Friday, April 26, 2013

Homeschooling, is it the only way?

Recently, someone said to me that she appreciated that when I talk about why Jeremy and I homeschool, I make it clear that we believe we are called, personally, to homeschool.  She went on to say that most homeschoolers she knows give her the impression that homeschooling is the only way.  I thought about what she said.   I too have experienced this on both sides of the homeschool verses public school issue.  I have friends, like this one I was visiting with, that believe in the school system and being a part of it.  I have friends that believe that the public school system is corrupt and that parents should not have their kids there.  So, who is right?  What do I think? 

I believe the answers for life are in God's Word.  So, what does God's word say about educating our children.  There is a lot of verses in the Bible on parenting so let's look at a couple about training and educating.  We will start with what I call the homeschoolers verse.  I call it that because most Christian homeschooling families use it as the foundation for why they choose to homeschool. 
These verse are found in Dueteronomy chapter six verse five to nine.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

These verses are written by Moses and told to the people of Israel as a command from the LORD.  God has just done great miracles for the people of Israel and he doesn't want them to forget.  He wants them to give their children a heritage of faith in Him.  Ok, the next most popular verse that Christians use in talking about educating their children is Proverbs 22:6

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.
When we look at these two Bible passages it is clear that God wants parents to take a serious role in preparing their children for their future. But how is that to be done.  Is there one correct way to do it.  I think if we look at the Deuteronomy passage we can find the answer.  Because I like simple lists here is what I see in these verses.
1. Love the LORD with all your heart, soul, and strength.
(parents first we must have our hearts, souls, minds, and strength set on the right thing.)
2.  Put God's WORD in your heart.
(We can't teach what we don't know.)
3. Put God's WORD in your children's heart.
(By force if necessary.)
4. Talk about them when you sit at home.
(Make your home a place that God and His WORD are mentioned often.)
5.  Talk about them when you walk along the way.
(Teach your children that God is with us everywhere we go, and not to be ashamed to talk of Him and HIs WORD no matter where they go.)
6. Talk about them when you lie down and when you get up.
(start your children's day and end it with God's WORD.)
7.  Tie them on your hands and bind them on your forehead.
(When something is in your hand it is easy to give it away, when it is on the forefront of your mind (memorized) then you are ready to share it with others.  Help your children be ready to give an answer for their faith.  1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...)
8. Write them on the doorframes  and gates of your house.
(Create a home that when your children go and come from it they see and know God's WORD comes and goes with them.)
These are the steps of training our children in God's WORD.  But can this be done only by homeschooling?  Absolutely not. 
How then does a parent make the best choice for their family/children?  This also is found in the Bible. 
 Seek God's Wisdom.
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Seek Godly Counsel.
Proverbs 19:20-21
Listen to advice and accept instruction,
    that you may gain wisdom in the future.
 Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
    but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Each parent/family must determine through prayer, the Holy Spirit, Godly advice, and Godly wisdom what is best for their children/ family.  Is there going to be challenges in homeschooling?  Yes.  Is there going to be challenges in sending your children off to school?  Yes.  IS there going to be blessings in homeschooling?  Yes.  Is there blessings in sending children to public school? Yes. 
So why then does it seem that we meet some people who are overly zealous about their schooling choice.  I think it is usually one of two things.  First, they have sought God's will for their family and are living the blessed life.  They have found the right schooling answer for their family.  So, their enthusiasm isn't that they want everyone to be like them, but that they want everyone to know the joy that they have found in finding God's way for their family.  The second is the exact opposite.  Like all areas of life, if we have not sought God's will, we are often offended by those who seem to be in the center of it.  These people are on the defense because they want to convince themselves that they are right.  How do we as believers respond to these people?  In love, we pray for them and encourage them.  We do not judge them, we do not try and pursued them to our point of view. 
So in closing, why do we homeschool?  I tell people that it is because I am selfish.  I don't like to share my children.  This is partially true. I love being a part of my children's daily life.  I truly miss them when they are apart from me.  I look forward to the day they each leave home with mixed emotions.  I am excited to see them each live out their calling from the LORD.  But, I also know that as they each follow Him it will probably lead them far from me.  I cherish each day the LORD gives me with them.  I do love having my children home with me each day, but the real reason we homeschool is because we believe it is what God has asked us to do.
I would love to hear from you how and why you school your children the way you do.  I think it could be a real encouragement to others.  So please post a comment on your schooling choice. 

Practical Steps to Godly Education



As I was writing my last post.  I couldn't help but be reminded that God calls His people to a different way of education.  Not an education of the world but an education of Him and His Word.  Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters in the WORD, because it is such a clear reminder of how we are to live. 
Romans 12
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[ faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

We are to be set apart, holy, people.  We are to show love and humility towards others.  We are to recognize that everyone is gifted in different ways and is to use their gifts as God directs them.  We are one body, but each has a different role to play, and we are to love those who are different from us.  Even those who persecute us.  But how in the world do we teach this type of lifestyle to our children in a corrupt and evil world.
In my previous post I outlined Deuteronomy 6:5-9.   I wanted to take that outline and give a few practical ways we could put these verse into action.  I want to first say, that Jeremy and I in no way have this all figured out, but these are just some things we have learned along the way.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9
 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

1. Love the LORD with all your heart, soul, and strength.
(parents first we must have our hearts, souls, minds, and strength set on the right thing.)
One thing I have learned to do is not get out of bed before I focus my heart and mind on Christ.  I take a few minutes and ask God to help me remember who he created me to be and to help me be all that He needs me to be today.  I also use my shower time each day as a time to pray.  These are two times of the day that I usually can focus on God and who He is and who he wants me to be without interruption.  Jeremy and I have also found that a good church family, with good Bible teaching and instruction helps us stay focused on Christ.  It can because it is made up of people, and people are hard to live with.  But, as iron sharpens iron, so we also sharpen one another.
2.  Put God's WORD in your heart.
(We can't teach what we don't know.)
This is a hard one for me.  I have a hard time memorizing God's WORD.  But I keep at it.  Get in the WORD at least once a day.  It doesn't have to be hard.  If you are teaching your children a verse, then learn it too.  If you are taking a class at church than do the assignments.  Keep a Bible in the bathroom.  Read a verse or a chapter every time you use the bathroom.  Seriously, it works.

3. Put God's WORD in your children's heart.
(By force if necessary.)
There are lots of ways to get the WORD in your children's heart.  There are Christian CD's with scripture song or read to them.  We sometimes play the CD"S when the kids are going to sleep at night.  We also do a Daddy Bible study twice a week.  It takes about ten to fifteen minutes.  Daddy picks a section of scripture, he reads it to the family.  Then each night he takes one verse at a time of that section and we memorize it and he draws a picture of that verse for us on a white board.  We all copy the verse and the picture, and discuss the verse.  Each night, we recite all the verses that we have memorized, and by the time we are done with the section of scripture we have it all memorized.  An example of a section of scripture would be the Lord's Prayer or the Beatitudes, etc. 
4. Talk about them when you sit at home.
(Make your home a place that God and His WORD are mentioned often.)
This one is easy.  As you sit down to meals talk about the things of God and how you see/saw God in your daily lives.  As you sit down in the evenings to relax as a family, read together or watch a movie and discuss the Biblical views and values in the books or movies.  We rotate between reading a missionary story in the evenings and reading a character quality book.  Some examples of books that  you can read together are "Kisses from Katie," "How to make Brothers and Sisters best Friends,"  and "How to stop complaining, whining, and arguing in yourself and your kids."  As you read and discuss these books you help your kids apply scripture to their lives.
5.  Talk about them when you walk along the way.
(Teach your children that God is with us everywhere we go, and not to be ashamed to talk of Him and His WORD no matter where they go.)
One of my favorite times to visit with my kids is as we are driving around here and there.  This is often when my kids share their own deep thoughts and questions on life.  It allows me to point them back to God's Word again and again.  Listen to your kids and their silly chatter, and encourage them to talk about even the smallest of things with you.  When they are going into the store, school, or anywhere remind them of who they are in Christ, and pray with them to be all God created them to be.  I almost always remind my kids before we get out of the car who we are and how we behave.  This makes a huge difference in their behavior and their confidence. 
6. Talk about them when you lie down and when you get up.
(start your children's day and end it with God's WORD.)
Teach your kids not to start their day without connecting with God first.  I encourage my kids not to leave their rooms until they have prayed and sought God in the morning.  Then when they go to bed at night, we teach them to again reach out to God.  Sometimes we sing to God, sometimes we read a Psalms, and sometimes we just reach out in prayer and gratitude to start our morning.  At night, we like to review our day and see how God was with us and often the kids will spend their own quiet time in the Bible before they go to sleep.
7.  Tie them on your hands and bind them on your forehead.
(When something is in your hand it is easy to give it away, when it is on the forefront of your mind (memorized) then you are ready to share it with others.  Help your children be ready to give an answer for their faith.  1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...)
This section is about teaching our kids to know their beliefs and God so well, that when someone else looks at them they see Jesus.  When our kids look at us they should see Jesus.  This is not about physically applying verses to our bodies, it is not about tattoos.  It is about God's WORD being so much a part of our lives, that when others, even our kids, look at us they see it in action.  Basically, it is practice what you preach.

8. Write them on the doorframes  and gates of your house.
(Create a home that when your children go and come from it they see and know God's WORD comes and goes with them.)
I take this section very literal.  If you come to my house you will see that I have scripture placed all over our house.  It is there to remind us of who we are in Christ and how we should live.  Some of the verses are in nice frames and others are printouts on card stock.  Some is handwritten on poster paper.  I encourage the kids to read the verses each time they pass them.  But, I do believe this verse can be symbolic as well.  The place where we live should be a witness to the WORD in our hearts.  When people drive by, or visit our homes they should know that God dwells there.  By maintaining our home and being good stewards we are a witness to God in our lives. 

As we live our lives in this fallen world we can be set apart people.  As God's people we are a people of discipline and order.  No matter if we work out side the home, send our kids to public school, attend church every week, or homeschool our kids, do a home church, or homestead, we are all called to train up our children.  The gift of parenthood, is a high calling that every Christian must take seriously.  In closing, remember this:
Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rachel's argument to remain young

When Rachel was less than one she began speaking in full sentences.  By the time she was two she could convince people of just about anything.  My mom would often tease that she would be the first woman president.  She believes strongly in fairness and justice.  Over the years she has increased in her debating and arguing ability.  Recently, Jeremy and I decided she needed to practice driving more.  She did not like this idea at all, so in order to convince us to give her more time.  She wrote her dad this essay.

Why I don't and shouldn't have to drive.
I don't think I should have to drive because
1. Driver's Ed class was my birthday gift, so technically I don't have to use it.
2. Driving makes me nervous, sick and anxious.  I don't think that is healthy.
3. I am only fifteen, why do I need to drive now?
If the answer is, "You go the most places."  Then my reply is the only place I want to go is to track.  If that is too much to ask for than I will quit track.  I love track, but if I have to drive their and feel sick than I can't do it.  I don't understand why I to drive to track.  That is like saying, "You have earned the privilege to do track, but you have to drive to it and feel sick the whole time.
Some people say driving is a privilege, but it doesn't feel that way to me.
I realize in time I will have to face my anxiety and drive, but I would rather it not be forced on me.  As I said, "I am only 15, so why do I need to drive now?"  Can't my days of being young last a little longer.  I don't think I am old enough (mature enough) to take on the responsibility of driving.
Finally, I am willing to do other things instead of driving.  Extra jobs, pay for gas, etc.
Also mom said, "If you don't drive than I am not going to by you a dirt bike."  But I feel like a dirt bike will help me be more confident in my driving.
So, needless to say, Rachel does not have to do anymore driving for a little longer, and she is still going to get her dirt bike for her sixteenth birthday.  Shared with Rachel's permission.  I want to make it clear this was not written in a mean spirit or disrespect.  In fact, we as a family, all laugh together at her creative way of getting her message across.  This essay was sincere and respectful, and that is why her dad listened and heard her request and granted it.

Daniel's decision for purity by Daniel






Recently, my parents took me out to dinner and gave me a special bracelet.  On it, in Hebrew, is engraved, "I am my beloved's and My beloved is Mine." 
My parents told me that there is two meanings to this verse.  The first is that I belong to my wife and she belongs to me, and the second is I belong to God, and God belongs to me. 
This bracelet is a reminder to me that I have committed to live a pure life, and wait until I am married to my wife to have sex. The bracelet also reminds me of my family and that they have made a commitment to keep me accountable to the promise I made to God. 

NOTE FROM MOM:  Jeremy and I wanted to do something a little different with our sons than our daughters.  We chose to have a special bracelet made for Daniel. 

Daniel also completed a purity class with us before we took him out to dinner.  After we take each teen out to dinner and present them with their special reminder of their commitment to purity, they then give a speech and pledge to the family at the next family meal.  Daniel's next meal happened to be Sunday dinner at grandma's house.  So, he gave his speech to all his aunts, uncles, and grandparents, as well as, his parents and siblings. 
After giving their pledge to purity, we as a family make a pledge to keep them accountable.  So, this was extra special for Daniel since his grandparents, aunts, and uncles also gave a pledge to him. 
Daniel has grown into a young man after God's own heart. We are very proud of him.   If you would like to read more of his story you can find it here

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Toddler Training, can it be done?

A new friend asked,
"How do you discipline toddlers?" 

For those of you who read my blog on a regular bases you know I am more of a story teller than an advice blog.  Not that I don't give advice and share my opinion freely.  If you know me, I am happy to share what I think I have learned in life.  So, after some thought, I will try and  answer this question. 

I was blessed to be raised in a home with consistent discipline.  My parents did NOT spare the Rod.  We learned quickly what was acceptable behavior and what was not.  I never felt abused or beaten.  My parents were not perfect, but they were usually fair and just.  Verbal warnings and admonishment were used and physical discipline was used as needed.  I would say that my parents began as early as six to nine months of age to discipline us.  Jeremy and I have used similar techniques, as my parents to guide and direct our children's actions.
You may be saying, "what in the world do you discipline a six month old for?"  A six month old has a will of their own just like everyone else.  A nursing six month old may bite.  A six month old may through a temper tantrum if he/she isn't happy.  A six month old may be crawling into areas they shouldn't be.  So, how do you discipline these actions? 
I will admit over the years, I have enjoyed reading other peoples advice on parenting.  I read "Baby Wise" when my first two were little, and I love the teachings of "Growing Kids God's Way."  I have also read books on how to discipline the abused/neglected child after adoption.  Like all good self help materials, there are positives and negatives to each one.  But, I have found reading others materials and asking advice from older experienced women has been very encouraging. 

My first child was like the perfect kid, in some ways she still is.  She can be sassy at times, but what sixteen year old isn't?  As a baby/toddler she required very little guidance.  But then God blessed me with an extremely strong willed child.  Rachel was very demanding and independent from day one.  She still is.  She is extremely smart and likes to keep busy.  She doesn't like to sit around and watch tv, or even read a lot.  Unless the reading has a purpose.  Pleasure reading is not her thing.  As a toddler she wanted to go go go.  She didn't have time for napping, and she never required a lot of sleep, even at night.  So very early, she needed to be taught how to stay in bed, entertain herself, and have boundaries.  I will admit, I did not learn to handle her well at first.  But, I am grateful for what we did learn through her baby/toddler/preschool years, because a few of my others are like her.  (NOTE:  She is her mother's daughter, and sometimes I wonder if my mom might have prayed her on me.) 

Things we learned about discipline of a strong willed baby/toddler.
1.)  They need boundaries.  Put up gates, make some areas off limits.
2.)  They need routine.  Meal times need to be consistent, and at the table, nap time (even if they don't sleep) need to be at the same time, outside time, mom time, etc.  Use a schedule!!
3.)  They need to hear a "yes" or a "no."  Don't use maybe, we'll see, or I'll think about it.

 4.)  They need to have alone time.  This may look different for different kids.  Maybe it is nap time on their bed, or room time with a gate on their door, or play room time, table play time, etc.  The point is to have them play alone without you or anyone else for 30-60 minutes a day.

5.)  They need correction to be swift, clear, and complete.  When they disobey, throw a fit, or do something dangerous respond immediately, making it clear why they are being disciplined and then let it go.  Do NOT keep bringing it up. 
6.)  Never kid yourself that they are too young, and don't understand.  They are completely able to understand and obey consistent direction.  They will try and play you if you let them. 
7.)  They need one on one parent time.  This can be bedtime, or a different time of the day, but they need to have your undivided attention for just a little while.  Bedtime works best, especially if daddy works all day and he does it.  Strong willed, independent children often have a lot on their little minds.  They need an opportunity to share these crazy, silly, and sometimes really serious thoughts with mom and/or dad.  We have found that our kids have less waking in the night, nightmares, and bed wetting if they have this quiet moment at night and a prayer time with dad. 

So, I can honestly say every kid is different and needs different things.  But the biggest thing with all children is consistency.  If you don't believe in spanking, then use time out, or thinking time, or whatever, but use it consistently.  If you do use physical discipline than do it consistently and without ANGER.  If you can not discipline your child without anger, than you need to walk away and get yourself under control first.  I have found in my life that the most hurtful punishments I have received and given have been verbal.  Do NOT yell and yell.  Sometimes a raised voice is necessary, but NOT in ANGER.  Do not say things you will regret.  Do not make empty threats.  If you DO  any of these things than you absolutely need to learn to say sorry to your child.  Humility is necessary in good parenting. 

I have a four year old right now, that is a handful and even with consistency he still pushes the limits.  So, is there a perfect method of parenting. No.  But if we lay ourselves and our children in God's hands, we can trust him with the results.  Pray daily for your children, and yourself.  God is faithful to answer.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Am I my brothers keeper?

A friend asked me this question today.

" My only frame of reference for a large family are "The Duggars". On that show, the parents have spun off some of the parenting responsibilities onto the older kids (i.e. "buddy system", etc.). Is that what you do in your household?"

So, I will try and answer it the best I can.  First, I will confess I have only watched maybe four episodes of "The Duggars."  So, I am not really sure how they do things.  In our house we have done different things at different times.  Second, I am not sure what" parenting responsibilities" mean in this question.  It is our responsibility as parents to teach and train our children in the WORD of God.  I think every family does this differently.  My parents had us do chores, take care of our siblings, and even run errands to the grocery and other places.  Some people might think that is the parents job to do those things.  I personally think it is better to teach our children community and good work skills in the home (family environment).  This prepares them for married life, work place environment, and church life, not to mention parenting their own kids some day. So yes, our kids do lots of chores, take care of their siblings without pay, and even do the grocery shopping.  We do use a buddy system.  Here is how it works.

When we go out as a whole family, like to church or on a special outing, then we do use a buddy system.  Each kid is assigned a buddy.  We usually keep the same buddy assignment for several months.  Right now the assignments are like this:
Daniel (17) with Stephen (4)
TylerAnn (16) with Josh (7)
Rachel (15) with Davey (10)  this is almost always the hardest assignment
Lydia (14) with Zach (5)
Brenden (13) with Jeremiah (9)
Rebekah (12) with Anna (1)

Each buddy is responsible for each other.  Therefore, the younger is also responsible for the older.  They need to help each other get ready to leave the house (dressed in appropriate attire),  they need to make sure they are in the van and buckled, they need to makes sure they are where they need to be at all times, and if they have health issues (food allergies)  that they are addressed, they need to make sure they don't get left behind when we go home. 

So for an example of how this looks.  As we load up into the van.  I will say to Josh (7),  "Is your buddy in the van?"  Then Josh needs to make sure TylerAnn is in the van.  I might then say, "Bekah do you have the diaper bag for Anna?"  and so on.  By having them both responsible for each other, the younger kids learn to think about others and be responsible.  Because soon they will be the older kids. 

During the day at home, these same buddies will often work together in schooling and chores.  An example of this is during our morning group lessons.  I have each buddy sit beside each other.  Then as we read and discuss the older can include the younger in the lessons.  If we are reading out loud, the older can have the younger follow along in the Bible/book.  As they do chores, if TylerAnn is making supper she may have her buddy Josh help.  IF Lydia is folding laundry, then she may have Zach help her. And so on.

Another time we do buddies is if I have to go somewhere and leave kids at home.  Then I assign them to keep track of each other.  Again it goes both ways.  My older kids will often be tempted to get on the computer or video games if I am gone, but if I say to the younger ones that there is to be no electronics and they are to keep track of their brothers.  This is an easy way of helping my kids help themselves.  The older kids know the younger are watching and make a better choice, and the younger learn the importance of obeying. 

Some of my kids naturally tend to be more nurturing and helpful with the little kids.  Some of my kids struggle to think outside of themselves and their own needs.  Some of my kids need more help than others (like Davey with his special needs).  All of my kid are very independent.  Some of my kids listen to their older siblings with respect.  Some of my kids can be very bossy and demanding.  Some of my kids will not listen to their older siblings.  Some of my kids work together better than others.  Because of these differences, we like to change up the buddy assignments to help each of them learn to work with difficult people.  By learning to be gentle, kind, and patient with their siblings it prepares them for adult life.  By learning to listen even when they don't want to they are being prepared for difficult work and marriage situations.  The buddy system isn't just to help me manage the kids, but also to teach my kids good character.

We teach our kids that they are accountable for themselves and each other.  Therefore, even if someone is not their assigned buddy, they are expected to help them if needed. 

Each of my kids have different ways that they are naturally a help to the family.  So for the most part I encourage that in them.
Daniel loves babies, and is a very laid back kind of guy.  He puts the babies down for their nap almost everyday.  Of course,  that is after I feed them, if they are still being nursed.  If a baby is fussy, Daniel will rock and hold it for hours and not get frustrated.  But, once a baby is no longer a baby he would rather someone else deal with them.  So, he prefers to do household chores, to best serve the family.
TylerAnn is very patient, gentle and a natural nurturer (I am NOT).  The kids all see her as a second mother.  She is a born leader, and if she is being respectful, cheerful, and responsible than everyone is following her lead.  She often needs a break from our family due to the fact that all her siblings, young and old, seek her out for a confidant.  She has even become my close companion and friend.  She doesn't do babies, but she enjoys preschoolers and elementary age kids best.  Often the kids will go to her at night if they have a bad dream or get scared.  The kids know she is NOT their mom, but they also know she will not turn them away.
Rachel is a natural teacher.  She doesn't have to be asked to read to the kids, or play with them.  She often makes up activities for them to do and learn from.  She loves to take the kids outside no matter the weather.  She has potty trained almost all of her younger siblings. 
Lydia is most like her mom.  She is a director and organizer.  She is good at getting the jobs done, and done right.  She is a morning person and takes it on herself to start breakfast, and care for the little ones as they wake up.  She prefers to spend time one on one with a sibling than as a group. 
Brenden is an adventurer and loves to take his brothers on adventures and do crazy boy projects with them.  He will often take the brothers on a hike or  spend hours making forts with them.  He also is a great handy man, and will see a problem and fix it without being asked.
Bekah is a baby lover.  She is a little mommy.  She changes diapers, gives baths, and feeds babies without complaint. 
The little ones are already starting to show their natural character too.  Jeremiah knows Davey is limited and looks out for him.  Even Davey knows how to help with the babies when I am busy. He will often call them to play with him, so I can get other work done. 

So, yes, we do use a buddy system, but mostly we just encourage each kid to help in the way that they are most gifted and enjoy serving in. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Ring by Rachel

Introduction by mom: 
 Rachel chose not to have a Quincenera when she turned fifteen.  But her dad and I wanted to do a purity study and present her with her own special ring.  She is a totally different girl than her big sister, Tyler.  Rachel is rough and athletic.  She is very competitive and loves to play games.  She is a gifted teacher, and has a heart for those people with special needs.  She isn't sure what path God has for her in her future, but wherever he takes her she is ready to follow.  Her dad and I are very proud of her.

This week I received my purity ring from my parents, and I would like to share with you what it means to me. 
My ring has three sapphires (my birth stone) to symbolize the Trinity, and it reminds me that God is always with me, and gives me the strength to do what is right. 
My ring also has two diamonds on it to represent how precious I am.  To me, the fact that the ring has two diamonds also reminds me of my two parents and how much they love and care for me.  When I remember how much my parents love me and care for me, I want to make them proud.  I am reminded of Proverbs 10:1, which says, "A wise son makes his father glad, But a foolish son is a grief to his mother."  When I remember this verse, I think to myself;  Is this decision going to make my parents proud, or if my parents were here would I choose this same path? 
My ring is made of white gold to remind me to stay pure. Staying pure to me means, not having sex before marriage.  It also means keeping my head clear of lustful thoughts, and keeping my speech clean and ladylike.  When I am reminded to be pure, I remember to dress in a pure fashion, not tempting to others.  I am reminded to keep my actions pure too. 
My ring is a symbol to me that reminds me that I have a loving family who holds me accountable to what I believe.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A great Blog from a friend

This link is to a blog that a dear friend of mine posted.  She allowed me to help answer some questions of one of her readers.  The questions were about how do you make time for God, Husband, and so many kids.    Click on the link and it will take you to the blog, and I am "Katie."  in the blog, lol.

Joshua Bible study outline


I am sharing this outline for those who ask me about our schooling.  This is a brief outline for our six week study of Joshua.  This outline is for me and the kids to reference as we work through the book.  The details of each assignment are givien on a weekly bases, and they write them into their own notebooks.  We have map books, commentary materials, and more that we reference as we study.  We also use videos, and recorded sermons as we discuss the book.  But the focus is on reading the words over and over again, finding the meaning behind the words (looking at the original Hebrew language), and memorizing the Word.  Note booking is required, and we use it for grammar training, as well as, to plant the lessons into our heads and hearts.

JOSHUA STUDY (six weeks)

WEEK 1 (Joshua 1:7-9)
Joshua 1-4 Strong and Courageous
Day 1 Read chapter 1
highlight keywords (God, LORD, Joshua, courageous, strong, firm, etc.)
NOTEBOOK: list God's commands and promises to Joshua
Day 2 Read Exodus 17:8:13; 24:12-13; 32:17
(additional reading Numbers 13:1-16,25-14:10; 26-38 and Deuteronomy 32:44; 34:1-12)
NOTEBOOK: add to your list from Day 1
Day 3 read chapter 2
highlight keywords
NOTEBOOK: add to list from day 1 and make notes about Rahab
Day 4 read chapter 3 and 4
highlight keywords
NOTEBOOK: journal what you have learned so far about Joshua
WEEK 2 (Joshua 7:13)
Joshua 5-8 Conquerors
Day 1 read chapter 5
highlight keywords (circumcised)
NOTEBOOK: copy verses 10-15 and journal on it.
Day 2 Read chapter 6
highlight keywords (fear, fight, under the ban, etc.)
NOTEBOOK: make a map of Jericho, journal themes of chapter 5 and 6.
Day 3 Read chapter 7
highlight keywords
read 1 Corinthians 10:11-13
NOTEBOOK: journal theme of chapter 7
Day 4 read chapter 8
highlight keywords
NOTEBOOK: Add Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim to your map.

WEEK 3 (Joshua 21:45)
Joshua 9-12 Covenant
Day 1 read chapter 9
highlight keywords (covenant)
Day 2 read chapter 10
map Joshua's Invasion and Promised Land
Day 3 read chapter 11
highlight keywords
NOTEBOOK: journal new insights on Joshua
Day 4 read chapter 12
NOTEBOOK: Journal themes of chapters 9-12
WEEK 4 (Joshua 24:14-15)
Joshua 13-16
Day 1 read chapter 13
highlight keywords
Day 2 read chapter 14 and 15
compare to Numbers 13 and 14
NOTEBOOK: make a list about Caleb
Day 3 read chapter 15 and 16
NOTEBOOK: Journal themes of chapters 13-16

Joshua 17-19
Day 1 read Joshua 17
compare current maps to Biblical maps of this time
Day 2 read chapter 18
highlight keywords
NOTEBOOK: journal theme of chapter 18
Day 3 read chapter 19
highlight keywords
NOTEBOOK: what is finished? What is Joshua's inheritance?

Joshua 20-24
Day 1 read chapters 20-21
highlight keywords (avengers of blood)
NOTEBOOK: copy final three verses: journal
Day 2 read Joshua 22
compare to Deuteronomy 3:18-20; Joshua 1:1-18.
highlight keywords (altar)
Day 2 read chapter 23
highlight keywords
read Deuteronomy 7
Day 4 read chapter 24
highlight keywords (serve)
NOTEBOOK: make a final journal entry