Encouragement for the Homeschool Mom Catching Flack

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked or have read about a mom and/or dad who has decided to homeschool and is catching flack from well intended family and/or friends.

“What do we do… how do we answer them… how do I make them understand?”

You can send them all types of stats on how well homeschoolers do in college and that they are even sought out by colleges. You can show them test scores. You can tell them that your 2nd grader – better yet, your 15 year old can hold intelligent conversations with adults. You can Facebook blogs and articles on field trips, unschooling, Classical Conversations, dual enrollment, science experiments and lapbooks. You can quote Charlotte Mason and even have a photo of your family with Bob Jones himself but at the end of the day you have to know why you and your spouse chose homeschooling. Whatever the reason may be know your convictions and stick to it.

I get really irritated with the stupid questions. Honestly, I do. I’ve even bought homeschool t-shirts that answer some of those stupid questions. LOL! I really have! I feel impatient and want to pull out my very best sarcasm. Ok. I’ve done that too. I have to remind myself that most people just don’t understand. They weren’t raised around us freaky homeschool types. Hey, I wasn’t raised around us freaky homeschool types.😉 They don’t understand why we feel our children are better off at home, locked in their rooms, drilling Latin, surrounded by their siblings and goodness forbid– their parents.🙂 They feel that the public or private system served them well– they have a good job, decent family, love the Lord and are faithful citizens. It worked for them, maybe even you- it should work for your kids. It’s okay. They just don’t share your convictions- and they don’t HAVE to share your convictions. Homeschool ISN’T for everyone. It’s true.

Be kind. Be understanding. Answer the stupid questions… again.🙂 Then wait. After a few years, they start to “get it.” People begin to see the results. Then be quiet and know that you’ve been faithful homeschool parents. Yes, you have a few more grey hairs then when you started. You haven’t been to the restroom totally uninterrupted in the past 2 years. No, your kitchen cabinets haven’t had a decent cleaning for far too long. Yes, you have enough curriculum to start your own library but you also have taken the time to educate your child(ren). You have been there when they learned to read. You took them on those “field trips” to the grocery store (IT COUNTS! You counted the cans of green beans as you put them in the cart). You were there when they saw the caterpillar forming it’s chrysalis (in that stinky net thing). You were there for all the sick days they never got (my kids say I give assignments between the episodes of a stomach bug). You found creative solutions to sibling disputes. You were there for all of it. That’s the most treasured thing… time. You gave your time. All of it. Everyday.

Be encouraged, hang on tight and keep homeschooling!

Can’t Modesty Be Both/And?

I’m a fan of modesty. I’m a fan of purity. I’m believe both are very much a part of the Lord’s plan for our lives. I believe that it is one of the most difficult things to manage in today’s society — especially if we claim Christ as Lord.

It’s hard enough to manage our own issues. How in the world do we help our sons and daughters navigate through this insanity? I don’t have all the answers for sure but I do enjoy reading about the subject and have read many blogs, books and articles. I’ve noticed most modesty/purity articles seem to place blame on either the warped male mind or the trashy girls. I can’t help but wonder if we’ve missed the obvious.

I just read a blog post someone posted on Facebook. The blog was well written and I pretty much agreed with all the writer communicated. She was basically bashing young girls who post provocative pics of themselves on social media. She referenced their less than modest dress, the seductive faces and whatnot. She said that she would de-friend, un-like, cut-off these type girls from her sons social media. I’m understanding her perspective. Then she proceeded to post beach pics of her boys, shirtless and making muscle poses. While they were obviously not intended to be seductive it was rather comical given the content of the post. I actually enjoyed reading the follow-up comments more than the blog. Needless to say, the author was attacked multiple times for her “double-standard.” I hated it for her because the article was pretty good. Most comments were hating on guys or hating on the girls. Which makes me wonder.

Are we missing the obvious?

Can’t we all share the blame?

I wonder if our focus is off.

Shouldn’t we teach our girls to be modest for the sake of Christ rather than for the protection of the male population? Shouldn’t they seek purity out of obedience to the Word rather than out of fear of being seen as an object? I do feel it’s important for my girls to understand how the male mind works. The male mind was designed by our perfect creator by the way. His design is not flawed. I do believe in teaching responsibility… kindness, if you will. I want my girls to have a proper appreciation for the male mind and desire to be sensitive to it. They need to know that their value is in Christ not in the way they are viewed by society– whether bad OR good.

At the same time, shouldn’t we teach our boys to guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus– not because they are filthy creatures (not talking dirt here, they are absolutely dirt magnets) but because they want to honor the Lord in every thought and deed? Shouldn’t the focus be Jesus? I do think we should teach our boys to protect their eyes against all the images the world is constantly throwing at them. While there will always be images bombarding them, they alone bear the responsibility for their hearts and minds. It will likely be a lifelong battle. It is a battle worth fighting.

Can’t we seek to honor the opposite sex through esteeming others more highly than ourselves? 

Can’t we stop throwing the opposite gender under the bus?

Let’s take proper responsibility for own actions, attitudes and thoughts.

Ways I Know My Kids Have A Good Dad…

So this was our week of spring break. I so enjoy my husband being home more during weeks like these (most of the time anyway😉 ). I was reminded this week of what a great dad my kids have. He’s really a dream dad in many ways. I thought I’d list a few for posterity’s sake… or for when he irritates me again and I need to be reminded! lol!

So here are some of the ways I know my kids have a great Dad:

  • My daughter (11) just got her Easter dress in the mail. She was EAGERLY anticipating this package. She did what all girls do… she immediately washed her hands and put it on. She went to her dad and said, “Do you like my dress, Daddy?” She then blushed a little. Of course he loved it… how could he not? The fact that she wanted to show Daddy her new dress reminded of what a great dad my kids have.
  • I know my kids have a good dad when the neighborhood kids knock on the door wanting to know if Greg can come out and play with my other kids. Good… I’d say a sign my kids have a GREAT dad!
  • Yesterday boy2 wanted Greg to come play with him in the gym. He was aggravating the stew out of him if the truth be told. So once he had some free time Greg took him to the gym. A couple of my kids followed along. A little while later girl1 came in from outside and asked, “Where’s Dad?” I responded, “He went with boy2 to the gym to play.” She decided to go play in the gym where her daddy was rather than going back outside. You know your kids have a good dad when they choose were to play based on where he IS rather than where he IS NOT.
  • The number one way I know my kids have a good dad is that Greg is actively seeking to share Christ with his children as well as children in the city of New Orleans. He takes it seriously. That is a great dad.

I’m so blessed to have a Godly man as my husband and the father of my children…

Malachi 4:6
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers

“YESsss!”… “Cha-ching!”…. “OH YEAHHHH”… Homeschool Victory of the Week!

I suppose it was Tuesday of this week and I was doing laundry. Of course, that could be most any day but I believe it was Tuesday. Boy3 (2nd Grader) walks in to the mud room and shows me his work on the Flashmaster.

I highly recommend the Flash Master if sitting with your child doing flashcards makes you think you’ll loose your mind. WELL worth EV-ER-Y penny!!! I make  no money from them🙂 This is a great, compact, electronic tool that functions practically as a flashcard-computer. You can drill addition, subtraction, multiplication as well as division facts. You set the level of difficulty and if you want the missed problems repeated or not. Ok. Comercial over.

Boy3 is supposed to be working speed drills on addition and subtraction. He shows me the flashmaster and it’s set on multiplication tables. “Oh, Boy3, look… you’re supposed to be doing addition and subtraction speed drills… not multiplication… you have to switch it out after Boy2 (4th grader) does his work.”

Here’s the Hallelujah Chorus moment…

“Oh, mom… I know how to do multiplication.”

“What? How?” (All the while I’m thinkin’, “yeah right.”)

“Boy2 taught me last week.”

“I’m sorry? Did you say Boy2 taught you?”

“Yeah, he taught me how to multiply numbers up to 2.” (translation: 0, 1 and 2 facts)

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! V I C T O R Y! (Insert party dance here!)

He then proceeded to show me how he could work a set on his own with 100% accuracy.

This is one of the most rewarding moments as a homeschooling mom… when a big kid teaches a younger sibling how to do something. This time I was doulbly rewarded. He taught him MULTIPLICATION!!! It’s so good for all parties involved. When a big kid teaches a younger child they really have to think through the steps, the logic, the history or whatever is required for that particular task. They become the teacher and that is so good for their leadership skills. Not to mention that they take the time, effort and dare I say love required to teach that younger child.

I was so proud.

Now what? On to the 3s.

I hate multiplication tables… have I mentioned that?

My First Valentine

I’m not talking about my classmate who sheepishly walked around the corner of my home in first grade to deliver a little red heart with 7 or so candies in it. I’m talking about my Daddy.

Daddy in his letter jacket...

Every year on Valentines day for as long as I can remember my Daddy would go down to Don’s Drugs and purchase the largest box of heart shaped candies they sold. That was for my Mom. The second largest box in the store went to me. Typically, he presented it to me before I was off to school.

Dad had many faults. The greatest of which was that he was an alcoholic. He had been for years before my birth. Dad grew up with much less than the average kid. I’ve heard my Aunt Pat and Uncle Jerry talk about my Papaw Jones and the family during their share-cropping days. It was by all accounts a difficult life. Dad was a handsome man. I’ve heard many people (women especially🙂 mention that my Daddy was the “most handsome man in Jones County). Based on photos, I think they were on to something.

Dad joined the army at the young age 17 (legend has it that he may have fudged on his age to be enlisted).  He quickly found himself on the front lines of the Korean war. Vietnam was also in the Lord’s plan for his life. Dad was a soldier. He lived and breathed military and loved each little aspect. I’ll never forget the day that Operation Desert Storm was in full effect. He called the local recruitment office and explained who he was (his rank and such) and told them he was ready and willing to join them. So precious… comical but hysterical none the less.  I’m beyond thrilled to tell you that Daddy accepted the call to be a soldier of the Lord within the last few weeks of his life. Anyone who knew my Daddy would know this was nothing short of a miracle.

Dad in Korea- on the Right

People question if I’m in denial… if I’ve forgotten all the childhood/teenage pain that Dad’s poor decisions made in my life. By no means. I’ll never forget them. They helped shape who I am today. I’m also pleased to say that I chose 20 or so years ago to give all the hurt that growing up in a dysfunctional home provides to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m not perfect (ask my husband, hah!) but I’m reminded of the Lord’s grace and mercy. I’m reminded that He chose me and it’s only the Lord’s grace that sustains me daily.

Be encouraged! I’m the first to laugh out loud (literally) when I think of myself being a minister’s wife. Who’d-a-thunk-it? Not me for sure. The Lord is able to use the least of us to accomplish His will. Simply amazing!

I’m so thankful for my first Valentine… I miss him still. I always will, but I’m so thankful to know that I will see him again one day! I love you, Daddy.

Mom & Dad at my wedding in 1995

Six-kid Shock

Ok. I love Target… not that it has anything to do with anything important really… just want to make all the other Target loving folk out there jealous. We have a GREAT 2 level Target here in New Orleans (Metairie actually). It’s lovely. FYI.

So the other day I took a rare trip alone to Target… to pick up a “few” things. I saw several times throughout the store a lady with a son who appeared to be around 5. He was a typical, rowdy boy. I mean that in a good way. He was bad by no means but just eager to run off, examine every clothing rack and such. From what I could tell, the mom handled the little guy well. She was beginning to look a little ragged around the edges but kept her chin up.

I get in the check out line and find myself behind the little boy and his mom. He was interested in beef-jerky so mom decided to get him some. She was much more patient than me (something I’m falsley accused of on a regular basis). She was frazzled by this point. Again, he wasn’t being bad but could have had a good, “Stand here, and don’t move… we’re nearly done.” lecture. Mom told him to hand the cashier the beef-jerkey and he suddenly thought he was Drew because he rared back like nobody’s business. Mom intercepted and appologized to the cashier. The kind cashier told her that she had raised 2 sons so she knew he had no ill intentions…

“That’s just the way little boys are.” She said.

At this point the man behind me chimed in about his son…. agreeing that they are busy and such. He then told us his wife just had their second child (a girl) and that they decided, “One and one and we’re done!!!” This was said with great ferver.

I decided to chime in (oh boy). “Yeah, he’s just a boy. We have 3 boys.” I hope you’re smiling at this point🙂.

The man says, “YOU HAVE 3 BOYS! BLESSSS YOUR HEART. We decided, “One and one and we’re done!!!” 

Then I immediately responded, “And 3 girls.” Oh boy.

“WHHHAAATTT!????”

“Yep. 3 girls and 3 boys”

……..*little pause for calculation sake….

“SIX KIDS? We decided, “One and one and we’re done!!!”

“Yes. We have 6 kids. How old is your new baby?”

“2 weeks.”

“Then you’re in now place to decide you’re done…” Said with a belly laugh and smile.

“This must be a blended family of some type.”

“No. They all belong to both of us.”

….. *another pause…

“Do you have any twins???”

“No. No twins. All single births.”

He then was too stunned to ask anymore questions.  I did get a complement at that point from the frazzled mom. That helps off-set the 3 headed looks you get at that point, haha!

I then say in the direction of frazzled mom, “Yeah, boys are always busy… always making messes… but with the girls you have all the great drama.”

Guy behind me, “You must have teenagers!”

“Well, one teenage son and a pre-teen daughter.” (I didn’t bother telling him the drama begins at around 8 months, ha!)

“I ask because I’m a youth minister in Mississippi.” (Of course, that makes you an expert in teenagers)

“OH really!”

Aside: I’m a Mississippi girl so this was interesting

Me: “Where in Mississippi?”

“XYZ town at XYZ First Baptist Church”

“Oh. I grew up in Ellisville.”

“Yeah, I’m here working on my doctorate at the seminary… and my wife is a student. She couldn’t drive since she just had the baby 2 weeks ago… so I drove her down.”

“Really? My husband works at the seminary.”

“Really? What area?

“He’s the chair of the church music division… Greg Woodward. Sorry, I didn’t introduce myself. (hand shake) I’m Michelle Woodward. Nice to meet you.” (This would be a great time to mention that I’m wearing sweats head to toe and I’m pretty sure I was wearing the same make up I fell asleep in the night before.)

Well this is all fine and well. I’m sure this guy is a God-fearing man. He’s most likely a good youth minister and will be a great dad/husband. It’s not my intention to judge. I do find it peculiar at one meeting in a random Target that his opinions were so pronounced regarding having children. I just can’t help think that this man will week after week give his “one and one and we’re done” lecture to his youth group and probably the church in some capacity. Well, that’s real Biblical.

Don’t misunderstand, I realize everyone can not have a large family for whatever reason(s). Many times big families aren’t possible for medical reasons. This is NOT what I’m talking about. I AM suggesting that God’s will for the vast majority of the world today isn’t, “One and one and we’re done.” While I can not give you a pie chart of “God’s perfect will for family size,” I do see evidence in His word that He likes full quivers…. that having a large family is a blessing. I am suggesting that the church has bought into the lies of the enemy and has joined hands with the world in this area.

Look at it from a numbers standpoint! Christians should be producing and raising Godly young men and women for the Kingdom.. men and women warriors for Jesus! I’m afraid we will look around in a few years and see that other radical religions have out birthed us while we were fast asleep on the couches of “one and one.”

We need to pray for wisdom and discernment in every area of our lives… giving our entire bodies to the Lord for His purposes. It is not always easy having a big family. It’s not. Some days I can see how easy “one and one” looks. Then the Lord gives us a moment… a reminder that He is in control… that He LOVES children… that He uses children to make Godly men and women for His kingdom. 

Pray. Ask the Lord what He would have for you and your spouse’s family. Then pray for courage to walk in obedience.

It’s The Little Things That Will Get Ya’

This is a list I plan on adding to as they come to mind… Feel free to add your “little things.”

  • Just about the time you think laundry is caught up… you realize the kids haven’t brought the laundry down from their rooms in a week.
  • Do not expect more from a hair-dresser than their head shows.
  • The single greatest use of a Q-tip: Getting the glob of mascara off the bridge of your nose that came from the tip of the wand.
  • Once grits harden you might as well throw the dish away.
  • The first fall-like day always makes you more energetic.
  • Interesting things always like boy pockets better than girl pockets.