Raising Arrows: Homeschooling with Purpose

Raising Arrows: Homeschooling with Purpose

This has become one of my favorite blogs to read. Amy does such a great job of passing on wisdom, encouragement and being transparent. She has challenged me as a mom, wife and homeschooler since I’ve been reading her blog (all of 3 months or so). I appreciate her willingness to give us all a glimpse of her life, her struggles and her thoughts. I encourage you to read too!

Thoughtful Thursday — A monkey's uncle

So we took a little unplanned trip back to Kansas last week and I’m complete off my “schedule” of blogging. Here is my attempt to get caught back up. Today is thoughtful Thursday and I’ll tell you how I was and continue to be blessed by my brother.

Luke and I are 14 months apart. (I’m older, but much shorter). I’m sure that when we were little that must have been really tough on my mom, but it was really great for us. We did lots of stuff together and were great friends.
Luke is a great husband and father to 2 beautiful girls! And I mean beautiful! (His wife, Jenna is also beautiful!).

Luke is a fantastic uncle to my boys. He is a hunter, fisher and general outdoorsman and has made many efforts to give my kiddos some great experiences. About a year ago he helped set them up with bows and a target in our backyard. The boys love the time they have to shoot out there. This last week we were in Kansas and the boys could hardly wait to get to Luke’s house to shoot with him. The bows and arrows were carefully and thoughtfully packed in the trailer and were some of the first things to be unloaded. Luke took time to spend with them outside and especially with Gabe. I have yet to get on the phone with the boys and not hear them talk about spending time with Luke. It makes my heart happy to hear them chatter about what he taught them or how well they could shoot the target or arrows or whatever. Lately I’ve been hearing about how excited they are to hunt bullfrogs in July. (apparently there is a bullfrog season…who knew?)

A few weeks ago Otto shot a lizard in our backyard. He wasn’t trying to be mean, but he had his BB gun and his manly hunter instincts took over and he shot it. He was so excited. And then he thought about it and felt bad for the lizard. He was worried about whether it was going to help other lizard friends or if it had a family etc. I was trying to do my best to comfort him and be a good mommy, but I had no idea what to say to make him feel better. I was approaching it from the angle that God gives life and that we have the ability to take it away, and that this was perhaps a good learning opportunity about the blah blah blah…it didn’t help and to be honest it wasn’t making a whole lot of sense. So I called Luke. Luke told Otto that sneaking up on a lizard  takes a lot of skill and it’s a feat that most hunters can’t achieve. It’s something I’ve never done, he said, and you should be proud of yourself for doing something most other people couldn’t.

While that it was certainly a different approach, it was exactly what my son needed to hear. He asked Luke later if he ever felt bad for the animals he shot and they had a very good conversation about hunting and it’s purpose etc. I appreciate that about my brother. He always seems to have the right words, sometimes a little unconventional, but a good grasp on the world around him.

So this week, I was blessed by my brother. He doesn’t know it and will probably be a little irritated that I blogged about him. But it’s true. I feel honored that he takes an interest in my children. They feel special because he takes time with them. He makes them feel important and that blesses me.

No more pencils…no more books…

We are officially done with school for this year! Gabe came down the stairs this morning and said “Mom! Do you know what the best part of today is going to be…No school!” So true son. So true.
But you know…eventhough we didn’t officially have school today, we did a lot of learning. We had a life skills day.
I have had a growing mountain of laundry on my back porch this week. I don’t know why, but it’s seemed just about impossible to get caught up. So we spent our morning sorting, folding and hanging up laundry. We learned several important lessons…1. It’s much easier to hang up shirts if you put the  hanger through the neck hole rather than the arm hole. 2. Baby brothers crawling into the laundry basket are cute the first time they do it, but the cuteness wears off each time we have to drag him out. 3. He’s even less cute when he comes along and wipes all the newly folded laundry off the table before we have a chance to put it up. 4. Little boys giggle when they have to touch underwear. 5. 2 year olds giggle when they put underwear on their heads. 6. After said 2 year wears the undies on his head, it’s hard for mommy to get anyone back on track.
So we moved on to sweeping the floor in the kitchen. 1. Yes the floor needs to be swept after each meal. If mom can feel stuff sticking to her feet…it needs swept. 2. Babies are not part of the dirt needing to be swept on the floor. 3. Do not let the baby chew on the bottom of the broom. It’s gross. 4. Either sweep the floor before the laundry basket gets pushed across the floor, or push the basket first. Don’t do them both at the same time. It makes a mess and causes fights. 5. Let the 2 year old help. Even if it means we have to do it again. We’re training him too.
We also hung out laundry this morning…we only learned one major lesson (well mommy really learned it). Don’t set the laundry basket down where ants are trying to build a home. It makes them angry. Pay attention. Although the baby thinks it’s funny when mommy dances around trying to stomp on the ants biting her toes.
We had a great day. And the boys learned something even if we didn’t have school.

Leave and Cleave–Family Worship

I’m taking a little break from becoming a godly wife and focusing a bit on becoming a godly family. My brain has been full this week and this has been something on my heart lately. I hope it speaks to you.

Family worship was a totally foreign concept to me until recently. But we’ve been incorporating most evenings in our family for the last couple of years. It looks a little different each night, but it has been such a blessing. I would encourage you to begin some type of family worship in your family.

We’ve found that family worship gives us a time to bond as a family, it’s been time for us to really discuss issues that we may be facing as a family, it’s proven to be a great training opportunity and it’s been huge in providing spiritual growth for our family. We look at family worship at building a family legacy, we are building the legacy of a family built on faith and a family built of God.

Here are some of the things we’ve done as a family during our worship. We usually start the worship time off with time in the Word. We don’t have a perscription or a guide. We usually study a book, piece by piece. We started off with Luke. We’ve also studied the 10 commandments and are currently in Genesis. Dad (Kerry) usually reads our passage, although we’ve mixed it up a bit lately. We’ve been listening to a dramatized version of the Bible we bought on CD last year. As a family, we generally enjoy audio books so it’s been a nice change of pace. Sometimes we cover 2 or 3 verses and other times we cover 20 or 25. It depends on the content of the passage and how many questions the boys have about what we’re reading. We use our time to talk about what the passage means, how it applies to our lives and what it might look like to live it out.

After we read our passage we will sometimes sing a few hymns. We try to sing the same one or two hymns a week so that we learn them well as a family and the boys learn the words. It’s been so fun to hear our family sing in the evenings. It’s even cooler to hear the boys sing the hymns during the day while they’re doing their daily chores or just playing. We’re kind of a musical family so it’s been fun and it has turned into such a blessing for me.

After we sing we take time to pray. Sometimes we’ll ask all of the boys to pray individually and then Kerry and I will pray. Sometimes we’ll just have one or two of us pray. We look over prayer requests from Sunday or through our prayer chain. We’ll also ask each of the boys for prayer requests, specifically what we can pray for them each day. Occassionally we’ll focus on a specific character quality we’ve struggled with during the week.

Family worship has been a integral part of our days and evenings. If we miss a night, we feel kind of crummy the next day. We feel “off” as a family. We look forward to our time together each night. We have a rule that we don’t answer the phone (I even shut of my email alerts for my cell phone), we don’t have any TV or radio on so that we can focus totally on worship together as a family. If you have young ones, this is a great time to teach them reverent behavior for church. Not to say our kids sit perfectly still and don’t fidget during church, but they do sit still during prayer (most of the time) and we’ve taught them how to be respectful during the service.

I should note that this family worship is separate from our morning devotions or Bible time as part of our school. We usually use that time in the mornings to read our Proverb of the day and morning prayer. I would encourage you as a family to begin some kind of worship time each day. If you miss a day, no biggie. Do it again the next day. Your Lord will be glorified and you will be blessed.

Ladies, one of the big challenges can sometimes be if your hubby doesn’t feel comfortable taking the leadership role during family worship. You don’t want to be a nag about this. It’s great if you can suggest to him that you start family worship together, or you can gently remind him that this is something you wanted to start. Maybe things like “honey, do you want me to read our passage tonight or would you like to? I’d be happy to do it, but remember you asked me to remind you we wanted to start this with the kids” or “Kids! Go get the Bible…Daddy is going to read it to us!” And for those of you who don’t think you can sing…get a good worship song DVD, you can find the lyrics online and sing to your heart’s content! Who cares if you’re off key. It’s delightful to your Father!

The biggest thing is, start building that legacy.