Okay am I the only one who is geeked about planning for next year? Oh my but I love everything about it! Every year is a fresh start, full of possibility. New school supplies and clothes (we get these things), fresh teacher planners and juicy new dry wipe markers are all signaling school’s about to start!
I know you may wonder why I am chatting about this now. It’s early July, you think. I have plenty of time, you think. I’ll do that later, you think. I wouldn’t if I were you…
Planning for the year is important. You know the saying, “If you fail to plan you plan to fail.” It happens every time I think I can “wing it.” I like to think I’m a free spirit but I really need more structure than I want to admit sometimes. For me, writing it all down helps keep me on track and [mostly] productive.
Here is my planner for this school year. I have linked below to all the wonderful blogs whose free printables I used in this planner. Isn’t the cover beautiful? I cobbled the contents together from several sites to fit my needs. I laminated the covers and comb bound it (I happen to have tools to do both). Super cheap and just what I needed!
Here is a tour of my planner on YouTube. To me its easier than a bunch of pictures.
Here are the links to the printables I used.
FACE offers a helpful resource for those new to BPA. It’s short and sweet and chock full of helpful info. It helps you take a deep breath and say, “I can do this!” It is written by a home educating moms who have been there and done that and lived to tell about it.
The Noah Plan Homeschool Companion is free with purchase at the FACE bookstore or it’s only $6 if you want it alone.
The school year is fast approaching (if it isn’t already upon you). While you are excited about the fresh year and new possibilities, some of those old fears and frustrations from last school year can creep up on you before you know it. Here are but a few simple ways that you can make this a better year.
Pray. This is the most important key. Fresh vision and a renewed outlook are critical to change what you want to change and make this a better year.
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24 NKJV
Schedule. After you have prayed you can move to scheduling. Make a plan to avoid disaster and to plan for fun and spontaneity. It’s not easy but you’ll be glad you did.A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
Connect. Find a kindred soul to walk through your year with. If you don’t already have one, seek out a friend to pray with and to share the good, the bad and the ugly with.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 1 Thes. 5:14 NKJV
Let go. Release unrealistic expectations. Release your death grip on life. Release those fears and frustrations from last year and wipe the slate clean. Release things into God’s hands and marvel at how He beautifully orchestrates your family’s lives.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. Jer. 17:7 NKJV
Encourage. Encourage yourself in the Lord. And find another mom to encourage. Make it a long term project to bless another mom you know. It’s hard to obsess about your own problems when you are meeting someone else’s needs.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Col. 3:16 NKJV
Being a parent of a non-homeschooled child, you are probably busy and think you don’t have time (or energy) to do more where your child’s education is concerned. But your child can benefit from some of small ways home educators (especially BPA educators) approach education. Delegating your child’s education to a school does not absolve you of your responsibility to be your child’s most important teacher. Here are a few easy ways you can take more leadership of your child’s education.
Be involved in their education. Check homework, ask questions about lectures. Offer more than the school is offering. Go beyond, even if it’s only small things like checking out an extra book from the library on the topic.
Make your whole lives about learning. No one only learns in certain locations or during certain hours. Make your home a haven of learning. Set up a science center and/or a reading corner related to what they are learning. Cooking, laundry and chores are also times to learn math, science and life skills. Thinking about these simple tasks in a new way can open up a new avenue to connect with your child educationally. Bringing Biblical principles into the subject (like science) brings life to learning that will inspire for life in a gentle way.
Read aloud–and read a lot. Mealtimes and car rides are great times to squeeze in extra literary goodness. Offer your child a reading list, especially in the summer. Add to the list your child’s teacher gives and if your child has a choice of books to read, offer a literary classic, a “living book.” (see some of my previous posts on literature.)
Learn alongside your children. Ask them questions and allow them to teach you something. Dig in and learn beyond the homework, which is probably fill in the blank or one word answers. Take a topic and together see what you can learn that s not fact-oriented.
Look for ways to incorporate their learning styles. Homework is a good time to let your child embrace their learning style. Making up songs to study for a test, walking and learning, drawing and doodling can all be done during homework time and help your child get more out of their homework.
Embrace individuality. As long as they are following the teacher’s instructions, why not let your child use colored paper, write with a colored pen, use a cool computer font or anything else that will help your child take ownership of their own learning. Help them make projects their own, not just something they were told to complete. Encourage creative expression every chance you can.
Take field trips. Weekends are for enjoying. Make them fun AND educational. Zoos, museums, aquariums, fire houses all make fun family outings that create memories and offer learning at the same time.
What suggestions do you have?
We often hear about how homeschooling is best for the student. Home education is also great for the mother-teacher as well. Here are just a few of the ways:
time with your children
In my opinion this can’t be oversold. Time with your children should be something you desire to find more of. This seems to be the reason many parents choose not to homeschool–they will have to be with their children all day. I have never understood that sentiment. If that’s the only reason you don’t try homeschooling then let me encourage you to rethink this idea.
you are always learning
Home educating parents are always in school themselves. Learning and exploring alongside your children is one of the greatest homeschool joys, I believe. You don’t have to know it all right now. Taking time to learn together is a wonderful way to bond as a family.
Meeting and praying with other parent-educators forms a strong bond. Finding like-minded parents and children is an important factor in the success of home educating families. It is really difficult to “go it alone,” and with the internet it’s now easier than ever to connect and create life-long friends.
Home educating parents are constantly setting goals (and hopefully seeing them through). Looking back over a year, or a semester, is rewarding. You can see how far the homeschool students have come and where you need to go next. Accomplishments such as teaching a child to read are methodical milestones a parent can look back on with pride. This builds confidence that bleeds over into every area of life.
ensuring your desires for your children’s education are met
There is no competing worldview or opposing force vying for your child’s heart and mind. Also you are able to focus like a laser on what you think is important for them to learn. You can also be sure you deal with challenges and giftings as needed.
If you could write this list, what would you add?
The best kind of seed is God’s Word.
The best kind of nourishment for the seed is faith.
The best kind of light is Jesus.
The very best kind of garden is the one in my child’s heart.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Cor. 13:11 NKJV
This video from Paul Washer got me thinking. Back in the “good old days” children couldn’t wait to grow up. They looked up to parents and other adults. They longed to share their responsibilities and respected their position as elders. And adults had great expectations of children. They took on responsibilities at a young age (partly because of the short life span). Not so today.
These days many adults don’t want to be grown up. They want to be hip and cool, accepted by the teens and children they know. Instead of setting the bar for adolescents in their lives, they allow the child to set it for them. Children decide what’s cool, what’s acceptable.
But not only that. Adults want to play. A lot. Online games, video games, chatting, messaging, farming, you name it. Adults flock to sites children think are cool and to products children have approved. How do we have time to study God’s Word, minister to our neighbor or train our children if we are always striving for entertainment?
So If the children aren’t the grown ups, and the adults aren’t the grown ups, who is doing the hard work? Who is striving and growing and mentoring and training and encouraging? Who will the next generation follow if we are following them?
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24 NIV
What if we tried as hard to lead as we do to fit in? What if we put as much effort into shaping the next generation, into blazing a trail for them to follow, as we do to update the meaningless details of our lives?
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 1 Cor. 11:1 NKJV
What if we looked up, stood up and grew up, not only for ourselves but for those who are depending on us? We need to follow Christ and take up our cross daily. Not take up our smart phones and laptops and game controllers. If we don’t make the tough decisions and stand for hard Truth who will the next generation look to? No one will take the Gospel to peoples in the jungle, where disease and wild animals could take you out. No one will work three jobs to provide for their family. No one will cross oceans to live in a country they have never visited to love the people and open a medical clinic to save lives and souls. No one will suffer in prison for preaching the illegal Gospel to their fellow countrymen, enduring untold abuses with quiet faith.
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. 1 Peter 2:21 NKJV
Ever had something so finger lickin’ good that you just had to have the recipe? So you work up the courage to ask and when you get it you realize you can’t duplicate it because there’s one ingredient you don’t have–secret sauce.
It’s a blend of spices and flavorings so potent, so tasty, so irresistible that you can’t help eating it until your tummy aches. Even then you want more. You liked it so much that just thinking about it makes your mouth water. When you get some you are already thinking about the next time you can get some. That’s some serious gastric goodness.
So have you ever met a homeschool family that left you feeling like that? They seem to really enjoy what they are doing. They are inspiring and you think they have something you want to duplicate. You leave wondering how on earth you can recreate what you are craving. Well, I’m about to give you the recipe to the secret sauce so you can create your own taste-tingling recipe at home and put your own twist on it. It’s not a mystery but it is important.
This secret sauce is the key to maintaining for the long haul, for keeping things hoppin’ and happenin’. Keep in mind this is generic secret sauce. Your own secret sauce may include devotions, prayer time or something else. That’s how you make it your own secret sauce. If you think things are stale, maybe a dash of special sauce is just what you need.
What’s in your secret sauce?
I am waiting. I am in a waiting season. I don’t like it much because I’m not very good at it, which is probably one reason for the waiting. Patience is a fruit that needs to abound in my life and there’s much to be said for letting patience have its “perfect work.”
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. Is. 40:31 The Message
This waiting isn’t a sitting around kind; it’s the restaurant kind. We wait by waiting: serving, working, cleaning, doing. But if you are like me you get your eyes off what you are waiting for and onto what you are doing. Then it becomes all about works and busyness and just plain old doing. That’s not what God intended for us. That’s not His best.
A dear friend explained waiting this way:
When you take your children on a trip and they are asking “are we there yet?” over and over, they don’t understand the process. So you give then something to do while you take them where you are going. God does that with us. We are not saved in the activity. The activity doesn’t get us there faster or differently. It’s simply keeping us busy as we wait for God to get us there.
Joyce Meyer says patience is not just biding time but keeping a good attitude while you are waiting. Patience really is a virtue. It’s going to sustain me in the waiting. So I will keep busy writing and praying and growing and learning and loving. My life doesn’t stop in the waiting, but it doesn’t change the process either. It’s a bonus that He uses even the waiting time for my good.
LIT’ERATURE, n. [L. literatura.] Learning; acquaintance with letters or books. Literature comprehends a knowledge of the ancient languages, denominated classical, history, grammar, rhetoric, logic, geography, &c. as well as of the sciences. A knowledge of the world and good breeding give luster to literature.
There seem to be two camps concerning literature: those who think you should shelter your children and those who think that difficult books are a tool for discussion. Of course older children can handle things that younger children cannot. And difficult discussions on slavery, racial slurs, abuse, etc. do need to happen. I think for me it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.”
I have heard both sides of the argument and they both have merit. I think I come down on the side of caution. My children count on me to keep them safe. The mind is the most. I do not ever want to allow them to put something there that they are not ready for. I believe literature (true literature) is a terrific way to introduce difficult topics in their natural settings. Books can open casual doors for conversations that might seem contrived otherwise. Then Biblical Principles can be introduced/applied where they fit.
And then there are some books that I do not believe qualify as literature, are salacious or are otherwise twaddle. Those don’t make the cut. But important works are worth reading and discussing together. Because we are “living” with the books and their characters, I want to make sure we are “acquainting” ourselves for a specific reason and not just to have something to read or because it was recommended by someone else.
Where do you fall in the book sheltering debate?