MIND YOUR OWN….
10-28-2016

Years ago, back when my children (and I!) were younger, I had this picture perfect idea of the ultimate homeschool experience.  I mean, this would be homeschool magazine cover worthy!  It would deem me the Ultimate Homeschool Mom!  🙂

What would your “ultimate” experience be?  All children playing an instrument?  Your teen speaking 5 foreign languages?  Ivy League acceptance?  The recitation of all the states and capitals?  Singing a time line of history?

Well, my friend’s idea was to grow frogs from eggs.  “Great idea!” I thought.  “Me, too!”  So….one day I found a whole bunch of frog eggs on a walk near my house.  Ever the homeschool mom, I transported those babies home in whatever bag/cup/vessel I just so happened to have in my pocket.  We nurtured those eggs as they grew!  🙂  How exciting!  Photo ops abound!  🙂  Until one day, my husband checked in our experiment with his own eyes and then asked, “Why are there mosquito larvae growing in the garage?!?”  :/ gulp.

You see, my friend’s homeschool bucket list should not have been my bucket list!  Lesson learned.  As time went on, God provided the very, super, wonderful, amazing Ultimate Homeschool experience ever ….FOR OUR FAMILY!!!  My daughter raised puppies!  We all helped, but she was the one who owned the project.  Ohhhhhhhhhh how much different this felt to our family.  THIS was something God created our family to do.  What has God designed your family to do or be?

So, my friend continues to homeschool and raise her children her way, and me mine.  And yes, we now know to mind our own bucket lists!  🙂

“But each of you has your own gift from God”  I Corinthians 7:7

FIFTEEN MINUTES
9-13-2015

Have you ever felt like you wanted to run away?  And all you could do was hide out in the bathroom for a few minutes?  How did you feel when you came out?  Refreshed for the moment?  What if we did this more often?  I know, I know, some of you are dreaming of a month long Caribbean cruise, void of clocks and calendars yet complete with private wait staff and more food and beverages (guilt free, of course) than you could ever consume!

God may grant you that dream vacation someday (or at least a weekend getaway!), but you don’t have to wait until the big opportunity to find refreshment.  Try 15 minutes at a time.  Drive separately to church each week and spend the time alone in the car listening to YOUR radio station.  Stop by the park or the lake without the children and enjoy just 15 minutes of peace.  Leave the kids with a responsible adult/neighbor/older sibling and go for a 15 minute walk.  (What could go wrong in 15 minutes…wait!  Don’t think about that!  We are looking for refreshment here!)  🙂

What are some other “escapes” you could find within the window of 15 minutes alone?
(Technology does’t count…look for alone time, without anyone else’s input)
Read a book?
Write a blog entry?  (I only have 4 minutes left!)
Pray?
Sing?
Dance?
Exercise?
Write a letter?

Jesus gave us many examples of going out and away: http://biblehub.com/niv/matthew/26.htm, http://biblehub.com/luke/4-42.htm

Dream big, but don’t wait.

Find refreshment today.

“refresh my heart in Christ.”  Philemon 1:20

IT’S TIME!
7-27-2015

careen:  move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way in a specified direction

Wow!  What a perfect vocabulary word to describe the end of July.  It is careening to its end – swiftly, uncontrolled, toward a specified direction of August – which leads to…the “S” word – September!

Deeeeeeep breath!  The official start of fall isn’t until September 23, so we still have 57 days left of summer!

If you live in PA, please remember to spend one of your days of summer getting your affidavit and objectives submitted to your school district by August 1.  Check out askpauline.com for amazing forms and downloads for your affidavit and objectives.

Just as an expectant woman prepares her home for the birth of her child by nesting, spend some time preparing your heart for homeschooling this year.  Do it early – and often.

It’s time!  🙂

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2

CURRICULUM CHOICES
2-7-15

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:16

What does that Bible verse have to do with curriculum choices!?!?  EVERYTHING!!!  🙂
As you trudge through these winter days, juggling sickness, snow, ice (AND math!), you must keep your curriculum choices in perspective.  God has entrusted you with unique little beings.  He has knit them together for HIS purpose.  He has knit YOU together too, placing you (and your spouse) as the Supervisors of your children’s educations.  You have much authority and much responsibility.  You also have much love and wisdom from which to make decisions.

And so…..you excitedly purchased curriculum before the new school year began.  And come mid-winter you doubt every decision you have ever made.  You begin the night time keyboard dance investigating every curriculum option the internet affords.  You question your past purchases.  You dream of future books and manuals.  You longingly look in hope for a dream solution.  Unfortunately, your children are watching and absorbing your curriculum infidelity.  It is highly contagious.

But wait!  This blog is called Encouragement for the Weary!  Not whining for the weary!  🙂  I am here to offer you hope and a dose of adrenaline to help you reach the finish line.   Just like an Olympian sprints for the finish line, let’s stay focused on the goal and press on! 

***You OWN the curriculum.  The curriculum does not own you!  Say that out loud!  🙂  “I own the curriculum.  The curriculum does not own me!”  🙂  Use it as a guide, not as the law.  There is one PA Homeschool Law.  Read it carefully.  NOWHERE does it say you must finish every lesson every publisher sitting behind a neat and tidy desk records on a neat little chart in your manual or binder!  🙂

If your child is stuck on a concept and needs more help or practice, take as much time as he/she needs to master it.  Or if your child LOVES the topic, naturally longs to know more, camp your family there an extra day (or week!) or two!  🙂  And if you don’t want to cover a certain lesson, don’t.  God will bring about other opportunities for your children to receive instruction as He deems necessary.  Be true to your personal goals for homeschooling your children.

Teach your child, not the subject.  Listen and watch.  Become a student of your student.  We all have so much to learn every day. 

You. Can. Do. It!  🙂

IT’S BEEN A REALLY ROUGH YEAR…
1-6-2015

As an evaluator and friend, how many times have I heard it said in despair and exasperation, “it’s been a really rough year…” Homeschooling does not afford parents the space and time to deal with the steep mountains and deep valleys without an audience of bright eyed children watching their every move.  Add to the emotional and physical exhaustion, a mountain of school work guilting everyone into a paralyzingly coma!

Believe me, I get it. I have had a really, really rough year…these past 2 months.  It all started when my desktop computer decided to stop working….ever again.  My cell phone, hair dryer, home phone, coffee maker and TV all followed suit.  These very minor inconveniences pale in comparison to my dear, amazing, wonderful, brave 6 year old nephew passing away after his 4 year battle with cancer.  This devastating crush caused my world to stand still while we traveled to grieve, support, love, process and spend time with extended family.

I don’t have little children under foot anymore, but walking through this journey with family, friends, neighbors and everyone in my path has been a big lesson for me.  I wanted the world to stop on that heart wrenching day.  As I watched traffic continuing to snarl and social media continuing to be updated, I wanted everyone to stop and gasp with broken hearts with us – even if they didn’t know us!  This is unrealistic, and I know that.  But it’s been a really rough year!  Don’t I get points for that?  Or a permission slip to to quit?  God most certainly gives us the gift of time in grief.  Oddly enough, society does too to some degree.  Even homeschooling does!  🙂

Those of you with new babies or new diagnoses, tragedies or loss, or hot flashes or marriage issues:  The pain is real, and there is never enough time to mourn and research and think and dwell.  Ready or not, life moves right on.  We must also.  But how?  We MUST rely on the Truths of God’s Word:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10 and then right on to:
I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down My life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15

God knows.  God knows what you are going through!  He knows when you need to stop the books and start the snuggles!  He knows when you need to stay in bed and press ‘play’ on the electronics and He knows when you need to get up and move forward.  God knows.  Yes, you still need to comply with the PA Homeschool Law in the long run, yet YOU are the supervisor.  YOU are the parent.  Teach your children in the journey.  It might look a little different in the portfolio, but in God’s eyes you will earn an A+!  🙂

Love a little more on those children today – it’s good for everyone!  🙂

NEW PA HOMESCHOOL LAW!
11-1-2014

Thanks be to God and everyone who made this possible!
THERE IS A NEW PA HOMESCHOOL LAW which was signed by Governor Corbett yesterday (10/31/2014) and goes into effect immediately!
– Portfolios will still need to be reviewed by your evaluator, but PORTFOLIOS DO NOT GET SUBMITTED TO ANY SCHOOL DISTRICT ANYMORE!  Only the evaluator’s letter will need to be submitted to the school district.
– High school seniors who have met the PA Homeschool Law for credits receive a PA STATE RECOGNIZED DIPLOMA!
– Testing still needs to occur in grades 3, 5 and 8 – results remain in portfolio, not submitted.
– Affidavits (objectives, medical, dental, etc) remain the same.

Read all about it: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2013&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=1013&pn=4174

 

THEY’RE COMING!
10-24-2014

Halloween, the end of Daylight Savings time (November 2), Election Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas are all right around the corner!  But they’re not here yet!  Instead, homeschoolers face another week to come filled with…more of the same…the same old routines, workbooks, frustrations and schedules.  No hope of a snow day for weeks to come, praise the Lord! 🙂

Don’t worry.  This is a message of hope, not doom! 🙂 This season of homeschooling is about pressing on. Keep going.  Stay focused.  Even move a little faster.  These days are a gift you can give to yourself and your children.

Let’s set a goal:

There are approximately 20 school days between today and Thanksgiving. And then there are about 15 “reasonable” days of school between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  How can you break down those days to make them as effective, exciting and pleasant as possible?

Unit study?  Field trip?  Read-a-thon one week, Spell-a-thon the next and a Math-a-ton the next?  Or count out the number of pages or chapters you want to cover before the holiday, mark it with a special bookmark and keep your eyes on the goal?  How about substituting a short term mini subject like a foreign language for your English?  Or a road trip to encompass all the subjects?

“Plan” a “spontaneous” celebration to wake and shake everyone up for the marathon ahead! 🙂 Get creative or press on with the basics and face the holidays with a confident smile! 🙂  You CAN do it! 🙂

A COZY WEEKEND
9-13-2014

The temperatures and the rain have been falling all day! And how have you spent your day? I hope you have taken some time “off” this weekend – and every weekend!

“OFF!?!?” you may scream at me. “The to-do lists for homeschooling are too many and too long to consider even taking time off to sleep!”

We all know the Creation story. On the seventh day God rested. “By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” Genesis 2:2,3 God wasn’t finished with His work at that point. Yes, He was finished with His set up of Creation, but He still had plenty of work to do. Yet He rested.

A Sabbath, a rest, does not take away your homeschooling to-do lists. In fact, it recharges you with a fresh perspective! Try it this weekend! Succumb to the temptation to dig out a magazine or color with your child! Spend some time turning “it” all off except time with your spouse and your children! Then welcome Monday morning with a smile! (OK, maybe not a smile – maybe just with a little more confidence to crawl out from the warm covers!) 🙂

From My Heart to Your Home,
Cathy

HAPPY NEW SCHOOL YEAR!
8-25-2014

Ringing in your new school year brings mixed emotions, but the bad doesn’t have to outweigh the good! Squeeze out every last drop of warmth and sunshine! Take the books outside under a tree! Learn your science lessons up close and personal with nature! Walk and talk and spell your spelling list! Grab a notebook and write poetry while you watch the leaves change! Check off days of school spent celebrating God’s creation, enjoying the blessings of September, and dedicating yourselves to this new school year! “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25

 

 

 

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