I Wish I Learned History Like This!

Jacob's book

Did you know that we are one of “Those Homeschooling Families?” Yes, that’s us!

When we first started homeschooling I bought exactly the books my oldest son would have been using in school that year. I didn’t want him to miss a thing. Well, that was an easy way to stress us both out! We had a stack of textbooks, workbooks, teacher manuals, and more piled up on the table every day. We were doing the same boring stuff, only faster!

Then I started homeschooling two boys with all the books they both needed, and I couldn’t be found behind the mountain of books. For us, it turned out to be a big waste of time and money. I had to change everything a couple months into the school year. Live and learn they say, right?

Now we learn {I learn too!} by reading wonderful books and working off of them. What a concept! All the work relates to a certain time in history and helps to make it more memorable with out memorizing facts.

My son, Jacob, wasn’t that interested in reading for years. Last year he really fell in love with reading all on his own. I guess it was just “his time” to start loving the wonderful world of books. Now I can’t pry a book out of his hands!

Shades of Gray is his latest school book. I think he’ll finish tomorrow, and he spent hours reading it today. Robinson Crusoe was his book of choice at the bookstore a few weeks ago. What’s not to love about that kind of learning? He remembers everything he reads and so does my other son, AJ.

They read on the porch, in their beds on rainy days, at the park, and on the couch. I read to Jacob with him cuddled up next to me…love that!

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This is on one of Jacob’s favorite shirts {his lucky fishing shirt}. Can you believe all these brilliant leaders in history were homeschooled?

Have you ever thought about homeschooling? It has been a blessing to our family in so many ways!

Focus Not On That Which is Seen

Strangler Fig2 copy

Life is crazy sometimes. Unexpected things happen. Good things. Bad things. Sometimes these unexpected events are loners, they just happen in life all by themselves. Those are generally of only passing interest. Like “oh, that was nice.” or “remember that bad week back in 05″.

But sometimes they come in packs. If it’s a pack of good things we call it “good times” or “a great year”. If it’s a pack of bad things it’s like an evil horde out to devastate us! We get all bent out of shape then. It’s like “COME ON! what else is going to go wrong?” It can be a little bit disconcerting, if you know what I mean.

Two Questions

Is it really bad? – As a Christian, I have to ask myself this. It’s not really at all easy for me to just call something that happens “bad”. The reason is that my Bible says that “all things” work together for the good of those who love the Lord (our house) and are called according to His purpose…which we most certainly are.

So is it truly bad? Can I say yes and say I believe my Bible at the same time?

Where is my focus? – When I’m in a “and the hits just keep on coming!” kind of whiny mood, where is my focus? Not trying to be preachy here, just explaining how my mind works. My next thought is another Bible verse…”focus NOT on that which is seen, focus on that which is unseen…”. The Word is saying that I should focus on eternal things.

But even in this life we tend to focus on one thing at a time and not see the big picture. What ELSE is God doing in the midst of all that is going on? What other things are happening that are great? What about the really big things like family, and health, and a safe environment?

So, it’s hard to be too upset about those so-called “bad things” in light of what we know is good.

Take A Walk

I don’t think I’ve ever had a hard time learning from God when I try. It’s as easy as walking outside. Romans says that everything about the Creator can be learned by looking at what He created. The world is just a huge book pointing us to God and his ways. A walk outside with a prayerful heart will always result in a lesson.

Yesterday morning I was walking and not really thinking too hard. I was just walking along and enjoying the morning and thinking what a lucky dog I was to be living in such an amazing and wonderful part of the world. As I breezed by some trees on the side of the sidewalk, one of them caught my eye… actually there was two.

A Cabbage Palm, and a Strangler Fig

Strangler Fig

Despite the unbecoming name, a Strangler Fig is an amazingly beautiful tree. Similar to a Banyan in appearance, these trees can develop over years into magnificent and sprawling structures that just totally bring out the kid in me. I just want to climb it, and sit under it, and go inside every little hidden cave of it’s root structure.

The Cabbage Palm on the other hand is a bit more ho-hum in my opinion, but a nice tree in its own right. What happens when the two meet is an amazing example of how life works sometimes. The Strangler Fig starts growing on the palm, not in the dirt mind you, but up higher on the trunk. It then starts to send roots down the tree into the ground, eventually wrapping all the way around the trunk.

The process takes years and while it happens you see both trees. But eventually you don’t see the Cabbage Palm anymore. At first it is covered up and invisible, then eventually it just dies away and all that is left is an amazing and beautiful tree that is much more magnificent than the palm ever could have been.

It’s not that the palm wasn’t pretty or nice. God made it beautiful. It’s just that the palm wasn’t the “finished design” that God had for that little piece of Earth. It was a stepping stone, but not the final outcome. He had bigger plans.

I think life is very much like this sometimes. Sometimes things we thought we liked, things we thought were “fine” have to pass away in order for the new thing that God has in store for us to come to pass. Sometimes they are stepping stones, building blocks, but not the finished product.

So I encourage you to remember that He works tirelessly and constantly for your future and that we can have faith that things that seem bad are just building blocks. One day, sooner or later, we’ll be able to see how they were used for our good.