Friday, April 30, 2010

Excuse This House

Found this poem in a frame at a garage sale:

Excuse This House

Some houses try to hide the fact
That children live there...
Ours boasts of it quite openly,
The signs are everywhere.

For smears are on the windows
Tiny smudges on the doors...
I should apologize I guess,
For toys strewn on the floor.

But I sat down with the children,
And we played and laughed and read.
And if the doorbell doesn't shine,
Their eyes will shine instead.

At times I'm forced to choose
The one job or the other -
I want to be a housewife,
But first I'll be a Mother.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Milk vs. Meat


1 Peter 2 (New King James Version)

1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.



Hebrews 5:12-14 (New King James Version)


12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk isunskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.


The topic of “milk” and “meat” is one I have been thinking about lately. I grew up hearing that the “milk” is just weak things for weak Christians and that a “real” Christian only needs the “meat”. I now believe the “milk” is the basic foundational truths of Christianity. Who God is and how He relates to us; how we approach God; etc. I am still working on the “meat” but I think it has to do with many things related to the Law of God. How we live now that we are new creatures; applying the Word of God to our everyday life; what part of the Law (if any) applies to us and so much more.

Just as only feeding on milk produces a weak Christian, I am proof that only being fed meat also produces a weak Christian. Until recently, I only heard sermons that were full of “meat” (the Law of God) and barely any with “milk” ( the foundational truths). Because of this, I did not have a relationship with God, I was just following a bunch of do’s and don’ts. And if someone did not follow those same do’s and don’ts then they must not be a “real” Christian.

I do understand that you cannot just stay on the “milk”, but I believe that you have to build on it and use it as a basis for everything else. Let me give a farm example here. My parents raised goats for awhile. When baby goats are born, if they are not fed the colostrum milk within 24 hours, they will just drop dead in two weeks. I believe if a Christian is not fed “milk” their Christianity becomes dead. Since I was not fed the “milk” I have to now go back, start over, and bring my Christianity “back to life” so to speak.

I also wonder who is responsible for “feeding” me. My pastor touched on this in his sermon on Sunday. He tries to have some “milk” and some “meat” in each of his sermons because there are Christians at all stages of growth in the congregation, as well as unsaved people. He said that he is not responsible for our personal relationship with God. That it is our responsibility to make sure we are taking what he is teaching and applying it to our lives. He said we are to be making sure we are searching the scriptures and keeping our hearts from becoming a dank cellar.

 I would love to hear your take on this.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Free Online Home School Seminar April 14 9 pm

Below is a brief description of the free seminar being offered by HSLDA tomorrow night. Go to www.hslda.org/athome/ to register.



What’s the number one reason parents do not homeschool? Fear of failure. Perhaps you have personally struggled with this fear in the midst of your own homeschooling journey. So how can parents measure and achieve homeschool success? Thankfully, the Bible gives clear and decisive direction in this area, providing encouragement for even the most difficult situations. In this session, HSLDA President Mike Smith shares these encouraging insights and helps parents measure their homeschooling success by scriptural standards.

Due to the popularity and importance of this subject we are now offering this e-vent for free to non-members as well as members! We understand that some registered guests may not be able to attend this e-vent due to extenuating circumstances. Since this is a free e-vent, we are now allowing unlimited registration to accommodate as many participants as possible. To claim your space in the live session, please log into the webinar up to 15 minutes early. Entrance will be first-come, first-served until the room reaches the maximum capacity of 200 guests.

A Great Defense of Home Schooling

Joanne Burke is a homeschooling mother who is going back to school to get her teachers license. The following is one of the best defenses of homeschooling I have read.

My discussion board posting in response to a student’s question about the value of homeschooling (4/11/10):

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about something that is close to my heart. It used to be that I ran into more people with misconceptions and negative impressions about homeschoolers, but I am finding that more and more, home schooling is being acknowledged as the viable option mentioned. My own story is that at 18, when I first heard about home schooling, my reaction was, “I wish I could have been taught that way!” which stemmed partly from my negative experiences in school. I loved learning, but could imagine a much more positive learning environment than the one I had experienced.
In college, many of my ballet students were home schooled and I had the opportunity to get to know them and their families. I was impressed! Overall, these were children who knew how to carry on intelligent conversations with adults, were creative and delightful. While leading stretching exercises on the floor, I used to interview them, “What do you like about doing school at home?” and I learned a lot from their answers.
I have known home school students who have completed high school early and begun attending junior colleges. Another who completed high school early and spent what would have been her senior year learning to run a political campaign while living with and volunteering for a friend of her family’s who was running for office in another state. Some of the home school students I have known have received college scholarships and graduated with honors.
Home schooling is now legal in all 50 states. When the home schooling movement of the 1980’s emerged, that was not the case. Home School Legal Defense Association was formed and through its efforts this victory for educational freedom was won. You can read about the history of home education at their website: www.hslda.org .
Now that the home education movement has “grown up,” many students who were taught at home are choosing to teach their own children at home because of their own positive experiences. You can read the study that documents the attitudes and success levels of adults who were home educated at the National Home Education Research Institute at www.nheri.org. Other fascinating studies include that the home schooled student’s success is not dependent on the level of education of the parents.
For the “What about socialization?” question that every home educator has been asked: The question should be, what kind of socialization do children need? (I know I will ruffle a few feathers with this comment, and I know it is ironic that I’m seeking employment in the public school setting). I believe that age-integrated social interactions are more beneficial than same-age interactions. The traditional grade leveled classroom is an artificial setting and the only time during our entire lives where we interact for a large part of the day solely with same-age peers. That doesn’t happen at work, that doesn’t happen in college; for me that doesn’t happen in marriage – my husband is twelve years older than I am. Consider our current course, TED 622A: we are interacting with each other and it sounds like students range in age from their twenties to possibly fifties. I believe that Vygotsky’s concepts of Zone of Proximal Development and scaffolding support age-integrated interactions, student to student, and teacher to student.
Sometimes while reading the textbooks for NU’s teacher preparation program I have to smile as I can see that what is being stated as “best” is in reality more easily accomplished through learning at home. Several textbooks have pointed out the value of age-integrated interactions. Others have talked about providing a comfortable place for children to read, with couches and bean bag chairs. Hmm. Sounds like home!
Here is an excerpt from a discussion board posting I wrote for my last class that relates the readings to home education: “From a home school teacher’s perspective, I found it interesting that ‘research indicates that students who are seated closest to you will gain the most from read-alouds (Gunning, 2010, p. 129). My students are always seated close! For the classroom teacher, it is important to rotate the seating so every student will have that experience. Regarding the importance of the foundation laid at home, Cunningham writes that in order to help students who have come from a literacy-deprived background, “We must do all we can, and we must do it in ways that are as close to the home experiences as possible” (Cunningham, 2009, pp. 7-8).”
Most home school families that I know are very involved in their communities with students participating in outside activities. Some are so active they joke, “Home schooling? When are we home!” My children play community sports, hook up with a local charter school to participate in field trips, sell mistletoe at Christmas time that they have cut from our property, are active at church and take classes outside of our home, including piano and art. My oldest son, who is 13, is a junior instructor at a martial arts studio, where classes are age and level integrated.
I’ve discovered that taking the time to model and teach kindness and respect in the context of our family and then extending it to others we interact with has been very successful. Our community baseball season just started and all three boys are playing on three different teams. My husband had been taking our 13 year old to his practices and the other night I picked up my son and met the coach for the first time. His words surprised me, “We are so glad to have James on the team! He never gives me any lip and he looks at me intently, really listening, and tries to apply what I am telling him.” Was I proud? Yes, but also appalled when I thought about what he was saying. That is just baseline behavior for a coach-player relationship! I asked my son how the other boys behaved. He told me, “As soon as they are unsupervised for a minute, they go squirrely!”
We’ve taught our boys to always shake the hand of their teacher/coach and look them directly in the eye when leaving and thank them for their time and what they’ve taught. We’ve heard back from more than one person that their jaw dropped when they were thanked. I believe that one of the benefits of teaching children at home is that they are not as frequently exposed to the bad habits and attitudes of other children and pressured to participate. Then when they do encounter it, sitting in the dugout for example, they recognize it for what it is and are not attracted to it. Regarding teaching students to “get along with others in the sandbox,” the home educator has much more time and opportunity to teach conflict resolution than the classroom teacher, unless the student is an only child. Many home schooling families are larger families, however.
What my husband and I appreciate about home schooling is that we have a greater influence over our children than anyone else at this critical stage of their development. We see ourselves as directors of their education seeking to provide for their needs. Sometimes that has meant outside classes. Sometimes that has meant additional tutoring from someone else. We are on a continual educational journey. We attend home educator conferences and are connected with other families who share our educational goals. Nobody loves our children more than we do. Nobody knows them as well as we do. Nobody is more committed to their success than we are.
Homeschooling has been an amazing experience for our family as we learn together and support each other. When I begin teaching in a public school, we plan to continue to home school our children, with my husband becoming the main on-site teacher. We are also considering adjusting their school year so that I will teach units during the summer.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Get your life right, then come find me.

Mark 2:15-17 (New King James Version)

15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

I have been reevaluating the way I look at people and how I interact with them. Until the last year or so, if someone did not live the way that I thought they should, I would be polite but would make no effort to get to know them. I basically had the attitude "Get your life right, then come find me." That was so wrong! That was not the attitude Jesus had.

The more I have been reading scripture I am finding that Jesus was harshest with the religious community, not the sinners. So how do I apply this "new to me" truth of Scripture? It has made me step way out of my comfort zone and be willing to set aside my preconceived notions about people. I may not agree with the decisions people are making or the direction of their lives, but as long as they are willing to spend time with me and my family, I will let them. More than that, I will be an encouragement and help to them in any way I can. I will try, in every humanly possible way, to let the love of Jesus Christ for them be evident in me. I have been trying to get my priorities straight and really apply the following scripture:

1 Corinthians 13

The Greatest Gift
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


Seems simple right? It should be. Unfortunately, I am not as good at it as I should be. To strangers, or people I do not know very well, it has been easy. The people I am struggling to show/feel the love of Christ for are actually family members! The more I observe people, I am finding that this seems to be a common thing. We treat people we barely know better than our own family members! Especially if that family member is making what we think are bad decisions. We as Christians ( myself included) seem to be more than willing to forgive "seventy times seven" when it is a "pagan", but when it is family, it is "three strikes and your out"! We say things to our family members that we would never even consider saying to someone else. This is a huge damage to our testimony.

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pray With Out Ceasing

I often listen to testimonies of Christians on the radio, specifically the program Unshackled. While very encouraging, their stories often make me feel guilty also. It seems like the person in the story always spends hours of their day in prayer and Bible reading. While I have the desire to spend more time in prayer, it always seems that "life" gets in the way! How am I supposed to "pray with out ceasing" ( I Thessalonians 5:17) when there are dishes and laundry and school and bills and kids who want me to read them a book?

Then as I was going through some papers from my school days recently, I came across the following devotion:

Pray With Out Ceasing
Lack of proper food for the body causes anemia. Lack of meditation with God causes spiritual weakness. That is why we are exhorted to pray with out ceasing. But how?
This answer comes from a devout Filipino Christian: "I farm with my hand on the plow, my eyes on the furrow, but my mind on God."
This was a Negro servant's answer: "While I wash de clothes, I ask de Lord to wash hearts whiter than snow. While I irons 'em, I reminds Him of de problems and troubles that need ironing out. While I wash de pots and pans and make them shine, I just ask Him to make me shine for Him. While I sweeps de flo', I jest ask Him to sweep out fault findin' from de hidden corners of mah heart so He can bless - and He always does."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Let the rambling begin

So I have decided to start a blog. I have no idea why, it just seemed like the thing to do.

Let me get one thing straight....I have no grand ideas that this blog will change the world. In fact I will be very surprised if any one other than my close circle of family and friends read it occasionally.

That being said, if for some reason known only to you, you decide to follow my ramblings..Welcome! I will try and make sense most of the time!

For those of you who do not know me very well, let me introduce myself. My name is Misti and I am a home school mom. Oh wait, you probably figured that out. Well, in case you didn't count the kids in the picture, I have six. Yes six. Yes they are all mine, and yes they keep me very busy, and no I wouldn't have it any other way! My husband and I have been married for almost thirteen years. Like most marriages, some years have been better than others, but the tough ones have only made us more in love with each other and with God.

I should let you know that you will hear me talk about God a lot in this blog. That is because He is the center of my life. Without Him in control I would be a complete wreck. Now, I am not a religious person. I don't read my Bible as much as I should, and there have been plenty of Sundays when I have lain in bed trying to come up with excuses not to go to church. What I have is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Like all human relationships, it is continually growing and changing. Unlike human relationships, this one will never fail. I will not use this blog to "preach". If you have a question about my faith, I will be more than willing to answer it. But it is pretty simple. I have been set free from the power of sin and death through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Back to my life...it is full, but there is always room for more! My husband and I feel it is our duty to find our children's talents, and then provide them every opportunity to use them. So my afternoons are pretty full getting one to gymnastics, one to music lessons, one to art classes, and one to karate. Yes that is only four, but the other two are only 3 and 19 months. Their time will come! The rest of my day is spent with the usual mom and wife stuff. Cooking, cleaning (or supervising as my kids would say) giving out school lessons, and helping my husband with his business. (He is the best fireplace and stone guy in the world..no joke!)

I plan to use this blog as an outlet for my thoughts and ideas. My husband is always telling me to "Let it out, don't hold it in, tell people how you really feel!" So here goes.....