Tuesday, August 7, 2012


We are a shoeless bunch around the house!

Recently a reader asked how our homeschooling has changed over the years.  While I am sure she was referring to methodolgy and curriculum (which I hope to tackle in my next post) I wanted to begin by sharing a big mistake that I made as a young homeschool mom.


Tom and I were the first in our families to have children and the first to homeschool.  Although we had a clear idea of what we wanted our children to be like (radical, holy, different, bright eyed, confident believers on Christ) there was just one problem.  I was afraid.  Afraid of being too radical.  Too holy.  Too different.

And I wasn't just a little afraid.  I was the heart palipitating, eye twitching uncontrollably, nervous sweats kind of afraid. 

I was so concerned about public opinion- especially that of our extended family- that at times I was paralyzed!  I began to build activities into our schedule that I hoped would appease them rather than walk in what I felt God was directing.  I would spend time recalling hurtful comments and would nurse bad feelings so that their words were ever before my eyes (can you see the problem with that one?). 

And although God tells us that the righteous are as bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1) I can tell you that I was not walking like the righteous.  Instead I was all worked up.  Fear had swollowed my boldness as I cast my (twitching) eye on what man wanted.  It is hard to believe I gave that much power to fellow dust rather than the triune God of Scripture.   

If I could go back now and have a heart to heart with that young mom who was me, I would gently take her aside, talk with her and pray with her. Directing her back to truth.  The truth that sets us all free.

I would remind her that: 

1.  Fear is not from God. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7  And if fear is not from God then we need to be wise in how we respond to it.  In Philippians 4:4-7 the Lord tells us not to be anxious, but thankful and His peace will guard our hearts and minds.  I love that picture of an armed guard protecting my mind.  He goes on to tell us what to meditate on (and it's not the disapproval of others) and the "God of peace" will be with us.

2.  The fear of man is a trap. “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25   Part of the trap of fearing men is that it takes our eyes off Christ and puts them on earthly, passing things. We become tempted to live for public opinion rather than the One we must answer to.

3.  We should not take to heart what people say.  “Do not take to heart everything people say, let you hear your servant cursing you. For many times also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others.” Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 It is too easy for our flesh to take things to heart and leave us feeling like victims.  In Ecclesiastes we see hurtful words in the context of truth.  We sometimes fail others with our words and this person is doing the same thing you have done.  Now is the time to pretend to be a Wemick and let it fall off. 

May you seek first God and His kingdom and all will be added unto you! 

Blessings dear sisters,


  1. Thank you Rebecca for this post. I don't comment very often but I want to let you know how much I appreciate the wisdom you share at your blog especially for homeschooling families. I have been there too and these are the words I would also say to my younger self but still need to hear ... it is too easy to remember the negative comments we receive and to think about what people think of us. I have never come across that verse before 'Do not take to heart..' I love how that is worded! I will meditate on those words today. What a beautiful photo of your girls. We too are a shoeless family indoors... we have white tiles throughout our home so it had to become policy or I would be forever sweeping and mopping!

  2. Thank you, Ann. You are a blessing.

  3. A relative recently told us, "Well, religion is fine. And then there is too much religion." Oh, mercy. My husband and I had a good discussion about whether it is even possible to be a Christian who isn't "radical." Isn't "too much" love/grace/redemption really exactly what God is? :) And Christ wasn't really asking for lukewarm, was He? (We giggled about giving our kids just 1/2 cup of Jesus daily...you know, an "acceptable" amount.) Good grief.

    I think we are in an interesting place culturally. Being "intolerant" of anything is confused with hatred, and we have found that having standards of any variety is being confused with lacking grace. Odd. I'm afraid that a long tradition of self-esteem-emphasis and "I'm okay/You're okay" training in a variety of places has led to a rudderless society for our children.

    Thanks for your wise words. I have been in the same place, wanting to prove to others that we really aren't so different (or that I am covering all the bases they deem appropriate.) Just recently I've had the courage to suggest audacious things, like: 1)We don't think organized sports, cell phones, or the Disney channel are necessary ingredients in childhood, and 2)We don't lie awake at night worried about socialization, and we don't think our kids need lots of playmates outside of our family. Imagine the scandal. :)
    Thanks, A

  4. Amy in CA- I wanted to thank you for your sweet comment that didn't come through here. I was able to read your note through my email and appreciated it. :)

  5. A- Amen- lukewarm is not the goal. As a person who was converted to Christ in my early twenties I can tell you that I wasn't looking for some of the same worldliness I had already experienced. By God's grace He led Tom and I to the very pastor and church group who was praying God would send someone they could diciple. Our pastor was a "radical" guy who read the Bible and applied it. We have always wanted our kids to be radical like their Uncle Brian. :)

    I praise God for your recent courage to stand for what you feel God is leading your family! That is the critical thing to remember as we train- to teach our children that this is what God is leading OUR family.

    In areas that are not sin we must help our kiddos to see that God may give liberty to others. For example, it may not be sin for another family to do gymnastics but you may feel it is a bad influence for your family. It is important to go to the Scripture and ask the Lord. Is this an example of bad company corrupting good morals? If you think so, then I would encourage you to show your kids from Scripture why you don't think this is a good fit for your family and do something else with the time as God leads.

    We have to be careful with young ones to train them to embrace our convictions without training them to look down on others. If we teach them to be proud it will be our own undoing because God resists the proud.

    We must teach them to love as we navigate by God's Word- because love of the Brethren is also a radical, supernatural thing! :)

    Be blessed my dear.

  6. Ack, I'm now aware that my comment (above) did sound very prideful. Please know that I don't actually feel that anyone is beneath me...I am certainly a sinner saved from the deepest miry clay.

    I think what I was attempting to convey (poorly!) was that we are trying to have more quiet confidence, and to *gently* tell the truth about our family convictions...instead of hemming/hawing, if that makes sense.

    I think the issue of modesty, with girls, is a specific area where our girls have actually embraced stricter standards than we set as a family (having the Duggar family as cultural icons *might* have had something to do with that!) and where we are continually reminding our daughters that dress is a challenging issue and that people can be led differently by God. We remind them that they can't be proud for wearing a one-piece or scornful of a woman in tight pants! :)

    Thank you for the kind, convicting reply!

  7. Thank you for your gracious clarification! I wasn't thinking that you were experiencing this, but just wanting to share a potential pitfall that could be waiting for those of us who are growing in our convictions. Can't written communication be tricky?

    Children can especially struggle with the balance between having a strong family identity and pride in the wrong way. I am always seeking (although imperfectly) to be on guard against this sin. :)

    Love to you!

  8. As always you are echoing my thoughts exactly and the same things I struggled with as a young homeschooling mom! Love You,

  9. Lisa- Your friendship is an example of God's kindness in my life. I love you! :)

  10. Another wonderful (thought provoking!) message! Just what I needed!!! :0)

    As our family prepares for another year of homeschooling our oldest daughter (2nd grade) we have been considering the idea of having a *homeschool room* in our house. Do you have a school room set up somewhere in your home? If so, have you found it easier for your girls to work in the school room vs. the dining room table? Or the other way around???? Also, (if you do have an actual school room) do all of your girls work in there together or do your older girls migrate elsewhere while you teach the younger ones?

    I would love to hear what has worked for your family over the years!!

    In His Love,

  11. Hello Kelly!

    Yes, we do have a school room. I think a seperate room is helpful even if you only end up using it for school and toy storage at times.

    We try to keep things flexible- able to move from place to place. We do Bible, History etc. together- often at the kitchen table, then divide up for Math and Spelling. Some of the girls will migrate to their desk in the school room and others to the kitchen counter. (It really depends on the weather too. The school room is warmer- it's upstairs- and is a cozier place to work in the Winter.) Then, depending on the day we may gather again in the Family Room for a read aloud or to tackle another subject.

    I suppose we are really nomad schoolers. ;)

    Because I like to move around, I have begun to use the large presentation boards (think Science Fair tri-fold boards) as movable walls that can store the visuals and be brought from room to room then stored away when not in use. I'll try to share photos of all that I am saying soon.

    Thank you also for your email Kelly. And please forgive my slow response. Your walk is a real encouragement to me. :)


  12. Thank you so much for your kind words Rebecca! ***hugs***

    I just love reading your blog. The love you have for the Lord and your family are always so visible!

    It's such a wonderful thing to see a woman so devoted to spiritually nourishing her family and friends. And without even realizing it, you have encouraged me countless times as I learn to do the same with my own family.

    This particular post was so interesting to me because right now, *I am that young mom* still trying to find my way. And, sadly I am so guilty of worrying about what other people might think (especially family members who haven't agreed with our decision to homeschool). Yikes! total wakeup call let me tell ya! After reading this I fond myself shaking my head thinking "what a shame...I have wasted sooo much time over the past few years". *sigh* Instead of worrying, I should have been praying and seeking the Lord for the direction He would have us take each and every day! I certainly want to get on track and get my thinking on the one who matters above all else - Our Heavenly Father!!!

    I read something the other day that really spoke deeply to my heart, so I thought I would share it with you.

    “The 20 years between 20 and 40 are just as long as the 20 years between 40 and 60. What you do in the first 20 years determines how happy you will be in the second 20 years.” I found this quote online. It was written by Dr. Herbert Ratner and it pricked at my heart as a wife and mother. Do I really want to spend these years fretting about the opinion of others? If I allow this to happen, I know I will be missing some very special and all too important moments with my beloved family. So it's definitely time to shape up and put my eyes on the Lord, where they belong!! :0)

    I also wanted to say thank you for answering my question in regards to having a school room. I think having a room for school/toys would be nice so we are looking into it as we are hoping to move in the near future. :0) Your comment about being "nomad scholers" made me smile! Also, I really like your idea of using the presentation boards so you can take school from room to room! Great idea!!

    I am so thankful to have come across your blog - you have been such a wonderful encouragement to me!

    Blessings to your sweet family!

  13. Thank you, Kelly. I loved that quote. And your note was such an encouragement. I am so glad you are here too! :)


  14. So timely. You're such a blessing!

  15. Sounds like so many of us were blessed by this message in due season. I know that this was totally ripe for my picking on this very day that I read it. I even read The Wemmicks to my children this evening. Man's approval is so fleeting and often fickle, isn't it? To be told one day by the Master, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" keeps my heart beating some days. It is our everything, our highest aim, to please Him. Let this desire be reflected in all of our decisions and meditations. Thanks for your ministry here, Sister Rebecca!

  16. Thank you Amanda and Kendra. God is so good to us. :)