High School is a time for building a transcript. Homeschoolers want a glittering record of awesome accomplishments in place by graduation. So how come failures in high school can actually be a really GOOD thing?
Trying things is an important part of high school, and that almost guarantees some failures along the way. New endeavors, or new levels of commitment to something only dabbled-in before help students determine their direction for after graduation, grow as individuals, and form relationships with like-minded people. But no one is good at everything, and no one really loves everything he or she tries.
While teaching commitment is a priority as we build character in our children, it also needs to be okay to try something and determine that it is not for them. We need to teach our kids the difference between quitting (because we're tired of doing something that costs us) and deciding to end something (an intentional evaluation that time and energy would be better spent elsewhere).
Learning to choose between good and better...
between what is a good fit for someone else but feels way out of my area of strength and calling...
between something that can be peripheral but not a core priority for this season...
these are life-equipping skills that our kids need to make good choices in the decades to come as well as right now.
Even academic "failure" can be a good thing. Most students hit a subject in high school that is a real stretch. Especially for kids who have always found academic success near at hand, facing that first "failure" (for some of these kids they think that getting anything less than 100% is failure!) is confidence-battering. Allowing them to perform poorly while encouraging them to do what is possible for THEM equips them to understand that they are going to struggle and do things less-than-perfectly in life, and sometimes a job barely done is truly all that is possible. (True confession: I totally messed up on my taxes this year and have to file an amended return. But I did the best I could do. Oh well!)
I believe in hard work. I believe in teaching our kids to stick to it when things get tough. But I also know that my child's identity has to be tied to more than his ability to achieve whatever goal is before him. He also needs to be able to fall short of that goal with peace and gratitude for the God who loves us all in our insufficiency. He needs to understand how to extend grace to others when they don't hit the bullseye.
But I'm praying for the boldness to also love seeing him fail, failure with peace and with courage and with the ability to learn from it all.
(I think I'll pray that for his mom, too.)
What do you think?
Differences between people, varying abilities at different stages of development -- these are not just our imagination! Studying Human Development from a Christian Worldview can be an eye-opening and life-equipping elective in high school. Learn more about this unique and practical text in our EBookstore.
Who wants to run a failing homeschool experience? *Waiting silently for an answer…*
No one? Yeah, same for me.
Fortunately, I found out years ago there is a True Secret of Success in Homeschooling.
No kidding. Don’t let your day pass without it. Don’t start your week without it. Don’t start your homeschooling agenda without it.
Because another truth is:
On your own, you will fail. It might not be today. (Actually, it will probably be somewhere in mid-February when everyone has cabin fever.) You need the wisdom and strength from the God of the Universe, the God of Wisdom, the God of Power and Might.
In His mercy, when He calls us to do something outrageous like homeschooling our kids, He also gives us the faith in Him to do it through our Lord Jesus Christ, and His wisdom through His Holy Spirit.
This might sound almost cheesy, but in the day-to-day struggle to get Algebra done or research papers checked, it is easy to loose time to invest in the one relationship that can truly sustain us.
(BTW- In case you need a boost this New Year, we've put together 3 Prayer Journals for you. Click over to the e-store section and have fun! AND Download Sabrina's Genesis Bible Study or Scheduling Backwards- time management- FREE!)
Disclaimer: Past results are no guarantee of future success. That’s because you are not in control of the results- but you know Who is. So hang in there and trust Him.
7 daily minutes that is
I have been reading Robert Wick's Touching the Holy. Wicks is a counselor who works with clergy. He has noticed something:
When we have lots of responsibility (like homeschooling our children, I say) we work harder. When we work harder we often work longer. When we work longer, we often pare down devotional time.
When we pare down devotional time, eventually we begin to burn out.
This is what Wicks has his in-danger-of-burnout clergy do:
1) Spend 2 minutes each morning listening to God
Not talking to God. Instead, being quiet, breathing, then simply listening to see what God has to say.
2) Spend 5 minutes right before bedtime, in a relaxed, comfortable place- reading Scripture.
The last things your brain engages with before sleep, tend to influence your dreams. What a perfect way to improve quality of sleep (and knowledge of God).
Wicks has found that these daily 7 minutes are the tipping point for the positive turn around for the clergy he is helping.
I am big on prayer- much of my prayer is intercessory. Listening to God and meditating on Scripture is different. I've added that. It is making me feel more in touch with the One who matters most and who supplies my strength and wisdom for homeschooling.
I betcha this could help many of us homeschoolers!
What do you do to quiet yourself, to rest in the Lord, to know Him better?
For the times you are doing the "working prayer" part of your day- intercession and petitions- you can add some creativity by using Prayer Journals 1 and 2. Each contains 30 interactive prayer activities. Good for teens and adults.
Ever have one of those homeschool moments when you found out you were doing something right?
When I asked 14-year-old Seth, "What is your favorite book in 9th grade?"
He answered, "That's easy: God's Smuggler!"
7 Sister Sabrina had just finished a study guide on that very book and she was leading Seth's homeschool Great Christian Writers group class.
SO, I asked Sabrina to publish the study guide and I asked Seth to write a very short review of the book. (It ended up that she did an entire year of Great Christian Writers with the local homeschoolers. It was life-impacting for them. Check the study guides here for The Hiding Place, The Practice of the Presence of God, Pilgrim's Progress, Something Beautiful for God, Joni, and Born Again.)
Seth's review of God's Smuggler:
God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew
God’s Smuggler is an inspiring true story filled with adventure, suspense and faith. It is the autobiography of Brother Andrew. During the Cold War, Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles into countries behind the Iron Curtain.
The book is also the story of his conversion to Christianity. Brother Andrew went from rebellious boy, to reckless young man, to great man of God.
God's Smuggler really showed me how much God cares for His children. He kept Andrew safe through many dangers. Every time he passed through a border he would pray what he called “the Prayer of God’s Smuggler”:
“Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture that I want to take to Your children across the border. When You were on earth, You made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind. Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see.”
Because of Brother Andrew, many people behind the Iron Curtain received Bibles and were shown that God cared about them. You will not want to put God’s Smuggler down.
God's Smuggler Study Guide is a 16-page etext that helps inspire your homeschooler as well as helps him understand the culture and context of the Cold War. The study guide includes vocabulary and terms to know. While it helps solidify student comprehension, it does not deflate his enjoyment of this powerful book
Brother Andrew founded Open Doors in 1955 by smuggling his first group of Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. It has been a powerful and effective ministry since that early trip.
Mission Statement of Open Doors
Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide; We are an organization aimed at strengthening persecuted believers worldwide through community development, Bible & literature distribution, leadership training & education and ministries of prayer and advocacy.
You can download the story of Brother Andrew's conversion from the book God's Smuggler at http://www.opendoorsusa.org
We worry about illness, finances, our academic weaknesses....and at this point in the year we are tempted to worry about whether all of our schoolwork will get done on time!
Am I the only one who doesn't find a lot of comfort in Matthew 6:34? This Bible verse presents a challenge to me, and it's not very comforting to read that trouble is the rule, not the exception.
Making devotional time with God a priority is the only way I can resist the temptation to worry.
My dear homeschool friend of many years, Lisa Schea, has things that tempt her to worry. In addition to the normal concerns of life, she herself suffers from a chronic illness. Her commitment to time with the Lord and His word resulted in a book of devotions that we published here in the 7Sisters EBookstore.
Here's a taste of the rich material you will find in God Meets Me Here:
For more inspiration to fight the urge to worry, download Lisa's devotional book today for $2.49 in the EBookstore.
This year I am again team-teaching a Praise Band Class for homeschoolers in our area. We have 16 kids signed up for the class...that's a lot of musicians! I've noticed something about our class that is interesting.
The hardest thing for our fledgling Praise Band to do is to be quiet.
When our multiple pianists, keyboard players, guitarists, bass players, drummer, violinist, flautist, and singers take the stage, they immediately start playing and singing....and they are all playing and singing different songs at the same time!
We've made it one of our class responsibilities to STOP playing when you are not supposed to be playing.
Sometimes our own homeschools are so focused on our own child's gifts, needs, interests and challenges that we have trouble teaching the social skills necessary for working effectively as a team.
Why is teamwork so important?
Teamwork is preparation for life in society in general, but more specifically in the body of Christ.
If one pianist, who plays beautifully, always begins playing the song that is in his heart when he sits down at the keyboard, he may sound just lovely. But what if the guitarist also has a song in his heart at that moment....is his song less important?
By requiring participation in teamwork situations we help our kids practice the skills of:
* observing those around them
* valuing the needs and feelings of others
* taking turns (on the grown-up level, where no one is requiring a specific rotation of turns)
I am a big believer in the importance of fine arts, but I am an even bigger believer in the importance of learning to work as a team.
QUESTION: What teamwork situations have you found beneficial for your homeschooler?
Hey, homeschool friends- here's an idea we already knew from Scripture!This post is running concurrently on the blog for Pike Creek Psychological Center, where I work as a therapist (besides being a homeschool mom for the past 25 years).------------
Cheesy, I know- but it is true: being grateful helps you feel better.
The relationship of gratitude to optimism was illustrated in an interesting study done by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami., and reported in the Harvard Health Newsletter. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2011/November/in-praise-of-gratitude
Participants were assigned to three groups and asked to write a few sentences each week. One group wrote about things that had happened during the week for which they were grateful. One group wrote about things that had irritated or displeased them. One group wrote about events that affected them but with no requirement on whether the topics be positive or negative.
After 10 weeks, those in the first group were more optimistic and felt better about their lives than those in the other two groups.
Dr. Emmons and McCullough also found that the gratitude group (as compared to the other groups):
• Were also exercising more and having fewer visits to their physicians;
• Were more likely to have made progress on personal goals (academic and interpersonal);
• Were more likely to have helped someone else.
Participants of a 21-day version of the research who had neuromuscular disease reported:
• More days of “high energy positive moods”;
• A greater sense of being connected with others;
• More optimism about life;
• Better sleep duration and quality.
(Reported by Emmons Lab: Gratitude and Well-Being Research) http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/Labs/emmons/PWT/index.cfm?Section=4
So, it might feel a bit cheesy to practice gratitude- but then again, a daily gratitude list might just help you feel better!
Click here to download 7 Sisters' FREE white paper on how to truly help a friend in hard times: Carry Each Others' Burdens.
Can you think of a time that you practiced gratitude and felt better for it?
How are you, Friends? How was your Christmas?
I would like to share my homeschool mom's real life themes and my Letter to God for the year.
My themes for 2013 from Him so far are intentionality, balance, wellness, celebration, simplifying by looking ahead, communication, living in the present and expectantly looking to the future. That should help make a healthy, happy homeschool year!
Here is the letter:
Happy New Year, Lord Dad!
You know I've never been one for New Year's Resolutions. They seem to lead so easily to self-criticism and and feelings of failure.
This year I'm following your lead and going with the idea of themes. Themes are much more forgiving - just like You!
I'm giving you a New Year's gift- me. I am again publicly giving You myself - the good, the bad, the ugly, the fun, the dorky, the (mostly accidentally) funny, the easily-distracted, the over-committed, the dis-organized, the overweight, the loving, the giving, the best, the worst and everything in between. I know that by giving myself, all of me, to You every day (sometimes every minute), you will use me, and renew me so you can continue using me, in ways that go beyond all that I could ever ask or imagine.
All my quirks and shortcomings aren't bad to You. You wired me just this way to make me unique, special and remind me and the rest of the world that we need each other and You! I love everything about You - especially the way You forgive me and continually forgive all of the sins of all of us. I pray that you teach me to get better and better at doing likewise.
Your loving daughter,
Friends, What are your themes this year?
One theme we Sisters have is to remind you that we have LOTS of freebies in the estore. Important and useful things like:
Carry Each Other's Burden (How to really, actually help when a friend is having a difficult time).
Sabrina talks about Scheduling Backwards here:
This week, we're talking about seeking and planning in our homeschooling. PERFECT for New Year, right?
Let's start with seeking God as we plan our homeschooling adventures for 2013. How do we seek God for His will about our homeschools?
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6 ESV biblegateway.com
Ask Him with thanksgiving about His plan for your homeschool. Clear, simple, easy...
Then make a habit of listening quietly- He'll make known as much of His will as He sees fit. If you don't feel skilled at listening,here's a post from my prayer blog to get your started. (These posts, btw, often find their way into the 7 Sisters Prayer Journals.)
Of course, the more you practice listening, the easier it gets (just like when you listen to people)!
3) Ask God for a Bible verse
Have you ever felt like God gave you a Scripture verse to guide you? Although it won't have specifics like, "Use Bright Ideas Press", (non-sponsored name-dropping, I know) a gift-verse will often calibrate HOW you look at curriculum or choose courses.
4) Look back over last year, where did you feel "in your zone" homeschooling?
These are times that you said to yourself, "I LOVE doing this, I could keep at it for hours!" Maybe this is part of what God is blessing in your homeschool- maybe it is something to invest in even more.
5) Here's the GUARANTEED Know-You're-Doing-God's-Will idea: Give thanks!
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. - I Thessalonians 5:18 KJV biblegateway.com
That's His will for you: In everything give thanks! No kidding- how simple, clear, and difficult. But there it is!
Thank God for this New Year, for all our 7 Sisters buddies we've met this year, for all our homeschool community! May this year be the best one yet!
You'll be delighted with Sabrina's help in her FREE article "Scheduling Backwards- get your homeschool time under control!
AND to help with your praying and listening, we've dropped Prayer Journal and Prayer Journal 2 to $2.49- good stewardship of time (prayer) and money (lost cost).
AND just for fun: Poor Pastor Joe (of poor hermeneutics fame) is at it again- trying to keep his son, Little Joey, from putting more into his Nativity Scene than Scripture supports. (And my sons, Ezra and Seth re-enacting a scene from LOTR while they're's at it...)