31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: An Unexpected Gift

Dyslexia a gift?
My daughter will scoff and I can’t blame her. I don’t imagine she can see the gift. In fact, I’m fairly certain she might never see dyslexia as a gift. But dyslexia has been a gift to me and in turn, has made me a better mother to her and to her siblings.
Learning to parent a child with dyslexia meant examining my preconceived notions of what her interests would be, her education & learning style, and my life plans & goals.
We had decided to homeschool when she was quite young, therefore, homeschooling meant finger painting, reading about Jesse Bear, talking about Jesus, and going to the zoo. Good times! Fun & easy! We were golden until the time came when I thought she should be reading.

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She was such a little bean, and I had so much to learn. We plugged away with pathway readers, explode the code workbooks, sing spell read & write curriculum, read alouds, wizardspell, computer games, posters, board games, blocks…..are you getting worn out reading the list? We certainly got worn out trying to achieve the list. She would do the work, many times in tears, we would spend far too long on each assignment, I would push far too hard….
It is a sad memory for me & I’m certain sadder for her.

Hear this, “she would do the work”.
If I could have seen she was doing it, maybe I could have slowed down. But no.
Although she was doing the work, it didn’t stick. It took years before anything stuck. Not her fault. Not my fault.
I did eventually wake up from my homeschool mommy fog. We slowed down. I apologized for pushing too hard. I acknowledged things she said. I read aloud, we loved good books, we played. I remembered to breathe.

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Dyslexia taught me to know & love my children right where they are for exactly who they are. Some parents never learn that.

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Has she conquered dyslexia? No. I’m not sure one ever fully can. We both have learned to live with dyslexic quirks, not to bite off more than she can chew and to not be defeated by dyslexia.
How can I not be grateful?
(originally posted 11/2011)

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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Holy Monday

As my children got older, our schedule filled with classes, co-ops, church, and different group activities. Each one was something really wonderful but I found myself missing those quiet days at home and my children were needing more downtime. After a while I came up with Holy Mondays. IMG_2808.JPG
This schedule includes almost everything we are doing in October, I left off doctor appointments and some scheduled music lessons my daughter & I teach.
Holy Monday is a day set apart from our schedule, I try not to allow any doctor or dentist appointments to fall on those days. When we first started Holy Mondays, it usually meant Monkey Bread, read alouds, art projects, board games & maybe a movie. Now it means the kids are welcome to sleep in and get a late start, several hours of uninterrupted school time, science projects, and hopefully a nice long walk for the new puppy. It also gives me a chance to catch up on any grading or prep work for my music classes. As I look at that list from when the kids were younger I see many things I’d like to add now too! Monkey Bread Mondays were a real thing for us for years & I’m kinda missing that.
It takes some practice but scheduling a quiet day refreshes me, makes me a better teacher & a more patient wife & mom.

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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Inspiration

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When You Rise Up by R.C. Sproul Jr.

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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Currently

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Currently:
wishing the Cards had had a better outcome this year. Looking forward to next!

listening to Issues Etc.

finishing Emily of New Moon.

wearing Ike & Co earrings.

making meal plans for the week.

sharing a blog you should be reading! Lots of great book reviews & lists.

going to read Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs.

learning my limits.

deciding we need an art day soon! Usually we have art Thursday afternoon but the last few Thursdays have been very busy. I’m definitely ready to do an autumn project with the kids.

heading into the homes stretch with our homeschool. It seems impossible that they will all be done in 5 years.

appreciating the ages of my children. My father is in the hospital right now & they are doing their schoolwork independently while I sit with him.

looking forward to the holiday season, celebrating with, cooking, treating & caring for my family.

enjoying a few quiet minutes while my dad rests.

feeling grateful for so many praying friends.

loving on my family.

knowing the Lord knows all things & is in control.

laughing with my folks over silly things.

thinking about choices I need to make.

fighting a very old and bad habit of making poor food choices.

saying lots of prayers.

feeling loved.

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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Photo Fridays

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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Experiment Idea

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Presenting lessons a different way makes everything more fun! You could lay everything that is needed on a table and help the kids deduce what they’ll be doing, or make a treasure map of items you need and have them find everything before you begin. Some days *I* just need to change things up a bit!

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This day called for drawing step by step instructions for a simple, inexpensive, completely awesome experiment that will get you amazed and joyful reactions like this:

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Look closely at the left side, center of the picture ~ you can see the ash left from the rocket floating mid air!

Discover the science behind it all here!!

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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Dear Mama

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Dear Mama,
You aren’t perfect, you know that I’m sure. And dear mama, you surely have some relief in knowing that you’re not perfect and you give yourself some grace when you make mistakes. I hear you! I know how frustrating it is, this daily battle with self.
Dear mama, I want to take a moment and remind you that as you cannot make yourself perfect, you cannot make your children perfect. Take a breath and listen,

You Cannot Make Your Children Perfect.

You can gently lead, train, pray for and guide them. You can use kind words and show love, you can tenderly correct them. But dear mama, in no way can you make them perfect. No lists, no charts, no punishment, no scripture memory, no perfect curriculum, no amount of chores, no scrubbing the floors or walls, no tears, harsh words, arm jerks, face smacks…. none of it will make your children wise up and be perfectly obedient.
Just as you and I struggle daily with our own sinful nature our children struggle with theirs.
I’m not saying that order and expectations can’t help you in training up your children, please understand that. But I am saying that in the training you want to have a Relationship and in a relationship you need to have trust. If you are so worried about how your children behave or obey that you are destroying their trust then you will endure rough waters.
Jesus Christ gives us the gift of perfection in His death and resurrection, until He returns we will struggle repeatedly with our own sinful nature and with our children’s sinful nature. The Lord works through us as mothers and we have to remember that He will equip us. We have to remember to seek Him in our parenting decisions, not the standards & expectations of this world.

Robert Frost once said, “In just three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life. It goes on.”

My three words ~

Love
Your
Kids

They are words that I think are important to hear, words that sum up my day and words to inspire. They are the words of advice I give to new moms.
Perhaps that advice seems obvious, yet I have seen moms get so caught up in what they are supposed to teach their children, they forget to love them. Moms (and dads) focused on training up their children, on what punishments fit what behaviors, what schooling is the best, what will put their child on top, what will fulfill their needs. (whose? the mom’s needs or the child’s needs?)
I have a friend who has one of the most gentle personalities. She is funny, witty, intelligent, loving, passionate, and kind. She’s human, I’m pretty sure of that, but I’ve never seen her raise a voice or hand to her children.
I had to ask one day, how? How do you do this? Don’t you get angry? Is there ever a time when they make you crazy?
Her answer was a resounding yes, certainly. (Ah ha, she is human!)
But she was once reminded that her children are a precious thing.
She was reminded by her tearful toddler after a spanking.
“But mama, why did you spank me? I’m a precious thing.”
That was the one and only spanking in her home. There is no screaming at the children either. Their home is a place of peace, Christ, love, & creativity.
She has never corrected me when I was angry with my children, never shook her head or looked disappointed by my frustration. But quietly witnessed to me when I asked.
And reminded me

Love
Your
Kids

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