Winter- Worries Or Not!

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Hello Dear Homeschooling Friends,

The winter season will soon be coming to a close.  Though it has been a mild one here in Erie, PA we have had enough snow and cold to leave me longing for spring.  It has been a rough winter for us as a homeschooling family.  My children just told me the other day it is like our home has been through a tornado!   The tornado seemed stuck here churning and whirling ripping apart our family, our schooling, our home.  As I struggled not to be blown away, I read hundreds of books and articles first on reactive attachment disorder, then on chastisement and punishment, next it was positive parenting, then trauma treatment, then cognitive behavioral therapy and lastly self-esteem.  I visited and talked with several counselors and friends.  This tornado made me doubt everything I knew to be true about homeschooling and parenting.  Have you ever doubted your parenting decisions?  Worry, worry, worry.  Have I damaged my children for life?

I think so many of us Mama’s worry that our parenting mistakes, especially during “tornado” times, will be the demise of our children.  We begin to stress about almost every decision and action we make with our children.   Instead of rejoicing in our children and sharing happy days with them; we worry.  Parenting decisions are tough!  But homeschooling Mama remember God is in control not you.   God has reminded me that what I do will not ultimately mean the demise nor success of my children.   God gets to decide that with them individually.   Our parenting mistakes, nor our successes, really make our children what they are and will be.  Humbling thought isn’t it?    Our success as an adult is dependent on our own personal relationship with God.  Our children have invaluable worth granted to them at their creation by our Heavenly Father.  He fashioned them together in the womb.  He gave them their in born traits.  He is the strength they need to overcome their weaknesses.  He desires for them to come to know him as their Lord and Savior and walk with him throughout their lives.  God has a beautiful plan for each of our children’s lives.   Now, it has been proven again and again in research studies that parental influence is the number one factor in school success.  It is the number one factor in keeping kids from drugs, alcohol and unwanted pregnancies.  You are important parent.  You can have great influence even in the teen years but remember,  you are not the end all power.  We are talking about worrying excessively over our parenting mistakes.  When tornados’ strike it helps us to survive if we cling to the knowledge and trust that God is in control.  Satan will try to make you believe it is all about you and that you have to figure out how to fix it.   I learned I needed to fix my eyes on Jesus and rejoice in my relationship with him.   Doing that in the midst of storms is one of the most powerful ways to influence your children.

I want to be very clear I am talking about parenting mistakes here not abuse.   I am not saying it is all right to abuse your children and that God will take your abusive behaviors and make your children still turn out okay so don’t worry about it.   He can do that for the precious ones who have been so traumatically abused. But you are without excuse if you are an abusive parent.  You are doing great damage.  So, if you find yourself being abusive to your  children then get them into a safe place right now and then seek help for yourself.  So to be clear I am talking about the fear of not parenting right, of scrutinizing  every little decision and behavioral interaction with our children until we feel we can not go on parenting because of the mistakes we make.  I am thinking of the sweet, loving, actively involved Mom of four little ones just yesterday who shared her “mistakes” with me and the fact she fears she is “somehow ruining or ruined”  her child.  Oh how Satan loves to bring down Mamas with false guilt!   Our little ones(and not so little ones) know our parenting mistakes, faults and sins well.   What we need to show them is that when people make mistakes they confess it to God, to the person and then they move on positively.  We do not want to role model doubting,  self condemnation, nor sinking into depression.   When others make mistakes or sin against us is another time to model for our children how to forgive and move on without grudging.  Sometimes mistakes are just mistakes and not sinful.  Worrying about them obsessively and losing our focus in parenting is not beneficial.   There is such an array of viewpoints, ideas and theories on the best way to parent today it is easy to get caught up in doubt when in reality we just need to get busy parenting to our best ability and leave the rest to the Lord.

The tornado has passed now and our home is rebuilt and we are the stronger for it.   We have learned it takes personal effort and personal responsibility to grow and change as an adult or as a child.      As the spring season of homeschool conferences arrives(check out the events page or calendar to see when some in our area arrive)  and we face deciding what to do for next year, don’t let Satan rob you of your parenting joy because of the storms you are facing in life or have faced this winter season.  The truth is I don’t know what will work best for my homeschool family nor yours.  But God does. So worry not!  Earnestly seek Him, trust his guiding hand knowing if we get it “wrong”  he can still fix it!  It is his power that gives the victory never our own.  He will guide us to our  expected ends.

Jeremiah 29:11″ For I know the thoughts I think towards you saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you an expected end.”

Happy Homeschooling!

~Juliane

 

A Friendly Fall

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 “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”   

Theodore Roosevelt

Good homeschooling allows time to be spend on moral development and not just the mind.  This leads to a child who is not a “menace” to society, but a pleasant contributor to society’s good.   Besides learning to be friends with their siblings, homeschoolers can learn to be friends with each other.   Taking time for friendships is a key to moral development.  ” Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17    Perfecting politeness, building rapport, communicating and knowing how to steer conversations are all skills developed in face to face interactions.  They are skills that can not be learned by having numerous friends on “Facebook,”  by participating in numerous groups or by using the best curriculum.  We need to spend time together.  This is true for our children and for ourselves.

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We had a homeschool family over for a fall get together recently.  Their boots lined up in my entrance way were a sign of the great learning occurring a few rooms away.  It takes a sacrifice of time and energy to get together, but the social exchange and resulting moral development is so worth it.   Will you join me in taking time for friends this fall?

Happy Homeschooling!

~Juliane

 

High Hopes

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Hello Erie County Homeschoolers!

Cooler temperatures, school supplies in stores and public school buses screeching to a halt near our home have all notified us to prepare for school days ahead!  We are gearing up and enjoying our last few days before classes start here at Hilltop Homeschool.   This past week we drove to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia for a final summer excursion.  While there our family did the rock scramble to the top of Bear fence Mountain.  It left me with a unique view for the heights I hope to attain in homeschool this year.

You see in those Virginia mountains it seemed not worth it for my husband and I to go that little bit higher where the kids had scrambled and were proclaiming how amazing the view.   It looked scary. It looked too hard.  ” I feel like I am on top of the world!” exclaimed our youngest boy from the highest peak of rock we could see.   We had all ready seen amazing views!  Why go higher?  It was that still small voice that nudged us to do the right thing and give that last bit of effort to go join our children at the top.   Do you know what we found?  After scrambling up there, which was not easy but not as difficult as imagined, we found ourselves standing on the mountain rock tops feeling steady and safe with a 360 degree view we did not have previously.  We felt we were “on top of the world!”  The day before we had climbed another smaller mountain which had a fire tower on the top of it.  None of us felt completely safe on that skinny metal tower.  We all realized we were much higher on Bear fence but we felt safer.  The foundation under us made all the difference!

Biblical hoping, where your hope is built upon the Rock, Jesus Christ will keep you from being unsteady in body, mind and soul.   Cynical people will tell you not to have high hopes for they will lead to a bigger fall.  Your high hopes will be dashed upon the rocks in the storms of life and it is not worth it they cry!    But hoping based on the Word of God brings with it a safe security even amidst the storms that threaten to break you.   You can find yourself in the end still standing on the rock safe and secure looking out over the horizon hoping for future victories and delights.

If your hopes have been dashed as many of mine have been this summer, then I pray you will hear the voices like our son’s who call you to come up higher.  I pray you will heed theirs and that still small voice that says, “It is the right thing to do, do it.”  Have hope. Keep hope. Remember and be thankful for the sure hopes you have in Christ that can never be dashed!  Never.  Cling to Him and homeschool onward with high hopes in place for 2015-2016.   I am praying for you dear friends.

Happy Homeschooling!

~Juliane

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Ministering Moments

 

Hello Dear Subscribers and Visitors!

I am excited to share with you that the events calendar page is now up and running!  This will enable me to enter events that are shared much quicker and provide you with a place to quickly check what family friendly homeschool events are coming up.  I have also added information to the musical endeavors page.  Maintaining this homeschool blog is only one of my many ministries.

The Lord brought to my attention this morning in Mark 10 the idea of ministering.  “But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:”  Oh, those ten disciples were upset at James and John for seeking from Jesus a higher position among the twelve.  Jesus teaches them all in his reply that it is not the ‘leader” types, nor the “bully” types that “lord over you” and “exercise authority over you” that are the best, but those that minister.  The best friends are those that minister unto you and your circle of friends!  As I pondered this aloud, my 13-year-old son quickly looked up  the word “minister” for me without my asking.  It means to attend to or serve,  to perform services, to give things needful or  to supply a means of relief.   How sweet to see him living out this definition!   Meeting a need his Mama had before she even asked.

All of our homeschooling will work much better when we face it with a ministering attitude.  I have surrendered the best job I ever had to return home more to be available to minister to my children and to see that they are developing ministering spirits and attitudes one with another.   Family relationships are a great place to learn how to minister one to another.  Does your homeschool have a ministering spirit about it?   How do you teach your children what Jesus said about ministering to their peers instead of seeking honor and fame or a position of authority over them?  If we learn to minister within the home then we can launch out and minister to those outside our home.   Check your circle of friends and see who has a ministering spirit about them.  Thank them.  Make them your best friends, then strive to minister together.   I have been abundantly blessed to work alongside  several friends who have amazing ministering spirits.  They are always looking out for the needs of others and coming up with ways to meet needs and supply relief.   Don’t allow power struggles or selfish ambitions to rob you of the blessing of ministering.  Look for ministering moments everyday.

” For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45

I hope within these blog pages and posts you can find something to meet a need or bring some relief to you or your homeschool.

Happy Homeschooling    ~Juliane

 

 

Beginnings…

Everything starts somewhere.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”(Genesis 1:1)  Such a familiar and seemingly simple scripture, but within it is the profound power of our Creator God and of beginnings.   A new day, a new event, a new job, a new baby, a new home school all contain this potential only new things can hold.   A new year has begun and with it a new adventure for this past editor of the Erie County Home School News.

After  resigning from my editorship of the newsletter in October, my life continued to zoom along at a blinding rate.   My caseload continued high for my job as an occupational therapist and then, before we knew it, the Christmas season was upon us with all it’s activities.   However, just recently my work caseload has declined and our holiday celebrations have ended.   We have adjusted to our oldest daughter being married and out of the home.   Our family routine has returned.   So here I sit on the crest of this new adventure as a blogger.  An empty text box and a blinking cursor called me to begin…and Jan Preston!  She called me too providing the nudge to undertake this project.  Jan was one of the first people to ever home school in Erie County.  She knows all about beginnings.  I am so glad pioneering homeschoolers like her paved the way for us.

So while this is my beginning efforts of converting the Erie County Home School Newsletter into blog format, the idea of encouraging and equipping  homeschoolers  is not new.  Give me a few days and you should see an events calendar popping up here along with some great home school support pages geared just for you Erie County Homeschoolers.  Any of you who subscribed to the e-newsletter can now follow this blog and find all the same great information.  I have missed you all dearly!  But the end of the newsletter has led to this great new beginning.  Praise the Lord!  For those of you who are new, you can check out the about page to learn more about me and the history of the Erie County Home School News.

Dear homeschooling friends, I am praying for you as you begin this new year together.   What new adventures are you facing this year?  Feel free to leave a comment letting us know.

Happy Homeschooling in 2015!     ~Juliane