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

Great Big, SUPER-DUPER, Deluxe List of Homeschool Favorites!

HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we wind down this school year and look ahead to next year, I have some new favorites to add to our curriculum. I have put together a list below with lots of goodies I have shared over the years with some new favorites mixed in! We haven’t used every single one, but those I have listed have been recommended highly.

My high schooler used Sonlight 300 this year for 10th grade and we LOVED it. In the early years we felt it was a bit much and never tried again, but now has been a perfect time for us. She takes the weekly schedule and makes sure to complete by Friday (she doesn’t necessarily follow each day, but just completes the five days by Friday.) We only used History and Literature and did do some tweaking, but stuck mostly to the schedule.

So Sonlight has become a new favorite. 

Here is our BIG list of favorites and recommended resources with some newly updated additions as well!

Preschool/Kindergarten

A Is for Adam: The Gospel from Genesis (excellent resource!)

Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers: The Gospel

A Bible Alphabet

What’s in the Bible? Volume 1- In the Beginning

A Light for My Path: An ABC Book Based on Psalm 119

God Gave Us You

The Story for Little Ones

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name

Answers in Genesis Preschool Curriculum

Leading Little Ones to God: A Child’s Book of Bible Teachings

Elementary

God Creates the World and Chooses a Family (Firmly Planted Family Study Guide)

Ten Girls Who Made A Difference (Lightkeepers)

Beautiful Girlhood: Revised by Karen Andreola

Apologia Who Am I Series

Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends

The Donkey Who Carried a King

The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale

Mountain Born
(one of my favorite read alouds- with Christian themes)

YWAM Books– our very favorite was George Mueller

Little Pilgrim’s Progress: From John Bunyan’s Classic

Answers in Genesis Pilgrim’s Progress Complete Curriculum

The Princess and the Kiss

Wild Thing (Winnie the Horse Gentler Book 1)

The Garden Wall: A Story of Love Based on I Corinthians 13

Imagination Station Series – Adventures in Odyssey –(historical fiction)

Little House on the Prairie 

The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments

The Hedge of Thorns (Rare Collector’s Series) or any Lamplighter books

The Mystery of History, Vol. 1: Creation to Resurrection (all ages)

The Story of the World

A Child’s History of the World

The Growly Books: Begin

In Grandma’s Attic (Grandma’s Attic Series)

Hinds’ Feet on High Places [Illustratred]

Rush Revere Series

The Children’s Illustrated Bible

God of Wonders

Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies

America’s Providential History (Including Biblical Principles of Education, Government, Politics, Economics, and Family Life)

Genesis: Finding Our Roots

Hymns for a Kid’s Heart, Vol. 1

Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends

Did Adam Have A Bellybutton?

 

Middle School

Sierra Jensen Collection (my daughter read through these several times!)

Secret Keeper Girl books

Through Peril and Sword (Soldiers of the General Book 1) (written by a teenage homeschooler!)

Adam and His Kin: The Lost History of Their Lives and Times

 

We Became Men: The Journey into Manhood

Foundlings (The Peleg Chronicles, book one)

The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7-Book Collection with Bonus Book: Boxen

The Bronze Bow

Created for Work: Practical Insights for Young Men

The Hobbit

The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings (the Hobbit / the Fellowship of the Ring / the Two Towers 

A Family Guide to Narnia: Biblical Truths in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia

Kingdom Series by Chuck Black

From Sea to Shining Sea: 1787-1837 (God’s Plan for America)

Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends

Created for Work: Practical Insights for Young Men

High School

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

More Than a Carpenter

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations

I Kissed Dating Goodbye

All C.S. Lewis Titles

How to Stay Christian in High School

Jesus Freaks: Martyrs: Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus: The Ultimate Jesus Freaks

The City of God

The Chosen

And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity

Hinds’ Feet on High Places ( I love this book!)

Don’t All Religions Lead to God? (Tough Questions)

Perfectly Unique: Praising God from Head to Foot

True Love Project (True Love Project Series)

Answers Book for Teens Vol 2 (Answers Book (Master Books)

Devotions for the God Guy: A 365-Day Journey

The Story: Teen Edition: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People

Essential Guide to Public Speaking: Serving Your Audience with Faith, Skill, and Virtue

Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books

Life Application Study Bible NIV

High School Reading (newly updated!)

(these are our favorites from Literature/History and Bible Sonlight 300)

The Hiding Place

Know What You Believe

Know Why You Believe

Parallel Journeys

How to Ruin Your Life By 30

Walk to Two Moons

Children of the River

Mere Christianity

Screwtape Letters

Other Curriculum for all ages:

ApologiaHands down, best science for us. We have completed several in the elementary series, and this year my daughter is using the middle school level General Science course.  We enjoy the activities throughout each lesson, as well as the notebook activities. Apologia is a top-notch company that I respect immensely. They bring it home to God each lesson, and it is Bible-based.

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Polished CornerstonesThis is a very large book from Doorposts that my daughter has been using for a few years. It is worth the investment. It is essentially a Bible study and character curriculum with numerous topics and activities for each age level. There is also a boy version (Plants Grow Up) which we have not used yet.

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Math U SeeWe’ve been using Math U See for many years and my children all have done well with it.  I love that the DVD’s teach the lessons, and then I can help my child as needed. I also have high respect for Steve Demme, the writer of the curriculum, not just for his math books, but his heart for ministry and families.

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Language Lessons from Sandi QueenThese little gems are perfect for our family in teaching language. Each Charlotte Mason style workbook has short lessons that teach just enough without creating a ton of busywork. We have really enjoyed this series for all levels.

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A Child’s GeographyWritten by An Voskamp, these geography books are fascinating for the kids and for me 🙂 We’ve completed the first book in this series.

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Truthquest History Guide: American History for Young Students Volume 1Our family used this during our studies of American History, and I actually miss those years. Truth Quest provides a book list for each unit that exposed us to so many great pieces.

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Explode the Code– We’ve used all levels from pre-reading up to reading comprehension and my kids have always looked forward to these books. I was able to teach them all to read through these books alone in the early years.

We also LOVE Answers in Genesis and used many resources during our year that we used the Bible as our main text.
Check out their specials below:

 

Handwriting Without Tears Nothing helped my lefty, who-lea41XBAzK55bL._AC_US218_rns-differently- son better than this handwriting curriculum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorites for Homeschool Moms

Educating the WholeHearted Child — by Clay and Sally Clarkson

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Oh, I am so thankful this gem came into my life. I had never even heard of it as a new homeschooling mom, but there it was on sale at CBD.com, so on a whim, I bought it. Best.purchase.ever. I have read that book practically once a year, marked it up, and recommended it to so many friends. It is a must have.

For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

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A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning

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A Biblical Home Education: Building Your Homeschool on the Foundation of God’s Word

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This book gave me the confidence to use the Bible as our main textbook last year. I am so grateful for the inspiration in this book, the wisdom, and the truth that pointed me to the most important things I wanted to teach in my homeschool.

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

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A Relationship Requires Communication

I often use this example to share just how much we need to talk and listen to God:

I’ve told my kids:

Mommy and Daddy are married. And we live in the same house. What would it be like if every day, we went about our day and never talked to each other? If in the mornings, we went about our day and didn’t even acknowledge one another? What would it be like if all day, we just walked past each other and didn’t even communicate with one another? If we just lived in the house but never talked? We just walked by each other?

That is what it is like when we walk by our Bibles sitting on our shelves each day!

That is what it is like when we say we are in a relationship with God, but we don’t read His Word and listen to what he has to say!

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Now there have certainly been times in my life, especially as a new believer where I have done this very thing. I wanted a relationship with the Lord but found myself communicating very little with Him. And if I was communicating, usually I was doing all the talking.

As I have grown over the years, I have come to fall in love with His Word. It is my life and my very breath. I can’t live without it. And it transforms me.

So that is why I am passionate about passing that on to my children and encouraging others who may be at a place where there Bible reading has become stagnant or maybe even non-existent.

Read the Word

 

If we are in a relationship with someone we must communicate!

If His Word seems too hard to understand, keep reading! Trust Him to teach you. If you say you don’t have time, then you must prioritize! His Word should come before everything else (Matthew 6:33). If you say you are struggling with getting in the Word, then that is even more the reason to get in it!

The Lord is our ultimate love and we must communicate with Him daily. Talking (praying) and listening (reading His Word.) You don’t have to start with an in depth study, just read it! He is enough and His Word is enough.

I have been so transformed by the Lord. I can’t imagine life without Him. But He must be first in everything we do. We can’t expect to live a life for Him and then put Him off to the side…or His Word off to the side on a bookshelf.

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I encourage you. Just start reading His Word. Make it a habit every single morning that no word will go before your eyes (text, email, etc.) until HIS WORD has gone before your eyes.

You can watch my recent session on being a Transformed Woman of the Word below from my YouTube Channel: 

GET MY FREE EBOOK!

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Jesus is Enough

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

 

 

Taking the “School” Out of Homeschool

I’ve been preparing for my new session at Teach Them Diligently this year – Preparing for Life. Not a Test. I remembered this post from years back and republished it this morning!

Enjoy!

 Taking the “School” Out of Homeschool

I don’t know why we use the term homeSCHOOL sometimes.  I have been finding more and more when we take the word “school” out of our day, we actually learn much more.

I spoke last year at an Online conference about Education as an Atmosphere.  I want my home to be a continuous atmosphere of learning.  Not a 9am3pm time of enforced drilling of facts.

A typical day in a homeschool looks like LIFE.  It can range from anything from:

  • a day of research on a topic of the child’s choice
  • an afternoon spent listening to Mozart while painting
  • a day in the yard observing an anthill, a robin’s next, or a bee hive
  • a morning gardening, while learning all about compost, seeds, and zone planting
  • writing creative stories, plays, or poetry
  • a construction project in the home. complete with preliminary plans, blueprints, and the execution of the plan with the proper tools
  • cooking up an authentic cultural feast after weeks spent reading about that country
  • analyzing the nutritional content of your pantry
  • grocery store math, while grocery shopping
  • a day out to see a play or visit a local museum
  • a visit to the local nursing home
  • writing a letter to your sponsor child in Africa
  • designing buildings on the computer
  • helping with the finances by watching dad pay bills and budget (or do taxes!)
  • chores, chores and more chores…all life skills!
  • figuring out the how to build rockets, legos in 3D, and more
  • raising chickens
  • spending the day at work with dad as a mini-intern
  • learning all about how day to day life works by being immersed in it and not a classroom!
The list is truly endless.

Life is a classroom. Life is what we are preparing our children for. What better way to learn that with the hands-on lesson of life?

I have found lately when I loosen the structure {not throw it away}, the kids are free to pursue their interests and that is when they truly learn.


When I don’t see a separation between learning and life…they thrive…


This is a video I love of my boys learning in nature….


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© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

SimplyLivingforHim

The Best Friend Interview by Deborah Bode

A New Children’s Book For Those Who Have Experienced Loss

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If you ask a child today who her best friend is, chances are her answer will probably be different next week. Children have many “best friends,” “good friends,” and “acquaintances.” Sometimes they form a special bond with someone and that friendship can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, situations can change and the friendship may end because a child moves, different interests develop, or even the unfortunate case of death of one person.

Losing a best friend can be devasting to anyone, especially a child. The main character in the book experiences the loss of her best friend. She tries to cope with the situation by replacing her. She soon realizes that no one is capable of replacing her best friend. Instead of finding a replacement, the mother in the story helps her daughter validate her feelings of sadness and loss. She encourages her daughter to find a special place in her heart to remember her best friend and keep the wonderful memories alive that they shared together. Mom’s advice reinforces the idea that if you are fortunate enough to have a true best friend than one should consider oneself lucky. The main character comes to the realization that even if a friend is no longer in one’s life for whatever reason, that friend can remain in one’s heart and never be replaced.

 

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This book is incredibly near and dear to my heart for so many reasons. My beautiful sister wrote this book as a tribute to her best friend who had her life taken much too early this summer in a tragic domestic violence incident. That incident also left her three children behind with no parents.

From my sister: On July 6, 2016, my best friend, Michele Sabia was shot and killed tragically. Her husband shot her multiple times outside their home on the front lawn. Her three children now ages 15, 12, 10 witnessed this horrific scene and as you can imagine have suffered tremendously. After barricading himself in their home for hours, her husband then shot himself, taking his own life. As a result, the children lost both of their parents that horrible night. They are currently living with the maternal grandparents, who are both close to 70 years in age. Michele’s entire family is amazing and the love and support they have provided for her children is incredible. However, one can only imagine how all of their lives have changed tremendously. The children are currently in counseling but are struggling emotionally. A Go Fund Me Account has been set up to help the children financially, and fortunately, to date $81,659 has been raised. Michele and I became friends when we were just three years old. Our fathers were friends when they were growing up so you can imagine our families share a lot of history. Michele was my best friend and will always be my best friend. She truly touched the life of everyone she met. I’ll never forget the day of her funeral as we left the church and drove to the cemetery a few towns away. There was a police escort that led us and numerous roads were blocked off as we entered each town to her final resting place. The procession of cars was close to 75 long. I had never seen anything like it. She was truly being honored and it was obvious how highly she was thought of and loved by the entire community. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Michele, her children, and her family. I’ll never forget watching the news on Channels 2, 4, 5, 7 and 11 that night and next day and trying to understand what had happened and why she was gone. I wanted to do more to help and decided to write a children’s book based on memories of our friendship growing up. My purpose in writing this book is to honor Michele and help her children. All the proceeds from the book will go to benefit Michele’s three children. I’m sharing this story because having a best friend like Michele was truly a blessing. If you would like to help her children, you can purchase the book, “The Best Friend Interview” on Amazon.com. Thank you for your help and support. Now an angel in heaven, Michele is watching over her children. Your generosity is greatly appreciated by us both. – Debbie

The outpouring of love after MIchele’s death by her family, friends, church family, and community was a testimony to a life well-lived. My sister wants this book to be nothing more than a blessing to her children and a way to honor Michele’s life.

Would you please consider purchasing this book? This is a beautiful story for children who may have experienced loss. In a world where there is so much darkness, we can do something to bring light!

Thank you!!!

You can buy it by clicking below:

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Family- Dependent and God- Dependent

I took this photo today and posted on Instagram.

 

It truly warms my heart when I see my children and the relationships they have with each other, that grow deeper each day.

One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is seeing how they are family-dependent and God-dependent, but not peer-dependent. I remember when I was young, my peers were my everything. I spent most of my time with them, and family ( even though ours was pretty close) was totally separate. It was almost like two lives. (this is just my experience and I am not saying this is the same for everyone and that homeschooling is the answer to everything…just my experience 😉 )

I also know that for us, our family is close.  As I often say, we are like our own “clique.” We spend so much time together, doing life togetherhomeschooling, running family businesses, hobby farm life, etc., that we naturally are developing really strong ties within, because we do life together.

We also are really close with several families that we often get together with. The kids all hang out together, as do the parents. And there is quite a bit of hanging out between parents and kids too! So social activities that involve other families are really important to us as well.

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Homeschooling is about so much more than academics. it is doing life together. With each other. With others. Learning about life together. Learning to grow together. Seeking the Lord together. The list could go on and on…but mostly it includes quite a bit of togetherness and I wouldn’t trade that for the world!

It’s HERE! The revised edition of Called Home is NOW available- expanded with a journal section!

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Watch the replay of my Live broadcast on facebook and hear the back story behind this book!

God is faithful!

Homeschooling- Just a Small Part of Discipling our Children

Yes, I am a homeschool advocate. Yes, I am pro-homeschooling, for my family. Yes, I love homeschooling (most days! ;)) Yet, I will never go so far as to say it is the absolute choice for every family. That is not my place. I believe it is a decision for each family between them and God, and I am answering to Him for my family, not any other family.

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Lately, I have been thinking about our children’s childhood, and now that I have two teenagers, with another on the horizon, I am in awe most days of the drastic difference between their teenage years and my own. I had an extremely volatile teenage life. There was drama, dysfunction, rebellion, and everything in between. It lasted into the college years when it really peaked at its worse. 

Then, I met Jesus.

My hardships were nothing my parents did or did not do. They did their best.The only remedy to my chaos was Jesus.

So as I watch my children grow and I realize how stable, how functional, and how undramatic their life is, I just keep praising God. I see how much they enjoy being together. We all do. Our family is so close. They have great relationships with their friends and with others. They are hard workers and helpful and serve. And it has nothing to do with me. It is all His work in their lives.

They love Jesus. They are walking with Him, and growing. 

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Yet, I stop short of saying homeschooling has been the answer. 

Because in the end, Jesus is the answer.

Disciping our children, with homeschooling as a part of that, has really been what has kept them on a mostly straight path. Teaching them His Word, and trying to live it out as exmples (even if we fail at times) is key. There is no better teacher than example. Surrounding them with other families who are on the same path has been essential. Keeping Jesus at the center of everything has been our life.

And when we fail….we mess up. But even then, there are lessons for grace, when you keep Jesus at the center of it all.

Homeschooling is just a part of discipling our family. I believe our family closeness has been a result of our homeschooling for sure –spending so much time together, working together daily in school and in life, has really knit us tightly together. 

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And I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

But homeschooling is not the means to the end. It is just a part of what we are doing to make disciples.

 

 

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