What would your mother do? Share.

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Here’s the next part of a short series about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best.

My mom would shareMy mom shared. The sixth child of a woman whose husband died young during the Great Depression, my mom knew exactly how it felt to be in need. One of her favorite sayings was, “We might need that someday.” Considering the entire course of her life, that was exactly true.

Her other saying was, “The poor people in (insert your favorite country, here) would kill to get what you’ve got.” Also probably true, more than we’d like to realize.

Given her context, what else could my mom do but share, and by example, teach her children to share.

And so it was that while she always made her children clothing, she also spent some time on a church ladies’ project of making clothing for poverty-stricken people elsewhere. In fact, the first time she ever took on the task of making a man’s long-sleeved shirt, it was for a man she’d never met in Cambodia, a country she’d never heard of.

And when a vacationing family had a wreck near our town and lost the dad, spending time in the hospital in our town, she took me shopping for the poor children who’d lost their dad. And arranged for a friend to take them in, since they were not really injured, and could enjoy his horses and pleasant estate, as a sort of therapy, until the mother could arrange their affairs.

And if there was not enough dessert to go around, my mom always pretended she was full.

What did your mom share with others? Think hard–if she was modest about it, you might have to examine clues to realize it…

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Chocolate

Brush Your Teeth With Chocolate!

Okay, I know this is not dentist-approved, but let’s think about it a while. Has anyone out there ever tested it?

Thought not.

Well, I have. If I’ve just eaten, or if my mouth is less than satisfactory to me in any way, I love using chocolate for an emergency remedy. My teeth will feel cleaner, my breath will be far better than garlic, and I won’t get such a slump after eating.

Also, it is more pure, FAR less doctored with chemicals than most chewing gum.

Now, I don’t mean all the cruddy little desserts that claim to have a bit of chocolate in them. Most confections are pure sugar, another thing altogether from pure chocolate! I’ve been brought up in the United States, where it is possible actually to grow weary of sugar.

Chocolate is not sweet. You can find chocolate that has very few grams of sugar in it, like those pictured above. Mostly it is out of kid reach in the stores — it is adult chocolate, after all. To apply it, just break off or open one square, usually about 10 grams.  Chew it. Enjoy it to its fullest.

Most serious chocolate has lecithin and cocoa butter, which make the teeth slick. Germs do not cling for quite a while. Also, chocolate, itself, contains the following wonderful benefits: caffeine (which helps you be lively), theobromine (which lowers blood pressure, lessens edema, lowers rate of birth defects, and is patented for research in cancer prevention), and quite a few antioxidants. The germs don’t stand a chance.

The trick is in stopping at just one piece.

It’s worth a try, I say.

But use regular toothpaste, etc., just before bed, if at all possible.

Do NOT Try Homeschool – Part 3

homeschooling afternoonOkay, how about a look at what success in home schooling really IS? The first axiom is:

The commitment is to your child, in obedience to the Lord.

Forget excuses about having tried; it is about your child and God. It is a sober-minded decision to do the right thing with the children He has given you. No matter what, you will blaze past trying, to continuing, which is the best way to prevent becoming a quitter.

Just as you would not think of quitting on the commitment with your spouse, do not do so regarding your children.

Another very obvious help to success in home school is this:

Be at home.

Yes, there are exceptions, such as my friend who managed the very first semester of her home school in hospital waiting rooms because of a tragic accident in her family. Still, that is not the goal, as my friend would assure you.

We do not want to plan to home school on the run. When we home school, we must change our lifestyle so we can be at home.

So many parents self-prescribe home school like a capsule for the remedy of problems in their children. Rather, it is you, Mom–your scent, your voice, the feel of your skin, something no other woman on earth can provide–you are the medicine that your child needs. (Did you know that hugged children are healthier, grow more, and learn faster than abandoned ones?)

The most important motto that I would suggest is:

Listen to God and follow what you know.

The world of home school advice is overflowing with counsel that is very good, but most of it is for someone else. You must mature to the place of knowing, instead of wondering or doubting.

How can we stand if we do not know what to do or even what we are doing? No matter if your whole support group is doing differently from you—or if they are doing the same—you must do what you know is perfect for you and your children, because you received it from the hand of God. There is a lot that I cannot tell you, but He can. Learn to hear Him.

The main subject and the main goal in all home schools should be Godliness. Many of us realize that. The trouble is that most folks do not realize this truth:

When we model Godliness, then we teach it.

The reverse, sadly, also is true. You must model Godliness even when you are teaching something as seemingly neutral as math. If you fret or yell to teach math, you are mostly teaching impatience, not math. Oh, they may also learn the math that you are presenting (just about anyone can) and with many reviews will probably retain a lot of it.

They will learn the impatience that we are modeling, though, in just one easy lesson and they will remember it a long time.

Modeling Godliness is the main ingredient in the successful home school. Without it, there is little benefit from teaching the rest.

So, I would hang a few mottoes on my walls, after all, I suppose. You can use them, too, if you want:

  • Commit, for your children’s sakes.
  • Be at home.
  • Listen to God.
  • Model Godliness.

Determine to obey Him and He will give you success in teaching your children.

Then you can quit trying to homeschool.

Do NOT Try Homeschooling. Part 2

Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines 020

Homeschooling – Gustoff family in Des Moines

If “trying” really means aiming at success, then, how to succeed really is the question. Let’s consider some of the sayings that belong to real success in home schooling. You may be surprised.

First, we do not want to do what some moms do, which is merely to take a stab at it. For these moms, it is not well-thought-out at all.

They just “give it a whirl”.

They do not pray.

They do not ask their husbands.

They do not research.

Remember this maxim:

Education is preparing your child for life.

It is not a hobby. It is more important than a new nail polish color, not something you try out and then abandon. It is nothing less than a life decision. In these days, many are beginning to call it a life-and-death decision.

Another:

Home schooling is not about curriculum.

Yes, you probably need curriculum, (although some do fine without), but you can visit with hundreds of families at any home school convention, and you will find thousands of folks succeeding, while using every imaginable curriculum made.

For instance, any child who is ready to learn to read can do so with almost any decent phonics curriculum.

Sure, there may be only one company “out there” perfectly able to meet your needs or style.

Yes, you probably need to shop with an unbiased veteran a time or two.

Still, as far as all the proven curriculum companies go, they are proven. Do not continually put on and take off curriculum until it is too late to accomplish anything. That is not trying to succeed at home schooling; it is merely trying, and at the wrong goal, at that.

I repeat, it is not about curriculum; trying on curriculum is not the same as home schooling.

One other surprising truth about home schooling is:

Usually, it is easy to do well without trying very hard.

For many, it is a little like falling out of bed, actually. The simple fact that the children are at home, instead of out on their own, will make them smarter. Yes, the act of being at home, by itself, will make your children smarter.

Of course, we want them to learn as much as possible, and we will take every opportunity to ensure that this is happening, but bringing them home, in and of itself, makes worlds of difference. They will no longer feel forced to waste mental energy on peer pressure, self-preservation, and competitiveness. They will be able to relax and the elimination of great stress will free them to excel.

Then there is the other side of it: they will have much, much less to un-learn.

Often our children at home seem accidentally to learn more than we expected, solely because they are in a more learning-conducive setting. It is much like osmosis.

This is, I admit, a lot of re-arranging to wrap our thinking around.

Do think about it, though.

More mottos, tomorrow.

_____________________

Photo credit: IowaPolitics.com

Schooling, study, trying1

Do NOT Try Homeschooling.

I often get asked about the one piece of advice I would give to all home schoolers. Probably folks want some type of motto that fits all situations and clears the air about many problems. I have thought and thought about this, and—for now, anyway—I think the best I can do is to say: “DO NOT TRY HOME SCHOOLING.”

Surely, you think, this advice does not belong on a blogsite dedicated to the advancement of the home school experience. However, it is enlightening to look at what happens when we try home schooling.

First, a definition.

“Try” is a worn out word. An example of good usage is in the old saying, “If you don’t at once succeed, try, try, again.” We can learn a lot from this adage. For instance, we can learn that the purpose of trying is succeeding.

Imagine.

How many folks say they have tried the idea of home schooling, when actually, they only dropped the H-bomb at the dinner table and met with opposition from some child who is badly in need of it? Or maybe they bought an inane, dime-store book or two, and someone worked the first few pages and became disenchanted. Who wouldn’t.

Encountering resistance is not the same as trying.

Pressing against the resistance, with the determination to overcome it, is what trying really is. If a child balks, a relative whines, or a neighbor threatens, what makes us think it’s suddenly time to stop? We must see that type of trying is really just letting those around us dictate our convictions to us. If we are not trying to succeed, we have missed the whole idea.

The goal is not to try; the goal is to succeed.

Once I realized that, I could think of several great sayings that belong to real success in home schooling. Check here for more about goals!

I Like All Words

One wordWords are wonderful. We need them to get the huge things in our minds out onto small things like paper. I like paper, too, and pencils and other small things that capture huge things.

Yes, I like all words. Even words that tell of bad things, like tornado —what an amazing word that is, rolling around in the mouth before it can get out, reminding of tortuous torment and torture—a perfect word!

I like teensy words that tell of teensy things. Think of chick“. The shortest short vowel with that clipped /k/ ending. So perfect . . . .

I like open-ended words that can change in meaning according to how we say them. Take no for example. Short and sweet and full of amazing meaning. When stated with strength it imparts an imperativeness that communicates authority and a sort of “final answer” fortress.

When screamed by a female voice, “NO-O-O-O-O!” it causes adrenaline to course through the veins of every hearer.

Great word!

Or consider that little scamp of a word: “if”. Heh heh.

Yes, I like all words.

They told me I have to pick out only one, though. January beckons and the new rage is to pick a word, any word, that will get its picker through the next year.

I don’t really like this new game. It reminds me of celebrity adoption. Everyone’s got a new word they never had before, one that will become a source of some amazement. Almost braggy, and about what?

I picked a word?

Actually, I’m thinking about how all the other really wonderful words are feeling left out, about now, since they do not express grand character traits or describe a multitude of to-do lists in one syllable. “Weed.” One word, one sentence, conveying broken fingernails, aching back, burnt shoulders, frozen knee joints, and another go for tomorrow.

Gives me goose bumps to think of it.

No, I don’t really believe in all this word picking.

So it’s really embarrassing for me to realize words are coming to me.

It’s not like when I’m writing. When I’m writing, and often when I’m not, words sort of float by my consciousness for the fun of it, for me to consider, a bit like a marquee sign I can mentally click on, any time I choose, and have fun considering derivations, true meanings, possible alternate spellings, misuses, etc.

It’s how I breathe.

No, this is more like when a bird flies over and leaves a calling card on your nose.

I’ve gotten a word.

Nuts. Didn’t want one. Sighs.

This happened last year and I actually liked the word and had fun proclaiming it throughout the land. Everyone was picking grandiose words of achievement, direction, authority, etc.; making me tired just to think of all the things everyone else would be doing during 2014. And I really am pretty sure I “got” a word, that it landed on me from the sky, and I liked it.

It was: “less”.

And I loved it and I actually achieved it. Perfect. I blogged less, shopped less, argued less—all the things that wore me out were just “less” and I think it did me a lot of good. I became contemplative, thankful, and rested.

I even ate less. Yay.

And really, a year of it was a little much. I mean, I dusted less. So you can imagine.

However, 2015 approaches and no one else is tired of the game, yet. We’re still passing this football around. She sighs. Okay. I have to admit it, here:

I got another word.

I did not want another word.

But it gets worse than that.

I think I got two. Nuts.

You see, while I was at a retreat this past September, there was this sort of river of blue fabric from which we could pick (as if it were a real river) a rock (an actual rock) to take home. On the bottom of the rock was painted a word. The word was supposed to be from God to give me direction or bless me or something, and as you can figure, I didn’t want one. So I sort of sneaked around during the word-picking section of the session and escaped.

Felt pretty victorious about it. And relieved.

However, as we were cleaning up after the conference, I got cornered.

And here, I have to explain that I was helping with cleaning it up, because I was on the team that arranged and produced the conference, and in all honesty I must admit: I was the one who introduced the great idea of the river of blue fabric with rocks with words painted on their little bottoms. I learned it from a Canadian friend who has written a beautiful book that includes much more information about this whole river idea, and I sort of blame her a tiny bit for my whole predicament, that day. (Just kidding, Bobbie!) 😉

Anyway, my co-host for the conference did not let me get away with my escape plan. She graciously allowed me to choose a rock from the box where she was packing them. So, from a box of rocks, which itself was partly my idea, with my own two hands, I deliberately chose a word.

And it was puzzling.

This word did not seem like a long to-do list.

Noble Rock

Noble Rock

It was: Noble.

Huh. Like sitting on a throne?

My ecstatic friend, however (She really is a  good friend) claimed it fit me perfectly and went on to quote Solomon about The Noble Wife.

Oh. Proverbs 31. It is a lo-o-ong to-do list. Nuts.

Because of my puzzled look, probably, my friend went on to give examples of how that word fit me absolutely perfectly.

I kept thinking, That was last year! This is still the year of LESS!

The more I thought of it, though (pretty varnished rock, truly a beauty, wanted to display it . . . ) the more I realized I could shape up a bit. Like make the bed in the morning? Get rid of the really ratty pj’s? Clear out the kitchen countertop? Dust?

Yeah, I could do it.

So it was with great ease that I planned to breeze my noble little self through all this word-picking business and arrive at the head of the pack because I’d had a three-month head start.

Competitive? Maybe a little bit?

Adopt-a-word was beginning to get to me.

Then I sort of forgot about the word. Then I sorta got a calling card.

A word.

It kept floating past on the marquee sign in my head, like a broken program somewhere was causing the marquee to display the same word quite often.

Too often.

“Organize”.

I began to consider it and to wonder. Okay. I could do that. I need to do that. Organize.

At least I have “less” stuff to organize these days.

Soon, I couldn’t wait to spread the good news abroad: I’ve given birth to a new word! Well, through adoption, that is. It’s a great word. Overused, but really productive-sounding and totally speaking of lo-o-ong to-do lists!

I was planning. A to-do list was forming.

So, finally, yesterday, the call went out: Announce Your Word! Link up! Share! Proclaim!

One word.

One. To inspire me as I walk through 2015. To guide my ways and make me a better person.

So how do I explain I have two?

_______________________

More tomorrow.

What a Rush!

Author: Anonymous Date: 1893 Source: http://fa...

Young Einstein

3/14/14 – Reposting this to honor the man.

This is not about speed.

It’s about that rush I get when I teach.

Sometimes I say my bones are aching and it helps if I teach. Ever feel that way?

I think it’s maybe being part of the Creation process. When I see the lightbulb coming on in someone else’s understanding, it moves me, thrills me to the bone.

I love teaching, helping understanding to exist where it never did before. It’s not exactly creating, but like a potter with clay, I can mold someone’s mind to fit around new material, new cognizance, or even completely new thoughts that no one has ever realized before.

Research also thrills me. Discovering small things about big events or important people makes me want to teach some more. For instance: Did you know that as a child, Albert Einstein absolutely loved Euclid’s geometry and called it “that holy little algebra book” or that at age 5, he wondered what frozen light would look like? Who ever thinks of THE genius as a small child with wonderment inside his soul? Or that some adult fed him books over most children’s heads, just for the joy of watching that light come on?

See, I just taught you something and opened your thinking more. What a rush!

Sometimes I tutor. One young girl is learning so much about writing, she has developed an enjoyment for the writing process. Seeing the difference in her output this  year gives me such excitement. I think of the joy she will bring to her family as her skills increase and she cements them through practice.

I tutor a couple of legal immigrants in their new language, English, and we have fun exchanging culture, too. I explained our local phrase regarding appetites for all foods, as we say, “eat everything that is not nailed to the table.” They laughed enormously at that and now use the saying (in their own language, which is fine with me.) Then they confessed their tiredness of pizza and their longing for cultural dishes they cannot yet prepare.  I taught them to say, “I am tired of pizza, but it is better than nothing,” and as they remember their old country and having nothing to eat, they sober and regain resolve to find a way to afford gas for their stove.

And though it is a small spark, I love seeing that light.

The most exciting teaching I do is from the Bible. So much light there. So many people don’t get it, cannot see it. Or don’t want to.

But when I see that light come on, what a rush!