I am a follower of your blog and just want you to know how inspirational it is. I have a couple of questions for you that I have been praying about.
I have a 7, 14, and 17 year old and last year was our first year out of public school-we still did an online school but they were at home. I know with older kids it would seem I would have all my ducks in a row but I am very disorganized and sometimes do not know what to do.
My older boy is very good at spending hours reading the bible. He is also extremely talented with the piano and wants to use his music for the Lord.
My older daughter needs more guidance and good hobby ideas. She loves to draw but loves to draw the cartoon Japan style people and I worry about that.
My youngest son is extremely energetic and I know will do great things for the Lord if I can only keep his energy channeled in the right direction.
They are great kids and know the Lord and want to do his will I just need a few helpful ideas. First, do you think it is unhealthy for my daughter to draw that style of cartoons? She says she wants to minister to the Japanese someday with this but I worry because she is 14 and her hobby really consumes her time.
Also, does your family have a schedule through the summer and bible studies you use? I feel like our summer is just a blur where nothing is accomplished other than running errands and trying to keep my son busy. I want to just settle down and spend time with him I just do not know how to do this because he has so much energy and he literally wears me out. He also wants his older siblings to play with him all the time and they do want to so there is a constant battle there.
My husband works a lot so it is left pretty much up to me. I want to continue having them at home through the school year and I want it to be a good experience for my youngest-just many times I feel like I cant do everything.
Sorry this is a long email but I would really appreciate any helpful ideas.
Thank you again for your wonderful blog.
May God bless you-A Sister in Christ
Hello dear Sister in the Lord!
I'm afraid to be the bearer of bad news, but it seems that you just got hit with a bad case of Summertime Syndrome. Recognisable features and signs of this disease include a longing for schedule (you know that schedule we thought we'd be so happy to be done with!), children wandering with too much time on their hands and us feeling beyond unproductive!
This is your very first homeschool summer, so I am afraid you were not prepared for your nicely humming household to get bumped off the track like that. I am sorry that no one warned you. It's quite common I'm afraid, but it is treatable! Yes, there is hope!
I bet you have great kids. I already know they have great parents- I mean who rocks the boat and brings their kids home after all those years? I tip my hat to you.
Here are some thoughts I hope will help.
1. PLAN TO MAKE A SUMMER SCHEDULE. Talk to your husband about what things he'd like to see done each day, then have a family meeting to assign chores. Some people love to vacuum while others despise it. You can't always make everyone happy, but if you can add some happy, then why not? If you have no experience making a schedule, there are great (and godly) resources out there to help us. Include daily chores and things you want to accomplish as a group (think exercise, Scripture memory, singing and Bible reading as a group).
2. TACKLE SOME HOUSEHOLD PROJECTS. I don't know about you, but I always find there are things during the year we wish we could get to and just can't. Repainting a room, landscaping, organizing that garage. This is a great time to tackle something sizable. If you aren't up for sizable you could always start with something small- learning to make homemade pizzas, making your own family cookbook (with all those recipes that hallmark your family) and so on. But plan to do it TOGETHER. Work together and rest together.
3. EXPAND THE VISION OF THE BIG KIDS. In school kids get used to sitting and following a program that is geared for 30 and not just them. But God has brought these uniquely talented kiddos home to be trained by YOU!
* If your older son (17) is talented at the piano, maybe now is the time to have him start to give piano classes to younger kids from church. He sounds like a gem and just the kind of guy I'd like to see blessing and inspiring younger ones. You could teach him to make fliers, solicit clients, build a class schedule, formulate lessons- and he could earn a few dollars in the process!
* If your daughter (14) is talented in art expand her art reference and assignments. Likely she draws the Japanese characters because she is good at drawing them. We all love to do what we are good at, so give her something else to be good at. Ignite her excitement for beautiful things. I would start with Simply Charlotte's art studies and black line versions of great masterpieces. The art studies come with instructions, and for the black line versions, I make a copy of the art I want us to color (we skip nudes), search for the original images online and ask the girls to get as close to the original in color and shading as they can. Also, plan to purchase a nice sized sketchbook and ask her to fill it with 10 images a week (not the Japanese style that she has already mastered) but things inspired from creation or her other art studies.
* It doesn't take foreign soil to be a missionary. Right now you have a little boy (7) who needs those big kids to breathe kindness, acceptance and love into his life. He needs their time and attention with Legos, BB gun practice, learning slight of hand tricks and new card games. I would adjust their thinking a little bit about what it means to serve the Lord. James 4:15 says:
"Instead we ought to say, 'If the Lord wills,
we shall live and do this or that."
Teach the older ones to pour themselves into whatever service the Lord calls them to (including serving their little brother at home) and realize that it does not take foreign soil to be a missionary. They are already missionaries at home, at their church etc. and in the future they will be missionaries outside their home as well- at the store, the post office, the bank and wherever else the Lord leads them. Don't teach them to wait to serve. They are needed now! :)
* Time to learn new skills. Summer is a great time to learn new skills. All the kids can learn to cook a meal or two and become part of the weekly rotation. Big kids can learn video editing software and edit family videos for the whole family to enjoy. They can all learn to sew (hey- even the Wright brothers knew how to use a sewing machine!) Any skill that builds into your family and gives them something to take with them.
4. FILL LITTLE TANKS FIRST Try to set aside 10-20 minutes first thing in the day (after your own Bible) to read a character book to your youngest son (7). You will be surprised how much that will help to make him feel better about each day- and you too!
5. LIMITING ERRANDS We all have crazy seasons, but limiting errands is a great idea. We save gas and all the mystery money that comes with leaving the house (fast food, impulse buys etc.) One thing I am experimenting with right now is ordering household items via Walmart.com home free and/or Amazon.com Prime and having them delivered to me! They will ship for free (or in some cases for 97 cents) and the convience keeps me home. Walmart can be a little slow- up to 10 days- but that's ok if I plan for it. Sam's Club even has a free Click n' Pull program.
6. GET OUT! Plan to visit some local spot you never have time to see. Or grab a blanket and go to the park to read a book aloud or feed the ducks. This is a nice window of time for homeschoolers to get out during what would otherwise be school time.
My husband works a lot too. I try to look at the positive side- that it gives us lots of hours to make his home a pleasant place to return to. I usually read expositorily to the kiddos unless we break for a topical study. And I try to have dinner and something like Pictures from Proverbs ready for my husband to lead when he comes home.
I hope this helps dear Sister. Please let me know if I missed anything or if I've created new questions!
Love and prayers,
P.S. I don't get everything done either- no one does! But with God's help we can get to the most important things! ;)