Thoughtful Thursday Week 51 – Recitals and Jitters

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Why am I more nervous when my children have recitals than when I used to have my own? Why don’t I feel my feet when they have their annual testing? Thankfully, testing is only once a year. Recitals come around every six months.

And now that our church family is aware that our children can play instruments, they ask for a special music now and then. It has already happened three times this year, so I think we could probably plan on a quarterly special music performance by either one of them for next year.

Thoughtful Thursday

My children, being as young as they are, view music and practice as a chore. Maybe it’s my fault. I do not know how to make it fun. And, perhaps, I do not believe that practice or learning of any sorts should be all cutesy and fun. I believe in hard work and learning or practicing a musical instrument is hard work.

Realizing our need for an attitude change, I recently spent some time with them telling them about the power of music to soothe and comfort the heart in a way that a sermon or a Bible verse or a book or a movie cannot. I reminded them that people come to church (or to kids’ recitals) with their problems, with their worries, with their issues. Music helps lift their burdens.

The kids’ music is, in a sense, an act of service: they have worked hard and they will get nothing material out of it. More skills, yes, but no money or a trip or an award and not even a sticker. Only the satisfaction that they have touched somebody, somehow. Even that may be wishful thinking. We don’t get a real confirmation other than a polite comment here and there from those who care enough to say a kind word.

Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 48 – Give Thanks

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To celebrate Thanksgiving, we went to Asheville, NC. The Omni Grove Park Inn serves a Thanksgiving Grand Buffet, plus one can take a look at the Top 10 National Gingerbread House Competition creations for 2015. Here are some pictures for you…

National Gingerbread House Competition

 

National Gingerbread House Competition

 

National Gingerbread House Competition Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 47 – Burning Books

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They are burning books in Don Quixote’s yard but it strikes me that they have been burning books throughout history. Different groups have been so scared of certain books, they burned them. It’s called biblioclasm or book burning. Look it up. It has been going on since the dawn of civilization.

You know what that tells me? Books have power.

Thoughtful Thursday - Burning Books

People burn books because they are scared of them, of what they can do to the reader.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 46 – Because I Can

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I am reading a lot these days because I can. I cannot do many things as a homeschooling mom, but reading I can do. Learning about one’s limitations is a fundamental lesson in life. Understanding your boundaries and communicating them to others is an extension of knowing your own limits. So many lives would be changed for the better if we only understood our own limits.

Homeschooling moms are busy creatures. A career is pretty much out of the question unless you are a force of nature like Susan Wise Bauer or Ann Voskamp. Going back to school cannot really happen unless your children are older and more independent in their study habits. Traveling solo (or with the family) is limited by time and space equations which have everything to do with hubby’s career.

What’s a homeschooling mom to do?

I read. While the kids play or take lessons outside the home, I read.

Thoughtful Thursday - Because I Can

The library saves me thousands of dollars every year, but I also like to invest in my own titles. Books help me lose myself in order to find myself. I travel and discover new destinations without having to pack a suitcase. Then I return Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 45 – Ten More Years

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As we were sharing cupcakes with my son’s friends in Adventurers, the program director said, “Mom, he is eight now. You have 10 more years with him…” I sighed and agreed with her. Ten more years. That’s it. I have taken care of him for eight years. I am staring down a not-so-long corridor of 10 more years. It really does not seem that long anymore, getting him to 18.

Thoughtful Thursday

And here’s the kicker: next year, it will be nine and nine. Nine years of past memories, nine more years to go. After that, the past will gain on the future. Ten years of memories, and eight more years of future memories. Now, if I can just maintain this perspective as things happen and I am tempted to lose my patience…

Life is short. It really is. Homeschooling can make it seem long because the days are long and the years are short. However, public school moms tell me they are exhausted too. They get tired and if they also have a job they feel like they are not doing either motherhood or their career 100%. When they are at work, they think about the children. When they are with the children, they think about all the things they still have to complete at work. As a homeschool mom, I have the luxury of only focusing on the children.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 44 – Government

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Here in the USA presidential campaigning is in full swing. One of the Republican candidates is a member of our denomination and has visited our church in Knoxville before. Of course, we would like to see him win the Republican nomination, but we are still 100 days away from the primary and anything can happen at this point.

Teaching the kids about politics, government and civics is an interesting challenge. Last summer, at a used curriculum sale in Maryville, I invested the impressive amount of $1 in a second grade Abeka textbook for history and geography. We read a few pages per week during our bedtime reading. As usual, we read books for my oldest’s level.

Thoughtful Thursday - Government

Our youngest complains at times that certain books are boring, so we alternate between books she proposes and the older books we read for our oldest. That way, she has no room to complain we do not take her wishes into consideration, while challenging her and serving the needs of our oldest.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 43 – Service

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Of all the things we do in our homeschool, nothing is harder to schedule than service. We visited a nursing home once. We attended a fundraiser for Sevier County Food Ministries. We sorted through toys and clothes and donated them to a Thrift Store nearby, for kids who could use them. Other than that, I am clueless.

Service

After a column I wrote for The Mountain Press about my Halloween dilemma, i.e. about not knowing how to avoid observing this obviously occultish holiday, one of my readers emailed me about an event at Brookdale Assisted Living in Sevierville, on October 29th. Children can come dressed up in different costumes, they get candy, and the residents get visitors. It’s a win-win. There will be snacks, too.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 42 – Mr. Lincoln

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Today we went to the Pigeon Forge Library for a program called “Meet Mr. Lincoln.” For about 40 minutes, Dennis Boggs told us the story of Abraham Lincoln from birth until his assassination. The costume, hair and makeup were perfect. The delivery was superb. It’s easy to overdo impersonations, but I am happy to tell you that this one is just right. One can tell Mr. Boggs has extensive theater experience.

Meet Mr. Lincoln with little girl

My daughter with Mr. Lincoln at the Pigeon Forge Library.

The whole point of this presentation is to encourage children to read and “stay in school.”

Mr. Lincoln

Mr. Lincoln comes to schools, libraries, conventions, homeschool groups and any other gathering interested in history and literacy. You can find all the information and rates on his website.  Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 40 – Coincidences

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Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by coincidences. Growing up in a secular family, I wondered why I met certain people on the street. What if I had taken a different route? Would I have met somebody else? Would I have received different news? Those were the days when news came face-to-face, not via Facebook.

As I gained a spiritual perspective, I realized that coincidences are part of God’s Providence. He sets kings up, He removes them. He takes care of the sparrow. He knows my name and the street on which I live. Yes, I believe God is personal. I am no agnostic.

Thoughtful Thursday Coincidences

Five years ago, I was wrestling with, “To homeschool or not to homeschool?” That was the question. I decided to homeschool. The rest was not just history. It was a series of coincidences that simply blew me away.

They keep on coming, too. It’s like once I aligned myself with God’s will and purpose for my life, things fell into place like a puzzle. Every time.

There was the time when I decided to get more curriculum from Peace Hill Press and, the following week, this homeschooling mom, out of the blue, decided to just give me $200 worth of brand new, never before used Peace Hill Press curriculum she was not going to use anymore.

There was the time when I scheduled our weekly trips to the Adventurer Club – one hour away from home and then wondered if it was the right decision, i.e. drive for two hours only to be somewhere for 90 minutes. The following week, I got an email about another activity I could schedule in that city on the same day. I even had the right amount of commute time in between.

I could go on and on. Continue reading »

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Thoughtful Thursday Week 39 – Organize

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A few weeks ago, on the bleachers next to a soccer field in Tennessee, parents were chatting about this new experience. Most of them had a child in kindergarten. Most of them were there for the very first soccer practice in the life of their kindergarten student. I felt like a veteran, as this was my third year on those bleachers.

They knew each other because their children attended this private school. They did not know me.

Thoughtful Thursday - Organize

I homeschool and bring my children to the soccer practice at this private school because the coach welcomes homeschoolers. Plus it works out with the rest of the things we do in Knoxville, one hour away from home, on a particular day of the week. My husband, as the principal of our homeschool, had asked me to look around for an opportunity for our children to be involved in a team sport. This was the perfect fit for us.

So these parents who knew each other turned toward me and asked if I had a child on the field. I told them I had two, one in second grade and the other in kindergarten. Oh, they wanted to know, “Which kindergarten class is your child in?” “We homeschool.” They were very positive in their responses. They thought homeschooling was admirable.  Continue reading »

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