In case you haven’t noticed, or didn’t know, I have moved this blog and my other homeschool blog to their new home. Thanks to Renae and Andrea for all their help. Honestly I could never have done any of this without them!
If you have bookmarked this URL, please update it to
See ya at my new home!
This blog is not intended to be divisive. I have removed my post on the $600 sticker because the point was not socialized medicine, but a scary episode with my son. The point of this blog is not to get into discussions about things that will only cause anger and frustration. My comments about socialized medicine were not personal in nature. They were actually referring more to long term and chronic care, which I should have clarified, but I don’t think that will matter. My sincerest apologies to anyone who was upset by what was said. Please understand I am a mom like you. I love my kids like you. I have good and bad days like you. I have nothing but good intentions here and rude comments only bring hurt.
With all the trappings of Biblical Principle Approach–word studies, 4-Ring, notebooks, the Red Books, Rudiments, etc.–you can easily get overwhelmed and frustrated. Your idea of home education is not becoming reality and you find yourself tired and frustrated. What do you? Chuck it? Put the kids in school? Change to yet another curriculum? Run away from home?
Unless you are a homeschooler with steely resolve, frustrating times can make you question you methods, your philosophy and–on a bad day–maybe even your sanity. When homeschool life is hard here are some things to help keep you going.
- Pray and ask God to help you. The Holy Spirit is always available to listen.
- Realize this is temporary. This crisis, this illness, this life itself is temporary. Don’t lose sight of the transient nature of life.
- Use a lifeline. Call a friend. Read your Bible. Take a hot bath. Take the school day off. Do something that re-energises you.
- Take school slow. Slow down. Find a rabbit trail, put your lessons on hold for a few days while you learn about something interesting and unexpected.
- Just cover the basics. Don’t try to do more until you can do more. Your kids won’t suffer.
- Write down your philosophy of education, any scriptures that you feel apply to your schooling and any inspiring quotes. Put them in a nice book and use it to encourage yourself. When times are hard, pull out that book and remind yourself why you are doing this.
- Keep a journal. It is great to vent your frustrations, question things and just plain old talk to yourself. It’s also a great place to encourage yourself and to keep record of life’s little successes.
- Take stock. Review some past work and see how far you really have come. It will jog your memory to character issues that have resolved or funny things that happened.
- Let your kids teach you. Put them in the hot seat and let them show you what they have learned. That will be good for a laugh or two and you may be surprised at how knowledgeable they really are.
- Reach out to encourage another mom. So many times when I am down I will call or write another mom and it lifts me up as well.
Word studies are hard. And dry. And time-consuming. At least that’s how some people see it. Even the title makes me chortle. Who ever heard of such a thing as actually being fun? Well, everything we do for our kids’ education can be something we enjoy. If not all of it, then at least some part.
You may not know what a word study is. Or you may avoid them. Or you may do them and not know them by that name. Whatever category you fit in, I think you can see word studies not as a necessary evil, but as an important tool in your home educating process. Any home educator can implement word studies, no matter what approach or curriculum is in use. It’s a powerful way to bring a subject alive for teacher and student.
…Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach… Daniel 1:4 KJV
A word study is simple and straightforward. One way to do one is as follows:
- Choose a key word from your study in any subject.
- Define the word from Webster’s 1828 dictionary.
- Underline key words in the definition and look those up in the 1828.
- When you feel you have defined it sufficiently, begin to find the words you underlined in a Bible concordance. Write down any scripture you deem relevant to the words and definitions.
- Using all this information, write your own definition of the word.
- Using the information you have gathered, deduce the Biblical principle from the study.
When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. Jer. 15:16 NIV
Now who wouldn’t like to do that? Seriously, there is something really exciting about learning something new about a word you assumed you knew the definition of. And it’s even more exciting to see what God has to say about that word. Or with that word. Why do I want to do a word study?
- To understand the English language better.
- To have mastery over a topic/subject so I can teach it better.
- To deepen my understanding.
- To learn God’s thoughts on a matter.
- To improve my scholarship.
- To increase in wisdom.
- To discover the Biblical principles on a matter.
- As a springboard for a new/deeper study (AKA “rabbit trail”).
Some tips to enjoy your word study more:
- Don’t do it when you are tired. Nothing is fun then.
- Give yourself plenty of time. Do it in chunks even.
- Pray for wisdom and discernment. Then expect amazing things to happen because God will show up right in the middle of your study.
- Get your kids involved. Let them be your research assistants. Make it a family affair. (read: don’t be a martyr, studying alone for hours on end with frequent sighing and complaining.)
- Don’t do them all the time. They are not necessary every week.
- Don’t give independent word study assignments to young kids. This is a bad idea. When your kids are younger the word studies are for you to digest and give to them on their level. As they get older you can introduce the idea and start walking them through the process in small doses.
- If you don’t like them, ask God to change your heart. Things you hate to do can actually become joyful times with the Lord. It is always delightful to spend time in His word.
- Share what you learn with your spouse and anyone else who will listen. Don’t become obnoxious, but share what you learn liberally with others. They probably can use something you learned.
- Reward yourself when you are done. (Ooooh, I hear M&M’s and a bubble bath calling me, but I digress…)
- Invest in quality tools. A nice pen, clean paper, a Strong’s concordance will make you more willing to get the job done. And who doesn’t enjoy a nice writing pen?
- Be willing to stop and enjoy what you are learning. Take a breath, sit back and Selah–think on these things.
In my post on the encouragement addiction I tried to make the case that sometimes we can be a little too quick to let others be our Holy Spirit, seeking validation and affirmation from others when we should be looking to the Lord. I stand by my argument but I want to add something.
There is a place, not for empty platitudes, but for true encouragement. It is right and scriptural and compassionate. Who, while traveling the often difficult road of life, would not stop to comfort and strengthen a struggling soul along the way? Sometimes our dry and thirsty hearts long for the refreshing touch of another person.We may understand the idea that God is with us but sometimes we need a tangible sense of His presence in the form of a hug or an encouraging word.
A word spoken in season can be like a gentle rain, softening the ground for God’s Word to sprout forth. And hopefully this little sprout will become a tree of Life, offering fruit of the Spirit to another weary traveler on life’s highway. This is the Power of One, this life-giving relay race that depends on the generous love of one person for another.
Never think for a moment that someone may not need your kind words. You could be the difference in a bad day and a good day, between frusatration with life and a little peace. Be liberal with your kindness and stingy with your criticism and you will be surprised how even your own burden has become a little lighter.