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8/20/2009 11:03:52 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter -- August 2009
"Jump Start" to a Joyful School Year
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Dear Friends,

As a new school year approaches, wouldn't it be great if homeschooling
could feel less overwhelming and more joyful?

As a fellow homeschool mom, I know that it can be overwhelming when
that big box of curriculum arrives and you suddenly aren't sure that
you are up to the task. It can be overwhelming when you can't seem to
find the right key to unlock learning in your child. It can be
overwhelming when life broadsides your homeschool
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6853 . Even as my years of
homeschooling experience climbed into the double digits, I still
always felt more confident and equipped for a new year when I read
through the organized back-to-school checklists--so I'm including a
few helpful links for you at the end of this month's newsletter; I
hope these will help you feel less overwhelmed as you begin.

But what about the joy?

Allow me to give you a glimpse into the heart of this ordinary mom.
Not a supermom, but a homeschool mom who, in the busy-ness and
everyday-ness of life, awoke one day to the realization that I had no
joy. The Lord directed me to Psalm 113:9 and showed me that making me
a joyful mother of children ranked right up there with seating the
poor with princes. I purposed to not take life so personally, to laugh
more, smile more, love my babies more, and cherish my family. I wanted
them to remember their childhoods as joyful, contented times with a
mom who treasured them, not think back woefully to the stressed mother
of their youth!

Here are six steps to "jump start" your joy as you begin this new
school year:

1. Have a vision for your family.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6854
The Greek model of education is all about knowledge; the Hebrew model
is all about relationships (read Robin Sampson in What Your Child
Needs to Know When or Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach).
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6855 What purposes
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6856 does God want to accomplish
through the relationships within your family, and how does home
education help fulfill those goals?

2. Have realistic expectations of your children.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6857
Maybe you awakened this morning, still drowsy from the dream of a day
when everybody gets himself up, makes his bed, tidies his room, speaks
gently to the siblings, offers to take the smallest cookie, bundles
the trash, folds the laundry, finishes his schoolwork by noon--all
with no reminders. Then you smelled the toast burning--and reality set
in! Someone will very likely test the rules today; it is just part of
the territory when you're a parent. You can prepare yourself in the
family service arena by having age-appropriate expectations,
pre-determined consequences, and a sense of humor.

From ages 6 months to about 5 years, children are learning cheerful
first-time obedience and basic routines. They need life to be very
concrete and hands-on. They often can and want to help you, but they
need lots of modeling and supervision, so don't expect the results to
be the same as if you did it all yourself! Be appreciative of their
efforts.

From ages 5 to 12, they are being better trained in consistency,
respectfulness, deference to others, diligence, thoroughness, and
cheerful obedience.

From 12 to 18, they earn the privilege of independence and
responsibility by showing their faithfulness to accomplish a task and
to be accountable for their actions. (You might listen to Dr. S. M.
Davis' tape, "What to Expect of a Twelve-Year-Old.")
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6858

3. Have realistic expectations of yourself. Instead of comparing
yourself to your friend or neighbor (or support group leader),
recognize your own gifts and talents, your limitations, your specific
family circumstances. It's no mistake that your children got you as a
parent--it's by God's design! http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6859
Be aware, too, of your own needs for sleep, food, and encouragement.
Is the Lord revealing to you any areas in which you might need to make
adjustments?

4. Recognize that interruptions often are God's purpose for your
day--opportunities for ministry and discipleship of your children and
of others. If you are tempted to view the interruptions as
frustrations to the success of your plans, you might consider the
possibility that they are God's way of reminding you what is really
important today. http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6860

5. Recognize spiritual warfare for what it is. The mind is the enemy's
battlefield. I had to be reminded to take captive
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6861 every harsh thought about my
children, every selfish thought about my own entitlements in life,
every self-pitying thought about being a less-than-perfect homeschool
mom. I learned that the enemy really can't take away my joy, but he
sure can influence me to give it up! If you are committed to raising
warriors for God, your family is a target for battle, and you may want
to take inventory of your Ephesians 6 armor.

6. Recognize the source of true joy. I used to sing to my babies and
toddlers: "Break forth into joy, O my soul; break forth into joy, O my
soul; In the presence of the Lord, there is joy forevermore; break
forth, break forth into joy, O my soul." When I am spending time in
God's presence, I can choose to be joyful, to speak gently and
cheerfully, and to recognize that I am blessed to have this season
with my children.

Enjoy the start of a new adventure this fall! (And for good measure,
I've included a few back-to-school links below....)

Joyfully yours,

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Early Years coordinator

"...the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10b NKJV)
"The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy."
(Psalm 126:3 NKJV)


"Check out" these checklists to help you start the year with
confidence:

Back to School Checklist--HSLDA's "Home School Heartbeat"
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6862

Teaching Home e-newsletter: Back to Home-School edition
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6863

Setting Goals for the School Year
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6864

Getting Started
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6865

Back to (Home)School ABC's
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6866
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http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1100

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