Encouragement for the Parent Educator

I’m sitting down to write this with tears still fresh in my eyes. But, as usual, tears are best answered by The Word, full and fresh upon my heart.

Homeschooling is a calling. And like other callings, not everyone has received the call — and still fewer answer it. If you, too, are one of The Few, The Proud, The Homeschooling…

[Fist Bump.]

I happen to have one of those children whose demeanor is the very bellwether of our homeschooling day. If he is bright and sunny, ready to tackle our assignment list with enthusiasm and optimism, it’s gonna be a good day, Tater.

If he is not, well…

God help me.

Today was one of those days.

The very line of him, seated in his chair at the table, oozed boredom, rebellion, disrespect. (At least, so it seemed.) Narrowed eyes, slack face, fidgety hands, glazed expression. I pray the day will come when this child begins to see me as his partner and not his adversary. But we are by no means there.

So I won’t give you the play-by-play. The denouement reads: So she gave up, dismissed school and retreated to her desk to cry her eyes out.

True story.

A wasted morning, an equally fruitless afternoon, and a good hard cry. Such a crisis of inadequacy and overwhelm can only be answered by a few minutes of aimless wandering on Facebook, right?


Facebook Error

Message received, Lord. P.S. Will I ever learn?

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{UPDATED} Her Ladyship Says: Fight the Power

The Stately Home Show

A year-and-a-day later, The Stately Home Show has returned, so it seems timely to revisit this post from last year… along with a few updates to the tips below.

Updated information in red.

Tomorrow night, and half a world away, the Right Honorable Lord Fellowes will utter a genteel “Ahem…” and throngs of loyalists of every class and distinction will prostrate themselves before their screens in rapt attention and reverent silence. Tears will be shed, mountains moved, new romance will blossom, and hearts left raw after last season’s brutality will slowly begin to heal.

Of course, you won’t know anything about it.
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Go Up and Take Possession

About this time last year, I had no clue I would be educating my children at home today.

Yet here we are, seeing the end of our first year as a homeschooling family coming into focus over the crest of the next hill. Watching life events come full circle always puts me in a reflective mood, but our journey to this place is a complicated one — not something I can tackle in a single post.

This blog has always been a place for me to share my heart (at least as much as a battered introvert like me can dare to do). The shift from public school to homeschool has been about so much more than the logistics of where or when my children learn — so completely transformational, in fact, that the need to share that corner of my heart has been percolating for a long time.

But it’s slow going.

Nevertheless, its enrollment time once again. I’ve had enough friends asking about our decision to homeschool in general, and our participation in Classical Conversations in particular, I need to start somewhere.

And I suppose the best “somewhere” to start is the vision.

[Disclaimer: Touchy-feely post ahead. You have been warned…]

The Two Reports of the Spies

Joshua and Caleb

Most of us who grew up in Sunday school can remember the gist of Numbers 13.

Following the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites are searching for the Land the Lord had been promising to them since His covenant with Abraham. On the outskirts of Canaan, Moses sends twelve men into the land as spies. A little reconnaissance mission, if you will.

Ten of the spies come back shaking in their boots. We can’t do it, they say. The land is rich and fruitful, yes, but the people are giants. The cities are fortresses. We’re just a little ol’ nation of former slaves with zero battle experience. We are completely outmatched.

Forget it, Moses. It can’t be done.

Ten spies, ten reports of certain defeat. And then Caleb and Joshua get up to speak.
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“You Don’t Know Beans”

Summer 1998: Young, tan and "just dating."

Summer ’98: Young, tan and “just dating.”

In honor of Throwback Thursday, I’m throwing it waaaay back to 1998.

Summer, to be exact.

That was my second summer down on the Gulf Coast of Florida, working and participating in a summer discipleship program, along with dozens of college students from other universities all over the South.

Five girls living in two rooms, sharing one bathroom and one closet is bound to create a certain amount of fireworks, but my first summer in Florida produced, well… a whole lotta drama.

Anyone who tells you we Christians magically love and cherish one another is lying. Like a rug.

When it became clear that the Lord’s plan was for me to go back to Florida the following summer, I dreaded returning. Dreaded. Like my parole had been revoked.
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Sooie for Your Supper


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Families will grow, even as budgets may not. My two boys — who seem to go through growth spurts faster than they do batteries — are not yet eating us out of house and home. And I stress “yet.”

But I sense it’s coming.

I’m always on the lookout for an economical dinner option. Unfortunately, having inherited a double-dose of food pickiness, there are certain foods (far too many of them, I’m afraid) they disdain. At least my oldest eats greens and vegetables, whereas my middle child… eh, not so much.

A slab of meat is sometimes the only thing between my ravenous sons and starvation — or so they seem to think — so I keep my eyes peeled for a good deal on animal flesh whenever I’m shopping.

Which leads us to: Country-Style Pork Ribs. [Cue the triumphant fanfare.]

I bought almost 8 lbs. for $11.88 — or $1.53 per pound, to be exact. Way cheaper than ground beef.

And then I got scared. How in the blue blazes do I cook these things?
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