This past week my mind and heart have been focusing on the struggles we parents have. I talked with a mom who shared that she and her husband differ on how to train their children. I’ve been praying for a family who is struggling so much with parenting that it is straining their marriage. Though we can’t solve all parenting problems with a small blog post, this topic is something that needs to be continually brought before us all. Why is parenting such a challenge? I love what Paul Tripp says: “We don’t want to parent children who need parenting.” That’s true, isn’t it? Children who don’t need parenting are well behaved, continually sweet-spirited, selfless, and lovingly obedient. Is that even possible? Not really. Years ago, I was co-teaching a Sunday school class to middle school-aged students, and they were asked a question: “Are young children inherently good?” I looked around the room, and noticed lots of heads nodding. Some were vocally saying, “Yes.” But there was one student who answered with a loud, “No!” Obviously, we were looking for the answer to be “no” in order to explain to them how we are all born with a sin nature.
From the moment we bring our first child into our home it starts, doesn’t it? The questions, the doubt, the second-guessing. Do we give him a pacifier? How long should we let her cry in the crib before we go get her? Are we reading to him enough? And it continues as they grow, too. Should we start music lessons AND soccer AND a foreign language? Is it time to give her some responsibility with a puppy? What about chores and allowance? Believe me, the questions never end, even as they get older. And with all those questions, we do our research, educate ourselves, poll friends and family, pray, and then finally make a decision. Sometimes the choices we make work out great, other times…well, not so much. Let me tell you. It is a given that we’ll have lots and lots of decisions to make. And some of those decisions are made out of a need for life support. We will miss out on those teaching moments once in a while because we are just plain tired. We’ll go through the drive through for dinner because there hasn’t been any time to grocery shop. Then we begin to feel
Many of you know that I love science. Science may send tremors down most people’s spine as they hearken back to their high school biology class when they had to dissect a frog or to a chemistry class when they had to memorize the definition of acids and bases. But for me, science is so much more than that. It is a purposeful method of observing the world around us in order to understand it better. And that often helps us to get a glimpse of the One who created it, too. You see, when you look at an object made by a person, say a painting created by Pablo Picasso, you get a glimpse into that person. How he sees the world. His perspective. I can pretty much pick out a painting done by this man because I can see his characteristic fingerprint/ his style. And if you have seen any of his paintings, you may agree with me when I say I believe that Picasso likely viewed the world from a skewed vantage point. His boxy, slanted style was his way of portraying what he saw around him. I’m not an authority on art, but he may have
As homeschoolers, we have lots of opportunities to face challenges, don’t we? There is the continual attempt to plan our weekly schedule. We are always looking for the best curriculum to meet our child’s needs (and to fit Mom’s needs, too!). We face days where our children don’t understand what we are teaching, or they don’t want to learn what we are teaching. We face days when WE don’t understand what we are teaching, or WE don’t want to teach it! Yes, “challenge” is a common word when it comes to raising and teaching our children, isn’t it? But let me tell you something. When it comes to parenting, actually when it comes to ANYTHING dealing with another person, challenges will always be there. Yet, challenges often bring blessing. Years ago, one of my children had great difficulty with spelling. I looked at every curriculum…they all had different methods and strategies. So I kept changing curricula each year thinking I was just a rotten spelling teacher. I kept searching the shelves, looking for a curriculum titled: “Fix my Broken Speller In-a-Box.” Guess what? They don’t make it. Believe me, I looked. The problem was that I was trying to take
Have you looked around, lately? With the fall season coming and school underway, the weeks have begun to speed up. I can’t tell you how many times I have already seen “pumpkin everything” advertised. There are only “x” number of days until Christmas. Why does the time from September through December always seem as if it warps somehow into a fast-paced, crazy, roller-coaster ride? And amidst all of this rapid-fire activity, we are supposed to enthusiastically be teaching our children and bringing out our fall wreaths, pumpkin and gourd displays, and singing merrily as we do it. Sports activities have begun in full force. Co-ops and art classes started. Music lessons picked up again. It seems to me that every fall I would begin this way. I would enthusiastically begin our school year, with all my planning set up, new curriculum in hand, and hopes high. Then things would get started. And someone would get sick. Unexpected meetings would pop up. A child would get stuck in his math work and need to slow down the pace. So then I play catch-up, all while trying to ride the rapid-moving roller coaster of life through the fall semester. I would look
This morning I went out early to do some weeding in front of our house. Now before you start thinking that I am one of THOSE people who are up singing with the sunrise and doing 500 things before breakfast, I need to disclose the purpose of my morning chore: We are having people over. Yes, I really haven’t been focusing too much on that part of our household. After all, I live in Florida, where it rains every day in the summer, humidity is 1,000 percent, and the temperature is usually a lovely 85 degrees by 8 AM. I always seem to find “more urgent” things to do than weed the front beds. But because I was “motivated,” I went out to do it, and I am so glad I did. You see, as I was pulling weeds, I began to wonder how these weeds keep popping up. I have weeded these beds before. I removed the plants I didn’t want growing and allowed the ones we planted to stay. But these crazy unwanted plants still appear. And why is it that none of them are rose bushes or fruit trees? They always seem to be wild looking ones
If you are like me, you have some students who really, really, really (really!) do not like to write. I always looked for ways to make writing at least a little bit more enjoyable, and this was one way that helped. Whenever we read about an individual, whether it was a missionary, a scientist, or even a lead character in a book, I tried to help my children summarize what they learned about this person. We did a biography “report,” but we did it in the form of a little craft. Now don’t worry. This craft doesn’t require you to haul out the massive bins of craft supplies and sift through assorted sequins, pipe cleaners, and clay. This is an easy one. You just need a sheet of paper, colored or white, scissors, and a glue stick or tape. You’re going to make a little “shirt” for your character, putting his or her head on it. Then all their information can be written inside. First, fold the paper in half, like this. Then you need to make a cut for the collar. Begin the cut not quite an inch down from the folded side and cut in about 2 ¼
As a new school year begins, most of us are excited. We have new curricula, shiny pens and pencils, matching notebooks and paper, and we cannot wait to start! But I always had in the back of my mind some hesitation. Kind of like when you wanted to dive into the pool when you were a kid, but you knew the water was cold. You knew the sudden blast of frigidness was going to be shocking. But you just had to jump in. That was the only way. That’s how I usually felt at the beginning of each school year. A little hesitant to dive in. I didn’t share it with anyone, because they all seemed so excited. And, really, I was too, but the excitement was always coupled with a little bit of dread. What? How can I say that? Well, I’m just being honest. I knew the upcoming year was going to be filled with, let’s face it, hard work. And I just couldn’t be absolutely, completely happy about that on the inside. But as I faced this feeling year after year, I began to realize a few things. You see, a productive life is a messy one.
You’ve seen them in forests, parks, and perhaps even in your front yard. But you’ve probably never really looked at them. They are lichens – amazing creatures that have a fascinating story. You see, a lichen is not a single organism. It is composed of two creatures: a fungus and an alga. “Gross,” you say? Oh, no. These guys tell a captivating tale! You see a fungus is an organism that has a sturdy protective coating. Think of a mushroom. Mushrooms are growths from fungi and have pretty tough exteriors. That means they can endure harsh conditions. A fungus can retain moisture when the environment is dry. It can withstand cooler temperatures, too. But fungi have to take in food from another source. They have to feed off of dying material, such as decaying tree trunks or leaves. Now the type of algae living in a lichen is not too sturdy of an organism. It requires a narrower range of environmental conditions to survive. However, an alga (the singular for algae) can make its own food. It can photosynthesize, taking energy from the sun and using chemicals in the earth and the air, converting them to sugars. Well, a lichen
This week, I am sharing a post over on the Apologia Educational Ministries page. As you may know, I am a marine biologist by trade, but I am first and foremost a mom and homeschooler. Yes, I love science. So, of course, I try to encourage others in the importance of teaching it. Now, don’t say to me, “But, Sherri, you just don’t understand. I have never liked science and I don’t think I am good at it.” Believe me. I get it. I have never loved literature and poetry, and I certainly do not think I am good at it. After all, how do we know what that author was thinking when he wrote that important treatise? He is dead, and he left no annotations to explain it. So what I think he meant could be just as right as what someone else thinks he meant. Is he really comparing that tree to society’s monolithic structure? I don’t know. I digress. As a homeschooler, I had to learn to teach this material to my children. And I had to at least try to make it sound interesting. Well, after so many years of doing my best, I actually began to appreciate