priorities exercise for homeschooling families

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What are the areas of your life as a homeschooling family that are the most important to you? Brainstorm, making a list and narrowing it down to your top five priorities. Consider how the curriculum, programs, activities and learning methods you now enjoy either enhance or detract from these goals.

Begin to eliminate those things that are not beneficial or that take time away from accomplishing these five goals. Ask yourself if those goals can be better met at home rather than outside the home, and be honest. Remember that life is short, and life with our children at home is even shorter. Imagine yourself, 25 years from now, talking with your adult children who are raising your grandchildren. How can you spend your time today that will best prepare them for that task?

Say “no” to new things that come along that also won’t help you accomplish your goals for your family. There are a plethora of opportunities for homeschooling families, but ask yourself which options are the best choices for yours. Don’t succumb to the latest curriculum fad just because it is popular and appealing. Don’t jump on any homeschooling lifestyle bandwagon without evaluating it according to your goals. Don’t sign up for a single thing that will not help you accomplish one or more of your five goals.

Make time for those things that are important. Never allow yourself to say “I don’t have time” if it is something that will help you attain your goal. For example, if you want to develop a new family habit, wrap that activity around something you do every single day. For years we began the day as a family with Bible reading and prayer but found it difficult to keep as a routine because of Clay’s work schedule. A few years ago we decided to include it as part of something we do together every single day, so we incorporated it into our evening meal. Success!

Throw yourself into accomplishing those five goals. Read, study, and learn everything you possibly can about things related to that goal and see how it changes your life!

Remember that the eternal always trumps the temporal. This will be a continual battle as long as we live in this world, but purposing to live each day with this agenda at the core of your life will be worth it all. As I have been making these evaluations for my own life and family, the Lord brought words from the old hymn to mind that says: “I see the sights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear.” What a good reminder that my calling as a Christian means that my goals and priorities are not to be shaped by the things of this world!

from The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling ~ when the one anothers come home

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true biblical submission



“Why has the command to “submit to one another” become such a stumbling block to so many? I believe it is because the church has missed the example of Jesus and His servant’s attitude; we have neglected to take in the whole of Scripture and have refused to place our lives square in the middle of the weightier matters of the Word of God. We have ignored the simplicity of life in the covenant of faith and have replaced it with phrases and semantics and man’s principles that reflect a divisive agenda and adversarial assumptions. We have mistakenly regarded submission as a vertical rather than a horizontal action. We have substituted the beauty of an organic, natural one anothering approach, with a legalistic, top down, military chain-of-command list of rules for family life.

“In reality, the true beauty of living a life of genuine, biblical, one anothering is discovered in our submission to one another! When the difficult issues of life come before us, if the spirit of submitting to one another is present, conflicts rarely occur! If the desire to express our love and care for one another takes priority, yielding to each other can become a source of great joy and comfort. You see, submission is not something controlled by someone who requires submission. Rather, it is yielding your personal rights as an expression of love for and commitment to another person. It is done out of a heart of genuine respect, care, and interest in another person, and can never be demanded. Submission is the choice of an individual, is never done out of obligation, always has the best interests of someone else in mind, and does not stand alone in its own category. It combines with all the other one anothers of Scripture to produce a picture of what heaven will certainly be for those who love God. Submitting to one another is merely an instinctive, beautiful dance we do as a couple, as a family, as the body of Christ, choreographed by the grace of God in each of us.   from The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling ~ when the one anothers come home

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only a dad


One of my fondest memories of my dad is his love of poetry. He, and my mom as well, would often burst into spontaneous verse. It was amazing how many poems he could recite and how appropriate they were to the occasion! It was a gift to me and it wasn’t until I was a grown-up that I realized not everyone had a dad who recited poetry! This was one of his favorites.


Only a Dad
by Edgar Albert Guest
Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.

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Father’s Day admonition to dads



from my friend, Wally Long:

We have an terrible epidemic afflicting children in our country. It’s not drugs, alcohol, bullying, suicide or gang violence. This terrible epidemic is fatherlessness.

It is estimated that 24.7 million children in the US (about 33%) live in fatherless homes. Millions more love in homes where the father is physically present but emotionally detached or not involved. Still more live with abusive fathers. It is likely that over half the children in our country do not have a loving, engaged relationship with their fathers.

71% of all teen pregnancies come from fatherless homes.
85% of children with behavior disorders come from fatherless homes.
91% of homeless and runaway children come from fatherless homes.
63% of youth suicides come from fatherless homes.
85% of youth in prison come from fatherless homes.
72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers.
60% of America’s rapists grew up the same way.

All these stats are sourced but I know that stats are not absolute facts. They are estimates and extrapolations. Still, I think the picture is clear and sobering. Children need fathers who love them and are engaged in their lives.

On this Fathers Day let this be a call for us to “man up” and be the men and fathers our children need.

Ezekiel 22:30 (HCSB)
I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one.

Your children need you to stand in the gap and repairs the wall. God is searching men. He is calling you. Will you answer the call?

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when failure comes to our children

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“The sense of personal calling on the lives of our children will help them persevere during those times of discouragement and difficulty that are certain to come to them. Early on, our children must embrace the truth that God has no plan B for their lives, only a plan A, and that He is bringing that plan to pass in spite of our best efforts or worst mistakes. Sometimes our children sin miserably and, lost in our own grief and disappointment, we forget this truth ourselves. But it is during these very times that we need to fulfill the calling God gives to us as parents: to comfort, exhort, admonish, strengthen, and encourage our children, affirming God’s forgiveness and watch care.

“I am always jarred back to reality by the story of Jonah, of his refusal to obey the Lord, his recognition that he was in the belly of the fish, the biggest mess of his life, because of his disobedience and the fact that it was God who placed him there. In the second chapter he cries out to the Lord for mercy and deliverance and then makes this profound statement: “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jonah 2:8) (NIV). How well Jonah summed up the reality of what happens when we follow a life plan that does not please the Lord or put Him first! If our children fail and try to run away from the Lord by sinning against God through disobedience, especially by following a call He has not placed on their lives, they need to know that God may use amazing but painful ways to bring them back to Him. They need to understand that God is also a merciful and gracious God who is swift to forgive. We should do likewise.” ~ from The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling ~ when the one anothers come home

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summer fresh quinoa salad


I have been trying to find delicious and simple ways to cut the “bad” carbs from our diet and this is one of our favorites. Similar to our familiar traditional pasta salad, this one skips the high carb count and goes well with so many of our usual summertime standbys!

Summer Fresh Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

2 cups chopped tomatoes

2 cups chopped cucumbers

1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives

1 Tbs. minced garlic

juice of one fresh lemon

1/2 cup olive oil

fresh ground pepper

fresh ground pink Himalayan salt

Mix garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and set aside while quinoa cooks and cools. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until chilled. Serve alongside grilled meats or with a fruit salad for lunch or supper. Delicious!!!


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are we raising slaves?


This idea that children won’t learn without outside rewards and penalties, or in the debased jargon of the behaviorists, “positive and negative reinforcements,” usually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we treat children long enough as if that were true, they will come to believe it is true. So many people have said to me, “If we didn’t make children do things, they wouldn’t do anything.” Even worse, they say, “If I weren’t made to do things, I wouldn’t do anything. It is the creed of a slave.”  ~  John Holt, How Children Fail

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the hierarchy of schooling

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“One evening I was involved in a conversation about education with a group of parents, some homeschoolers, others with children in public education. One of the dads began to talk about his experiences growing up in private school and the awareness children have as to where they rank in reading and mathematics in their classrooms. “We were all birds,” he told us. “I was in the group called the Eagles.” I saw him sit a bit taller even as he announced it. “We all knew we could read better than the Robins and we were all smarter than the lowly Sparrows. The hierarchy of schooling ability began in first grade and continued all through 12th and even beyond. It made us smug six-year-olds and even smugger college graduates. The Robins settled into becoming average and the Sparrows were just smart enough to know they would never be anything but Sparrows.” We all nodded, understanding exactly what he meant, a twinge of that familiar Sparrow pain passing over several faces. Sadly, the rules of formal education based on comparison demand this scenario to be played out in every school. From the moment children enter a formal education setting, they are placed into categories that pit the Eagles against the Sparrows and can influence even their future success throughout life.” from The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling ~ when the one anothers come home

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children and morality


“Parental responsibility for shaping the ideas and ideals of the oncoming generation has priority. The imperative of training a child to walk morally and spiritually (Proverbs 22:6) does not, of course, reduce to ‘throwing the Book’ at the younger generation. The example of time spent in prayer, worship, Bible study and church participation, the reading of quality books and magazines, the nature of social life, the way the family makes crucial decisions, and not least of all open conversation and discussion of cardinal ethical and religious concerns define the character of home life.” ~ Carl F.H. Henry

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