Must Haves for High School

Shopping for back-to-school supplies?    The sales ads will attempt to sell you everything except the kitchen sink as a back-to-school necessity.   Here are my thoughts on some intangibles for parents of homeschooled high schoolers, published at Heart of the Matter Online.   Be blessed.

What I did this summer

Given that we’re starting school on next week, I suppose this is an appropriate title.   During the week that I wrote my last post, there was also Vacation Bible School (VBS).   


This picture doesn’t fully capture the work that was put into transforming our church gymnasium into a high seas adventure—ocean-like wallpaper and all.   The backdrop to the kids’ final performance is a pirate’s ship.    This was a tremendous effort on all parts; this year, we had 60+ volunteers and approximately 200 kids!

The day after VBS ended was our littlest one’s 7th birthday.   It was a quiet, intimate celebration with our immediate family as I had work-related meetings that day, and I think the kids were happy to relax for a change.  We’ve had so many events this summer until I’ve intentionally tried to pare down the daily running around.   With that in mind, going somewhere, even to church, every day, can be draining for the kids, and especially for me.   


We’ve also cooked up a storm, or at least, I’ve taken more photos of my cooking.    Here’s my seafood kabobs (shrimp, scallops, peppers, red onion, and mushrooms),



my four-bean enchiladas,



and my vegetarian chili with tofu and beans.




I am trying to consider our growing son’s dietary needs as a forethought and not an afterthought, so I’m deliberately incorporating more vegetarian dishes into our regular diet.    He shot up 6 inches and counting in the last 10 months.   Yesterday, I cooked a 13-bean soup, and I’ll experiment for the first time with grilled tofu later this week.   Uh, oh!

What I’ve done this week is finalize the plans for the school year beginning next week, and come to the revelation that there will never be enough hours to fit in every book and make use of all the neat tools that are now available to us.    In fact, Internet Café Devotions contained a wonderful devotion entitled “MommIdentity” on yesterday, and I could readily identify with who I am.   I also recognized the tendency to always look at who others are and what they do well rather than realizing that each of us has places of brilliance amidst an otherwise perhaps hum-drum home education model.    This was the crux of my conversation with Karen on last night—the darker side of homeschooling, where comparisons between children can leave us feeling defeated, inadequate, and insecure.    I appreciated the chance to pray with her as she makes decisions about home education in the midst of a fight with breast cancer; it is amazing how the Lord can speak into you when you think you are speaking into others.

In all this activity, I have yet to do something that is totally self-indulgent, and for right or wrong, I want that time.   My plan is to blow the dust off my scrapbooking tools, and to finally put together the kids’ dance photos of more than 1 year ago.   I might have a window this weekend while our youngest spends the night with her grandparents and 5-yr old cousin.    The house should be quieter 🙂 and I’ll have a day to get pages completed.   That is, unless we have to drive to pick up a new hound dog.    I’ll pick up on that story the next time.   God bless.

How’s your alignment?

Our pastor spoke on Sunday, Father’s Day, about “The Power of a Praying Father”, and I was so blessed.  I am writing in the hope that I can solicit a group that will cover fathers in prayer during these summer months as many families are preparing for the next school year.  My specific prayer is for fathers to receive, submit to, and then share a God-given vision for their families.  In conjunction with that, I pray for myself and for other wives that we are receptive and submissive (yes, it’s the dreaded “s” word) enough to partner with their husbands in carrying this vision forth.

Let me say first that I write this with an understanding that there are men who teach in their homes, my awesome cousin being one of them.  If there are men reading, you might have to bring a different balance to my comments.

My pastor’s statement about men casting forth vision in their homes and consequently changing the environment struck me.  I couldn’t help but reflect on the number of women I know whose husbands are either clueless as to what goes on in their homeschooling world, or whose husbands are antagonistic about the whole endeavor.   I wonder how many of us are in line with his vision for the family. Now some of you who will say, “My husband never casts a vision about anything!”   I challenge that thinking by saying that our husbands tell us their visions all the time, but we may have to tune ours ears differently to hear the words in light of what we’re trying to accomplish on a day-to-day basis.  As a personal example, I’m blessed to have a husband who takes an active role in our studies and is genuinely curious about what we do.  I sometimes will share with him stories I read or hear of other homeschoolers, and he says repeatedly, “God forbid we have to put the kids in a private or public school, I just don’t want them to be behind in any way.”    I consider this a critical piece of his homeschooling vision, and if I align myself with it, I know that he’s uncomfortable with learning gaps, and certain learning approaches won’t work for him.  I could argue the value of those approaches and decide rebelliously to “do my own thing”, but why create a situation where he’s uncomfortable?   In addition, when a co-worker/peer/client asks him about his kids and their education, he has to defend a decision he’s uncomfortable with to a society that’s even more skeptical.  Why set the stage for that?

Romans 12:1-2 tells us to not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds.   The world’s plan for our schools says to pour resources into planning, buy the best curriculum, teach, test, and start the loop all over again.  God’s word teaches us order:  there is a spiritual head (God), and there is an earthly head (man).

We have such an opportunity through educating at home to truly pour into our children.  Prior to putting any book before them, I invite you to put before them a household that is ready, through an aligned vision and prayer (more on that later) to take on the monumental task of developing God’s next world changers.  Ask your husband about what he sees for the family’s future and then listen.  Just listen.  Then pray for God to deal with you both about the vision–if it’s out of kilter with His will, He will adjust it.  If the vision is in His will but out of your will, He will adjust you.   Lord, I would ask, why am I hearing this?  How should I use this information?  It just takes a step of surrender to Godly alignment and then trusting God for the rest.  I am a living witness that it works.

How important is alignment?   My pastor pointed this out, and you may have already known it, but it was a revelation for me.   We often think of Eve as willfully disobedient and/or disrespectful as she yielded to the serpent’s tempting regarding the fruit of the forbidden tree.  When the Lord gave Adam instruction regarding the trees of the garden (Genesis 2:16-17), Eve wasn’t even there!  The scripture says that He commanded the man. We never read where Adam shared with Eve what the Lord had told him.  Was Eve disobedient, or could it be that she was ignorant of the vision?  In light of these thoughts, think about this: how much happiness, peace, and joy are we missing out on because we don’t know the vision?

God bless you today and always.