The 5 Things You Need to Know If You’re Homeschooling

The 5 Things You Need to Know If You're Homeschooling

*An encouraging word for those of my friends who are homeschooling this year – whether for the 1st time or the 15th. 

If only I knew how this story was going to end . . . .

Then I think I could do this, I agonized while snuggling into my husband one night.

And it’s not even that I minded the hard work, the sacrifice, and the challenge of homeschooling so much. It’s more the thought of doing all this . . . for nothing that got to me.

What if it didn’t amount to anything? Or, worse, what if I wasn’t doing it right?

Yes, it was the possibility of this turning out to be more of a fantasy than a Real Lifestory that discouraged and made me want to give up. I was really counting on a happy ending for this one.

I know. Kinda silly.

But that’s how my mind works sometimes (especially when I’m overtired). I want to rush ahead and find out where we’re going with all this . . . .

I want to know the end of the story.

Yet that’s not how it works with homeschooling.

You only get to go through one chapter at a time.

One child at a time.

And on some days? One word at a time.

But take heart, you might not get to peek at the ending, but I’m confident it’s going to be a very good story and certainly one worth writing.

And one worth reading someday too.

Hoping to Write a Real Homeschool Story?

1.  Don’t be discouraged by a day. It’s only one day. And such days do not determine the entire tale. Just turn that page and keep going. As Anne of Green Gables says, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” Lovely thought. Tomorrow is a fresh piece of paper on which to write something totally new.

2.  It’s a story about a relationship – not a method. Truly. It doesn’t matter what curriculum you use or what subjects you cover. While it might not be how it’s presented out there, that’s the inside scoop. What matters is their hearts. That terrific (or lousy) math curriculum will never have the significant impact on their lives that a loving, learning, teaching parent will. You are what they really need.

3.  Don’t read over someone else’s shoulder. Their story is not your story. That family over there might look accomplished and successful. And that’s great for them. But you are on your own unique adventure. Look to the Lord what for what He intends for your family. He’s got something in mind specially suited to you.

4.  Review your main theme. Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). So if you feel like you’re “perishing”? Go back to the beginning. Why you started this story in the first place. It might be just what you need to tackle that next chapter.

5.  The Lord wants to reveal Himself through your story. Above all. We sometimes forget that this isn’t actually all about us. Or even our children. It’s about the Author and what He’s doing in us and through us.

You only have to let Him shine.

Yep. Let Him shine through your weaknesses, your set-backs, and even your mistakes.

And isn’t it reassuring to realize that this whole thing doesn’t depend on us, but on Him who is more than able?

So I guess we know how this story is going to end after all.

Because we know Him.

And He’s the Real Story.

What You Need to Know If You Homeschool

Enjoy a terrific year of shining for Him together!

In His grace,
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*Another article on the topic of homeschooling:  6 Reasons Why You Might Want to Consider Homeschooling

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Teaching Our Children The 10 Habits of Happiness

Teaching Our Children the 10 Habits of Happiness

The goal of parenting is not a happy child, but to turn out a successful adult.

That ‘s what our friend informed us as we all sat around the dinner table together. Two couples enjoying a fine meal and fine china. Two couples without children.

And you know something? At first, it seemed to make sense.

Our friend expounded on his theory. I mean, what makes a child happy? If you give a kid a piece of candy, then he’s happy. If you don’t, then he’s not. You can’t build a life around that.

Now isn’t that the truth!

Never mind that the gentleman didn’t actually have any children of his own. He was older and wiser. A sage looking on from a distance.

But then Matthew and I went on to have children ourselves and our view changed a bit. Quite a bit. Suddenly we didn’t see anything wrong with wanting our child to be happy.

And, tell me again, how does happiness conflict with being a successful adult?

Maybe we wanted too much.

But my husband and I wanted our children to enjoy both a happy childhood and a successful adulthood.

We started to consider the possibility that the two of these went together – even went hand-in-hand. We began to suspect that learning how to be happy could be a very important skill to take into adulthood.

What if we were to  pass on to our children the habits of happiness as a gift? Something  that they could carry with them wherever God took them in life.

The 10 Habit of Happiness to Teach Our Children

1.   Happiness is not found in things. Things will never make you happy. Never. Stuff will always remain just that: stuff. So don’t get drawn into the Stuff Game – it’s not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

2.   Happiness is a choice. Here’s the deal: happiness is not something you “find” or that “happens to you”. The beauty of happiness is that it is a choice you get to make. Every day. So why not choose to be happy?

3.   Happiness is not about getting your way. We think we’ll be content if we finally get what we want, or if things go our way. But that’s not how it works. Getting our way all the time is rarely as satisfying as we think it will be.

4.   Happiness grows out of thankfulness. If you make it your habit to be grateful each day for the blessings around you – whether big or small – you will find that you’ll become a happier person. The secret  is simply being  thankful for what you have right now.

5.   Happiness is found in looking after others. Surprised? Often, we assume that happiness is found in looking after ourselves, but the irony is that we are the ones who are blessed . . . when we are blessing others.

But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. ~ Prov. 14:21

6.   Happiness isn’t a personality trait, but a character quality. Some people seem happy as if that’s just the way they were made. Not so. Happiness is available to all for the taking. You can learn to be happy –  much like you learn to be honest, kind, and thoughtful.

7.   Happiness is found more in relationship, than in achievement.  While there’s nothing wrong with achieving goals, never let those goals come before the people you love.  Always invest in relationships more than fame or fortune.

8.   Happiness means giving it your best. And resting in that. Doesn’t have to be perfect.

9.   Happiness doesn’t depend on circumstances.  You don’t have to let your situation determine your happiness. For inspiration, read about people like Corrie Ten Boom or Darlene Deibler Rose and you’ll see what I mean.

10.   True happiness is always grounded in the God of Hope.  He is the only real source of true joy.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God.  ~ Psalm 146:5

The Jacobson Family Having Fun

So now we’re enjoying raising a bunch of happy kids.

And aiming those happy kids toward a successful adulthood.

Looking to the God of Hope together.

In His grace,
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(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

100 Ways to Love eBooks TinyOur books are now available:  100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson

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How to Change the Laundry into the Chore You Love

How to Change the Laundry into The Chore You Love

She’s not really going to write an entire post on laundry, is she?

It’s alright. I know what you’re thinking and I can hardly blame you.

But, yes, I am.

Slightly disturbing, isn’t it?

But I’ll tell you why.

Laundry is a big part of my life. I mean, if I could figure out a way to include it on my resume? It would be truly impressive.

Something like this:

Laundress Extraordinaire:  Lisa is known to average 25 loads of laundry every week and earned her Stain Master degree in only a few short years.

Wow. I know.

Okay, but seriously, with 8 children – including 3 little boys and a special-needs girl – my washing machine is hardly ever lonely or bored. It chugs away both day and (often) night.

In the beginning, I fought this job. I hated chores that were never complete. Never knowing the satisfaction of “finished” because it seemed there was always another load waiting to be washed. But over the years – believe it or not! – this one has become one of my favorites. The chore I love most.

And I’m hoping that you’ll come to love it too. Or, at the very least, like it more.

Here are some ways that can help change laundry into the chore you love:

Change your mindset. Like our daughter once announced to us, “I used to have a bad attitude, but then I changed it.” She made it sound so simple. But there really is some simplicity to it. I had to decide that if laundry was going to be a part of our “family”, then I might as well embrace it. And get good at it.

Set up an effective system. And it has to be a system that works for you. For instance, I’m the one who washes all our clothes – mostly because I’m so persnickety about our clothes. Unusually so. I practically faint when someone throws a color in with my whites. Freaks me out. So I assign the folding and putting away to our children, while I wash away.

I have other friends who assign each child a “day” for when they have access to the washing machine and he/she washes all his/her own clothes. She reserves the week-ends for her and her husband’s laundry, along with other household loads. Good idea, huh?

Don’t hesitate to delegate. Share the job with kids, or a husband if he’s game. When our children were little, my mother-in-law came over and helped with the folding. For a time, we had a sweet older woman from our church offer to help me out and I’ve never forgotten her ministry to me. I’ve even “hired” a mother’s helper to give a hand and it was a terrific arrangement!

Invest in a cheerful environment. This is critical. I mean it! Do all you can to turn your laundry area into a pleasant place. And this is spoken by a woman who has a fairly tiny laundry room for such a big family. Let’s put it this way: it just barely fits two adults sneaking chocolate  ice-cream bars together. (Don’t ask how I know this. I just do.)

Yet I managed to turn my little space into a mini-Paris with a bit of inexpensive decor and fun touches. I get some strange delight in announcing, I’m off to Paris! each time I go in to start another load of laundry. And voila! it makes me smile . . . and my kids roll their eyes.

Laundry Room in Paris

Why not create a space that is inviting and lovely to be around?

Real-Life Homemaking SeriesConsider it a spiritual opportunity. And, no, I’m not merely trying to tack on a spiritual message to an everyday chore. I’m perfectly serious. I really do try to remember to be thankful that I have a family to wash for and that we have clothes to wear.

A friend of mine once shared that she prays for each person as she folded their article of clothing. I sure liked that idea and try to remember to do that too.

So there you go – an entire blog post about laundry!

I hope you’re lovin’ it! ;)

*If you have any extra tips for getting laundry done 0r making it more enjoyable,  please share!

In His grace,
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(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

100 Ways to Love eBooks Tiny*Our books are now available:  100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson

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4 Creative Ways a Busy Mom Can Find Time to be in the Word

4 Creative Ways a Busy Mom Can Find Time to be in the Word

So I had this brilliant idea.

I was so desperate to spend some alone time with God that I actually set my alarm for o-dark-thirty (I told you I was desperate).

Even though I’m not particularly known for being a “morning person”, I was willing to go to any lengths to have a few special minutes.

Alone.

With God.

So I tiptoed over to the couch and picked up my Bible and turned on one little light (only a tiny one, mind you!).

Can you tell me just how it is that a child can hear the “click” of a light switch?

Because I wasn’t alone any longer.

We were snuggling and it was sweet.

But I didn’t necessarily set my alarm for the early morning hours so that I could get some extra snuggling in, if you know what I mean?

Rats! Foiled again.

You see, my challenge is that I happen to be a very busy lady. I’ve got tons of stuff going on and people – especially my young people – seem to keep demanding my attention. Taking up my time. Filling up my day.

Really, you too?

Well, since it seems I’m not the only one, I’ve compiled 4 creative ways that busy moms – people like you and me – can do to help us spend that much-needed, wonderful, renewing time in the Word of God.

4 Creative Ways for Busy Moms to Get Into The Word

1)  Kitchen Sink Study: If you find yourself spending a fair amount of time in the kitchen? You can tack up Bible verses on the window sill, or at a similar convenient location. Meditate on them. Memorize them. Drink it in. Ask God to speak to you while you’re prepping, cooking, or cleaning.

2)  Blanket Bible Study: When my children were younger, after lunchtime I lay out a blanket for each and had them play quietly while I read to myself from a nearby chair. The “older” ones (ages 6 and 8) got to have children’s Bibles of their own, while the younger ones (ages 3 and 5) had small toys to play with. The baby napped (hopefully!). It took a little training, but this became a truly delightful time for us all.

3)  Rise-N-Shine Study: This is probably my most painful one. Since I’m really NOT a morning person, it requires a huge amount of effort for me to get up while it’s still dark outside. But what a great way to start the day – even if I do find myself with unexpected “company” sometimes.  Precious Words read in those early morning hours.

4)  After-Lights-Out Study: This one is for the opposite end of the day. Once I got my nursing infant down for the evening, I tucked myself in with my Bible. Either my husband took the other children, or we put them down at a fairly decent hour. Even though I was tired, that time in the Word often gave me a “second wind” and a renewed perspective.

Over the years, I’ve tried one or more of these and I’ve always been so very glad that I made the effort. 

The busier I am? The more stressed I am? The more tired I am? The more I need the Word of God to sustain me.

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Ps. 119:105)

So dear busy mom, if you’re struggling to find the time to read your Bible and to talk quietly with the Savior? Then I hope this encourages you.

While finding this “kind of time” is one of our biggest challenges, it’s more than worth the effort – don’t you think? 

Do you have any other “creative ways” to suggest? I hope you’ll share them with us!

In His grace,
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(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

100 Ways to Love eBooks Tiny*Our books are now available:  100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson

If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).