Archives for December 2012

Planning for Life After Homeschooling: Graduation and Beyond

When my oldest daughter started high school, I really didn’t have a clue about how to plan for high school…much less anything beyond high school.  At that point, we were still in our guinea pig mode, trying to determine what was best for our family with lots of prayer and far too much trial and error.  I remember going through the “state requirements” and writing her list of classes based on those requirements.

Thankfully, she was a pretty straightforward case and completed her studies without too many struggles.  We had assumed that she would be attending college after high school (isn’t that what they are suppose to do!), so many of our decisions were based on this factor.  As the years went by, our thinking slowly began to change.  Maybe she didn’t need to go to college after all.  But a degree would be nice to have, just in case.

So then we began looking at College Plus and other alternative college methods.  Then during the middle of her Senior year, the Lord place a great desire on Kendra’s heart.  It wasn’t anything any of us had planned for.  It wasn’t anything we agonized over and wondered about.  Really, it was just a brief mention in a conversation.

“How about becoming a midwife?”

From that time on, the Lord got a hold of her heart and has been leading her on the journey He has planned for.  First, it was providing a Spanish class with a native Guatemalan teacher, who incorporated her knowledge of herbal medicine into her Spanish lessons.  Then there was the provision of a midwife with whom she can apprentice–the same one that delivered Cooper!  God has been so gracious in His leading her to become a midwife.  I would like to say that all my planning paid off, but honestly, I was planning based on a system that we are not part of.  I was trying to fit a round peg into a square whole.

So how do you plan to let the Lord lead your children where He would have them go?

First and foremost, you begin to pray that the Lord would use them any way He sees fit.  Then you watch and see where He leads, guiding them to keep them on the right path.  It reminds me of sewing.  You know how the machine pulls the fabric along, but we have to keep a close eye on the fabric and a steady hand guiding it to make sure the fabric is sewn at the right spot.  This is our job as parents, specifically homeschooling parents.  We are to guide our children, keeping a close eye on them and a steady hand leading them in the ways of the Lord.

There are several practical ways that we can plan on doing this:

Spriritually

From the youngest age possible, we need to be training up our children in the way they should go.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

God has entrusted us with our children that we may train them up as warriors for Him. Think about that for a moment. A warrior. In my mind I think of William Wallace fighting for freedom in Scotland. If I knew that I would be sending my son or daughter into a William Wallace kind of battle, would the extent of their training be a 2 hour, once a week lesson. I don’t think so. So let’s not depend on one Sunday service a week to prepare our children for the spiritual battle they will face.

The first step should be daily Bible study and prayer, both together as a family and on their own. Bible studies and curriculum are nice, but nothing should replace simply reading the Word and letting the Holy Spirit dictate the lessons. We have printed off Bible reading checklists so that they could keep track of what they had read.

Other than the Bible, we have found Christian worldview books extremely profitable in teaching the kids to defend their faith. Answers in Genesis and Masters Books have several titles that have helped cement vital concepts into my childrens’ minds. Over the past year, we have had several opportunities to visit with non-Christian members of our family. My children were able to explain our beliefs very clearly because they were prepared. I don’t think they would have been able to be so articulate in their beliefs had we not made a conscience effort to train them in this area.

Financially

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.

The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Proverbs 27:23-27

Staying Out of Debt

When my husband and I were first married 20 years ago, his paycheck was $800 a month. Granted our rent was only $200 a month, but we still struggled greatly. We quickly found our way to credit cards and debt that has taken years to pay off. After 20 years, I am so thankful that the only debt we will have when my husband retires from the Air Force next spring will be a mortgage on our house. But there is such a better way, and we have worked with our children to teach them sound Biblical principles in regards to finances.

First, we have instilled in them that debt is not the way to go. We have taught them that it is always better to either save up enough money to pay in cash or work something out creatively. This may mean learning to do without, making their own, or finding something used.

Earning Their Own Money

We don’t give allowances in our home, but we do help our children find ways to earn money even if they are young. Over the years, my oldest daughter has babysat, dog sat, taught piano lessons, taught knitting lessons, sold her handmade items, worked at a kennel and a yarn store. She learned many great lessons in each of these experiences, but most of all she learned the value of money. She is now a very frugal young lady. She buys most of her clothes at the thrift store or makes them herself.

With my son, we made it clear to him from a very young age that one day he will be head over his own family. And one of the greatest responsibilities he will have is providing for them. We have also advised him to try to earn enough money before he gets married to buy a house without debt. We know that it will take a lot of hard work and determination to make this happen, but this is perfect “training” for the rest of his life.

He started selling items on eBay when he was 10 or 11, and now earns money on YouTube as well. He also takes any hard job offered to him, including mowing lawns, working with his uncle on his tree service, or helping a neighbor plant trees. We allowed him to use his own money to buy a nice camera for his filmmaking adventures and to build his own computer.

These items were expensive items for a 15 year old to possess, but because he had shown diligence in working hard to earn the money (an he realized how hard it is to earn that money) we felt he had proved he was mature enough to make the decision to purchase these items. He also takes extremely good care of his equipment because he does remember how hard they were to earn.

Making Mistakes

One last thing I would like to add about financial training (which really applies to all types of training) is to not be afraid to let your children fail. Our children need to be able to learn from mistakes and there is no better time for this than in the safety of your home. There have been times that our kids have made poor choices with their money, but these times are when we sit down with them and lovingly point out how the choice might have been better.

It is important to not to berate them or make them feel like they are incapable of making a wise choice. Rather, let them know that we all make poor choices at times and the Lord uses these times to teach us how to make better choices next time.

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Please join me for part 2 of Planning for Life After Homeschooling: Graduation and Beyond where I will be discussing life skills and education.

Are you looking for more homeschool planning advice? The bloggers of iHomeschool Network are joining forces this week providing you with all kinds of tools to help you plan your homeschool year!

Linked up at The Daisyhead

Planning for Life After Homeschooling: Graduation and Beyond (part 2)

In case you missed it, join me for part 1 of Planning for Life After Homeschooling: Graduation and Beyond where I discussed spiritual preparedness and finances.

Life Skills

I was chatting with another mother at a ballgame some years ago. I only had my younger children with me, and she asked where my oldest daughter was (who at the time was about 15). I said that I had dropped her off at the grocery store (across the field from us) to pick up the groceries and I was about to go and pick her up. The look on her face told me she couldn’t believe that I would do such a thing. “I would never be able to drop off my daughter at the store (who was also 15)! There is no telling what she would buy!”

I had never really given it much thought before, but at that moment I became conscious of the fact that many, many children are not prepared to become adults. The are given the keys and the credit cards, but they haven’t even been taught the basic foundations of living.

I has been our goal to try to teach our children all the skills that they will need to run their own homes and families should the Lord bless them with such. And even if He has other plans for them, they still need to take care of themselves…and this includes both the boys and the girls.

Practical areas to concentrate on are:

the home — cooking (meal planning, grocery shopping), cleaning (bathrooms, floors, kitchen), laundry, simple home repairs
outdoors — yard work, vehicle maintenance
finances — bank accounts, atm usage, check writing/balancing, reading bills, paying bills, filing taxes
childcare — basic childcare (changing, feeding, watching)
other — making appointments, calling to solve problems (for instance, upgrading telephone service), ordering products, reading and signing contracts

I am sure there are many other things that we should make sure our children know how to do, but this gives you an idea of the areas that need to be worked on. And I would also add, don’t wait until their Senior year to get started! Sure there are some things that can wait until they are older, but it is better to start small and work on them over time. When I still living at home, my responsibilities included laundry and sometimes washing dishes. I had never really cooked much. Needless to say, the first year of our marriage we didn’t eat very well!

Another benefit of training our children in these areas very early on, is that it becomes a habit in them and is not seen as a drudgery. Again, when I first married, I had the hardest time keeping my dishes washed. I couldn’t stand washing dishes and I always let them pile up. However, over the years I have learned that I feel so much better when my dishes are washed. I work diligently to get them done (although the task has become much harder as our family has grown!) and keep them done. I have actually grown to like washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen.

Education

I know that this is the one that you all have been waiting for and as I homeschooler, I can see why. We spend so many years going over curriculum and lesson plans and schoolwork. We question whether we are doing enough, or whether we are teaching the right things. And while it would be nice if there was a planning checklist (there are) and we just went down the list and made sure to get everything done, I don’t think that is the best plan for a Christian homeschooler. God has created each one of us uniquely, and He has a specific plan for each of our lives.

I guess this idea really struck home in September when my mother died. We had made so many plans together for when my husband retired and we moved back to Texas. After her death, I fully comprehended the fact that we have no control over the direction our lives take. Why then would we hold tightly to our own plans? It is always best to surrender to the plans the Lord has for us and our children.

In light of this, it is a good idea to prepare for His plans. I can see the confusion now, “You just said to surrender to His plans but now you are saying to prepare for them. What if I don’t know what they are?”

Many times we don’t know His exact plans, but if we seek Him and His ways, He will begin to show us (at least the part we need to know now). For example, if you have a child that is set on a career that would require a college degree (engineering, medical doctor, etc.), you can begin early in their high school years to prepare them for that kind of learning. I would say this is what most of us do naturally because it has been engrained into our minds that all kids should plan for college. Anyhow, I would look at the requirements for college and have them take higher level classes during high school to prepare them for the amount of work they will be doing in college.

Now for the other types of children that don’t want to or don’t feel led to go to college, I would start thinking outside the box. Honestly, I feel that the Lord is pulling many families away from the mainstream colleges just as He has pulled us away from public schools. I personally see a great benefit is preparing during high school for an occupation. My son is interested in filmmaking, and at 15 we have been trying to find different avenues for him to learn…right now. At 13, 14, 15, our kid’s minds are like sponges, especially when what they are learning is interesting to them.

I just don’t feel like it serves them well to make them drag along in a boring chemistry class when what they really want to learn is computer programming. If they ever need chemistry in their life (and assuming you have lit a fire in them that loves to learn), they will be able to learn chemistry. I took chemistry in high school and didn’t remember a thing I learned. However, once I started learning to make soap or learned about the chemical constituents in herbs, chemistry became much more interesting and made much more sense!

I guess the main thing I would suggest looking at is:

Where has the Lord put us/my child?
What skills does he/she already possess?
What interest does he/she have?
What tugs at their heart strings?

All in all, it is really a matter of faith. Will you trust the Lord enough to lead you on His path? Sometimes it is hard and we back pedal and panic and think “oh, no, I haven’t prepared them!” But God is so faithful to those that love Him and seek His ways.

Just recently, I was in a panic mode because I was realizing that I hadn’t had my son do much science. We had started with Biology, but it was too much for him. He didn’t enjoy it and all the vocabulary terms completely overwhelmed him. At that time I had no problem saying “let’s not do it, let’s work on something you enjoy learning about.” But when you start looking at graduation requirements and see 3 years of science, it makes you feel like you aren’t doing enough. So I got nervous.

After a couple of days and a good talk with my daughter and my son, I calmed down and remembered that this is my child’s education–not the states. Yes, he does need three years of science, but it is not set in stone as to which ones to take, nor which course material to use. We decided that learning about geology and weather would be much more interesting and could help fulfill his science requirements. And if he needs to, he can take a dual credit science class at the junior college during his Senior year.

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Are you looking for more homeschool planning advice? The bloggers of iHomeschool Network are joining forces this week providing you with all kinds of tools to help you plan your homeschool year!

Book Review: The Genius of Ancient Man: Evolution’s Nightmare

From the title, the premise of the book is that God created man perfect, including his intellect. From the very beginning of time, mankind has possessed many creative and intellectual abilities that far surpass even the most learned in our own time.

But this isn’t what the evolutionists would have us believe. In order for their “theory” to hold true, man would have to evolve from an unintelligent ape into a supreme fount of knowledge. This isn’t what we see when we examine ancient history.

The Genius of Ancient Man: Evolution’s Nightmare is an extremely well-researched textbook on the intelligence and accomplishments of ancient man.

An important concept related to this intelligence, is the fact that it was there before man was dispersed at the Tower of Babel. We know this because the same abilities are seen all over the world in all different cultures. For instance, several cultures around the world have succeeded in building towers and structures that boggle the minds of present day scholars. These cultures didn’t have Google to look up “how to build a ziggurat” and there were no YouTube videos to teach “construction methods of ancient pyramids.” This was information that was passed down to the cultures from their ancestors…their common ancestors.

It was also at the Tower of Babel that Satan showed his desire to counterfeit the things of the Lord. One of the first counterfeits was the tower itself. But there have been many, many more counterfeits over time. The book names several of the counterfeits, including man-made mountains (towers), astrology (counterfeiting God’s original purpose for the stars), human sacrifice (God made the ultimate human sacrifice with His perfect son, as a redemption for sinful man), and rainbows (very interesting discussion on Satan’s attempts to pervert the rainbow)–and several others!

Other than the fact that there was so much research done to produce a book of this caliber, my favorite parts of the book were the beautiful images in the book and the well thought out charts and graphs. I am a visual learner and these two things helped me realize the extent of the similarities in cultures all over the world. The charts and graphs help to break down the information into bite-size digestible nuggets.

For instance, a pictorial map shows over 50 locations where pyramids, ziggurats, obelisks, mounds and henges are located. When it is put together in this way, the reader can really get a grasp of how widespread the intelligence needed to build these was dissipated. And because all of these monuments were built early in the history of mankind, we can see how profound mankind’s knowledge was at this time!

No longer are we left with the primitive caveman grunting and pointing. Ancient men (and women) were truly geniuses!

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Visit the New Leaf Publishing Group Blog for more great reviews of The Genius of Ancient Man: Evolution’s Nightmare (edited by Don Landis, published by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group)!

Disclaimer: I received the product or service mentioned above for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure.

Herbalism from Pagan Roots?

Herbalism from Pagan Roots? @jasminejlucero

Herbalism from Pagan Roots? has been moved to my new herbal site, The Christian Herbal.

My Personal Spa

When we were back home in Texas a couple of months ago, my 10 year old asked for a pedicure for her birthday. She and her sisters had never had a pedicure, so I took all three of them to celebrate. Since that time, Maddie and Hannah have opened up a family salon. I couldn’t be happier!

Having a large family often comes with sacrifices and one of those sacrifices is unnecessary trips to the beauty parlor. I just can’t justify spending the money on myself or finding the time. And truthfully, if I want to spend money on myself, I want it to really count–not get washed down the drain!

So recently, the girls asked if they could give me a pedicure. Why had I not thought of this before? I looked through my cabinets and drawers and found lots of unused goodies to supply their salon. They found a large toy tub and they were in business.

Hannah even found an old “label maker” that she scans appointment slips with. Yes, you have to make an appointment in advance. No walk-ins allowed. My grandmother came down for Thanksgiving and was treated to daily pedicures and massages. I think she will be back.

It didn’t take long before their small stash of soap and lotion had dwindled. They wanted to buy some more supplies when I remembered that last year about this time my sweet friend Stacy had given me an e-book that she put together called Simple Scrubs to Make and Give. I had looked through it at the time, but just didn’t find the time to actually make any of the scrubs. I thought this would be a great time to have the girls read through it and play with some of her recipes.

I downloaded the book onto Maddie’s Nexus 7 and she spent the next day reading through all of the recipes. She kept coming to me, excited to announce another great recipe she wanted to try! I started out by letting her make a simple scrub that I use as an alternative baby bath. It is just a mixture of dead sea salt, almond oil, and lavender essential oil. This one is also great to put into the bath water to because it is both calming (because of the lavender eo) and detoxifying (the dead sea salt).

It wasn’t long before the girls had three different scrubs made. I had to slow down their scrub making work just so we didn’t run out of supplies, but promised they could resume once we had finished using the ones they had made.

They are already planning on making some for Christmas gifts, and I thought that was a great idea! In the past they have often wanted to make gifts for others, but were not able to make something without substantial help (and I can’t always work with them). These scrubs are easy enough that they can make them without much help from me.

I think they will be a huge hit with our friends and relatives! I know I can’t wait to try the Energizing Foot Scrub. I opened the jar to take a picture of it and the aroma was so invigorating. Looking forward to another appointment at my personal spa.