PrincipledMom: Biblical Principle Approach to life & learning Tue, 09 Aug 2011 20:44:16 +0000 en hourly 1 Decisions, decisions… Tue, 09 Aug 2011 20:44:16 +0000 Anna-Marie read on, my friend...]]>

Two days until we start our new school year! I am peacefully happy about how this is working out for us. In our homeschool we follow the calendar of the private school my daughters attend. They start on Thursday, so guess what. So do we.

My 7yo son has bugged me since Christmas break to homeschool him again. Once we decided to do just that he has never looked back. He hasn’t wavered or questioned his choice once, even when we registered the girls for school and went shopping for school supplies. I am so impressed with his quiet confidence in his choice.

Unlike him, I spend too much time rehashing and questioning and second guessing most every important choice I make. I don’t just let the decision hang out there, small and vulnerable. After I toss it out I quickly reel it back in, clutching it,  frantically searching for any perceived flaw. Upon closer inspection I deem it unworthy and toss it onto the heap with the rest of the changed decisions. Then I make another decision and start the process over again.

Those little decisions never reach maturity. They never see the light of day. I hang onto the familiar, even when it’s not in my (or my family’s) best interest. I pray Jack’s unknowing example will help me be braver as the months go on and that some of my wee decisions will have the chance to turn into great things.

Let your “Yes,” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No…” James 5:12 NKJV

]]> 1
Balancing online ministry and home Tue, 02 Aug 2011 13:59:27 +0000 Anna-Marie read on, my friend...]]>

This is another fantastic post from SisterLisa. This is a great topic that I am glad she has addressed. It’s easy to get your life out of balance but she gives you practical advice I really appreciate.

Many moms of faith have very busy schedules at home and it has limited their opportunities to reach out to minister in their own towns, but can reach out to minister to their online communities quite effectively. In this day of a growing awareness of the incredible need for powerful moms to be at home to raise and educate their children, we see an ever increasing need to minister to one another online.

We were once a part of a church that emphasized outreach in their ministry, but our lives were so busy that we couldn’t fit everything in to our schedule. It grieved us to hear the leadership was not in support of online ministry, but we continued nonetheless. However, even with online ministry we need to find a healthy way to balance our online ministries and our home. Sometimes we can be physically at home full time, but not mentally or spiritually.

There have been countless times in the past when I have been off balance. Those times when I am consumed with in- depth thought as I type out an article, I have been oblivious to the kids saying, “Mom? Mom! LISA!” and all of a sudden I am snapped into reality by my own children who wondered ‘where I was’ even though I was sitting right in front of them.

I am thankful that my husband and family have been supportive of my blogging and that they see the need for my online time to be a vehicle for me to express my faith and minister to others, but we have to re-evaluate my time and each week is adjusted as needed, because life has its way of throwing curve balls.

These are just a few things I take into consideration for balancing my home and online time for faith.

A blog post has lasting influence. The beauty of writing a powerful faith provoking article can have insurmountable opportunities to minister to millions of people all over the world, whereas ministering in town has limited reach. I’m not intending to minimize ministering in town, for the words you speak to a broken mama at the nursery counter can positively affect her faith for years to come. The love you show people in your town can lead them to healing. However, when you’re blogging your faith effectively, those words remain online for many to read and be fed through. Don’t underestimate your online time to minister to others.

Set aside a block of time to write uninterrupted. I have Sundays set aside for my uninterrupted time. My family knows that Sunday is my day to write several blog posts that will minister to my readers and online friends. Just as I would not interrupt my husband ministering in real time to a homeless man, they do not interrupt my writing.Family still comes first. Even though I want my family to respect my writing day, I will pause as necessary to minister to them as well. Thankfully, my husband is home on Sundays and takes care of things on that day for me, but I’m still a mom who has kids with needs. Moms can be a little lighthouse for our families and keeping a good schedule can be a lantern.

Prepare for your writing day in advance. If you don’t want to cook a large meal on your writing day, prepare something the day before. You can make a larger meal earlier in the week and save it for your writing day. We often have fajita leftovers or chicken in the slow cooker.

Take breaks. This isn’t always the easiest thing for me since I love writing, but we need to take breaks from the computer and re-enter the realm of the home. Not only do we need to be mentally home for the kids, but we need to make time for our husbands too.

Schedule your commenting on blogs and other forum conversations. The online community is filled with people from all different time zones and we can easily get sucked into the computer screen at any time day or night. They aren’t going to ‘fall’ if we aren’t online to answer their questions. We aren’t the Holy Spirit. Even if there was such a thing as a curfew where the internet can’t be accessed worldwide, people would still live life and be able to walk by faith without us.

Remain humble. A mom who has left the realm of humility and put herself on a pedestal of pride can destroy a family and her online ministry. Be willing to listen to your family asking you to step away from the computer for family time and don’t assume that you have all the answers for everyone online. It’s perfectly acceptable to downsize ministry to take care of the family first.

friendship by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

{photo credit Sisterlisa blogs at The HomeSpun Life and is a Contributing Team Member at The Homeschool Post.
Other articles that might inspire your online ministry or home:
Where did the time go?
Divinely Called to be Unique
Finding God

]]> 2
Plans for this school year 2011-2012 Thu, 28 Jul 2011 17:56:58 +0000 Anna-Marie read on, my friend...]]>

So we are counting down the days until we get back into the school swing. My two oldest attend our church’s private school and I am teaching the younger two at home. I have a preschooler and a 2nd grader. Here’s what the big picture looks like for this school year.

Almost everything here is planned for me. Because I work full time and attend school myself, I can’t get into a lot of lesson planning from scratch. This is a very workable plan for us. It keeps us in the BPA but not overwhelmed with creating my own plans.In the near future I will go into a bit more detail about what we are going to do.

My sons and I can hardly wait for the new school year! I know God has good things in store for us.

]]> 0
Guest Post: Shaking up home education Tue, 26 Jul 2011 13:00:00 +0000 Anna-Marie read on, my friend...]]>

The internet has a funny way of making with world smaller. It also has a way of opening doors to connect with people you would otherwise never meet. SisterLisa has become just such a friend. We are doing a bit of a blog cross pollination. Here’s her post.

It took me just over a year to shake the strict standardized style of education when I brought my kids home. Our homeschool days seemed so sterile, cold, rigid, and bland. I needed to draw out the adventure, intrigue, and exploratory imaginations of my children and the itemized memorization of facts wasn’t a success. How were we going to break out of the mold, how could I get the minds of my children off the conveyor belt of dictation, and how could I restore the youthful crusade for adventure they had before kindergarten?

I decided I would have to break the mold and halt all stagnant studying that was putting my kids into a slumber. I had to wake them up! Sometimes education can become so mundane that we get lulled into an almost hypnotic trance of numbness. We needed a spark, a jolt of excitement. I needed to go for the shock factor. So we put down the schedule and headed up to the hills to go for a hike.

What? No school today? Was this spur of the moment field trip mom’s fancy way of saying she hadn’t carefully scheduled out the lesson plans for the week? They were apprehensive about what I was doing, then again so was I. They sense that in us. They knew I was trying to fly by the seat of my pants that day and somehow it made them all a bit nervous, wondering what I was up to. I think we all had those inner butterflies and wondering if we would get in trouble for this. No classroom, no textbooks, no schedule. What was I thinking?

We packed up the water bottles and snacks, grabbed the sunblock and tied up our shoe laces. We were going to brave the outdoors as our classroom that day, we were facing what it meant to be organic homeschoolers. We needed to get out of the house and head out for some sunshine!

As we hiked up the small mountain before us, my son noticed an odd looking rock at the top and recognized it from a previous trail excursion with daddy. “Mom, look! It’s Monkey Face Mountain!” Such an odd name for a rock, but that’s just what it was, a rock formation that looked like a monkey face. It was my first opportunity that day to spontaneously teach some history about the city we live in. My oldest daughter joined the conversation as she shared about a report she once wrote about the woman who founded the city alongside her husband. General Bidwell and his wife Annie created a heritage for our town. This was the very park that she donated to the city in her will and we began discussing the importance of respecting the legacy she left us with and why it was important to her that we keep the park clean and as natural as possible.

Monkey Face by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere
{photo credit Sisterlisa at Pix-O-Sphere}

The conversation turned toward recycling and how the homeless helped to keep the park tidy as they collected any cans left by irresponsible hikers. When we finally reached the top, we could see the whole city beautifully garnished in green trees for as far as we could see. The history lesson continued on as I explained how Annie Bidwell and her husband imported trees from all over the world into the town and how our town has the nickname of The City of Trees. Then, right before my eyes and ears, I heard the most amazing thing as we sat on that mountain. Their imaginations began to flow again as they embarked on an imaginative adventure of day dreaming about walking trees and monkey mountain coming to life to join the adventure with us. The day of spontaneous learning had finally sparked and together we broke the mold of traditional learning.

We had so much fun that day and as we hiked down the mountain we planned to head straight to the library to find books about environmentalism, the history of our city, and social studies about how to be a community. My older two girls went straight for the library’s computer to look for books while I directed my younger two to the children’s section. We found an array of books on these topics for all their ages and turned the day into a vast unit study that the whole family could enjoy together. This was the kind of organic living that my heart desired for so long. This is what has helped to instill in my children a heart for this beautiful planet they live on. This was just the beginning of my daughter’s passion to speak up when rain forests are being destroyed unnecessarily.

Something new was birthed in my children that day, a charity of the heart for this home away from home. A new passion for living in the kingdom while still on earth, a passion to learn how to be a participating member of the Kingdom, a passion to be charitable, a reason to live and to learn how to bring the Kingdom to earth and how to care for the earth.

This was how we broke out of the box. It was a leap of faith to follow my heart, trusting in God to guide us that day, living in the spontaneous moment that only homeschooling could afford us. It is with much excitement that I share with you what gave us a new birth experience with our homeschooling.

1. Homeschool by faith: Lesson plans and schedules are great and needful, but spontaneous learning can happen anywhere.
2. Fear not: Don’t be afraid to follow the guidance of your heavenly Father in your homeschool.
3. Listen to your heart: He gives us the desires of our hearts and it is safe to listen within. The Spirit will teach you all things and bring to remembrance the things He has taught you.
4. Use your imagination: If we want our children to tap into imaginative learning, we must do so by example.
5. Be willing to use a variety of books: It’s ok to grab an elementary age book with beautiful illustrations to break open the imagination of your older children. Allow the whole family to participate in the learning adventure with many resources on the subjects you’re introducing to them.

Do you have any additional thoughts to spark the imaginations in homeschooled children?

Sisterlisa blogs at The HomeSpun Life and is a Contributing Team Member at The Homeschool Post. Other articles that might spark some imagination for your homeschool:
Homeschool Fun with Google Maps
God’s Curriculum
Eliminiate Distractions

]]> 6
Caution: human under construction Sat, 16 Jul 2011 03:10:00 +0000 Anna-Marie read on, my friend...]]>

It was in a nursing theory class a couple of weeks ago. It was another in a long line of Power Point presentations on theorists and their ideas. (I know, you probably had no idea nursing even had theories. Just stay with me.) We were discussing a particularly weird interesting theorist when the words popped up on the screen.

Human Becoming Theory

Hmmmmm. Not human being, human becoming. It took a moment for it to sink in. Her idea is that we are all growing, so becoming is a better word choice than being. I am quick to acknowledge that not everyone is growing, especially spiritually. But hopefully most of us are.

There wasn’t much I agreed with in her theory, but this is something I can really embrace. I like to think of meeting other people as a snapshot. People are a movie but all we get is a snapshot. If I see someone who’s not agreeable I think, well maybe they are struggling with something. It’s so easy to judge people in a second. No one wants to be sized up like that. There’s not much room for kindness or forgiveness that way.

I am a human becoming. I pray I am becoming–more like Jesus. I pray as I grow up in Him that I am less like my old nature and that I live as I have become a new creation in Christ.

And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. 2 Cor 3:18 The Message

]]> 3
I have a secret… Tue, 12 Jul 2011 03:19:49 +0000 Anna-Marie read on, my friend...]]>

Okay so I’m really laying myself bare here. I’m going to say out loud what I  have been keeping under wraps for a while now.

I’m writing a book.


I’m writing a book.

Okay, I’m not ready to shout it from the rooftops just yet but I am terrified excited to share this news with you here. Brooke, author of Warrior Prayers and Notes to Aspiring Writers: Your Dream, God’s Plan (due out next week), encouraged her blog readers to come up with an elevator pitch for our books, so here it goes:

The working title is “Bountiful: Cultivating a fruitful life in dry seasons”

Where can we look when find ourselves in a season that is painful or dry? Galatians 5 is a gift from God for a parched soul.  My book walks us through the lush garden of the fruit of the spirit, picking one fruit at a time and examining its healing properties for hurting lives. We can find that place of refreshing and renewal in Christ.

I pray this is only the beginning of great things. I am writing this book because someone (maybe you!) needs to read it. God has help for others on the other side of my faltering pen.

I’d appreciate your prayers as I struggle to complete what I feel God has placed on my heart to share.

I’m writing a book!

]]> 13
“The Mighty Works of God: Liberty & Justice for All” review Sat, 09 Jul 2011 14:34:00 +0000 Anna-Marie read on, my friend...]]>

Mrs. Smith is the founder of Pilgrim Institute. She has written a history series for home educators called “The Mighty Works of God.” I have used this myself so I feel I can give an honest review. For this review I will refer to this title as LJFA.

This is the second book in the MWOG series, intended for younger elementary ages. First off, this is not an intimidating tome. The student text is less than 200 pages and the teacher’s text is only a few pages more. It is an easy read for the students.

The teacher’s guide provides three or more lessons per chapter. Mrs. Smith has supplied a leading ides for each lesson, along with reasoning questions and a synopsis of the chapter. A CD-ROM is included with the teacher’s guide full of printable maps, notebooking pages and charts that correspond with the lessons.

If you are new to BPA it can be a terrific way to ease into a subject without having to build lessons from scratch. And if you have Mr. Rose’s book, this text corresponds with year 3 (second grade) in the chart on p. 207.

LJFA covers all of history, from creation to today. She uses the theme of liberty to connect the lessons throughout the year. I like this because it adds continuity to the lessons. There are scriptures, poetry, biographies and more sprinkled throughout the text. Many color drawings add to the enjoyment as your child reads about Moses, Marco Polo, William Penn, Jedediah Smith and more. Benjamin Franklin seems to be a favorite historical figure with children and the stories about him in this volume are inspiring and a great place to pause for a “rabbit trail.”

Why you might like this

  • She weaves a beautiful story, revealing His Story as it marches through time. It is taught from a Providential history perspective, focusing on Biblical reasoning to learn about historical individuals and events.
  • It makes history an easily teachable subject.
  • You are provided the leading ideas for each lesson.
  • It is flexible. Because there are no daily plans you can use as many lessons as you like. You aren’t left feeling as if you haven’t covered something.
  • Reflection and reasoning are supplied.
  • It inspires affection for America’s Christian history.

Why you might not like this

  • Your educational philosophy doesn’t jibe with a Biblical Principle Approach philosophy.
  • You want daily lesson plans.
  • You want literature-based history.
  • You don’t want to teach from a Christian history worldview.
  • You want a textbook.
  • You want something the child can do independently. This requires the teacher to reason alongside the student.
  • There are no tests or quizzes. (or maybe this should be in the list above!)

I enjoyed using this with my children. We learned a lot. I didn’t feel rushed through a huge lesson schedule, so we could take out time and focus on reasoning and not just facts. I was also able to teach multiple grades with this (4th and 1st). A little modification makes this easy to use with several ages at once. And because the leading ideas are supplied, I didn’t have to do a lot of preparation before we could sit at the kitchen table and talk about His Story together. It began a lot of great conversations about the why’s of history. Not “why do we need to learn this” but why people do what they do and why things happen.

]]> 0
7 wonders of the [homeschool] world Fri, 08 Jul 2011 13:00:08 +0000 Anna-Marie read on, my friend...]]>

1. Reading. Teaching your own child to read is the first step on the road to lifelong learning. I call it the Golden Ticket. In my opinions it is the greatest gift you can give your children outside of salvation. And you can do it all by yourself (with some good phonics books).

2. Graduation. You homeschooled your own child. They made it. You made it. And you didn’t need a school system to pull it off. That’s pretty wonderful.

3. Affordability. It’s not expensive to educate your child yourself, unless you choose to spend the dough. It doesn’t take $4000 per child per year to educate your child. Score.

4. Individuality. There’s seemingly no end to this one. Individuality of lessons, religion, methods, children, diets, schedule etc. are but a few ways that you can customize each child’s learning experience. This is wonderful, not spoiling. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn in such an environment.

5. Rabbit trails. When something interests your family you can swerve your lessons right into it. You can’t do that in a classroom setting

6. Camaraderie. You are able to form close relationships with own family, a “values in action” exercise because your children see how you live day-to-day.  And home educators are a tight knit and friendly community. No one is more willing to share wisdom, information and materials than homeschoolers are.

7. Seamlessness. School and life are not separated, they are celebrated. All of life becomes learning and all the world becomes a classroom.

What’s on your “seven wonders” list?

]]> 2
Charity brings: kingdom Tue, 05 Jul 2011 13:00:20 +0000 Anna-Marie read on, my friend...]]>

This is part three in my series on charity. (Here are posts one and two.)

Webster defines kingdom as “In Scripture, the government or universal dominion of God.” This is the kingdom I am referring to–God’s kingdom.

I’ve heard it said that love is the currency of heaven. I think it’s more like the air. Where God is, love is there. God chooses not to exist without love. We cannot live without His love.

Your kingdom is built on what is right and fair. Love and truth are in all you do. Ps. 89:14 NCV

When we extend our hands to the poor we bring God’s love to earth. We bring His kingdom here.

You will be doing the right thing if you obey the law of the Kingdom, which is found in the scripture, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” James 2:8 GNT

Charity, or love, enables God’s kingdom, His government, His way of doing and being right to exist right here with us. Charity opens the door to Heaven on earth.

Sell what you own. Give to those who are poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out. Put away riches in heaven that will not be used up. There, no thief can come near it. There, no moth can destroy it. Luke 12:33 NIrV

That’s where we belong–in heaven. That’s where our true possessions should lie. Charity brings His kingdom to us and us to His Kingdom. We are moved by what moves Him. His agenda is ours. We strive to please the King, even to our own discomfort. Love begins to motivate us to do more, to reach higher and to advance His kingdom.

Government is, in a nutshell, “who or what is in control.” I want to always choose God’s government over my own. My own government is lazy and self-serving. His is generous and full of unselfish love (charity). He is patiently waiting for us to prefer His government, His kingdom, so heaven can visit us here in the everyday.

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Mt 6:9–10 NKJV

]]> 1
Charity brings: emancipation Sat, 25 Jun 2011 14:44:03 +0000 Anna-Marie read on, my friend...]]>

This is Part Two in my small series on charity. In installment 1 I provided a definition of “charity” from Webster. Charity is used in the King James as a word for love.  As we practice charity a beautiful thing begins to happen in our own lives: emancipation.

EMANCIPA’TION, n. The act of setting free from slavery, servitude, subjection or dependence; deliverance from bondage or controlling influence; liberation; as the emancipation of slaves by their proprietors; the emancipation of a son among the Romans; the emancipation of a person from prejudices, or from a servile subjection to authority.

  • We are free from fleshly desires. Setting aside our desires is difficult. Maybe a reason bigger than ourselves helps us do that.
  • We are free from sin’s hold. When we love God with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves, as the two Great Commandments say, there is little room for sin in our own lives.

For charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 KJV

  • We are free from trappings of the world.  Be warned: charity can cause a loss of personal possessions. Stuff is not as important as people. Meeting the needs of others is important, even if it means meeting them with your own stuff. People know love by meeting basic needs first.

Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. 11 There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors. Deut 15:10-11 The Message

  • Seeing others through the lenses of charity we are free to see others for who they are (Webster notes freedom from prejudices).   And we are free to do the same for ourselves. But most of all we get a new perspective on who God is. If we can be charitable, how much more charitable is He? (see John 3:16) We stop picking and choosing who we will help. We seek out the unlovely—in all forms—because that’s where the hurt is.

Add…to brotherly kindness charity. 2 Peter 1:7 KJV

  • We are free to hope. It’s wonderful to have the hope you give others offered to you in return. When you see freedom in action you cannot help but be filled with hope.

For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.    Galatians 5:14 The Message

I am not saying that we love so we can get something. These are simply a sacred by-product of charity. God set it up that way and I’m so glad He did. It’s beautifully summed up in this passage:

Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back – given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” Luke 6:31b-38 The Message

]]> 1