Homeschool Planning…(and Hope)

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Have you ever gotten just enough rest to get jittery?  The sun is out, the pool is up, summer is in full swing, and suddenly it hits you…

There are only 47 days until the new school year!  If you are a homeschool mom, please share the love!!  We are not alone!

There are all these hopes and expectations we tie to the education of our children, and there is also the emotion factor when you are the one responsible for all of the above in addition to the general health, well being, character, and safety of these same tiny (or now not so tiny) individuals.  So what do we do?

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First, Planning…
For the last couple of weeks I have been getting out our curriculum, looking at what I already have for each child and planning for what I need.  We are blessed with a large percentage of homeschool families in our church, so we have received hand-me-down school items from our friends, and we plan to give what we no longer can use.  We also use a lot of free resources online!  Here are a few of my favorites:
*(as a sidenote, I also look for printables on Pinterest and Classical Conversations learning songs on YouTube)
Now is the time I like to do the research, print the printables, file away the activities so that this year can be not just an informative homeschool year, but a fun year!  One of the reasons we chose to homeschool our kids is because we not only love and care about them–we genuinely like them!  We like to spend time with them and do things together.
I have found, however, if I procrastinate on planning, it steals the joy away from our daily lives and school time.  It doesn’t take a lot of extra time…just a little.
Second, Praying…
Just praying and considering my kids and their personalities, their hearts; I feel like God gives creative ideas to make our time with them special.  Then we can dream…
What are those special electives or events that you would like to do with your kids?  Something you know is right up their alley, but you don’t feel confident to teach?  You can research now while there’s not any pressure and you may have a little free time or a free evening.  Do what you can do, then make a list and pray over some hopes and dreams for your kids that you either cannot physically achieve or can’t financially afford at this moment.  Leave some room for hope.  You’ll be glad you did!
Lastly, Protect…
It’s so important, as you consider the coming school year, to protect the time your family has together.  We have done basketball with one child in the past, and this year that will not be logistically possible.  However, my oldest kids are interested in soccer, and that is a replacement that works well for my family.  This is also the only additional activity that we will be signing our kids up for–other than the church Christmas play!  We will all be together cheering for our kids instead of pulled in four separate directions–one for each child–leaving us too exhausted to think (let alone drive)!
So, how about you?  Are your shelves packed and stacked for 2015/16?  Are you still choosing curriculum or maybe looking for some extras?  What do you plan to use for your kids?  What are some hopes that you have this year?  Fellow bloggers, feel free to post your links in the comments!

What Wondrous Love Is This…

 

In the aftermath of the Charleston shooting, after all has been said and done, it’s difficult to know what to do.  We pray for the families, our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Then we bathe our babies and put them to bed.  We cook and clean up after each meal.  We throw our laundry into the washer and the dryer and fold them and put them away. We prepare ourselves and our children for Sunday morning or a middle of the week Bible study where we will go and worship freely in the place that we choose.  We file into our rows, and we open our Bibles just like the men and women in Charleston.

There will be nine empty spaces in their church.

 

Each one loved and cared for.  Mother, father, daughter, son, grandmother, grandfather.  These people cooked for their babies and kissed them goodnight.  They worked long shifts and came home to people that loved them.  They leave a legacy.  So what will we do in the aftermath of this awful atrocity, this week as the funerals begin?

Listen.

This morning, as my children ate breakfast and I poured my first cup of coffee, this is what I heard pouring out of my radio speakers in the kitchen.  This song.  Layered over top of it were the confessions of family members towards the adolescent who had changed their lives forever.  Everything stood still inside me as the families of those Graduated to Glory spoke those three words over and over again…I forgive you…I will never hold her again…have mercy on your soul… I forgive you.  Over and over again as this song played, they sent out their message.  Stomping out the message of hate is this overpowering message of love.  A love that conquers all.  I couldn’t stop crying in the middle of my kitchen this morning.  What do we do now in the aftermath?  What is our response to this tragedy?

We do what they did.  We forgive.

No Other Love Like…

It was warm, sunny, and the air felt like rain as we drove through the Smoky Mountains in June. Pulling around the paved trail, this little church came into view, and two cars full of family stopped to look inside.  The children ran ahead, and by the time I made it into the little Cade’s Cove church, their grandmother had arranged them with hymn books on the front platform for a picture.  They acted out preaching and singing in the little country church while visitors looked around, and a large family ate a picnic lunch in the back pews.

After enjoying my children and nieces at play, my eyes fell to a piano in the back of the church.  Sheet music was scattered across the top of the great old music box, mostly fiddle tab and bluegrass country songs, but there was one gospel tune among the pile with chords written in.  Without thinking much about it, I set the paper on the little ledge and began to tap on the worn instrument, a little out of tune and missing its pedals.  I sang “O Come Angel Band” in the little country church with children all around and thought about days ago when the seats had been filled with people, all singing in one accord.

It wasn’t til I finished that I realized–people had been filtering in the doors of the little church, and they were stopping and standing to watch, to listen.  It never crossed my mind to look around before I started to play and sing.  We are just worship people at our house.  Just free.  It’s a part of us.  It’s who we are.

I think the love of Jesus is like that.  It becomes a part of us that runs so deep, we don’t realize it.  We just start to flow and pour out His love without thinking about who’s watching.  Even though the fact is, people are watching.  God’s love runs over into the hearts and lives of other people.  It never stays in one place.

Will you take the time to love on Him this Summer?  Wherever you are, in the midst of a busy schedule or taking some much needed time out, I want to encourage you to get in the love of God.  Praying.  Listening.  Memorizing Scripture.  Reading the Psalms and Proverbs with your family.  What are you going to do to make this time of year refreshing?  I’d like to hear your thoughts.  Whatever you do, it’s worth it.  Because there’s no other love like Jesus!