Summer Learning

I always have grand plans.  Plans of how our homeschool year will run.  Plans of how our days will go.  Unfortunately for me, many of these plans don’t work out.  I’m always left feeling like we aren’t doing enough because we don’t do everything on my “list”.  Well, the truth of the matter is this is a lie.  A big, fat lie.  Our kids are learning.  They are progressing.  They are processing everything and making connections.   As parents, we worry about our kids.  We want them to do well.  We want them to be happy and to “succeed”.  Success looks different to everyone.  For some people, success may include college.  For others, it’s trade school.  For some, it’s becoming an author or a CEO.  The point is, success depends on what is valued.  For us, we want our kids to be independent.  We want them to find some happiness in life.  We want them to love God and follow His prompting towards whatever life He has set for them.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

God has the big picture in mind.  He knows where we are headed and how we can help others learn about Him.  He has only our good in mind.  Guess what?  I can’t see the big picture.  I don’t know where we are headed in life.  I know our end goal, but the twists and turns in our life ahead are unknown to me.  After all, I am not God.  I am simply an imperfect human being doing her best to follow God’s will for my life.  So I, naturally, focus on what I can control.  I focus on what I do know.  And I make lists.  I make plans.  I like to cross off items as I finish them.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment.  It makes me feel like I am moving forward.  And while there is nothing wrong with this, it is not the be-all and end-all.  Our journey towards God and living with Him forever in the afterlife are the end goal.

1 Timothy 2:3-4

This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

who wants all people to be saved and

to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Sometimes in the midst of planning and dealing with everyday life, I lose sight of this fact.  I lose sight of the end goal.  I forget that just because we didn’t continue doing our science curriculum during the summer doesn’t mean that we aren’t moving towards our end goal.  Just because we haven’t done a foreign language lesson every day, or even every week, doesn’t mean we aren’t learning.  Just because our days don’t look like what I want them to, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t making progress.  Our children are outside playing in the dirt.  They are climbing, running, and jumping.  They are moving their bodies.  They are looking at the sky and taking in the songs of birds.  They are examining plants and worms.  They are cooking and baking and inventing new recipe ideas.  They are sitting down and doing nothing.  They are learning.  They are loving, squabbling, and praying before every meal.  They are loving on their three-month-old brother.  They are helping with the chores and gathering wood for the winter.  They are watching the seeds they planted in the garden grow.

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Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

Sure, I can’t document everything they are doing right now and consider it “school work” to prove that we are actually teaching our children.  I can’t quantify it and put it all down on a worksheet or have them write an essay on their days.  I mean, I could, but really, what would that be teaching them?  That all life is supposed to be considered work?  How about rest?  After all, even God rested after He created the world.  And if He considered it important, then I should as well.  They are learning.  They are probably learning more about what they are going to need to succeed during our time off than during the school year.  Yes, I just said that.  And it may just be a reflection of what we value in life, but we don’t care if our kids go on to college.  We don’t care if they “just” want to stay home and be a housewife, or run a small farm, or write novels all day, even be an artist.  We care about them following God’s calling in life.  And right now, their calling is to take in the glory of God’s creation.  It’s to go out, have some fun, do a little work, and rest.  Now if I can only remember to do the same, then we might just be on the right track.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

How is your summer going?

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Another Chapter

Well, here we are again.  Another homeschool year has been successfully wrapped up.  My papers have all been filed and approved by the state (thank you, Lord!).  We are all set for the next year.  Sometimes I really wish we lived in a state that was not as restrictive in their homeschooling laws.  It’s pretty ridiculous considering that we are choosing to homeschool our children and WANT them to have a great education.  Are there some people out there who would slack in educating their kids?  I’m sure there are.  However, I also believe that the vast majority of parents who homeschool are doing so to give their kids a better education than is available at public school.  Yes, we homeschool because we value what they learn.  Yes, we are trying, to a certain extent, to shelter them from the world until they are old enough to discern for themselves.  Yes, we do want them to learn certain things that the world doesn’t value.  But ultimately, we also want them to know how to read, how to write legibly, and how to use math in real-world situations.  I have, in our “official” seven years of homeschooling, switched curriculum THREE times.  I am, so far, happy with what we are primarily using now, but I also wouldn’t mind trying out a couple more.  (Cue our oldest begging me not to switch it up on her…AGAIN)  The point is, as homeschooling parents, we are constantly trying to find the “best” curriculum for our children.  We WANT them to learn.  We even, dare I say, want them to LOVE to learn.  We want learning to be fun and engaging.  We want our kids to finish up the year saying, hey, remember when we learned about x, or y, or z?  So all I’m trying to say is, can we make it a little easier on parents at the end of the year?  Can we maybe not make homeschooling such a process?  Well, since we have our own theories on why “they” might not want that to be the case, I won’t ask that question with any sincerity.

Copyright Roses at Dawn 2019
Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

Ultimately, it is what it is and we will keep plugging along.  I will keep doing our end of the year assessments, we will keep getting each child “evaluated”, and we will keep teaching our children values, morals, and truth.  I will keep stressing about whether we are doing enough, whether there is a better curriculum we could be using, and whether or not our children actually understand that we are, ultimately, doing this for their own good! God Bless!

Proverbs 22:6

6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 3

So I may be a little late getting this posted, ahem. But it’s still yesterday somewhere….right? Either way, here is my last quote for the three day quote challenge!

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This quote is completely true and speaks for itself! Sorry kids, we love you, best of luck!!

But in all seriousness, one of the things I love about homeschooling is the chance it gives kids to be themselves. To find out who they are, and to have the confidence to express it. Whatever their quirks are, I want our children to have the confidence to go out into the world and use their quirkiness to bring joy and love to those around them in the hopes of making our world a better and more loving place. Because let’s be honest, the world could use a huge dose of love.

1 John 4:7-8

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

I would like to thank Linda from Amazing God Stories again for nominating me for this challenge. It has been a fun experience and a bit challenging for me to find three quotes to write something about. So thanks for stretching my brain. 🙂 And please keep writing. I really like reading your stories and letters and just everything. I’m really glad you found me so I could find you!

And for my last nomination, I would like to nominate you! Yes you! Anyone who is reading and would like to participate, please do! Let me know either by comment or link that you have participated. I would like to read your quotes. Thanks to everyone who has read my quotes and hopefully I will be back sooner than last time!  God Bless!

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 1

It’s been quiet around here. Sorry about that. I wish I could say it was because I was taking a much needed break and recharging and reconnecting with God and my family. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The truth of the matter is that I have been working on our end of the year homeschool evaluations. These have taken up all of my brain space and I have not had any leftover. Now that they are finally finished (Halleluiah!) I am hoping to get back to my regular once a month posting. 🙂 And I figure, what better way to do so then to kick off with three days of posting!

Way back in May, Linda from Amazing God Stories nominated me for the Three Day Quote Challenge. I am finally getting around to actually doing it! I have been especially enjoying her Life is a Beach posts and the pictures of her adorable granddaughter.

Ok, onto the first quote:

If you don’t have children, who will you download your files to? –J.K.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

This quote came from my husband. Can you tell he works with computers all day? We were driving in the car one day with the kids and were talking about the point of life. All of a sudden this phrase just popped out of his mouth. It was funny at the time and still makes me laugh, but it is also so true. What is the point of living and learning if we don’t have anyone to pass our knowledge down to? Of course it is good to learn and grow for ourselves, but without passing on our knowledge, how can we hope to influence the world towards good? If we keep all of our life experiences and knowledge gained through those experiences to ourselves, then really, what was the point of them? I know that some would argue that it is the betterment of ourselves. Sure, to some extent that is true, as it should be. But, that is also ultimately a selfish viewpoint. And selfishness is something this world has too much of. We should seek to share our knowledge with others so that we can bring others and through that sharing, ourselves, closer to God. So whether your children are biological, adopted, or otherwise, download your files to them. Pass the knowledge, love, and life onwards!

 

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,

he will not depart from it.

 

I would like to nominate Christina from Justified and Redeemed. She is a wonderful young woman who is well on her way to blossoming into an example of a Proverbs 31 woman. She is a great example for all young women going through their season of singleness as well as for the rest of us. I learn a lot from her posts and always leave with something more to think about and ponder. Head on over and check her out. 🙂

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

The big “S”

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If you are a homeschooler, have ever considered homeschooling, have ever known anyone who homeschooled, or have ever in any way ever heard the word homeschooling, then you probably have heard the debate about socialization.

First, a little background about myself. I am a product of homeschooling. I was homeschooled from second grade all the way up until eighth grade. My parents then made the decision to send me to high school. Also, I am an introvert. A BIG time introvert. I don’t like going out, and anytime we do get out of the house, I can’t wait to get back home. But I did just fine in high school. I made friends. I even still keep in touch with one of those friends (ok, so I’m really bad at keeping up at correspondence, but we do see each other every once in a while!). And I can function in the REAL WORLD!! 🙂

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Anyways, back to my point…I have to admit I was worried. Worried that our kids would have difficulty socializing. I’m not sure why I was worried, but I’m sure all the media hype I heard growing up and then as an adult didn’t help. I guess maybe it is just one of those things all parents worry about from time to time. Will my kids be able to do x, y, and z? Will they be competent members of society and not have to rely on us to function for the rest of their lives? Silly worries, I know. Kids grow up, they mature, they get out of the house and they do just fine!

After all, how many “famous” people were homeschooled and we don’t even really think about? Yes, I know it was common during a certain time period, but why have our concerns changed? Why was it so much more ‘acceptable’ then but not now? Just because we now have a public school system doesn’t mean our children can’t and shouldn’t be homeschooled. Again, just because times have changed, that doesn’t make us any less competent to school our children.

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A while back, the kids and I were in the grocery store doing our shopping. I was still pregnant with baby Z and it was a Wednesday. A random day in the middle of the week where if the kids were in traditional school, I would have been there with just the two little boys. But I wasn’t. I was there with all five of them. All five of our “un-socialized”, homeschooled, children. We get lots of compliments when in the store about how well behaved they are. And those compliments make me feel like we are doing something right. Our kids know how they are expected to behave in public, and they do, for the most part. However, when someone says hello to them, they are a little hesitant to respond. Part of this is due to shyness. Part of this is due to our “don’t talk to strangers!” teaching. Both of these reasons are fine! So back to me and the five un-socialized, homeschooled kids in the grocery store. We were walking down one of the aisles and there was an older woman doing her shopping. As I was going about picking up whatever it was I needed, A noticed the older woman drop her paper towels. And without me noticing, or realizing what had happened, she walked over, picked them up, and helped the woman place them in her cart. And my heart soared. I was ridiculously proud of her (as all parents are when we catch our children doing something good and right without prompting). But more than that, I realized that I shouldn’t be worried about whether or not our kids are receiving enough socialization. Who is really in charge of measuring that anyways? How do we know how much they really need? Not to mention, you do realize we have six kids? At home? All day long? Do you even realize how much “socializing” goes on here on a daily basis without us even really thinking about it?

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When my husband and I first got together, we already knew we were going to homeschool. It was one of those things that didn’t need to be discussed. But I admit, I did have some preconceived notions that have not really panned out the way I thought they were going to. One of those has been socialization. I was really hoping to find and participate in a homeschool group of some kind. I thought about how nice it would be for the kids to have some friends outside of each other. But as time has gone on and there are still no homeschool groups in a reasonable distance to be found, I have come to realize that God is not calling for our kids to be out and about. He has placed us where we are, with the resources available (or not!) to us for a reason. I really feel that He wants our children to learn to be friends with each other. He wants them to rely on each other for companionship. After all, how many times have we told them, “At the end of the day, all you really have is your family. Family is what matters.”

Now I’m not going to pretend to understand God’s ways…(Isaiah 55:8)…ahahhahaha……ahem. But, I choose to believe there is a reason. He wants our children to rely on each other for a reason that is above my understanding. He provides for everything and He has plans for each of us. They are not always what we think they should be. But they are always for our betterment (Jeremiah 29:11). So I’m going to choose to stop worrying about whether or not our children can say hi to the nice, older woman at the grocery store. I’m going to stop worrying that they “have no friends” outside of each other. Because God has a plan. And His plan is WAY better than anything we could ever imagine.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

 

P.S. I received this book as a young girl, and now A is enjoying it as well. It is a wonderful story of a young woman who, along with her family, moves away from her home to a new area of the country to help establish a new church. She ends up learning to do without her “friends” and rely on her family for fellowship and companionship. As the story unfolds, we find out that God had a very specific reason for having this happen to her. It is a wonderful example of what I am trying to convey. God has a reason for everything that happens, and His plans for our lives are so much better than our own. (Yes, this is an affiliate link, but the book review is completely my own and I am in no way receiving anything for writing it. I simply loved this book as a young girl and still find it to be relevant today!)

What do you worry about the most with your kids and about life in general?  How do you deal with those worries?

Creating for a purpose

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Lately I’ve been trying to get away from buying things at the store that I know I can make myself. First of all, let me just be clear, I am all for convenience when it is “necessary”. Of course, this looks different to everyone, but we are at a season in life that is very busy. We have six children under 11 and let’s just be honest, there are only so many hours in a day. That means we have to use what we have wisely.

When I was pregnant with baby Z, convenience (and having a husband who is willing to do whatever needs doing!) was the only way I made it through the day sometimes. It also helps to have a 10 year old who can cook!! I don’t like to waste items or money that don’t need to be wasted. That being said, sometimes it’s nice to use some paper plates and not have to do the dishes at the end of the day.

As my energy has returned, I have begun cutting back on conveniences. And as always, Pinterest is a WONDERFUL place for inspiration.  I could easily spend hours and hours going through all of the fantastic ideas I find on there. But then, when would I find time to actually do some of those projects??

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Well, this past week I actually did find some time to whip up some fabric “paper” towels. It definitely helped that we took the week off of school as well.  It was a nice break in our routine, but I’m not sure we will be continuing it. I have a whole different post that will be coming on my thoughts about how it worked for us. I know it works well for some people who are doing year-round schooling to have week-long breaks in their year, but honestly, I think it was too long for us.

Anyways, back to the fabric “paper” towels. All I did was take some old fabric sheets we had and I figured out roughly what size I wanted the towels to be. (They are different sizes since I just eyeballed my towels…I am really bad about following patterns when it comes to things like this! I also don’t pin if I don’t have to….ever….ssshhhhh, it’s our little secret!) I cut out two pieces of the sheet and then simply zigzagged around the edges with the wrong sides together. Tah-dah! Done! 🙂 Sweet, simple, and effective. I ended up with ten towels and they have already seen quite a bit of use around the kitchen. I also don’t mind if these end up getting thrown away eventually because a) I can make more and b) they are already a re-purposed item.

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All this to say, I’m still buying paper towels! 🙂 No seriously, I use them as wipes for G and baby Z. But, I only spend about $9 once a month to buy them so I don’t feel too bad. I have used cloth wipes and diapers in the past. I LOVE cloth diapers and wipes, but again, sometimes convenience allows us to get through the day with our sanity intact! I might get back to them someday…but again, I have trouble paying for things I can make myself. And all of our old cloth diapers are worn out. They lasted through four children very solidly but have seen better days at this point. So I would have to invest some time making them, which I would gladly do, if I could find a couple more hours in a day…

Proverbs 31:13

She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.

 

What have you been working on? Any exciting (or simply practical!) projects in the works?

Be Still

“Be still and know that I am God.”

This verse has become my personal mantra. Well, technically it is only part of the verse, but for me, it is the most relevant. The whole verse reads,

Be still, and know that I am God:

I will be exalted among the heathen,

I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10

But with everything going on in our crazy world, I find the first part to be the most applicable for me. I oftentimes find myself breaking it down farther into two separate pieces. The first part is “Be still…” Be still…seriously, how hard has this become for us in today’s world? There are constant distractions. Between social media, instant streaming of any movie or tv show you want, music, and just overall noise, our brains become quickly overloaded and saturated with stimuli. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being able to hop on the internet and look up information about anything I want. It is especially helpful when the children ask a question that I don’t know how to answer! But on the other hand, I have such a hard time just sitting still for a minute with nothing to distract me. If I find myself with a minute during the day to just sit, I often will browse Pinterest. Again, not a bad thing in and of itself, but it is so easy to kill a couple minutes to a couple of hours just browsing. And the problem is, that my mind is not at rest. Even though I am sitting still, I am not still. My brain is still soaking in all the pictures, reading the blurbs, and contemplating which projects I want to try.

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I admire the moms who get up before their families and have quiet time with their Bibles and God in the morning. This just isn’t feasible for me. Honestly, my quiet time with God is at night when I’m putting G to bed while my husband puts the older ones to sleep. And maybe it isn’t the “best” time, but it is what works for me right now. During this time, I really try and focus on being still with differing amounts of success. Sometimes I just sit quietly in the dark with my eyes closed and listen to what I feel God is putting on my heart. Other times, I pour out whatever is troubling me to God. Everything comes out in a rush and when that happens, I will hear Him telling me to be still. Because God wants peace for us. He doesn’t want us to be troubled, or constantly on the go. It isn’t healthy for our minds or our bodies to never have time to just Be Still.

The second part that I break this verse into is “and know that I am God:”. Oh boy, what a doozy for me. I have such a hard time sometimes handing my fears, worries, and troubles over to God. I have such a hard time letting Him lead. This is a constant struggle for me. I am trying. I am constantly praying about it. And He is constantly challenging me!

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If we, as a society and as individuals, could just BE STILL for a minute. Just stop, and KNOW that God is God, what kind of wonders could He work in us? If we could just stop, and take some time out of our hectic days and stop our brains from being in constant overload, what kind of peace might we find?

And once we have found that peace, might we not then praise Him for helping us to reach that attainable peace He wants for all of us?