Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thoughts on the Obama Infomercial and the Sovereignty of God!

Well, hello everyone!

I stood it as long as I could. I've been lying flat of my back, trying to go to sleep, now for about an hour and a half. I didn't dare look at the clock! Just closing my eyes, trying to relax, when all of a sudden. AAAAHHHH! I'm not sleepy! I might as well get up! Trying to sleep flat of one's back, when one is a stomach sleeper is no easy task I must say. For those of you following my progression from back surgery, I am feeling better every day. At the moment, I don't feel so much like typing, but have much I need to say.....

So, here I sit in my comfy recliner with my laptop, writing to say, "hello" to all of you who read my musings and ramblings, and it is 1:30 a.m. here in Alabama!

Unbelievable!! That's all I could think of as I watched the 30 minute paid program lastnight by Barack Obama. I have to tell you something though, it was a learning experience like no other for my precious, almost 12 year old, whom we homeschool. Several weeks ago, we studied about how to do persuasive writing, and how to recognize propaganda in the writings of others. (We all see it daily in commercials, movies, television shows, speeches, etc...) I will have you know that she pointed out each and every one of the different types used in his little paid ad, and we studied 7 of them!!!

I'm going to list them here, because I am often amazed at how so many people become "sucked in" to the things they hear, see, and read, and do not really realize just how outlandish these things can be. For the sake of copyright, I will note that this information is from page 67 of a 6th grade text book published and available through Bob Jones University Press, entitled Grammar 6 - Writing and Grammar, 2nd edition. (NOTE - As a 5th year homeschooler, it is my favorite grammar book so far.)

1) Bandwagon - using phrases like "everybody's doing it" to convince you that you need to join the group and do something too.
2) Exaggeration - using inflated language to make something sound as if it is better or worse than it really is.
3) Flattery - appealing to your pride to persuade you to do something.
4) Glittering generalities - using nonspecific, nice-sounding words and phrases such as "family oriented" or "the American Dream" to make a product or idea look better.
5) Name-calling - using labels or negative words to arouse hatred or disgust for a person, group, or idea.
6) Promises - claiming that good things will happen to you if you do a certain thing or buy a certain product.
7) Testimonial - endorsement by a famous person to get you to buy a product

If you watched the 30 minute "info-mercial" perhaps you noted all of these tactics as well.

It's sad really, what we've come to as a nation. From a group of well-learned statesmen, who knew right from wrong, were taught to read using the Holy Scriptures, and cut their teeth on great classics read to them at the feet of their mothers and fathers, men and women who stood for the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we have become a nation full of whinny, cry babies who refuse to stand on their own two feet long enough to care for themselves and their own, who despise true education that is learned through personal study, not done in a classroom for 7 hours a day, but done constantly at the feet of parents and mentors who love them most, and who are willing to invest their lives in them one-on-one, who want them to live to be profitable, well-learned citizens able to care for themselves and their families, and to reach out to meet the needs of those around them. How frightening this era of American citizens is to me. Raised in an educational system which tells them what to think, when to think and how to think, too many become paralyzed and unable to think at all without the help of "experts!"

Several years ago, while reading a book entitled A Thomas Jefferson Education - Teaching A Generation of Leaders, For the Twenty-First Century, I read a quote attributed to a gentleman by the name of Alexander Tytler, who wrote during the founding era of our Country. I googled him and found this sobering information on Wikipedia, I encourage you to read it slowly and carefully and really allow it to sink in ... (As an aside, I do not espouse to all of the writings of the aforementioned book. or it's authors, but it does have much good information that I do agree with wholeheartedly.)

The following unverified quotation has been attributed to Tytler,
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."

How's that for Halloween week? Frightening indeed!!!

Abiding in His Sovereignty and the knowledge that,

"The mind of man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quick update

Well, I am now about 36 hours post-op. I feel like I have a golf ball stuck in my throat, thanks to all of the internal swelling in my neck from the operation. I am in a good deal of nerve pain today, and was told by one of my doctors to expect that to last for about 2 weeks after surgery because the nerves would be waking up. So, I think that this is the worst pain I am dealing with right now. It is much like the excrutiating pain I had the day I fell.

Sarah Beth seems to be all out of sorts since my surgery. She is crying a lot, and it is most miserable not to be able to pick her up and comfort her. Much of her problem is that she is almost 2, and she loves to get into everything! However, it is also obvious that she senses something isn't quite right around here, and that it is affecting her as well.

We appreciate your continued prayers for us,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back Surgery update

Hi, just a quick note. Surgery went fine. I'm in lots of pain. I had a migraine yesterday along with an apprent reaction to the anesthesia - so was throwing up all night. YUCK! :O( Apparently that has finally passed.

Please continue to pray for me, and especially pray that everything will work out with friends who are trying to work out ways to be here next week to help while my mom is ought of town. They are also scheduling meals for my family which will be a tremendous help.

I appreciate your continued prayers,

Monday, October 20, 2008


Anniversaries usually mark something that is cause for celebration, others are not.

Today, is the anniversary of my father's death. My mom is here today, taking care of my girls, and she seems to be doing okay. So am I. One thing that I always try to encourage others with, when they lose a loved one, is this - "You will survive this." I remember the feeling I had for months following our daughter's death in 1995. I wasn't sure that I would survive. Yet here I am, 13 years later, and I did. Christ in me was what carried me through those awful months, and He is what carries my mother now as well.

I was summoned for jury duty and had to appear this morning. I was able to provide them with a letter from my doctor about my surgery, which is tomorrow. FYI, that will get your jury duty postponed, but not get you out of it completely. :O( Amazingly, my father lived 66 years and was never summoned. I've lived 38 so far and have been summoned twice. Once you're summoned, you can have your summons postponed, but without a medical or mental disability that prevents you from serving - ever - they will only postpone you, not excuse you. Todd's never been summoned either. Strange...

I am amazed that it has been a year since my daddy died. I still miss him immeasurably, and I know that my mother does a thousand times more than I. So, much has happenend this past year. I've been in 2 major car accidents, and then of course there was my graceful plunge to the bottom of our basement stairs that is the reason for my surgery tomorrow. But, the most amazing thing that has happened since my dad died is the addition of our precious little Sarah Beth. She and Anna light up every morning. Sarah is so sweet.

For those of you following the adoption part of things, she has been with us now for exactly 10 months today. In the past 2 weeks, she has begun what most children experience around 18 months of age - separation anxiety. She will get very vigilant about seeing where I am and what I'm doing whenever my mom arrives. She knows that this means I'm likely leaving to go somewhere and she watches me like a hawk. It is actually a good thing to see, because that means that her attachment is healthy and that she definately sees me as "mommy" and she wants me there with her.

So, today is a bittersweet day, I am thankful for the days I had with my father. I cherish the days I have with my Mom now. I am so thankful for our little addition - Sarah B. I only wish she could have known my father, and he her.

Please pray for my mother today, and for me and my family for my surgery tomorrow.

Awaiting a surgery time for tomorrow,

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Updates and Prayer requests

Hi Everyone:

I added a map to the top right side of my blog that tracks where the people who are reading my blog are from. I'm in shock that there are actually people reading my blog from all over the United States. I hope that I continue to reach those around our Country and throughout the World.

Now, more than ever I feel the weight of David's words, from Psalm 19:14, "May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." , and it is my prayer.

Remember that my surgery is on Tuesday of this week, I don't have a time yet. Please pray for myself and my family.

Also, please pray for my friend Chrisi, she was planning to keep my children for me on surgery day and has come down with strep throat. Please pray for her to feel better first of all, and also that she will be able to watch my "littles" for me. I know that whatever the case may be, the Lord will take care of the details and I (the perfectionist) am resting in that truth.

Now, very important news, I wanted to give you all an update on the lady from Kenya that I wrote to you all about a month or so ago. If you missed the post, you may read it here Jennifer has passed away. Her family is still in need of the funds to have her body prepared here, and to cover the cost of having her flown home and plane fare for her husband and children to accompany her back to Kenya for her burial. The cost is great, and many of you have helped already, but I am sure that there are dozens more who haven't and could. So, I will leave that between you and the Lord. The address information has changed from my original post, and you can get the details here if you'd like to help financially.
If you've not yet helped out, you feel led, and can help, please do not delay.

Proof of God's Grace,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back Surgery, Next Week

Dear Friends,

My back surgery has been scheduled for Tuesday of next week, the 21st of October.

My mother will be staying with us for that week, in order to take care of myself and my children (and Todd too, if he needs it).

The surgery will be done as an outpatient surgery so I am thankful that I will be able to come home and rest in my own bed the first few days or so. I have been told by the doctor not to just lay around though because of the risk of blood clots. So, while I will be unable to drive, or really "do" anything, I'm sure I will have lots of time to sit in my new recliner and read.

I originally had appointments with two surgeons, but the surgeon we met with today was fantastic! Todd and I both were very comfortable with him, and with his explanation of what he would be doing. He was very straight forward, and showed us the films from my MRI explaining every single picture.

The herniation is very large, which had him quite concerned. This is why we were not able to put it off any further than next week. Additional waiting, he was worried, could cause permanent damage to the nerves feeding my right arm and the tricep muscle in that arm. He does this particular surgery on Tuesdays, so that's why it's scheduled for Tuesday of next week.

Mother will be out of town the entire next week, on a trip she'd already planned and paid for. So, she will be leaving on the following Monday and won't be back until late the following Friday. Friends have offered to help out, and I am definately going to need help. I will be unable to lift anything over the weight of a gallon of milk for 3 weeks, so that means I won't be picking up a whole lot.

I would greatly appreciate your prayers for myself and my family as we try to navigate the next 1-1/2 to 2 months or so of recovery.

Resting in His Grace,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Field Trip!!

Yesterday, we drove up to Georgia and spent the night so that we could be well rested for a nice half day field trip.

Tucked away in Dawsonville, Georgia, is a very interesting place called the Kangaroo Conservation Center. This place houses 300+ kangaroos breeds. They breed them, and then ship them all over the world to zoos, and other animal and conservation type organizations.

It was like we'd taken a short trip to Australia for the day!

The Lord blessed me with a good day. I drove all of the way up yesterday which was about a 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours drive. It was bedtime when we arrived, so I took my meds and laid down on my heating pad. AH!

Today, because we'd driven up lastnight, we were able to sleep in a bit and enjoy a leisurely breakfast before leaving the hotel. We did a great deal of walking today and I was never in acute pain! Hallelujah!

Another friend and her children rode with us, so I let her drive back home and took some meds shortly before we left.

Now, I've had my evening meds, I'm lying on my heating pad, and typing to you all. :O) But, I'm getting tired now, so I'm going to bed!!!

I'm posting pictures from our trip.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Don't have much to post today, but I'll fill you all in on what's going on around the McGuire compound :O) !

Today has been a so-so day. I've not had an excruciating headache today, and for that I give great Praise! I had one yesterday, so maybe it paid me through the next few days. I continue to try desperately to do what I can, not over do it, and shake off the guilt about not being completely up to speed with all I want to do in regards to caring for myself and my family.

I've put on a great deal of weight, thanks to my meds, and so now feel as though I look like I'm 6 months pregnant, which I most certainly am not. It's very frustrating. I don't feel well enough to excercise, and the meds I'm taking make me want to eat all the time. It is a vicious cycle, a sickening roller coaster ride that I can't wait to get off of. The first person who asks "when are you due?" is going to get socked in the nose!

Today, we here had "home church." It's gotten so crazy right now, that actually going to church is just too much. Sarah still goes in the service with us, which is necessary for a number of reasons. So, that means that one of us (Todd or I) ends up pacing the foyer, listening to the sermons out there, while Sarah Beth jabbers or does whatever it is she needs to do at the moment. Her communication skills are still not such that I can explain the whole "sit still and be quiet or we're going to make a trip to the bathroom" deal. So, it just doesn't make sense to struggle with that each week. So, this morning, we all got up, had breakfast, and then we had church. Todd started out by asking us if we had any prayer requests, and we prayed together. Then, we listed to the podcast of last Sunday's sermon (which we also missed). Later we had dinner out with some friends and then they came back to our house to visit. We finished the evening listening to some worship music.

Now, for the update on my back situation:
For about the first week after the doctor told me that I just needed to, "get it over with" (meaning surgery) I walked around worried and not really sure if I wanted to go through with it. However, now, I am a ready and willing participant who just wants to get this done, recover and feel better, hopefully by January. In the article I wrote when I first started this blog, I mentioned that there are some important things that you might want to know bout me. One of those things is that I like Januarys and Mondays, because I like the opportunity to start over fresh, I love new beginnings! I'm prayerful that is what this January will bring for me. If you've never read that article, you can read it here:

Todd said the other night that he can't imagine what it would be like if he were alone (meaning without me). He said I'd only been 1/2 a wife for the last six months and he was ready to have his whole wife back. Point being, he wasn't fairing well with only 1/2 of me here so he didn't think there was any way he could stand not having any of me here. (Gee Honey, thanks. Just kidding, I know what he means.)

I hope to be much better after surgery.

I've got an appointment with the first surgeon on Wednesday, the 15th, so please pray that the Dr. will have wisdom concerning my case, and know what needs to be done. Also pray that he explains it clearly so that we (Todd, my Mother and myself) all understand clearly what will be done (if we proceed with surgery) and what will be required during my recovery. It goes without saying that I will be needing a lot of help for about 6-8 weeks. :O(

Please continue to pray for all of us, we greatly appreciate your prayers.

Praying for a quick and easy recovery,

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Photos from our trip to the zoo

Hi Everyone:

Several of you have emailed me asking for more pictures of my girls. So, here are a few from our recent trip to the B'ham Zoo.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Interested in Homeschooling? Read these books.....

If you are a Believer who is interested in homeschooling, or just want to know more about it, here's that booklist I promised you in the last post. First however I would recommend prayer and seeking God, and lots of it!

If you simply want to better understand homeschooling from a Biblical perspective, try R.C. Sproul Jr.'s book When You Rise Up - A Covenental Approach to Homeschooling, available through

For the nuts and bolts how-to, start with The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach. This book, and the HOW approach, are based on Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. " The following is a description of the books contents from their website -
The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach "This book will instruct you, step by step, how to give your child a Bible-focused, comprehensive education from preschool through high school; one that will train him or her to read, to study, to understand, to love to learn and, most importantly, to desire and seek true wisdom. This approach can be used for all grade levels. 500 pages. " I can assure you, this book delivers what it promises and much more! As well, their website is a wealth of information. Visit them at

Next, on the list would be, Educating the WholeHearted Child by Sally Clarkson. Amazon's description of this book says, "A handbook for Christian home education. A commonsense, disciple-based biblical approach to home schooling using real books and real life. Filled with Scriptures, anecdotes, insights, ideas, methods, lists and charts to make living and learning at home natural and enjoyable." I can tell you that this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what's in this book, or to tell how good it is. I would also recommend another of her books, just for motherhood in general, The Mission Of Motherhood.

When you're done with those two, and that will take you awhile, move on to Teri Camp's book Ignite the Fire. The description, from her website, reads "Ignite the Fire! will ignite the fires in your children so what they learn is both retained and enjoyed. Terri Camp gives parents a vision for their child no matter how much or little they excel academically. She also provides a long list of ordinary household items and their usefulness in educating children. This book is full of practical, easy-to-implement ideas. Prepare to be inspired!" The book is available used through Amazon or through her website and the following link,

Last, but not least, no self-respecting homeschool library would be complete without at least something from Dr. Ruth Beechick, and there is much to choose from! So, if you are starting your homeschooling with young children Kindergarten through about 3rd grade, be sure to get her three booklet series The Three Rs. From, the description of this series and information about the author reads, "Three resources in one READING, WRITING, and ARITHMETIC! Learn how to take the mystery out of teaching the early grades with this practical, down-to-earth guidebook from Ruth Beechick. The book is divided into three sections that are tabbed for easy reference. The READING section tells how and when to begin phonics, and how to develop comprehension skills. The LANGUAGE section shows how to develop written language skills naturally, in the same way children learn oral language. The ARITHMETIC section explains how to teach understanding of math concepts, and not just memorization of facts. Bonus: A removable 2-sided wall chart for phonics and arithmetic. Dr. Ruth Beechick has spent a lifetime teaching and writing curriculum. She understands how children learn. To follow this book, for fourth grade and older, use You can Teach Your Child Successfully, also by Beechick.

That ought to get you started, if you make it through those great books, you will have gotten off to a good start, but there are more, and I have the home library to prove it. :O)

I've often said, "If the Lord is leading you to homeschool, don't be disobedient, but if He isn't, don't try it in your own strength." I think however, that many have never even considered what God's best might be for them, their family, or their child's education. We homeschoolers often refer to that as the "herd mentality" or as being "on the conveyor belt" with the point being that most people, including today's Christians just do what everyone else is doing, because it's what everyone else is doing. And, in doing so, they never stop to seek God's will in every area of their lives, and the lives of their children, and they should!!

Lastly, it's important to note that most homeschoolers do not follow any one specific methodology of homeshooling, but rather use a "little of this, little of that" or eclectic approach. The wise homeschooler will be both prayerful and Spirit Led, while working dilligently to use what works for each child individually. That is the beauty of homeschooling. After all, he point of education is for the child to learn the information, right???

Homeschooling by His grace,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Homeschooling 101

I am amazed at how often people (strangers) stop me to ask me to tell them more about homeschooling.

It usually starts when we are out and about and someone asks my daughter where she goes to school. As soon as she says she's homeschooled, we get one of two reactions.
1) complete silence
2) Oh, I envy you. You must have the most patience! I've always wanted to do that with my kids, but ........ (I don't have the patience. I don't think I could teach them.... (reading, math, science, history, etc...) I would be bored at home with my kids all day. *** NOTE TO READER: You can always come up with an excuse to do things you shouldn't and excuses to get out of doing things you should.

Now, that's not to say that I think everyone SHOULD homeschool. However, I do think that every Christian parent must seek what God's Word says about education, and about the role of parents in the lives of their children. The truth is that most Christians (especially those of us in the U.S.) don't really include God in our daily decision making. We Americans are so self-sufficient that we can go through days, weeks, months, even years at a time, without ever consulting God about the details of our lives. We pray for healing when we are sick, we ask for help when we need it, but then we go about all other areas of our lives as though God really doesn't much care what we do as we live out our days here on earth. That is SO not true!!

The truth is that God is very concerned with how we spend our time.

So, for any of you who've ever had the inclination (or gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit) to begin homeschooling your kids, but have never stopped to ask me more about it, here are some links to basic homeschooling info you might enjoy reading. This site is for the Christian Home Educators Fellowship of Alabama. It includes all of the legal information regarding homeschooling in the state of Alabama. It includes lists of "church/cover" schools in Alabama, and how-to information on how to get started.

There are many styles of homeschooling, and each have their own unique approach. I do not believe that there is any one particular way that is best, or that should be strictly adhered to. The beauty of homeschooling is that it can be tailor made for each of your children in order to best help them learn the information they need to know. One child may learn fine with the "traditional school" method of textbooks and workbooks, also known as the textbook approach. Another may need the whole life approach of Charlotte Mason Method, using whole "living" books, and the skill of narration. The next may need something more hands-on to aid in learning the materials and so their learning needs might best be addressed using the Montessori Method. Many today are using the "classical" method. (Side note: We actually came out of a Classical Christian school that our daughter attended for 2 years. I have rejected nearly all "classical" methodology, apart from chronological history, which we still use.) Some people consider themselves to be delight-directed. Others use the term "un-schooling" as their approach. I personally use what is known as the "Ecclectic Approach" which to me means that we use whatever works in each area!!!! There is also the Heart of Wisdom teaching approach, and Wisdom's Way of Learning. You can find information online about Spirit Led homeschooling (which we also follow).

I would say however that our main approach is one of Discipleship. My main goal in the homeschooling of my children is to disciple them unto Christ, through regular study of the Word, both with myself and/or my husband, and encouraging their own personal time of daily scripture study and reflection. We also spend extra time on things that are of great interest to them academically. Believing in the Sovereignty of God and knowing that HE has placed within each one of us certain gifts and abilities, we believe that as parents, we have the responsibility to help our children attain the knowledge they need in those special areas.

For instance, Anna's bent is toward all things having to do with Animals! She reads animal related periodicals and books constantly. This year our science for the entire 6th grade is focused on using Apologia's Zoology 3 book series. She has participated in classes to learn to train our dog through a local obedience school, she reads about how to train and groom dogs (then uses our little Shih tzu to try it all out on), and takes horsemanship lessons once a week at a local barn. While there she cares for and grooms the horses and practices her riding skills. Several Summers ago we went to a place at the beach while we were on vacation, and she took an entire class about 3 hours long about marine life. The "field trip" ended with a swim with the dolphins, while holding on to it's dorsal fin! Unbelievable!!! She can hardly wait until she is old enough to volunteer at the local animal shelter and she also wants to work with a community program that uses animals and their owners to visit with and lift the spirits of those who are on hospice care. That's are some of the many things that make homeschooling a unique education that ends up being so much fun and teaching them so much more than they can experience in a traditional school setting.

If you'd like to know more about the homeschooling approaches, you can google the types of homeschooling highlighted in purple above to find sites filled with information.

Maybe next I'll work up a good book list of books you should read if you are thinking about homeschooling. Some will be great additional study for those of you already homeschooling. I call it "teacher education" materials! We need teacher workdays too sometimes you know, but it's usally because the house has gotten out of control and the principal, teacher and students need some clean clothes to wear!

Homeschooling by His grace,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Parenting - The Hardest Job on Earth

Parenting is in my opinion, the hardest work I will ever be a part of.

I've heard it said that when you have a child it is like forever walking around with your heart on the outside of your body. The point is, that our children are so intertwined with our hearts and who we are, we want the best for them, we don't want them to suffer or do without.

With that said, I write with great trepidation when it comes to writing about parenting. You see, I haven't completed that role in my life, and often don't feel very successful at it. So, I dare not try to share much in the way of ideology. I am often amazed at the number of parenting books written by those who have no grown children, or no children at all. Where is the fruit of their labor? They don't have any idea what they are talking about.

I have often said that I was a great parent, before I had children. Funny how when you're childless, you know just how you'd do it if you had kids. "I'd never let my children do that." "I wouldn't let my kids talk to me like that!" "They need to straighten that kid out." Have you ever said those things, even if only in your mind? Okay, so maybe it wasn't that, but I'm sure you've said or thought something similar. Then comes along your first child and you think, "What the heck am I doing?"

Truth be told, we must take it one day, one moment even, at a time, and the amount of grace that we need from the Lord grows with each passing day and with every child added to the family. I love my children in a way I cannot express, or measure. Most days I feel totally inadequate.

When my oldest went to "regular school" it was fairly easy to think I had things figured out. Each morning we got up, ate, got dressed, brushed our teeth and out the door we went. Some days were admittedly very hectic, but there was a basic routine to what we did. Then, I dropped her off for someone else to deal with. I could then do as I pleased, accomplish what I wanted or needed to do without interruption, and jump into carpool line just in time to pick her up with a smile on my face, a finished "to-do" list, and ready to start my evening routine.

S*C*R*EE*C*H!!! Bring that dream to a halt! Then, the Lord gave me a burden to bring her home and homeschool. I admit, I stuck my fingers in my ears for a long time and said, "La, La, La, La, La. I can't hear you!" I did not want my routine disrupted! I didn't want to teach MATH! YUCK! I could list two dozen things I didn't want to do, things I would have to give up to homeschool. Was I ready to do that? No. Was the Lord's grace going to be needed even more? Yes!

The biggest obstacle for me was having to face the truth of who I was, and who my children really were. You see homeschooling is like putting a magnifying glass over the top of your house and magnifying your sins, and those of your children EVERY day. When you have to spend all day with a child, your own child, the sins in your children and in yourself come out! It's much easier to drop them off at school, and pick them up to only spend a few hours with them in the evening, put them to bed and call it a night. It's much easier to bake a couple of batches of cupcakes a year, and deliver them to their class. It's easier to not know who they come in contact with on a daily basis, and what they are really exposed to; you don't have to be with them and see that they can't handle conflict, that they don't deal well with peer pressure, that they will back talk their teacher, that sometimes they are the child who's mean to others, or that they shut down when they are not finding learning easy in certain areas.

Once you begin homeschooling, all of that changes. Many days when my husband has returned home from work he's found me exhausted - physically, spiritually and emotionally. I have often said to him, "my sin is ever before me." You see, I find myself continually failing in the same areas over and over again, and I see similar weaknesses in my children. That's the reality of homeschooling.

With all of that said, I would not change a thing! I love having my children home. I love that we can proclaim "Pajama Day" and not get dressed all day if we have nowhere to be for the day. (My Anna loves that too!) I love that I can meet the needs of my children, individually, and authentically. I love that we can snuggle up on the couch or the bed (when I'm not feeling well) and work on her lessons together, or read a good book. I love that we can watch I Love Lucy while we eat lunch together if we want. I love to see her caring for her baby sister, and the amazing bond that is growing between the two of them, because of time spent together. I love that we can travel whenever we want to, and take school with us if need be. If Anna were still in "traditional school" none of this would be happening, there wouldn't be time.

Anna attends fine arts classes all day on Monday. Taught from a historical perspective, she studies history, art, music, theatre arts there, and is involved in Drama club. This gives me a day alone with the little one to have some Mommy time together, and Anna time to be with some friends. She is involved in dance classes and rides horses on another day. We enjoy spending time with friends of all walks of life, with children of all ages. This allows her to spend time with other children, under the watchful care of her mother most days. It gives us the chance to talk openly and honestly about what to do when someone hurts your feelings, mistreats you - or someone you care about, or behaves in a manner that is not in line with our Biblical worldview. We can discuss at length the principles of Matthew 18, and how to resolve conflict in a way that pleases and glorifies God. I am amazed at how easily, even at the tender age of 11, Anna is able to discern the actions of others from a Biblical point of view. It is because we spend much time together scrutinizing popular television shows, characters in the books we read, and real people and real life situations, including our own behavior.

If she were in school, coming home with a pile of homework to complete, and involved in extra curricular activities, when would we have time for these discussions? If we were lucky, we might be able to fit one in every now and then, but they would not be with the frequency we are commanded in scripture, or lengthy enough to come to God honoring conclusions. Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 says, "And
these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. " This implies that we will be teaching them, throughout the day, as we are together. That is simply not possible when they are in school all day.

As a Christian mom who homeschools, school is really just the have to's that we work on. The goal is the discipleship of my children. My greatest desire is that my children know God when they are grown and ready to go out on their own, not the God the world has created (in their own image), but the God of the Bible, just as He has revealed Himself. If she can read, do math and write well when she comes out of her schooling (which she most certainly will), that's great, but it is not the goal. If she participates in extracurricular activities and does well at them, that's great, but it is not the goal. Discipleship, is the goal.

The summer before Anna started second grade I found myself frantically trying to come up with things to fill her summer. I planned for her to participate in dozens of different activities and try out all sorts of things to see if we could land on something she really liked. I wanted her to be "well rounded" and for her to have participated in a variety of things to find her niche. While working on this task, I found myself one morning reading Galatians 6:7-8 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." I tore up that list and withdrew her from all of those activities. I spent that summer sowing to her Spirit, and not to her flesh. A few months later she started second grade, while I planted my fingers more firmly in my ears to keep from hearing God's clear direction for me to bring her home. Six weeks into 2nd grade I was in total disobedience to what I knew the Lord had shown me in His word, and I was miserable. We pulled her out of school to bring her home, and now I work frantically to sow to her Spirit everyday.

Discipleship is hard work, but then so is parenting, remember. So, I guess they go hand in hand, and that was God's idea all along.

Parenting by His grace,