Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

10 Famous Home Schooled People

I found this at Mental Floss blog & wanted to share it with you.  One thing I noticed is that many of these listed were homeschooled by their fathers, or their fathers had a very active role.  I think that is very important to note.  The dads have an important role in the education of their children.  Homeschooling doesn’t have to be just a mom thing, it can be a family thing.

1. Agatha Christie. Agatha was a painfully shy girl, so her mom homeschooled her even though her two older siblings attended private school.
2. Pearl S. Buck was born in West Virginia, but her family moved to China when she was just three months old. She was homeschooled by a Confucian scholar and learned English as a second language from her mom.
3. Alexander Graham Bell was homeschooled by his mother until he was about 10. It was at this point that she started to go deaf and didn’t feel she could properly educate him any more. Her deafness inspired Bell to study acoustics and sound later in life.

4. If Thomas Edison was around today, he would probably be diagnosed with ADD – he left public school after only three months because his mind wouldn’t stop wandering. His mom homeschooled him after that, and he credited her with the success of his education: “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”

5. Ansel Adams was homeschooled at the age of 12 after his “wild laughter and undisguised contempt for the inept ramblings of his teachers” disrupted the classroom. His father took on his education from that point forward.

6. Robert Frost hated school so much he would get physically ill at the thought of going. He was homeschooled until his high school years.

Woody
7. Woodrow Wilson studied under his dad, one of the founders of the Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS). He didn’t learn to read until he was about 12. He took a few classes at a school in Augusta, Georgia, to supplement his father’s teachings, and ended up spending a year at Davidson College before transferring to Princeton.

8. Mozart was educated by his dad as the Mozart family toured Europe from 1763-1766.

9. Laura Ingalls Wilder was homeschooled until her parents finally settled in De Smet in what was then Dakota Territory. She started teaching school herself when she was only 15 years old.

10. Louisa May Alcott
studied mostly with her dad, but had a few lessons from family friends Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Can you imagine?

Can I Homeschool & Work Too?

Guest Blogger

Texas Home School Coalition Association REVIEW © February 2008

by: Holly Williams Urbach

When I started teaching my children at home in 1993, it was rare for me to meet a home schooling mother who worked outside the home. We home educators met at our local park and commiserated on the challenges of tackling lesson plans and getting dinner on the table each night. Our husbands worked full-time, or more, to support the school lunch program, and we wives worked hard to stretch the income as far as possible. We swapped curriculum and clothes with each other, along with recipes designed to make the most use of the available items in our pantries.

Contrast the above scenario with 2007, when quite a few of my home educating friends and acquaintances work either from home or outside the home. While there are many families living on one income, increasing numbers of households are finding it more and more difficult to do so for a variety of reasons. When I counsel new home schoolers these days, many ask me if it is possible to work and homeschool.

My family and I are part of the growing trend of home educating families in which both parents are working. When we realized that I would have to begin working, my husband and I determined to continue home educating our children. We did not want to shortchange our children as a result of the difficulties we were having financially.

I am extremely fortunate to work part-time for a company that allows me flexible hours. I know of families with home-based businesses who face the same time crunch that I have working outside my home. I believe it is likely that we will find home schooling families where both parents work more common in the coming years. Whether working outside the home or from home, combining work and school is a task that requires creativity, energy, and determination.

Even with all the perks of my situation, I find it challenging to combine work and schooling.  Following are some ideas and strategies I use to manage home, school, and extra-curricular activities while holding a job.

One of the first things to do is develop a workable schedule. Obviously, a lot depends on the age and activities of your children. My four children still at home range in age from thirteen to nineteen. Since they are teenagers who require and desire a lot of sleep, I work mornings while they are still sleeping. When I arrive home around 1 p.m., they have gotten out of bed, eaten and dressed, and they are already working on independent assignments. We then have between 1:30 and 6 p.m. to complete their studies for the day. I have students who are well-rested and ready to learn.

When I worked two afternoons a week, I struggled to accomplish schoolwork in the mornings prior to leaving for work. The children were sleepy and sluggish. I was frustrated and felt that everything was rushed and seldom accomplished to my satisfaction. Our new schedule works much better for all of us. Determining your most productive work and school hours is the first step in making school and work successful.

The next thing to consider is what curriculum to use. A teacher who is also working may not have the preparation time available that she would like to have. Many employed home schooling parents find that computer or video curricula fill the need nicely for their students. I would caution parents not to use such curricula for all subjects, because students need variety and adult feedback to help them learn effectively. Others hire tutors or send their children to outside classes for some of their instruction.

At times, I have utilized outside classes and co-ops to help meet the needs of my students in science and math, freeing me to delve more deeply into history, literature, Bible, and foreign languages. These classes make my available time with my students more productive. The point is, take a deep look into your family’s needs and develop a plan that helps you not only to survive but also to thrive in your situation. Any frustration you encounter in your schedule is a natural alarm, telling you that something still needs adjusting. Pray about it and seek God’s direction on how to resolve the situation.

With the work/school schedule planned and the curriculum squared, the next big consideration is how to deal with housework, meals, and outside commitments such as Boy Scouts, 4-H, kids work, etc. My family and I take time to discuss housework issues, and the children and I divide the responsibilities between us. The great thing about this plan is that my sons are learning to launder clothes, cook, and keep house just as well as my daughter. We all pitch in to get the work done so no one has to spend a lot of time doing housework.

Meal preparation is time consuming enough for parents at home full-time, so having less time due to working outside the home can cause a lot of stress. I try to make things ahead of time over the weekend, so getting a meal on the table during the school week is easier. I use my crock pot as much as I can. I have many cookbooks that contain recipes for cooking in quantity and freezing meals ahead of time, to best utilize the time I have available.(Once a Month Cooking by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson and Jill Bond’s Dinner’s in the Freezer are two favorites.) I also solicit my children’s help in preparing meals. I reap the benefits of more time with my children and reduced time in the kitchen. Planning and executing a menu is essential to streamlining meal preparation as well as keeping expenses down by avoiding the fast-food trap.

My daughter has a part-time job, and she and my youngest son are active in 4-H. Such additional activities are worthwhile enough to our family to factor into our schedule the time they take. We have found 4-H to be a great program for our family, because each child can participate in an area of their own interest as we take monthly trips together to the meetings.  Another great thing about 4-H is that it helps our home schooling so that we work smarter rather than harder. Finding an activity that the whole family enjoys together is a great way to manage the time spent out of the home. Each family can find activities that add enough to the family that they also justify the time taken to participate in them.

Do I long for the days when I was home all day with my children? I certainly do. I have actually started a home-based business for just that reason. Once my business replaces the income from my part-time job, I will once again be at home all day with my children. I will still face that juggling act that comes with working and homeschooling, but I think that my children and I will all have gained a greater understanding of what it means to work together as a team and of how to adapt to changing situations. In the world we face today, those will be valuable and useful abilities for all of us.

Meet Holly Urbach


Homeschooling the Rebel

We have a rebel in our family & this article by Deborah was very helpful to me.

Homeschooling the Rebel

by Deborah Wuehler

“I won’t do it!” my child screamed after being asked to sit down and start the day’s math assignment. “You will too!” I resolutely stated right back. “I will not!”

Some days were worse than others, but all were equally miserable. The older siblings would complain and take up my offense. Younger siblings would cry because Mommy was crying. All the while, the smug little hard-nosed rebel sat defiantly on the bed screaming and shouting to his (or her) heart’s content. It was a struggle not to allow bitterness to rule my spirit. The daily strain upon my heart, soul, and body were wearing me down to the point I wanted to pull away from everything and everyone. I would cry out to God. “How long, O Lord?” I lived in the comfort of the Psalms. After I cried, I would read and pray. I HAD to in order to face my child again.

How did we end up here? We analyzed everything from birth. Was it the fact that this child was born screaming? Maybe it was that time at 3 that I intervened, thinking Dad was too harsh. Or was it because in public he was well behaved, so I let slip his passive rebellion at home? Was it his early mental maturity trapped inside a childish body? Was it because he was sandwiched between six other siblings? Was it medical? (Indications of ADD were present-not hyperactive, but rather the ultra-slow, highly distracted side.) It was probably the combination of all of these things that enabled this sweet little child to erupt into a full-blown rebel. Yelling, screaming, throwing things, you name it. I had only read about this kind of child, and now I had one. What in the world was I to do?

Recognize the Triggers of Rebellion

We both desperately needed help, so I started to research. I learned to recognize the triggers of these angry responses and my contribution. I began to look at what happened before the flare-up and recognize the signs of an impending eruption. Was I angry with him? Was he provoked by a sibling or maybe jealous for my attention? Was he distracted? Was his schoolwork too difficult or too easy? Did he get enough sleep? What was he eating? Getting to know the triggers helps in warding off the explosions. Follow me as I share with you what I have learned in dealing with a rebel.

Be a Disciple, Make a Disciple

Discipling was one of the keys to eventually opening our rebel’s heart. As we continued to disciple and pour the Word of God into our child, we began to see things change. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be a good disciple of the Lord yourself! My goal is for my rebel to follow Christ as I follow Christ.
  • Draw your child in close. We had to pull our rebel in as a shepherd does with a wayward lamb. We took him with us wherever we went, and he stayed by our side as much as possible.
  • Be to her what you would have her be. Exemplify patience and kindness. You will begin to see your child’s heart soften and your own heart change toward her.
  • Have other godly influences in his life: teachers, friends, and godly pastors and speakers who reinforce what you are teaching.
  • He needs to be close to the authority figure. He should go to work with Dad or become his shadow when he is home.
  • Disciple her in prayer. Show her who to run to! Let her see your vulnerability. She usually sees your strength. Let her see your tenderness. Allow her to follow you to Jesus.
  • Discipling takes time. Invest time you do not have, and you will reap fruit you did not expect. 

Teach What Is Good

  • Teach your rebel the Word of God. Help him define rebellion. Lead him to Scriptures relating to “rebellion,” “fools,” and “stiff-necked” people.
  • Teach him that God disciplines those He loves.
  • Teach her the cycle that is repeated throughout history: idolatry, bondage, repentance, deliverance, and rest. Idolatry is turning away from God’s commands to our own self-rule: this leads only to bondage. If we repent, we are delivered and find rest (read the book of Judges).
  • Teach him God’s plan for protection offered in authority. When we step out from under the authority placed in our lives, we are left unprotected.
  • Teach repentance by modeling repentance toward the child. If I show any signs of anger or unkindness, I ask for forgiveness quickly.
  • Teach the order of godly government. God has given us the duty to govern our own households. Children lacking self-government must be governed. God’s beauty and order is displayed in godly government.
  • Creation is governed by order, not chaos, and declares the glory of God.
  • Teach the foundation of our faith based on the order of a literal, six-day creation. God also created our rebel to declare His glory-teach her that she can glorify God if she stays under His authority structure. Teach him that self-control is placing himself under God’s control. He will soon realize that he can’t control himself; this is when you can show him his need for God’s control.
  • Go over what Christ did on the cross. Christ can free us from the power of sin and the penalty of sin. Lead your child to the cross at every turn.

Homeschooling

If you are dealing with major rebellion from your child, you may need to adjust your educational goals for the time being. You may need to step back and let your child excel at a lower academic level rather than struggle where he “should” be. I had to re-focus my standards on the basics: Bible, math, and language arts. You can also help your child with the following adjustments:

  • Provide lots of good reading to cover the rest of the school subjects, such as good biographies that exemplify people strong in spirit.
  • Look for curriculum that doesn’t frustrate. Don’t hesitate to change curriculum that is boring or overkill.
  • If writing is too hard, have him dictate to you and then show him his work.
  • Allow her to choose topics of study. Find out what she delights in and continue in that direction until the desire ceases.
  • Have him read a Proverb and ask him to tell you what it might be saying to him personally. What did God mean when He wrote it? How can he apply it to his life this day?
  • During peaceful times, have her read the Bible or a good character book to you and discuss it together.
  • Scripture memorization changes hearts. Write the same verse every day until it is memorized. Feel free to do so with her.
  • Let him play his instrument before doing his schoolwork. It can help soothe and set the tone for other work to follow. If it doesn’t distract, play calm praise music quietly in the background during school time.
  • Separate siblings. This eliminates many distractions and potential trouble. Try to make a place of solitude for your rebel. Have the other children respect that privacy.
  • This is the kind of child that needs to be “doing” something with you. Our child flourished when we worked together and balked at independent study. Stay with her until she is confident and successful.
  • Give him something to look forward to when he gets his assignments done. Have a good book, special project, or free time waiting for him as a reward. Rebels can be highly motivated by rewards.

Consistency

Provide clear, strong guidelines in all areas-personal, school, chores, etc. The child must know what is required of him, and requirements must be clear. Print them out. Have the same rules, the same school assignments, and the same chores every day. Give him a daily schedule or checklist to visually keep him on track and monitor progress. Be consistent in all of these areas:

  • Have a consistent bedtime. This child may have an earlier bedtime than his siblings, since he may need more sleep.
  • Have consistent meal times. We eliminated sugar and provided snacks between meals to keep blood sugar level issues at bay. This helped the intensity of emotion to decrease.
  • Be consistent with discipline, and be sure consequences for each offense are consistent. Allow input so that the child knows you are being fair.
  • One of our rules is no breakfast until morning chores are finished. Our rebel can’t handle more than two assignments at any one time. We keep our instructions as few and simple as possible and try to keep them focused on the task at hand.

Discipline

Drastic rebellion sometimes calls for drastic measures. We employed all of these disciplinary tactics at one time or another:

  • If he caused trouble with siblings, he was not allowed to play with them for a time and was assigned to his room. He could play quietly or read books of our choosing.
  • For disrespect, disobedience, or angry outbursts: loss of privileges such as computer time, playing or talking with friends, going on field trips, or participating in classes or any form of entertainment for a given length of time (rest of the day, week, etc.).
  • If the morning went badly or if he had an eruption the previous day, he went to work with Dad with a backpack full of school books. He followed Dad around on the weekends frequently.
  • We have had to say no to many activities. For the most part, people understand. Some think we are too harsh, but they have never seen the rebel who lives at our house. They only know the sweet child who goes out in public. Only after a year’s worth of many painful cancellations did our child begin to realize his loss and our commitment to keeping our word. Only then did we begin to see a real change.
  • We have had a tendency to ride the rebel hard and forget about the other children. Stay consistent in enforcing the rules with all of the children so that no “respecter of persons” or bitterness is fostered.
  • Don’t drag out the discipline. Take care of it quickly. When it’s over, allow her the grace to start over. Don’t bring it up again. Always pray together afterward.
  • If he cannot control his emotions, he is grounded to his room. I have him read the Word and pray before he is allowed to come out so that he will have an acceptable attitude.

Change the Way You Respond

This type of child tends to be extremely intelligent and to push the boundaries wherever possible, employing manipulative strategies. They are also good at blame shifting. How should we respond?

  • When I react harshly to disrespect or disobedience, the battle escalates. My grievous words stir up anger in both of us. I have to be quiet and calm, purposing to be kind. Falling into anger and bitterness against the child does no good, as our anger never produces the righteousness of God.
  • Continuing to repeat a command only frustrates both of you. If the argument is over a command you’ve given, don’t continue repeating the command. Set aside the physical action you want done and take the spiritual action of dealing with the heart issue of rebellion.
  • Don’t entertain an argument or try to have the last word. Stop yourself in the middle of the battle. Drop it and allow the Holy Spirit to intervene. Rebels love to battle, so this will make them angry. You may need to isolate the child until he has calmed down. Don’t take personal offense. The rebel is not the enemy; we are doing battle with the enemy of her soul.
  • Instead of pointing out all her faults, share your own struggles with her. Come up with word pictures or analogies to show her the effect of her actions.
  • He feels like a failure, so watch him closely with the purpose of praising him. Find the good, however small. Praise any attempt at obedience or kindness. Praise for the lack of meanness.

Love Your Rebel

Your child needs to see and feel your love, and not only when it is manifested as correction.

  • Don’t pull away from her physically. She needs to be reassured of your love for her every day.
  • Discover his “love language.” Plan dates whenever possible. Your child’s wayward actions may be his way of trying to get your attention. Be proactive and give him undivided attention regularly.
  • Teach all the children to love and not to engage in conflict with or provoke each other. Teach them to love their enemies and to find a way to bless and not curse them. Teach boys to honor and protect girls. Teach girls to love and respect boys.
  • Love is patient and kind-but is Mom patient and kind? Allow God to fill you with the same love that He has for your child. She needs to see love from you even while she is yet a rebel.

Stay Grounded

Rebels are very draining-spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. We need to stay grounded in the Word and in prayer.

  • We need times of refreshing at regular intervals. Get away to a quiet place and rest. Spend time in the solitude of prayer and Bible study.
  • We need the Word. This is a heart-wrenching, iron-sharpening, full-out battle, and we need to keep our armor on. We need the belt of truth. Untruth comes forth from the child regularly. Read the truth, speak the truth, and memorize it together.
  • We need prayer and fasting. We are in the trenches of warfare for the soul of our child. We need to be vigilant and proactive and one step ahead in prayer. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against every evil thing that exalts itself. Spend time fasting and focus on the spiritual battle-not just the outward rebellion.
  • We need to die to our pride, our anger, and our unrealistic expectations.

Have a Future Vision

We need a future vision as we are raising the next generation. What will these rebels have to face in their future that will take this kind of strength of character? If persecution comes to your rebel for his faith in Christ, what kind of person will he need to be? Obviously, God is raising up an army. Remind your child to fight the good fight he was created for. Remind him that he is fighting the wrong fight when he is fighting God’s authority (you), and tell him that God made him strong for a reason-he is to be God’s warrior. Give her a cause to stand up for, something to fight against, and help her use her strength for good now. We need rebels in the Kingdom of God to stand against sin and to stand for righteousness.

Be a Rebel

Homeschooling a rebel is extremely difficult, and we are still working through it all. Yes, we still have eruptions, but much less frequently. We have learned how to pray, repent, and start over. More importantly, the strong will has carried over into spiritual battles. This will be the time to form a stronger prayer life, a stronger sense of what is right and wrong, and a stronger love for the Lord and His Word. Rebels don’t give up easily-be a rebel, Mom, and don’t give up on your child. You will both learn to turn to the only One who can truly change hearts: Jesus Christ.

I can hear you asking, will my child ever change? I am here to tell you that there is a God and that He is more interested in the heart and soul of your child than you are. Jesus Christ Himself intercedes to His Father on your child’s behalf. Join Him in prayer as you intercede for the heart of your child. Don’t give in to discouragement; be encouraged with new vision for your child. You are not alone in having the special blessing and calling of raising a rebel.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” -Galatians 6:9


Further Resources

I highly recommend the following resources:

  • Homeschooling the Challenging Child, by Christine Field
  • No Greater Joy-free monthly newsletters
  • Winning the Heart of a Rebel and other resources on anger by S. M. Davis
  • The Five Love Languages of Children, by Gary Chapman
  • Doorposts-many resources taken from the book of Proverbs
  • Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, by Teri Maxwell
  • The Heart of Anger, by Lou Priolo

Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor, Chapel Editor, and Devotional Editor for the Old Schoolhouse Magazine. She resides in Roseville, California with her husband Richard and their seven gifts from heaven. She loves digging for buried treasure in the Word, reading, writing, homeschooling, and dark chocolate!
http://www.HomeschoolBlogger.com/DevDoorDeborah

Reviving Our Vision

I thought that this was worth passing on to you.  It is so important to keep the vision of your family & homeschool before you so that you don’t lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing.  It really makes a huge difference!
~Dana
Reviving Our Vision
Naomi Musch
Recently in church, a homeschooling friend testified that she remembered the difficulties of rearing a household filled with small children, but it was a “whole new ballgame” once some of those children began to grow into teenagers and young adults. The challenges at this point, as anyone who’s been there will agree, are constant and relentless–and the devil gives no quarter.Moreover, once our children are finally grown, whether they’re still at home, off to school, raising families, or simply “doing the next thing,” we are foolish if we think that we are now off the hook and our parenting is over. Here’s news: it’s never over. In light of that, we need to keep a vision for our families’ futures clearly set before us. We must define our vision, prayerfully teach toward our vision, and seek encouragement in the process.

Defining the Vision

Scripture tells us that without a vision, the people perish. A vision of hopes, goals, and dreams for how our families are to be molded and shaped for the future is essential. Christian families should take their vision seriously. For homeschooling Christian families, that mandate takes on extra dimensions. To begin analyzing your own vision for your family, ask yourself some basic questions: What are your long-term lifestyle goals for your children and your home? What specific spiritual and character goals do you hope to see your children practicing by the time they reach adulthood? How do you envision their futures in the workforce or in their own homes? How do you hope to see them use and develop their attributes and skills? Be specific.

Here are a few ideas of what I mean. I want my grown children t

     •   seek the Lord’s guidance whenever they make decisions, large or small.

     •   be faithful, no matter what circumstances they may find themselves in.

     •   love their spouses.

     •   be devoted parents.

     •   have compassion, looking to the needs and concerns of others.

In practical skills, I want them to

     •   demonstrate godly character and self discipline in the workplace.

     •   be handy.

     •   nurture an appreciation and enjoyment of the outdoors, art, mechanics, etc. (These goals should be individually defined according to the loves and enjoyments we’d like to pass on.)

This is a minuscule list, of course, but enough to give you the idea. If you sit down with a paper and pencil and begin to ask yourself these questions, you will see a list of goals popping out onto the page, perhaps even some goals you hadn’t considered before. You will begin to clearly define where it is you want to go.

Sometimes our vision for the future is undefined simply because we are caught in periods of discouragement or feelings of being overwhelmed. Sometimes the blatant distractions of keeping up with daily life can keep us from feeling that our vision for our family’s future is attainable. It is never too late, and there is no wrong time to sit down and try to lay out a clearly defined plan–or at least some of our hopes for the future.

We may not be able to see the big picture for the years ahead. In fact, it’s almost certain that we won’t. But like an artist, we can begin to sketch an outline for the final vision. We can daily take our disillusionments, our frustrations, and our failures to the Lord and to His Word. He will give us the pep talk we need, the love we cherish, and the strength we long for to keep our eyes on the prize. Finally, we can begin today with an organized plan to conquer the distractions that threaten to invade our lives so our vision does not become cloudy.

Teaching Toward the Vision

Of course, none of these things just happens because we want them to. While we are fond of thinking that traits like devotion, faithfulness, handiness, and godly decision-making can be caught instead of taught, I’ve not found this to be a reliable way of reaping a desired outcome. Unfortunately, “catching” poor character and worldly, unsatisfying habits is just as likely, if not more so, as catching that which is good and upright. Therefore, teaching toward your vision is not only necessary, but must be persistently and steadfastly done.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:20, Paul reminded the spiritual children he was teaching how he felt toward them. He said, “For ye are our glory and joy.” As parents, we feel the same way toward our earthly children, and we easily feel crushed by disappointment when our children turn astray or make wrong choices. Sometimes we feel as though our ability to teach and mold our children resembles a scramble in the dark, a wild groping for the right way to lead them, train them, discipline them, and love them. But they are a glory and a joy to us, and because God has made them so, we must never lose sight of our vision for them–no matter how far adrift we feel. When we feel weak and exasperated by trouble or setbacks, when our vision dissolves into the hazy and intangible, that is all the more reason to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).

Sometimes it is the difficult or chaotic times that shake us up and help us realize that big changes are in order. We can then take those times to reevaluate whether the things we are doing are pushing us toward our vision or away from it. We can restructure our schedules, our priorities, and even our attitudes to fall back in line with our vision.

Encouragement For the Vision

Reviving our vision takes constant effort and vigilance. It takes clear definition of our goals. And sometimes, in all of life’s challenges–and on the homeschooling journey in particular–it takes support and encouragement.

In the book of Exodus, chapter 17, the children of Israel were engaged in a battle with Amalek in Rephidim. God wanted to bless His children; it was His will that they succeed; but it still took effort on their part. This would be no easy battle, quickly won. Particularly, it took effort on Moses’s part. While Joshua led the fight, Moses was given the task to stand on the mountain with the rod of God, holding his hands high.

The day lengthened. The battle raged on. Aaron and Hur brought Moses a rock to sit upon, but his arms grew weary. Heaviness, like lead weights, pulled at his shoulders, and his hands began to droop. When they did, the tide of battle turned against Israel. With supreme effort, he pushed his hands up again. As he did, the battle surged in Israel’s favor. As long as Moses could hold his hands steadily aloft, Israel prevailed.

But Moses’s arms burned. His circulation buzzed in agony. Finally, Aaron and Hur “stayed up” Moses’s hands, one on either side of him, giving him the strength to keep his eyes on the vision of victory God offered. As the weary hours passed and the sun began to set, the Israelites finally triumphed over Amalek. God had blessed Moses as he remained steadfast with the support of others.

Like Moses, we often need support as we aim toward our vision for our children. Mental and physical fatigue, childish rebellion, medical conditions, jobs, extra-family relationships: all keep us engaged in battle continually. We must actively seek support, first from God Himself, our shield and defender, and then from those He places in our lives to uplift and challenge us.

Your encourager may be another homeschooler. It may be a family member, a close friend, or a pastor. It might be someone you can enlist as a prayer partner. Sometimes God places people in our lives who do the job of challenging and uplifting us without even realizing they are being used by Him. Look for those people. But if they don’t seem to be around you, remember God first. He is always there, and He always desires to be your strength.

At the same time, we must try to be that encouragement and support for others. Look for those families around you who may need to be “stayed up” for a while. We are living out God’s Word when we heed His admonition to “bear one another’s burdens.”

Praying to Strengthen the Vision

One of the biggest realities that ever hit me was when I began to grasp just the edges of the magnitude of the ministry God has given me in training my children. I have often heard other parents say, and I’ve said so myself, that my children are my mission field. Yet, that entails so much more than I can fully understand. I need to be constantly aware that my children are only mine to train for a season. It goes by as fast as a warm summer day! Suddenly, they’re grown. Maybe this will sound like an echo, but if you do nothing else, pray, pray, pray! My vision must be ever renewed and bathed in vigilant, fervent prayer. Oh, to be ever mindful of that!

The time will come when our homeschooling will be complete, but our parenting will not. We made a sacrifice to teach our children at home, so let us not grow weary at this juncture. Let’s examine the fullness of the role we’ve been given. Let’s set aside our daily encumbrances for just a bit, while we revive our vision and seek God’s best for the lives and futures of our families. 

 


Naomi and her husband Jeff are the parents of two teen and three adult children. They have homeschooled for 15 years. She has a website dedicated to the encouragement of homeschoolers which can be found at Apples of Gold News

This article was originally published in the May/June 2008 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com to request a FREE sample issue today!

Quiet Testimonies

I get a devo everyday written by homeschoolers called Daily Focus.  It is put out by the Alpha Omega Company.  You can subscribe by going to this website.

I thought I would share with you what came to me this morning.  As mothers so often we feel as though we are not making a difference in our children’s lives.  But never doubt that you are.  As you invest you time and energy you are pouring into them your values and what it important to you.  You may not see the result until they are grown and gone from your home, but never doubt…you are making a difference!

Quiet Testimonies
Monday / May 12, 2008

“And be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15b)

Homeschoolers have different ways of promoting the joys of homeschooling. Some share homeschooling’s rewards on a grand scale, others promote them by a quiet, willing testimony. When asked why we homeschooled, I offered explanations that included our belief in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 and the example of our everyday homeschooling experience. Those people truly interested would respond, “Boy, that’s great, I wish I was able to do that!” Even my children’s friends responded to a quiet testimony in a positive way. After coming over to play, they would leave saying, “I wish my parents would homeschool me!” The benefits of homeschooling were easily revealed as they heard and saw homeschooling for what it was-a better way to learn.

Although the Bible gives examples of great leaders whose witness changed the lives of thousands, it also shares stories of men and women whose testimonies only affected a few. Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus, Philip told the Ethiopian ruler how to be saved, and Ruth’s faithful actions to her mother-in-law Naomi were a witness in themselves. Impacting the lives of just a few, their quiet testimonies had far-reaching effects and accomplished great things for God.

What about you? Do you ever feel your witness is insignificant? Don’t doubt the power of your quiet testimony to make a difference in the lives of others. Although you may never be a talented speaker on a stage, your faithful words of love and encouragement can be the tool that God uses to win a lost soul to Christ!

Father,

Thank You for every opportunity I have to tell others of Your amazing love. Use me today to encourage both my own family and others. In the name of Jesus, Amen.