I was watching an episode of John Paul Jackson’s ‘Dreams and Mysteries’ during 2016, and came across this short clip taken from one of these episodes. The Lord bought it to my attention again 2 weeks ago, as I was remembering my late father’s 70th birthday and processing some of the emotions that came up.
If you have never received the blessing of a father, for whatever reason, can I encourage you to watch this and listen to the heart of our Heavenly Father speak to you?
I pray that it deeply ministers to you and blesses you, as it did me.
The Little House series take us on a journey of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her pioneering family: from Wisconsin in 1870 to South Dakota, through good times and difficult times, and show us a family that lived through a time of rapid change in American life – from the rural and agricultural self sufficient way, to the industrial urban life.
The family lived off the land, hunted, made cheese and butter, maple sugar, collected honey, and also enjoyed the simple things in life, like attending church, dancing, family times together, and singing. Everything was used for some purpose, and the detailed descriptions in this series show us how important each object was in its use. We also read of the values by which one family lived – honour, purpose, generosity, faithful endurance, entrepreneurship, self-sufficiency, simplicity, thankfulness, patience, and more.
We all love these books for so many reasons, and they are wonderful to read aloud with our children, as well as providing many learning opportunities.
I’ve put together a list of resources, most of which are free, that will give you plenty of learning opportunities for your homeschool
Susanna Wesley may not be a name you are familiar with, but her sons you may well have heard of. John Wesley and Charles Wesley were significant leaders during a time in England known as ‘The Great Awakening’. John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist Church and Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns, many of which we still sing today. Two of Charles’ sons and his grandson were also well known as musicians.
Susanna was born to Dr Samuel Annesley, a scholar and clergyman, and Mary White in 1769 in Spital Yard, London, and was the youngest of 25 children. She married Samuel Wesley, a minister, and they had 19 children, 9 of whom died as infants. She schooled her children for 20 years, where for an hour each week each child received one-on-one instruction on spiritual matters.
Susanna is said to have spent 2 hours a day in prayer, and would pull her apron over her head, signalling to her children that she was praying and wished to be left alone.
In a time where woman could not preach or even minister to women, she was a theologian in her own right (some of her writings were written primarily to educate her children), and when her husband was away she held meetings in their home where they sung hymns, prayed, and she read her husband’s sermons. These afternoon meetings were at first borne out of concern for her own children, who she believed were not being shepherded well by the replacement minister, and the meetings grew as word spread. The morning meetings at the parish dwindled to just a few, where the afternoon meetings in the Wesley home flourished with hundreds attending at times.
Susanna had a difficult life, a difficult marriage (one time her husband left for a year over a political dispute), and her children also had difficult marriages. She endured poverty and hardship her entire life, house fires, children dying, and more. But her faithful endurance is part of her lasting legacy.
I love this story of one particular day of schooling her children, where her husband Samuel visited the schoolroom. “I wonder at your patience; you have told that child twenty times the same thing.”
“If I had satisﬁed myself by mentioning it only nineteen times, I should have lost all my labour,”she replied. “It was the twentieth time that crowned it.”
Her sons led tens of thousands to the Lord, and as long as they were alive, continued to be part of the Anglican Church and attend Sunday morning services. There are countless numbers that they influenced either directly or indirectly through the Methodist movement. I’d like to mention just one family story.
A Family who Changed History
James and Betty Taylor, settled in Barnsley in the mid-1700s, and were the founders of the first Methodist society in Barnsley. John Wesley preached in this place at least 20 times, and was known to have stayed in their home when he came to preach. Their eldest son John Taylor was also eventually active in the Methodist church in Barnsley, and his son James Taylor became a Chemist and a Methodist Pastor. James Taylor married the daughter of a Methodist pastor, and although desiring to do missionary work in China, James and Amelia never did. Instead, their son James Hudson Taylor, known as Hudson Taylor, become the answer to their prayers. Before his birth they had prayed: ‘Lord, if you give us a son, grant that he may work for You in China!’
J Hudson Taylor is known as one of the most influential missionaries who has ever lived, and was the founder of the China Inland Mission. He lived a life of faith that was rooted in intimacy with God, with his life’s message being about laying down one’s life and being committed to fulfilling the Great Commission.
To think that one faithful mother’s influence and faith was imparted with care and conviction to her children, which in turn led to generations having been touched by her legacy. Did it ever cross her mind, in the midst of the many difficult trials, or in the daily mundane tasks, and the many years of sowing into her children’s hearts, that beyond her time on earth, her sacrifice would bear so much fruit?
I’m deeply inspired by her life, but I also appreciate this perspective of seeing beyond just my children’s education, to look into a time ahead I can’t see yet. We may never know just how much fruit will come from all we have sown in faith, love and sacrifice into these lives we are stewarding, but let me encourage you that it is worth it! These precious years with our children are a privilege and blessing, in more ways than we can possibly comprehend. Whatever way you put that ‘apron’ over your head, make sure you carve out those moments to spend time with the Lord, hearing His heart towards you and yours, and taking time to just breathe and be.
Be blessed and encouraged today,
PS. I finally joined Facebook a week or so ago. I have a few writing projects in the pipeline, and will use this Page as a hub for these, and for the other places I write on the web. I’d love to chat with you over there!
Much of this information in this post was sourced out of my head. However, for further reading, you might like to look at the titles that Amazon have on Susanna Wesley by various authors.
We are mostly set on the core curriculum that we use from year-to-year with each of our children (see above ‘Homeschooling’ menu for each Grade). But we have left room to fill some gaps with additional unit studies, delight-direct learning, projects, additional copywork and audiobooks, and anything else along the way that we like the look of.
As their teacher, I can never know in advance what is going to ‘click’ with each of my children, but when something does, I like to make sure I embrace their interests and natural talents with additional opportunities to develop their strengths and keep learning fun.
I’m a strong believer in allowing room to be flexible with learning, and if something isn’t working after a good trial period, it’s time to change it or to find ways of freshening things up. I have one child in particular that tires easily of the same thing, so supplementing with other things really helps things around here!
I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours researching curriculum and looking for free downloads. What I’ve discovered is that it’s worth just purchasing the right resources to save the time and also because quality resources are simply worth the investment.
Why use Digital Downloads
As much as I love the feel of a printed book in my hands, like a devotional book for myself, when it comes to curriculum though, there are a number of benefits to having downloaded files stored on your computer or tablet to use.
You can print multiple copies easily, use with all your children, only print what you use, save on shipping costs, and also pick up great curriculum for lower prices. It’s more economical, and frequently also more affordable.
I use our notebooking pages every day in our homeschool, plus numerous lapbooks, unit studies, copywork, audios and more, most days. It’s a bit of a change of mindset, as we are so used to the way we’ve always done things, but the change in technology is truly a gift if we learn to embrace the good from it and utilize it to our advantage.
Ways to Supplement
Add in unit studies to your history for the year, whether you are doing a theme for the entire year and you want to supplement (like Ancient History), or take a break from your existing curriculum for a couple of weeks to freshen things up. We do both.
Print off reading log pages for your child to record books read (including those from the library).
Listen to audiobooks in the car, during learning ‘breaks’, or while you are teaching another child. We love Jim Weiss audiobooks, and are also using The Mystery of History this year too.
Print copywork pages when there is a topic that you have enjoyed in your usual studies (eg. a more focused topic during Middle Ages History, or a country study that grabs your child’s interest from a read-aloud).
Add in attractive notebooking pages to accompany your regular curriculum, instead of just buying regular lined paper. We use IEW (Fix-it Grammar and Theme studies) which still need additional pages, as does our history and other subjects. It just makes the finished work more appealing to the eye, your child will feel more satisfied with what they’ve produced, and we are all about increasing their enjoyment of things like grammar!
Jump into the colouring book trend that is popular right now, and find some resources that have a colouring and learning component. We have just gottenFine Linen and Purplefor our eldest daughter, and it’s absolutely gorgeous!
Use ebooks on your tablet when you are travelling or away from home, and save on that much needed space in the car.
Take your schooling with you when you are at a child’s extra curricular activities, and get in some extra learning time with your other children.
I hope that gives you some ideas on how you can add in these things to keep your homeschool fresh, learning fun and flexible, and doing it in a way that is affordable and economical.
If there’s something I’ve learned in the last 7 years of intentionally homeschooling, it’s that it’s what you do in the day-to-day of life and homeschooling that counts, and not those one-off moments where you lose it, or one of the kids lose it, or even for periods of time where things don’t seem to be working well. I think we can be fairly hard on ourselves at times, and can feel like we’re failing, or ruining our children’s childhoods, etc, when really we just need to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.
Give yourself some grace, forgive yourself (and ask for it if you need to!), and move on when it’s just a difficult day.
When the challenges are lasting longer than a moment or day, Instead of feeling stress and failure, how about viewing those circumstances in a different way and seeing an opportunity to grow and adapt? Something may need to change – whether it be in you, in your children, or in the way you have organised your homeschooling life. Think of it like a spotlight that has highlighted where things can grow and change, instead of seeing an area of life where you’re getting it wrong!
If those difficult periods last longer than a few weeks, and you’re still committed to homeschool, here’s some things to ask:
Are you doing too much outside the home? Are you feeling too rushed, too busy, and too overwhelmed, and this is spilling into the environment of your home?
Are you on and off the computer/social media throughout the day, even for short periods of time? Are you focusing too much on the housework and other things you think you can do during homeschool time, when really your children need your focused attention?
Is there a resource or curriculum that could be changed – even if YOU like using something, but your child is miserable, perhaps you need to let go of what you would prefer to use in favour for what will work better.
Are there underlying issues that need to be tended to – perhaps Dad is working late regularly and a child is reacting to this, or they’re unhappy for another reason. Have one-on-one times with each of your children and listen to what’s going on for them.
Are you needing some rest and time out yourself, or feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled for some reason? Find out what is spilling out of your heart, when you are stressed or unhappy, as it might not be curriculum or your children that needs tending to… it might be how you are seeing things. (Stress is a perception of circumstances and comes from the inside, not from externals).
We have some ‘back-up’ resources I use when I need to put down the regular curriculum, plus I’m always keeping a look out for things to use to freshen things up.
Here are two options that work for us:
Thinking Tree has homeschool journals that are a creative and wonderful way of learning, but doing at their own pace.
Press ‘pause’ on your current curriculum, and do a unit study for a week or two. Lapbooks are especially a fun way of learning, and you can easily tie them into what you’re already learning.
After taking almost 2 years off writing here regularly, I finally feel like I’m in a good rhythm to dip my feet back into the blogging world again. I needed time to refuel, refocus, get our homeschool rhythm to a sustainable place, and also just more time with the Lord and with my family.
I have plenty that I’m looking forward to sharing with you, some of which I trust will benefit your families, particularly in the area of wellness: I’ve learned much in the past year or so about reducing the ‘rush’, balancing hormones including adrenal health, inflammation, the many factors (besides calories) involved in weight management, fasting, and dietary changes. I also feel like we’re in a much better place with a sustainable homeschool rhythm, and I’m also looking forward to passing on some faith-based insights from my ‘sabbatical’.
Our children are doing well, and we’re enjoying how each of their unique and wonderful personalities are growing and emerging. They are all so different! We are not creating mini versions of ourselves, but hope to foster their precious hearts into them becoming all the Lord intends for them to be.
We’ve also joined a community of believers that has been a huge blessings to our lives, and feel like after the longest time, we have finally found our ‘fit’.
As for this place here, I plan on writing about once a month, unless there’s something I desperately want to share with you (like this week there’s a huge sale on homeschool resources I’ll tell you about – check your inbox!).
I’ve done some updating around the place, still a bit more to do, but in the interests of ‘balance’ I’ll chip away at it a little at a time! When you have a moment, have a look at the ‘Homeschool’ drop-down menu above where I’ve updated most of the curriculum that we use for each level (Pre-K-5th Grade). I should have this finished later this week. I still get questions about what we use, so I hope this is a convenient way of seeing this in one place.
Thanks for your continued support. If you find something has helped you here, please leave me a comment. It’s encouraging to my heart!
Ty and Charlene Bollinger created a storm last year when they released to the internet for free, a 9-part docu-series on cancer, The Truth About Cancer, which was watched by hundreds of thousands world-wide. I watched the whole series too, and learned plenty of new information about what is currently being used in the treatment of cancer over the world, besides chemo, radiation and surgery.
The Truth About Cancer is back for another round this month, in an effort to get the word out to more people. Can I encourage you to sign up to watch for free over the 9 days, beginning April 12th? Get informed about how cancer can be healed, hear the stories of those who have done it themselves, and be encouraged with hope that there is a better way than what you may have been told.
I don’t know about you, but I am so over losing my loved ones to cancer! There has to be a better way! I really do believe Ty and Charlene have done a superb job of bringing together so many experts and so much information into one packed-full series. If you or a loved one is battling cancer, this could be your starting point with moving forward into intentional healing.
Some of you will have been watching Ty and Charlene Bollinger’s series over the last 9 days: “The Truth About Cancer – A Global Quest”. I’ve been studying cancer for about a decade, for my own personal interest, yet I still found stacks of new information in this series including up-to-date research and more recent breakthroughs in preventing and treating cancer. I especially enjoyed the segment on essential oils, which I’m about to finally take the plunge and fill my home with!
The final episode has excerpts from an interview with Jordan Rubin, author of NY Times Bestseller,”The Maker’s Diet”, who shares his story about how he healed his own cancer in 2008. He was told that 100% of people with his cancer will die from it, and was given 3 months to live. I have enormous respect for Jordan, and his book “The Maker’s Diet” is still the benchmark by which I weigh other perspectives on health by.
He set about going after his healing with great intentionality, and was successful in seeing that thing turn on its head. Brilliant!
I came across this testimony of how Jordan journeyed through healing cancer and the 5 keys we can use to unlock conquering faith in all challenges. The talk is called “To Hell with Cancer!” I hope you find it as inspiring as I did.
I thought I’d give you a glimpse into our pantry and fridge, and show you how we eat most of the time. I think it’s fairly simple, just natural, whole ingredients, and organic where possible and affordable. We also have a few specialty ingredients that we use sometimes.
So here’s what our pantry usually looks like after shopping day (photos taken a month ago). Where it’s just way too expensive to buy organic varieties, we try and find the next best thing. Our local supermarket for example has some ‘natural’ range products that are more affordable, and some of these things we use less regularly anyway (eg. almond meal, maple syrup). A lot of things we buy in bulk bags, such as flour, nuts and dried fruit. Also, our dairy produce in New Zealand is grass-fed and so we don’t buy organic dairy or meat (but do free-range chickens).
You’ll notice there’s some things there that aren’t all that healthy (like the bought crackers, which are convenient carriers for healthy toppings!), but we aren’t 100% perfect and aren’t trying to be!
Flour and Baking Ingredients
Gluten-free/aluminium-free baking powder
Coconut amino sauce
Pure maple syrup
Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit
Natural raw nut mix (almonds, pecans, brazils, walnuts)
Seed blend (LSAP)
Oils and Vinegars
Extra virgin coconut oil
Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Fermented soy sauce
Jasmine white rice
Popcorn (always organic)
Millet (used infrequently)
Amaranth (used infrequently)
Canned coconut cream
Canned chick peas
100% bean pasta
Tomato passata sauce
Homemade buckwheat cereal
Large rolled oats
Store-bought oat bars
Organic herbal tea
Dr Mercola Protein powder
Moringa leaf powder
Braggs nutritional seasoning
Various dried herbs
In Our Fridge
This is about the fullest our fridge ever looks, as we have various leftovers in there, some chicken bones to turn into stock, and some bags of flour! I can also spot some blueberries that we picked ourselves, and about 4 jars of sauerkraut. Generally, the staples are:
Double organic cream
Free range eggs
Pesto (maybe once a month for this)
Kombucha mushies (haven’t made kombucha in a while)
Homemade ACV drink
Homemade iced tea concentrate
Meat and frozen berries are in the freezer, also some frozen homemade stocks
Usually we eat naturally fermented sour dough bread, as we can get some amazing artisan bread for a great price the day after it’s baked. But we’re looking at cutting out grains for a while just to tidy up a few health issues that are lingering. Instead I’m making flax bread and keep slices in the freezer ready to go, or using leftovers and making cooked lunches.
So there you go! We’re spending inside the average range for a family of our size: $230-$359/wk (NZ stats for 2013, from lower to moderate range). The weeks I blow the budget is usually because we’ve stocked up on something or bought supplements.
We’re going to make some cut backs on our grocery bill this year but more on that another time. I’d like to get it down to $200-250/wk without compromising our health. That’s going to take some serious creativity!
I just wanted to share this great site with you. Miranda Nelson is a international speaker, model, author, visionary, and all-round beautiful person. She has a range of printed tank tops and t-shirts that I love, as they make identity-affirming statements which I’m all about, and part of the proceeds go to support ‘Project Orphans’ who aim to provide safe homes for children in dangerous situations. If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you will know that loving orphans is really important to me!
Miranda also has a great blog filled with wisdom on health, food, beauty and other things. I encourage you to take a look. You’ll be blessed.