Friday, May 25, 2018

#7QT How to Get Stated with Homeschooling

It's Friday, and it is beau-ti-ful outside my window!! Thank you, Jesus, the sun is shining! How is your day going? Have any great Memorial Day plans?

Before I take a bit of a computer break for the long weekend, I thought I would jump on here to share a litle #7QT post about making the decision to homeschool.  Linking up with Kelly!


So You Are Thinking of Homeschooling!
Are you considering homeschooling? Have you thought of the benefits of having your children home more, having control over their education, and a more manageable family schedule? Are you overwhelmed and don't know where to start?

Don't worry, you are not alone. Truth be told it took me six years to make the leap! Hubby and I began discussing homeschool the day Cowgirl was born. When she turned five I still wasn't ready to commit and had so many reservations. I enrolled her in preschool for three full days a week to stall the process a bit. She had made the kindergarten birthday cut off by mere hours, everyone was okay with that response so that is where we were for a year!

When Cowgirl was coming up on turning 6, Hubby told me that preschool for another year was no longer an option, I needed to make a decision! I jumped in with both feet and 9 years later, we are still going!

Where to Start with Homeschooling
The best place to start is with your "why." Why do you want to do this? Why do you think your family needs this? Write it down. Say it out loud. Paint it on your wall if you want! Knowing your why will solidify your decision because now you gave a vision.

You could do a pros and cons analysis--that is a favorite exercise of mine, but your why is the biggest piece to this decision making process. A homeschooling friend once said, "Write down why you are doing this in August and then take it out in January and remind yourself when you forget!"

Dealing with The "What About...?" Resistance
One of the first questions you will probably be asked when you announce your decision to homeschool will be, "What about Algebra and Chemistry?" 

The second will be, "What about socialization?"

What about them?? If you child is starting kindergarten, the truth is that you don't need to know what you will do about anything beyond kindergarten. No one is asking public school kindergarten parents, "What about AP Spanish?" 

That is years away. The years go quickly but you really only need to tackle this year. 

On to the socialization question...ask them to define socialization, and then proceed. Homeschooling is not some back woods, underground movement. Today, it is as mainstream as charter schools and abounding with opportunities. In fact, most homeschool families struggle with actually being home!

However, even if you are not on the road every day for co-op, classes, meet-ups, and field trips; socialization is the skill of being able to relate to others, form relationships, and interact with those beyond your immediate family. Homeschooling provides more opportunities to interact with people from all age groups and demographics than any other schooling option. Homeschool activities are not segregated by class or geographic neighborhood, there are children from all grades and often several towns, counties, even states in one place, learning together!

Is Homeschooling Even Legal? 
Well, yes it is! Honeschooling is legal in all 50 states of the USA, Canada, and most countries around the world. There are exceptions, however, and you can see a break down of homeschooling laws for the world here

Each state does have it's own regualtions and requirements. Some are more homeschool friendly than others. If you are considering homeschooling, your first stop should be HSLDA to see what your state requires of homeschool families and how to proceed. 

Even in the most rigid states, homeschooling is still a completely viable option. Do not fear that you will have to hide in your basement and use code names to survive. I promise you, no laws are being broken by teaching your child to read!

Are You Qualified to Teach?
Some states do have stipulations on home teacher requirements that need to be met. That said, parents teach their children every day! You taught your child how to dress, how to speak, how to safely go up and down the stairs, how to ride a bike, how to write his name....the list goes on and on. Lesson abound at home. Also, homework turns parents into teachers whether they like it or not. If you are spending hours each night reviewing multiplication, working through essay writing, helping a child match shapes and colors, etc, guess what, you are already homeschooling!

If you do come across a subject that you just can't or won't teach to your children, there are numerous options for online, video, and self guided courses. Being a homeschool parent does not mean you are the only one allowed to teach your child, it just means you are the one in charge of overseeing his complete education.

In fact, recent studies have show that the biggest factor in successful learning is student/teacher relationship! Teachers are being encouraged to get to know students better, and many schools are adopting a "looping" system so students stay with one teacher longer. That just begs for an increase in homeschooling. Who knows a child better than his parents?

Where Do You Find Homeschool Curriculum?
Do you have a library card?  I know that seems over simplified, but back in the day, before textbook companies existed, there were books! Just books! That is how Abe Lincoln learned, and it seems to have worked pretty well.

Of course, you may want more structure, more accountability, more support. In that case, there are an overwhelming amount of homeschool curriculum options out there. Honestly, there are too many! Instead of worrying if options exist, prepare yourself to be overwhelmed with the programs and texts available for homeschooling today!  I will be publishing a guide to finding homeschool  materials this July!

What If I Fail at Homeschooling My Child?
Well, that is a possibility, but so is your house being struck by lightening, you live there anyway, though. The fear of failure holds back the best of ventures. You will never know until you try. Playing the "what if" game is not beneficial to any decision making process.

You are making this decision to the best of your ability today for this year. Take it one year at a time. get through kindergarten without worrying about 4th grade! You are free to change your mind at any time. Children change schools all the time due to moves or school choice options. Don't let the fear of failing hold you back. YOU CAN DO THIS!!   

What is your biggest question about beginning to homeschool?  
Drop it below or send me a message. I would love to help you out! 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Serving the Least With The Most Love

Today I have something a little different for you--a guest blogger! I am busy working on some big things over here---BIG THINGS!!! I promise to share more when I can. I am so excited, I can hardly wait.

Sheila M. Hupp is a lovely virtual assistant and mommy to some beautiful little ladies. I am so happy to have her here today! Thank you Sheila, this is a treat for me, too. Please show Sheila so me love and leave an encouraging comment! I'm linking up with Kelly who has an excellent series going on the apparitions of Mary for May! Have a blessed weekend!

I have three little girls at home with me every day. Life is never dull with these gals and one (or two or three) almost always needs something. I spend my days hopping like a monkey on fire from one need to the next. As soon as one nose is wiped, another has a booboo in dire need of kissing.

With the best of intentions I will start my day with a fresh attitude and a determination to be a patient and loving mama; but, end up so grumpy I could give Cruella de Vil a good fright. The service that I am called to now as a mama of little people is not easy but these gals are not going to raise themselves.

How I approach this calling can make all the difference in my experience as their mother and their experiences as my daughters. The diapers will be changed, the meals will be cooked, the laundry will be done; but, I have the choice on how I show up to serve my family. Each day I have the choice to show up with love or with contempt.

Mother Teresa once said, "It is not how much you give, but how much you love you put into giving."

Dang. She can throw down some truth that can snap my eyes back into focus. I've been blessed with the three little ladies and it should be a joy to spend my days with them. They need me to teach them, to guide them, feed them, and nurture them. This time I get with them is a blessing and although it doesn't always feel that way, I need the reminder that what I am doing is showing my girls a glimpse of the love Jesus gives to us.

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells a story that gives indisputable guidance on how and who we should serve. In this parable, he said that the King will divide people like sheep and goats, putting the sheep to his right and the goats to his left.
To the sheep on the right, he will praise them for how well they cared for him. He says that they now have an inheritance prepared by the kingdom long before the creation of the world. The King goes on to say how they satiated his hunger, quenched his thirst, welcomed him into their homes, clothed him, nursed him to health, and visited him in prison.
Confused, the sheep asked him when did they do those things because they had no recollection of being in the King's presence and serving him. The the King told them, "Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matt. 25:40).
Could it be that our job each day is to simply open our eyes to see the needs in front of us? Should our prayer be that God would give us the guidance to use our unique skills and gifts to serve others as if we were serving Him? Is it possible to make a difference serving where we are right now?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

One June evening a friend of mine showed up in the best display of love and service. She arrived at my house unannounced with a pot roast in he crockpot. When we were surprised she wanted to bring us dinner and hug our necks.

The day before I called her asking for prayers as my little girl and I were in a bad car accident. The events of the previous day threw my life into a whirlwind and my thoughts were all over the place. That day was spent mostly on the phone recounting the accident multiple times to insurance representatives and police officers, each time reliving the horrific details.

As my friend stood there with an amazing dinner in her hands, my heart burst. What an incredibly beautiful surprise. I had not thought once about how I was going to feed my family, but she did. To her, she was delivering a meal, but to us, she was nourishing our spirits. Completely drained from the chaos, a warm, delicious dinner allowed our family to sit together and be fed.

Our friend Mother Teresa hit the nail on the head when she said, "When Christ said, 'I was hungry and you fed me,' he didn't mean only hunger of bread and for food; he also meant hunger to be loved."
Sisters, we aren't called to the glamorous life but rather to the life that honors God by loving like He loves us.
My prayer is that we have eyes to see where we can be used and open hands willing to do the work. The people we serve may never be able to return the favor and what we do may seem insignificant to us, but to those being served and loved, it could be a front row seat to heaven on earth.

Sheila is a wife, mama, homeschooler, and believer. She and her husband love raising their three girls in the woods and taking each day as slowly as possible. You can follow her on Instagram @sheilahupp.