Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our First Homeschool Graduate

Our oldest child has officially graduated from high school after being home schooled, Praise the Lord! It seems like yesterday that we were teaching him how to read, write, ride a bike and swim! Now, because of God's amazing grace, he has successfully prepared for the next chapter of his life.

If there is anything my husband and I have learned from parenting, it is that once you think you have figured out your children, they go ahead and change! We have learned that parenting is a delicate balance of loving and adjusting to the needs and changes of each child that the Lord has designed to happen naturally over time. I wish someone had told me that when we were eagerly awaiting the birth of our first child, because we honestly didn't figure out this "change" concept until we had two children.

People often ask me why we decided to home school our children. My answer to them is rather shocking and not at all what they expected to hear. We didn't choose to home school our children; God chose us to home school. We are so very thankful that He chose us!!

Our children actually attended christian schools for many years. When we moved to New England we discovered that christian education looked much different in the northeast than where we had lived previously. We firmly believe that the christian school should be an extension of our home. This means they will teach, care for and nurture their spiritual and physical growth just as it is being done at home. While many institutions say their mission statement concurs with this belief, it is difficult for them to put it into action daily. 

After many unfathomable incidences in the christian school that we chose, and after many sleepless nights in tears and in prayer, it was clear that the Lord was directing our steps to remove our children from the school and teach them at home. He chose us to be the sole educators of our children, and in obedience to the One who designed and created them, we brought them home. 

What a blessing it has been to have our children at home! I had no idea where to start with curriculum, but dove in head first to the wonderful world of homeschooling. If you are considering homeschooling, the options are endless and fantastic! It is truly a joy to be able to choose a curriculum that suits each individual child's learning style and spend time teaching and modeling good study habits with each of them. For years we were chasing a school schedule, when we brought the kids home we were in control of our time and our priorities. Don't get me wrong - there have been times of struggle and frustration in our home. What we have learned is that the Lord can use times of difficulty to teach us things that we might not have learned had life been going comfortably. It is when we move out of our comfort zone that we learn and mature the most.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Laughter

It's here! The much anticipated, thoroughly enjoyable summertime! 

In New England, where we live, it seems that there are only two seasons in the course of a year: Winter and Summer. As time goes on, the winters just seem to be getting colder and longer. (It must have something to do with the thinning of the blood or old age.)

Every summer our family takes a trip to Ohio and visits family, friends and our favorite amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. I have visited Cedar Point annually for the last 40 years and it never disappoints. There is something fun for every person to do in any age and stage of life! 

Weary and fresh from the long school year, our planned trip to the amusement park was just what we needed to unwind and have fun. Some of the biggest thrill rides and roller coasters in the United States are at Cedar Point, and our kids are finally tall enough and brave enough to ride them!

It's no secret that as kids get older they have more and more schedules and life stresses put on them. I found myself pondering why, as parents, did we not intentionally place teaching the kids to laugh often and have fun as one of those life skills and habits we all should have. As a parent, I yearn to hear my children laugh, have fun, be happy and just be a kid. Why does it take a great deal of "unwinding" to let go and just laugh?

No matter what the season in life, may each of us learn to laugh again. May our hearts be taken to that special place of our youth that lets us be unhindered and happy. May we seek the Lord for His strength and joy, even in times of great stress and pressure.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.