t stop learning! It happens regardless of what books we open or schedule we create. God is teaching us each day, and I will savor each moment!

Join me this summer at the Simply Living for Him Women’s Retreat!

Take some time to slow down, unplug, and recharge. Find quiet and stillness in a gorgeous setting!!
Seek Him, pray, worship, and rest.

Tickets still available!

Get My NEW Book!

 

Check out where I am speaking in 2017—-> SPEAKING

Listen to the Podcast—-> PODCAST

Watch my YouTube Channel–->YouTube

Shop Simply Living for Him——>SHOP

My Most Important Advice to Any Homeschooler

Over the years, I have been asked many times what my biggest piece of advice for any homeschooler is.

I have learned most of these the hard way and am always quick to answer with these top pieces of advice:

  • Don’t compare your homeschool to anyone else’s.
  • Stick with a curriculum that works.
  • Be flexible.
  • Enjoy the journey.
  • Your relationship with your kids is a priority, even before academics.
  • Engage with your children.
  • Don’t try to recreate school at home.

Those are just a few of my favorites, but there is one piece of advice that I would say is the most important.

Let God Lead Your Homeschool.

YOU are NOT in charge of your homeschool. God is. If you are homeschooling it is because God has called you here. For whatever reason, and for however long of time, God has placed you here. It is so important to remember that because we can get so caught up in thinking we do this on our strength.

God is ultimately the one leading us each day. We must submit to His plans. We can do anything through His power. If He wants us here, He will supply the energy, the patience, the organization…all of it.

Face it, none of us can do this alone. I am only patient when He gives me patience. I am only energized when He gives me energy. And Lord knows I was never an organized person, but He gives me the power every day to complete the tasks that He has called me to do.

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And He calls each family to a different goal. So trying to copy someone else’s family will not succeed. He wants us to come to Him each day and let Him lead.

Beginning the day in the Bible is essential for me personally. God’s Word energizes me like nothing else. I can guarantee the days I am not in His Word, and I think I can do things on my own, I fail. The days I wake early, spend time with Him praying and seeking HIS will for my day, are always the days that I feel go smoothly.

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God is the head of our family and we must submit every detail including our homeschools to Him. How does that look? Prayer and Bible time are essential. Pray over your homeschool daily, weekly, and at the beginning of the year. Rather than searching the Internet for the next best thing for your homeschool, ask God to show you. Seek His will above all else.

I begin each day with the prayer, “Lord show me what you want the children to learn today. Show me what you want ME to learn today. Then supply the power to do it.” Some days go very differently than I planned, but sometimes that is where the lesson is and that is exactly how God wants it.
Keep your eyes on the goal. As soon as we take our eyes off of God we sink. When we try to do things in our own strength we fail. Let His Spirit fill you and supply for your needs.

And pray. Pray some more. Cover your family and your homeschool in prayer. Pray with friends. 

Let go and let the Lord lead. There really is no other way.

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Get my book: Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool

This new edition has a journal section at the end plus 31 verses for your homeschool with lots of writing space!

“This is the most encouraging homeschooling book I’ve ever read! So much truth, let God lead in every choice you make, make your goal to show your children how to live for Him. Very practical and such truth! Definitely, worth the time and money, I’m so glad I found this book!” ~recent review

called to homeschool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible Before Books – How Things Evolve as Children Grow

Lately, because we study our Bible in the evenings as a family we haven’t been doing a set Bible time together in the mornings. I read my Bible first thing when I wake up (no words before my eyes, before HIS Word has been before my eyes) and then I ask the kids to do the same. We all sort of have our own Bible time in the mornings. Nothing wrong with that, it is just different from previous years where we always did Bible time first thing before any schoolwork.

I am still trying to decide if I should add something in together in the mornings, or just leave our study time at night and let them study on their own in the morning. After all, they are getting older and I like the idea of them getting into the habit of their own time with the Lord. This is preparation for life 🙂

However, it is something I need to make sure happens. I posted this on Instagram yesterday:

Mom-bun, my Mickey Mouse mug, and a table full of possibilities today. Waiting for the boy to read his Bible since he came to do math, and I asked him if he read it yet. He said he hadn’t. Sent him back to THE most important book before we tackle that math! Make sure you, Mom, do the same! Set your heart right before the Lord BEFORE jumping into the day. His Word is living and active and nourishes and sustains us! Be transformed by it! Don’t let it sit there while you go about your day. Seek Him first!! Who’s with me? #simplylivingforhim #transformed #seekJesus#Biblefirst #biblebasedhomeschooling

How are you studying the Bible as a family? Do plans evolve and change as your children grow older? Share in the comments below!

To read other posts in this series:

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Our “No First Day” Back to School Transition and Our Homeschool Orientation

Back to School?

Back to School

This year we are doing something different. We are not having a “first day of school.”

Whaaat?

Yup. No traditional “first-day” picture. No big to-do for the “first day.” Instead, we are sort of just transitioning out of summer and into a school routine. Life is sort of just blending together more naturally, and I am fine with that.

We also had our homeschool “orientation” yesterday. It was a great way for me to go over with the kids all their books and resources for the year and what is expected. (You can read about our 2016-2017 plans here)

I posted a live video on facebook all about why we are not having a traditional “first day this year and our little homeschool orientation day. You can watch here:

How are YOU doing “back-to-school” this year? Share below!


 

This summer let us celebrate simple, spiritually refresh, and unplug even for a bit…refresh, renew, and refocus.

Join me as we encourage each other for simple summer—>Videos and Blog Posts

Make sure to follow along on FacebookInstagram, or sign up for our newsletter!

More ideas on Summer schooling here—>Summer School

 

 

Get My NEW Book!

 

Join me in August!

Check out where I am speaking in 2017—-> SPEAKING

Listen to the Podcast—-> PODCAST

Watch my YouTube Channel–->YouTube

Shop Simply Living for Him——>SHOP

 

 

 

 

Week #14 Reading Through the Entire Bible as a Family

We have made it to Judges.

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We are now in Judges, and still enjoying our time together every evening as we read through the entire Bible together. Our study time is rich, but, even more rich, is spending this time together every night.

It is funny, though, that we have had our share of issues and squabbles lately. I would think because we are in the Bible so much, everything would be roses and sunshine 😉 Ha! Actually, I am finding that when these issues and situations arise, we are working through them biblically and we are growing. Even though we have to get through some messy stuff, it is worth it.

Being in the Bible more as a family doesn’t mean it will always be easy. On the contrary, life is still hard. Yet, it is how we deal with those difficulties and how we come out on the other side that matters.

I can’t imagine parenting (or living, for that matter!) without the truth of God’s Word. We need a standard to live by; a constant that never fails us and never changes. The truth is, in this world people are fallible, and they always change. Yet, God’s Word is perfect and unchanging. It is truly an anchor to hold onto during the stormy times of life.

 

Are you #BibleReading Family? Join us on this adventure! Share how your family is being transformed!

Need a study Bible to help you get started? These are some of my favorites:

 

ESV Study Bible

The NKJV Study Bible: Second Edition

NIV Zondervan Study Bible, Hardcover, Full Color, Free Digital: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message

NIV Life Application Study Bible

Apologetics Study Bible, Hardcover

The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible: KJV Edition, Hardbound (Key Word Study Bibles)

To read other posts in this series:

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Join Me This Summer- The Simply Living for Him Retreat!

At the Beautiful Lodges at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA.

Look at these views!

Rest. Renew. Restore.

Simplify.

 

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