Tuesday, May 29, 2007


 A line in our book discussion caught my attention. It said that as we mature we begin to initiate. She was talking about ministry and loving....but I instantly realized THAT was a part of the problem around here. For YEARS I've had youth that initiated work without having to be told exactly what to do. They were well trained. They were mature. I knew I needed to work on the youngers with training and have been...but the maturity will take time to come. However, the upper grammar/dialectic students should be maturing to the point that they will self-initiate a chore that needs done. I needed to sit down and spell out this goal. I did.

I trained our older children by using the "Side Tracked Home Executive" method. It worked. My home ran wonderfully for over 15 years with this method. We quit using the cards when it was second nature to do the chore right. It also became a pain to have to rewrite cards every few years when we changed homes.

The cards DID work! Instead of saying "clean the kitchen" I had 10 cards with specific tasks on each one. There were other cards at lunch etc. I had cards for EACH room. Each chore was broken into tiny steps....it worked well. Specific little steps for each job...we were well trained and working together well. Even the smallest child coud find ONE card to do to contribute.

Two years ago I realized that I'd not taken the time to be sure the younger ones were learning things as well as the older ones. This was discovered when the girls left home. ::snort:: I took specific steps to fix this. I now ask the youngest child possible to help (instead of the oldest) and so am training the youngest at all times. I pair a younger with an older for chores. That worked.

Now the two oldest at home are working long hours and taking many classes. Time to readjust. During the school year Arielle, Nolan, and myself handle meals, clean up, and laundry during the day so the high schoolers are free to work. I knew we'd need a summer schedule...but now with Jamin working....we need a total revamp.

Mike and I have talked. I really dread the card thing again. BUT I know that having each job clearly spelled out was key. He loved the way the card thing worked. He understands why I dread taking the time to make all the cards. I have a plan.

I want to have a main chore list. I then want to have a list for each room. On THAT list I want to put specific jobs. I want to laminate the charts. The little ones can't read...maybe clip art would be good....or maybe I'll simply type it all out because my system is built on the olders mentoring and training the youngers.....in other words Arielle could read the next job to Zander, I could read the next job to whoever.... This sounds like a lot of work but....

Before I had an index box for each person. I had zillions of index cards for each job and person.....I can do this list thing...it would be easier.

I have searched online for something like this and am drawing a blank. I don't want a chart that we X off when a job is done. I want a chart with each job listed for each room. Has anyone seen something like this?

Summer Reading Challenge!

I've really enjoyed participating in the Spring Reading Thing (see side bar). I began to wonder if we would have a summer challenge; some of my spring books need to move to a new list. ::snort:: I checked with Katrina and she only does a spring and fall challenge.
I continued to consider hosting a summer challenge. YOU will set YOUR goals (personal or family). I find that challenges/goals are really effective for me. I loved the exercise and nutrition challenges that we did on CWLR (thanks Lisa). I was surprised to find this spring reading thing worked the same way for me in the realm of reading (no I never planned to read ALL the books on my list, but I've read more than I would have if I'd not listed them!). I decided to host a summer challenge - but I needed help with a graphic. THANK YOU TO ANDREW (Yvonne's talented son) who zipped out the above graphic for me.
I've really liked the way the Spring Reading Thing worked and so this challenge will probably be similar. If you have ideas, things you like, or didn't like about previous challenges you've participated in, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.
I am considering setting up a ring for those who participate, please let me know if you would participate in the ring? You can be a participant in the challenge without signing up for the ring.
If you think you'd like to participate, begin composing your list now. I'll post rules and such in the next few days or so....


Last night I was ill. I was so ill that we thought I'd be having surgery today. I had a high fever, a headache...and other symptoms. This a.m. I seem normal again. I think it was simply too much walking in the heat yesterday.

This a.m. the children woke up covered in bites.....they wondered if they had chicken pox.....but I think we discovered chiggers. We've been told there are none here but we spent a good 40 minutes pawing through ground cover and I think we found chiggers.

Today we are paying for the fun we had yesterday. ::snort::

Book Review: Ministry of Motherhood, Chapter Eight

Inspiring a New Kind of Love (emphasis mine/ my comments italicized)

Whew - this chapter was convicting.....conviction is ALWAYS good...condemnation is not from God....learn to discern the difference for your spiritual health....don't blow off conviction by lableing it condemnation...don't wallow in condemnation and become morbidly self-centered. Conviction leads our gaze to God, His grace, dependence on Him, and the strength He offers for me to change. Condemnation leads my gaze to ME....my failings, strength and frankly leads me to be independent of God.

"When we consider how to pass on the gift of inspiration to our children, we often think of taking them to church or getting them involved in a children's program or youth group, and those activities can be very positive. But even more important {snip} is doing for them what Jesus did for his disciples: helping them develop a heart of ministry by showing them what it means to reach out in love and compassion to others. " p 88.
"It's easy to condemn the Pharisees' attitude, but don't we sometimes do the same thing? Aren't there certain people we find acceptable for ministry and others who seem too threatening to reach? {snip} Do we sometimes avoid reaching out to people simply because they make us uncomfortable?" p 89
I have some comments here but I think I'll save them for the discussion question entry. I do think that Christians in general and homeschooling Christians specifically need to be aware that we are called to MINISTER to groups that may not look like US. Which means we need to sometimes be WHERE those folks are...in but not of the world...

"Jesus, as far as I can tell, never related to people according to how well they fit into a particular group. Instead, he saw them through the lens of their needs, and he loved them." p 90
"He felt compassion for them (Matt 9:36 - 38). That's so important. Passing on the gift of inspiration to our children is partly a matter of vision, which helps them understand that God wants to use them in this world to spread his kingdom. But vision alone is not enough. The vision defines the purposes of God, but compassion defines the heart of the vision. When we understand that God's love reaches into the dark and depraved corners of people's lives to bring healing and eternal life, then we will see people not for what they are but for who they are - people Christ loves and who need his redemption." p 91.
Again, I have some thoughts here but I am thinking that I'll hold them and see what discussion develops before sharing. This forum is tough for me. When I lead a study I purposefully draw out what others think. I share my thoughts after others have shared theirs. One, that helps them learn to share the things of the Lord. Two, often a leader's thoughts have the unintentional result of shutting down conversation - and I don't want to do that. Three, often we all learn so much by hearing how others state what we are thinking - clarity develops as we bounce what the Holy Spirit has shared with us off what He has said to others...... I've thought about this. Some are starting to comment on the discussion threads and quotes that I've published. I'd love to see more discussion...and I wonder if sharing my thoughts closes down what others may share....so we'll see how to make this work. This first discussion is a learning process. LOL

"Trying to love people the way Jesus did can be intimidating. It can push us well beyond our comfort boundaries. " p 92
I tend to have a hard time finding the boundaries between allowing all in to my close circle where time is sucked away....and cocooning....saving ALL my time for ministry to my family. More thoughts on that later. ::smirk::

"So often in the context of our family routines the Lord has given us opportunities to reach out to others." P 92.
I loved this quote. We learned about 7 years ago that the way for us to find relationships for our children was to go ahead and become involved in things we found meaningful and watch God bring those relationships to our family. Of course, we move a lot, and so this was an issue. The kids are not around folks they've seen since they were 5 years old. We had been doing all the typical things to find friends (church groups, homeschool groups, park days) and not finding friends. We gave up and began to do those things that were meaningful to us and God brought relationships into our lives.....some "friends" were 20 years older than our kids but hey....those are precious friendships. LOL In other words we learned that in the context of our family routine God brought ministry opportunities AND relationships for us all. That was several assignments ago.

"Even as Jesus died for us (Rm 5:8) when we needed it, following him means befriending others who, like us, are in need of his grace. Then, once a relationship is formed or a friendship is started, we seek opportunities to share the truth of God's love and forgiveness as gently and attractively as we are able." p 93 Note that building relationships or "life style evangelism" doesn't mean "no evangelism". ::snort::

"When we follow in the footsteps of Jesus to reach out in love to those in need, we will ignite in our children the sense that they are worthy to consider themselves part of the solution in meeting people's needs. Patterns of ministry will naturally be caught as they learn from us and from Jesus a new and initiating love. In the process they will be inspired to give themselves in ministry to become skilled and loving works for his harvest fields. " p 94
This works. I've lived it as a child and as a parent. I grew up in a missionary/pastor family. We were always told that it was a "family calling" not "Dad's calling". We didn't resent ministry because we knew we were part of the ministry. God had called our FAMILY to minister in Africa, in the Philippines etc...and we all made sacrifices for the sake of the call.

Years later I married a man in Bible College. We discussed this. We've raised our children with the same philosophy. God called our family to Hardin, to the Air Force - not just Mike. We sacrifice time. We move a lot. We don't always like where we are...but we KNOW that God called us a family and that we are all part of the ministry that God has called Mike too. The children have naturally learned what ministry looks like and have blossomed into their own ministries...which look different than ours in key ways...but which have at their heart to love God wholeheartedly and to love others as well. It challenges me once again to be sure that I'm including my children in my ministry schedule. That I LIVE my spiritual life before them. When I take a meal to someone in need- they can help prepare it or make a card. When I teach a study - they can be part of the meditating time and help me clarify my thoghts. When I have a project night - they can attend. As our older girls matured they attended Precept Bible studies, helped prepare for retreats and attended retreats, Bre did bulletin boards for women's ministries....they watched children so that I could be out of the home teaching....and yes, at times we went overboard...but all in all...they were part of the ministry, they learned naturally to minister and wow do they minister now. ::snort::

This was a great chapter....convicting, affirming....

OK - trying to set quotes off with different color - next time I'll leave the quotes the normal color and put my thoughts in a different color - less of my thoughts.

Book Review: *Baby Catcher* by Peggy Vincent

 I've always been interested in midwifery. I thought it would be a fun career to pursue for myself, until I realized that it would not be conducive to the family life that we are called to. {G}

In this book Peggy shares her experiences as an OB nurse in hospitals, the director of an alternative birthing center in Berkely, a licensed independent midwife (private practice, mostly home births but with hospital privledges - ah the 80's), and finally as a midwife forced to work for a big HMO. This book is a fascinating look into the recent history of midwifery.

The book is basically one birth story after another. Some are beautiful, some are strange.....I bogged down in about the middle of the book and thought "Ok - enough birth stories already" but then I began to detect that there would shortly be a story line...and there was. I'm glad I stuck with it.

Peggy has lists and suppliers etc listed in the appendix. This is another on my Spring Reading Thing list.