Start Your Day Right: Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal Recipe
Fuel Your Body With This Oatmeal Recipe
Most days the first meal I eat includes a warm bowl of oatmeal. The recipe might differ some, but in general, oatmeal is my go to.
I know many people begin their day with veggies and protein, and I’ve done that too. However, I’m a creature of habit and my habit includes oats.
There is something comforting about eating a hearty bowl of creamy oatmeal.
I’m not saying run out to the store and buy a box of overly processed, sugar filled instant oatmeal. Not only is that not healthy, but it isn’t filling either.
My experience is those little packets tend to cause more snacking and over eating than a recipe made at home using plain quick oats you can buy in a large canister.
This oatmeal recipe is great, because it has very little sugar added, and can be tweaked to taste.
It’s also filling, and pairs great with eggs or sausage if you really feel you need to add protein to your early meal.
1/4 cup Plain Quick Oats
3/4-1 cup Hot Water
1 TBS Ground Flax Seed
1 TBS Brown Sugar or Sweetner of Choice
1 TBS Butter
Approximately Six (6) Fresh Strawberries sliced
Splash of Heavy Cream
Pink Himalayan Salt to Taste
You can make this recipe in the microwave, or on the stove-top, but I prefer to just boil water in my electric kettle and pour it over the oats in my bowl. If you don’t have an electric kettle, might I suggest this one. Isn’t it adorable?
I begin by turning the kettle on so the water heats up while I prep the rest of the ingredients.
Scoop the oats out of the container and into a heat-safe bowl.
Add the ground flax seed, brown sugar, and butter.
Slice your strawberries, removing the stems. Set aside.
When the water is ready pour the desired amount of water over the oats. Depending on your preference it may be less or more than I use.
Mix together until combined and the oats are soft. If you are using quick oats this should take about one minute.
Top with strawberries and a generous splash of heavy cream.
Sometimes I even add a little nut butter to the oatmeal before topping with the strawberries. It’s really quite delicious.
I hope you enjoy!
Be sure to check out my recipe for full-fat tea. It’s a great way to start your day without a heavy meal first thing.
It had been a horrible, rotten, no good, very bad week in our home, and this particular day was working out to be the worst one. I was almost positive motherhood wasn’t supposed to be this hard.
The kids had been at each other since they woke up, I was hugely pregnant with our youngest son, and someone decided to pee on their bedroom carpet…again.
The carpet that was less than three months old.
In the house we’d just bought.
My husband was still out of state at FLETC, and I was trying to balance everything, including my children’s socialization (because obviously, homeschoolers have to worry about socialization–but that is a soap box for another time).
I was a Momma on the edge, and no amount of chocolate was helping.
Prayer is Always the Answer
If at first you don’t succeed, try turning to God.
When the chocolate didn’t work, I did what I should always do first.
It’s possible I might have begged, actually.
Which is totally okay, because God loves us regardless of how much whining we do.
He’s amazing like that.
So, if at first you don’t succeed, try turning to God.
Things didn’t magically change overnight.
In fact things got harder before they got better, (and some days are still down right hard)and when that happens people often decide God isn’t listening or doesn’t care.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, God is closest to us during our struggles.
Providing we allow Him to be.
God is always listening to our prayers, and He always knows what is going on in our lives. The problem comes when instead of turning to Him, we turn away from Him.
Often times people will quote the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle”.
That is a falacy.
It mght sound good, but it isn’t how God works.
He will most definitely give us more than we can handle, because He doesn’t want us to handle it. He wants us to turn to Him.
We need to turn to Him.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The Motherhood Struggle: Dishes
Recently our dishwasher turned in its pink slip in the middle of a cycle, and since that time I’ve found myself standing at the kitchen sink a lot more than I’m used to.
This is just one more thing in the long line of, well, things that have become my new expectation of owning a home.
These moments are the times I miss renting, but only for a few minutes.
Anyway, back to the sink, and the dishes.
This is the Chore That Never Ends…
It seemed that when we had a dishwasher to rely on, there was often a sink full of dirty dishes waiting to be loaded.
Or a load waiting to be started, because there weren’t quite enough dishes in it to warrant turning it on.
One thing I’ve learned about motherhood, is that dishes are a quite necessary and often irritating part of raising children.
Kids want to eat, and when they eat they use dishes and glasses.
Often several at a time.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any time, or following me on IG, you likely know I suffer from anxiety.
A sink full of dishes adds exponentially to that.
The day the dishwasher died, I decided I wasn’t going to allow this new adventure to cripple me.
So, this time I turned to God and asked for peace about the situation.
Then I made a plan.
Sare Verses the Dishes
Several people I know, including my husband, are much more laid back than I am when it comes to chores and getting things finished.
To them, the longer they put it off the happier they are.
This doesn’t work for me.
If I put something off, like the dishes, that responsibility will follow me all day long.
My shoulders will become stiff with tension, my neck and jaw will ache, and my temperament will suffer.
To combat this, I don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink.
I don’t wait to do the dishes.
When I drink my pre-workout drink in the morning, I clean the jar and place it on the rack to dry. If I have a snack, I clean the dish and put it away.
Yes, this does mean I spend time at the sink more often, but it prevents me from missing out on time with my family if I’m washing an entire day’s worth of dishes after dinner.
If You Can Carry a Dish, You Can Help
After a meal, those who are old enough clear their personal places at the table and then wash their own dishes, placing them in the rack to dry.
This allows every one to take responsibility for the use of their own items.
It also helps this Momma to not spend hours at the sink scrubbing caked on food.
We are a family, and as a family we eat together and we work together.
No one has ever died from cleaning up after themselves, and my children will leave this house knowing how to take care of themselves and a home–regardless of their gender.
The Motherhood Struggle: Raising Productive Children
Ever since my eldest daughter was old enough to help pick up her own toys and place her blanket on the side of her crib, I have given my children age appropriate chores.
This is a big deal, sisters.
The other day I was volunteering with a group of third and fourth grade girls and discovered more than half of them don’t have chores.
Motherhood isn’t just about keeping a little person alive until they’re eighteen.
It’s about raising them and teaching them.
It’s about guiding them and giving them boundaries, balance, and skills to not just survive, but thrive when they’re no longer living within the walls of our homes.
What Are Age Appropriate Chores?
If you do a quick search on Google or Pinterest you’ll find all kinds of colorful charts listing chores by age group.
My eldest daughter (11) has a wide variety of chores including
Cleaning the bathroom she shares with her brother
Taking the dog outside
Feeding and caring for the cat
Helping with the dishes
Taking the trash and recycle to the street for pick-up
wiping down the counters in the kitchen
setting the table
helping with meals
doing her laundry
keeping her room neat and picked up (this includes bed made and art supplies stored away)
helping weed the yard and gardens
My eldest son’s (6) chores include:
Feeding the dog
putting away his laundry
making his bed
putting his toys away when he is done playing with them
wiping off the table
cleaning the toilet (with supervision and help)
helping to set and clear the table
bringing his dirty laundry down on laundry day
My youngest daughter (3) helps where she can. She:
Picks up her toys with help
carries the vacuum cord while I vacuum the main floor of the house
brings her dishes to the sink
puts away the step-stool after shes’ used it
Not all of theses chores are done all the time, but all of them have been done. Some of the are done weekly or daily.
Family Chore List
To keep things running smoothly (since our family thrives on routines), we have a laminated list of daily chores on the fridge.
Each chore has a name beside it, and that person is responsible for getting their chore done right after breakfast.
This includes Momma.
Once the chore is finished we cross it off and go about our day.
Since we try to do more together on the weekend I keep the chores down to a minimum on Saturday/Sunday. This allows for relaxation and play.
I wish I could take credit for coming up with this list, but for some reason I’d never thought of it until Stephanie over at A Simply Dunn Life shared how she took some of the struggle out of housework and motherhood.
Since my kiddos and I began using this daily chore list, there has been less stress, more team work, and an overall change in the attitude of our home.
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t fix everything that causes stress and anxiety, but it definitely helps.
For that reason, I’m including a free download of the chart we use.
Just print it out, laminate it and you’re ready to go.
We’ve been having some seriously stormy weather here in Virginia, and it doesn’t appear to be clearing up much this week.
The thunderstorms mixed with high temperatures tend to have an adverse affect on my kiddos and me, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
When the weather is dreary and we’re confined to the house, everyone gets antsy.
This is compounded (for me) by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), so rainy days really get me down.
For more information on Seasonal Affective Disorder, check out my post about it here.
Knowing this, I often repeat this one verse, Psalm 51:12, throughout the day.
Verse to Mediate On
Restore in me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Now, granted, this particular chapter in the Psalms actually deals with David’s repentance after he sinned against God with Bathsheba, but I find that meditating on it when I am depressed or anxious often helps to alleviate some of the struggle.
A Prayer For Moms
While we face the storms in our lives, we turn to you, Lord.
We ask You to restore the joy given to us through salvation, and that the Holy Spirit will sustain us when we can’t do it on our own.
You, Lord are our strength and protection through all of life’s storms. When the rain pours, and the thunder crashes, You alone are our safety.
Help us to remember this today, and every day as we raise our children for Your glory.
My entire life has been connected in one way or another to the military.
I grew up the daughter of a Master Chief in the United States Navy. I joined (albeit shortly) the Army National Guard, and in 2005 I married a Marine.
All these years later, I realize just how much that military life strengthened my faith in Our Heavenly Father.
Each situation, transition, and experience added another brick to the foundation of my belief in God’s almighty power, His endless love, and boundless wisdom.
God is Always There
When my husband and I first married, we were immediately stationed on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
This sounds like a dream destination, but for us it wasn’t.
We struggled, and there were times it didn’t seem possible for us to make it through together.
Looking back it’s easy to see, God had a plan for us; we just weren’t listening to Him or leaning on Him.
We experienced many different things during our eighteen months there.
Most of it separately.
My husband spent a good portion of the time we were stationed there deployed to Afghanistan–or preparing to deploy.
Because of this, we relied heavily on ourselves, and then expected each other to fill the empty spaces in our lives.
It was rough.
I’d never been away from my family or my friends, and living on an island–basically alone–showed me a weakness in myself I’d never known.
Even though I wasn’t intimate with God during this season of my life, He was there.
Taking the hard moments and using them to help build a strong foundation for my future faith.
The LORD Does it Again
When we left Hawaii we were stationed in Virginia.
We struggled to build our relationship, because neither of us understood the other. We didn’t communicate, and we hurt each other deeply time and time again.
Military Life Isn’t Easy.
Not even for people with strong marriages.
Being young made it harder.
The Marine Corps was a tough employer, and my husband worked long hours and was rarely home.
When he was home he would unwind by playing computer games.
A solitary activity that didn’t include me.
Between the stresses of his job, and our lack of connection I was emotionally exhausted.
After two years, I was ready to call it quits.
Then a Miracle Happened.
I’d been told after the loss of my son I’d likely never carry a child again.
God, however, works miracles all the time; in His time it happened.
With our marriage on rocky ground, we made it through the pregnancy and birth of our eldest.
It wasn’t easy, and we still didn’t turn to God or acknowledge Him in our lives.
We continued to go it on our own, and made each day harder than it needed to be.
Again, the LORD wasn’t deterred.
He used our experiences in this new place to add more bricks to the foundation of my faith.
Deployments, PTSD, and Selfishness
My Husband Deployed to Afghanistan Twice.
The second time he deployed, our eldest was a toddler, and that changed everything. His absence was no longer only affecting me, but was affecting a little girl who didn’t understand why her daddy wasn’t home to tuck her in.
This wasn’t the first time he’d been gone from our lives since her birth, but it was the first time the military had taken him to a war zone.
Those seven months were both a struggle and a blessing.
I just didn’t realize the ‘blessing’ part until years later.
While he was gone I experienced a number of things that would have been so much easier with God actively in my life.
Learning Experience: God is Faithful
My daughter ended up rushed to a children’s hospital when her temperature elevated and the local hospital didn’t feel capable of caring for her. We rode in the ambulance for over an hour, to a hospital in the middle of the desert.
I’d left my car at the local hospital with no idea of how she and I would get home.
Without knowing it at the time, God was there.
Her fever broke and we made it back home.
A problem that seemed insurmountable was solved.
Back to Back Deployments Are Traumatic
When a service member returns from a deployment it takes time for reintegration.
Not only for the member, but for the family he left as well.
We’d spent seven months apart, and during that time both our daughter and I had grown and changed.
He’d changed too.
You can’t deploy somewhere, see death, destruction, and misery, and not be irrevocably changed.
It was really hard to connect.
He and I had never really been great at communicating in the first place, add in the stresses of his returning to a safe place, and the communication was practically non-existent.
God used these struggles too.
I couldn’t see it at the time, and if you’d asked me during those days I would have scoffed at the idea of any god, let alone the God.
Then He Deployed to Okinawa
Within weeks of his return, my husband was back scheduled to deploy again.
Granted, this time it wasn’t to a war-torn country where anyone could be planning to kill you; it still meant he would leave his family for another seven months.
Prior to any deployment, service men train for what might happen while they’re on mission.
This training takes months, and at times feels like a deployment itself.
We never saw him, and when we did he was angry.
I was angry.
Something was going on with him, I knew it and so did our daughter. He didn’t agree.
The week before he deployed to Okinawa, the dam broke. I was tired of seeing my baby girl hurt by her father’s indifference.
It was the first (and only time) my husband has ever sworn at me.
He was in pain, I could see it, but I couldn’t fix it.
I couldn’t help him, and he wasn’t willing to help himself.
My Decision: To Love
The night before he left, I made a choice.
It was time to stop being selfish. To stop placing blame, and just do what I should have done all along.
The same thing Jesus would have done.
I wrapped my arms around him, and loved him.
Regardless of my anger, my confusion, and my own hurt, I felt peace wash over me.
This was the right thing to do.
He wouldn’t leave our home with an angry, bitter wife. He would leave with a wife full of love for her husband.
It’s obvious now what that peace was.
That change wasn’t because I’m a naturally forgiving person.
God had wrapped His arms around me, and said, “trust me”.
Seven months later when my husband returned, he was a different person, and so was I.
This time however, I saw something better in him.
There was a light in him again. The pain wasn’t gone, but it was receding.
God had worked on him too, it seemed.
In the solitude of long runs around Okinawa, God had started to heal my husband.
Military Life: Relocating Time and Again
From the East to the West and Back Again
Our active duty military career continued until 2017.
During those years we moved from Washington State to Hawaii.
From Hawaii to Virginia
Then onto California.
Back to Washington State, just to do it once more– across the Continental United States to Virginia.
We grew our family from that first miracle to four miracles.
How This Helped My Faith
Soon after we had our second child, our eldest son, we were given orders to return to Washington State (where our relationship originally began).
Just like that, a light came on.
Like a program working in the background of your mobile device, God had been working on me.
I’d discovered what had been missing from my life.
For so long I’d been trying to fill the empty space, and nothing had worked.
With the knowledge I was heading back to the home I’d run away from, I surrendered.
God broke through my stubborn pride, and with open arms accepted me: scars, bad choices, confusion, and all.
Through it All, He Remains
Since that summer day in 2013, many things have changed in my life.
I’d be lying if I said my marriage suddenly became perfect, and all our problems magically disappeared once I accepted God back into my life.
That we never struggled.
I’d be lying if I said our lives have been perfect and there hasn’t been a day of worry.
It doesn’t work that way.
There has been pain and loss (My father passed away in January 2015), and there were times of deep fear within this Momma( when the doctor discovered on Mother’s Day 2018 that my youngest daughter has multiple VSDs in her heart)
Being a Christian is hard. Really hard for so many reasons.
Jesus never said it would be easy.
But, I can tell you without a shred of doubt it’s worth it.
He’s worth it.
We’re worth it.
Through all the ups and downs, God continues to strengthen my faith. Not in myself, but in Him.
My family grows, matures, and loves each day, because of His love and righteousness.
And through everything–including the change from active duty military life to reserves–God continues to love me.
When the Marine Corps payment doesn’t come in when its supposed to, and the bank account is too low to cover everything, I trust God.
As we begin another busy week with mid-week activities once again in full-swing, and mandatory meetings filling up the evenings, I’m thankful for Our Heavenly Father who continues to love on us in the midst of our busyness.
I know many Mommas are in the first weeks of the school year.
Some of you are dealing with the requirements of public school and the routine needed to get everyone out the door in a timely manner, while keeping a shred of your sanity.
While others are trying to find the balance between the lessons they want their children to get done, and keeping the house from falling into the running for an episode of Hoarders.
Whatever your week holds for you and your family, remember God loves us regardless of what gets checked off our to-do lists.
There is nothing we can do to earn His love, or lose it.
Scripture to Meditate On
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’
Prayer for Moms
Thank you for loving us, Lord, and for providing us with Your Word.
As we move into our week, we pray You will help us to become blameless and pure; to not become like the world around us.
May we possess joyful spirits and the righteousness to attend to our tasks without grumbling or bad attitudes.
When we stumble we will praise You, because we know Your love and forgiveness is eternal.
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For Christmas 2015, I received a Bible study book titled, Women of the Wordby Jen Wilkin.
At first I wasn’t sure what to expect from the pages of this relatively thin book.
I’ve spent a lot of time reading study guides for various themes or books within the Bible, and I figured this would be similar.
I was correct on only one part.
It is a book on studying the Bible.
What it ISN’T is a manufactured Bible study.
Within the first seven chapters of the book, the author shows you how to approach the study of any book in the Bible (and preferably every book in the Bible) for optimal literacy.
This includes studying with the five “Ps”:
Bible literacy isn’t a phrase I was familiar with.
What is Bible Literacy?
According to the Northwest Centre for Biblical and Theological Literacy,
Biblical Literacy describes the ability and motivation of people to read the Bible with sufficient understanding so that they can explain its basic meaning, having sufficient knowledge and skill to use resources that enable them to discern the basic meaning of a biblical text. It includes the ability to apply this discerned meaning, i.e. biblical wisdom, to contemporary life.”
Since I’d focused on the word Joy for the year, I realized I need a better scriptural understanding of it.
I didn’t want to understand how a single verse on “joy” applied to me, but how that verse applied to the bigger picture of God’s love and plan for everyone.
Only then would I be able to see how it applied to me in the present and future.
Why You Should Become a Woman of the Word
In a day and age when more and more people are not only turning away from God, but are antagonistic towards anyone who dares to trust in Him, it is important for us to have a clear, educated understanding of God’s Word.
The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
It doesn’t change.
It isn’t corrupt.
People will tell you you’re wrong.
They’ll offer you opinion stated as fact.
Some will twist the scriptures to fit their personal agenda.
We must know what the Bible says and what it means–both historically and applicably.
Our own relationship with Christ might not be affected by their misunderstandings, but our children’s relationships might be.
The Bible is Not a Fairy Tale
The Bible was provided for us so that we would know what was expected of us, and what we could in turn expect from our God.
Within the sixty-six books of the Bible we learn how to raise our children, love our spouses, and how to love our neighbors while not loving or applauding their sins.
We see the great love, righteousness and compassion of God who created EVERYTHING, and loves us without fail.
People read these stories and consider them fairy tales.
Stories made up to explain away situations they otherwise had no answers for.
As Christians we know this isn’t the case.
The Old Testament gives us a detailed account of all the things we shouldn’t do–and how God loved the Israelites so much that he forgave them time and time again; finally disciplining out of love when they refused to listen.
In the New Testament we see the miracles.
The unbelievable, awe-inspiring, miracles of Jesus.
Jesus Performed Miracles: The End
There are people who will latch on to these miracles and claim they didn’t happen.
That they couldn’t happen.
The only problem with their argument: It’s wrong.
Jesus performed miracles.
This is a fact.
A fact supported by historical research; not just research done by people predisposed to seeing miracles, but also by secular historians and scholars.
If we don’t study the Bible, we won’t be able to respond to those who haven’t discovered their faith in Jesus.
As a mother I need to be able to guide my children; to help them find the answers they seek, and to know how to articulate the truth when confronted by their secular peers.
We also need to study the Bible, because it’s the voice of God speaking directly to each and every one of us.
When you have a relationship with someone, you spend time with them. You talk to them, ask questions about them, and seek answers to who they are.
The same thing needs to happen when you want a personal relationship with Christ.
You can’t expect a relationship–or an understanding of the scriptures–to happen if you’re not spending time together.
Women of the Word makes it possible to do more than just scan a verse and take it out of context, because it sounds like a verse to make you feel better about yourself.
The more time you spend with God (in prayer, in study, in contemplation) the closer you’ll get, and the more you’ll understand.
You don’t always need to spend hours diving deeply into the Word, but you need to meet up with God, in peace and quiet, each day.
There are dozens of ways to “fit” God into your day; between scrolling social media and running your kids to their activities.
However, we shouldn’t have to squeeze God in.
He should be our top priority.
After all, we’re His top priority.
I know it won’t be easy, but learning a new habit–especially one that will help you grow each and every day, isn’t always going to be easy, but it will always be worth it.
First thing in the morning, before you get overwhelmed by your ‘to do’ list, grab your Bible, colored pens and pencils, and a notebook.
Then take a breath, and say hello to the only one who has loved you without ceasing since before you were born.
He’s been waiting for you.
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” -Proverbs 1:5
If you’re reading this, you likely are either considering homeschooling or are already deep in the trenches and looking for support or options.
Or, you just enjoy reading the ramblings of others who have a similar focus as you.
Whatever your reason, I pray this post brings something positive to your day.
There are others far more qualified to explain the deeper complexities of this lifestyle we’ve been called to, but I’m led to share what I have learned, so far, during my family’s homeschooling journey.
Not everyone chooses to walk this path, and that’s okay.
My family consider ourselves blessed to spend each day together learning, growing, and experiencing life (this includes the sibling bickering) the way generations of families did before the creation of government funded public school, and compulsory attendance.
In a world concerned with political correctness, progressive Christianity, and militant feminisim, I praise God every day that my children have the chance to avoid the indoctrination of modern ‘acceptance’.
From Public-schooling to Homeschooling
My family didn’t fall into this homeschool lifestyle by accident, but we also didn’t plan to keep our children home.
Seven years ago, my daughter was enrolled in first grade at the local public school.
For months I felt led to be more involved with children, and I admit, I assumed this meant I should be more active in the children’s ministry at church.
As with every decision in life, I turned to prayer.
The answer I received was not what I was expecting, or what I thought I wanted.
So, I argued with God.
After all, He must be mistaken.
I couldn’t imagine being home with my head-strong daughter all day, every day; and what did I know about teaching?
After several days of stubborn refusal on my part (my daughter obviously comes by her temperament naturally) I acquiesced to God.
I don’t regret that decision.
Homeschooling Philosophies or Boxed Curriculum Oh, My!
There are more curriculum choices and homeschooling philosophies than I personally know what to do with.
Or they’re not so great.
It really depends on each unique family and their learning styles, and I’m not going to recreate the wheel.
There are blogs upon blogs that discuss the differences–the pros and cons, of each philosophy or curriculum.
Jumping into the Deep End of the Pool
When we first removed our eldest from public school, I had no idea where to even begin.
The only things I knew were that God wanted us to follow this path, and the K-12 online program wasn’t for us.
That left a lot to wade through and consider.
In the last five years my daughter and I have used various methods for her education.
We’ve tried Charlotte Mason, Classical Conversations, My Father’s World, as well as a not so well-known curriculum (Accelerated Academics– also known as, A Squared).
Every year I’ve prayed about how best to educate my children; to raise them with a love of learning. Not to just teach them what a typical education would offer them, but expand their horizons.
I pray for the best ways to help teach my children how to learn.
God answers our prayers. He really, truly does.
So far, I’ve discovered that my children don’t learn the same way.
Some of this is age, but some of it is their own personal learning styles.
I also learned that I’m really not a fan of boxed curriculum. The anxiety they induce in me really isn’t helpful for anyone in my family.
Since neither of my children, currently of compulsory age (we live in Virginia, and sadly that age is far younger than I’m happy with–but that is a different post completely), care if they have a pre-designed curriculum or not, I have the freedom to kick that added stress to the curb.
My eldest son (6) loves worksheets and workbooks, but he also loves engaging stories about things he is interested in; he can build amazing creations with Legos, Lincoln Logs, or any of the several mechanically focused building materials he has. He practically taught himself to read, and though he isn’t a fast reader yet, he gets better every day.
Now, this is nothing like how my eldest daughter (11) learns.
She prefers reading great books and discussing them. She works well independently, and finishes the majority of her work without me. If I were to hand her a workbook, we would likely both end up on timeout.
Homeschooling From the Heart
What does it mean to homeschool from the heart?
For our family, that means there is a lot of prayerful thought and consideration for each child. It begins with deciding what we want (or need) to learn during the upcoming year.
This year I read through Plan Your Year, by fellow homeschooling Momma, Pam Barnhill, and that helped me to clarify my vision for our school. You can pick up your copy here.
Since we school year-round, we have quite a lot of freedom in our scheduling, and don’t worry about getting everything covered in 180-days.
We continually cover Bible (and as they get older a focus on Apologetics) Math, Latin, and Language Arts (literature and grammar–depending on the age). Based on the time of year, we also include Sciences, History (my eldest daughter’s favorite subject), Art, Geography, Writing, and Health.
Recently I’ve gone back to a lot of the principles Charlotte Mason taught, and have found a new love for the simple way of teaching and connecting with my children.
While I’m not truly what people would consider a Charlotte Mason educator, I love anything that tells me to share amazing books instead of boring textbooks. My inner bibliophile gets all giddy at the thought.
Another thing about homeschooling from the heart, is making sure you’re truly connecting with the heart of your children.
Each child is an individual, and even though they’re all part of the same family, they won’t always be like you.
My children are very active and social. They thrive being around people.
Since I’m quite introverted I make sure I pay attention to this aspect of their hearts too.
Church Activities and Co-Op
If left to my own devices I would likely never go further than the end of my drive-way. I have everything I need–or can have it delivered.
With four children–three of which love being around other people, I’m never left to my own devices.
I suppose this is for the best.
To insure my children get quality time with other kids of various ages, we participate in Awana every year. This one night a week is generally all I can handle outside Sunday mornings.
However, this is not enough for my brood.
Which leads us to this year, and Co-Op.
The last time I participated in anything Co-Op related, it was CC.
Turns out, that wasn’t really our thing.
My kiddos are definitely excited about joining Co-Op. They’ll be learning things I wouldn’t ordinarily teach them at home.
Plus, there is that ‘socialization’ people outside of homeschool circles worry about.
How We Got Here
As you’ve already read, I spent five years trying to figure out which popular idea or curriculum was the right one. I read everything I could on the different styles and philosophies. I listened to people who swore this curriculum or that curriculum would be the answer for everything.
In short, I didn’t consider who my children are or who I am. I was looking for a one-size fits all way to educate young people who are not only separated by age and gender, but by interests and learning styles.
I didn’t consider how our lives really are.
That we don’t work well within the confines of grid schedules, and endless hours of busy work.
We have interests outside what are generally included in a boxed curriculum, and prefer more flexibility than is given in CC or even in Charlotte Mason.
Philosophies and curriculum are wonderful.
They really are, but they aren’t everything.
You can buy every new curriculum, or try every Co-Op. You can switch philosophies in mid year, or you can just wing it.
The most important thing to remember is that we’re teaching young people to learn.
To experience life.
We must teach the whole child.
Not just parts.
This means knowing their hearts, and knowing ours.
It means teaching manners and etiquette.
Teaching our children that hard work pays off, even if it isn’t in the way we expect. We won’t always get a trophy, and we don’t always need one.
To teach a child from the heart, we must do more than just parrot the newest craze.
We must learn to listen with a discerning heart.
To pray for wisdom so that we don’t fall into the trap of becoming like the world.
For more book recommendations check out this post.