Tag Archives: Homeschooling

A Fire to Change the World

I didn’t read the public figure’s entire post, just the first line, “I have a fire in me to change the world…”

It struck me then, how many of us claim to have a fire in us to change the world.

How I claim to have a fire in me to change the world… Or at least some small part of it.

And it struck me all the harder, as I sat there hours later at our kitchen table, still waiting on our son to finish his assignments. The incredibly strong smell of another dirty diaper approached with our youngest son:

How sad is it? I say I have this fire in me to change the world, and yet I don’t have enough “fire in me” to want to change a diaper? I say I have a fire in me to change the world, and yet I don’t have enough fire in me to want to continue to sit for hours next to a child struggling with his schoolwork, while all his brothers and sisters are long done?

Where does the world begin to change really, if not within the very walls of the home first?

What is to say that this young child next to me, is not one who will grow up to truly change the world?

World missions is often no further than a kitchen table.


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Make it Personal {Be Careful What You Ask For}

Yesterday our oldest son had to submit a report on a topic of his choosing. He picked skateboarding- all well and good.

He got together all his facts from his outline and was nearly done. Before submitting it online to his teacher I looked it over and then told him,

“Well you need to add some personality to it. Make it PERSONAL…”

I returned later to view his changes.

Yes, thank you son.
That was personal enough.

Luke 11:9
“… So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you…”

Mother’s Note:
Be careful what you ask for :).


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Patterns and Place Value- Not Just Math Concepts

I really enjoy math.

I like that it is definite.

I like that it is infinite.

I like how it is incredibly simple and yet extraordinarily complex.

All of these things remind me of God.

Today I taught our son the strategy of recognizing a pattern in order to count by twos.

Recognizing patterns is so beneficial in math. It also is pretty exciting (Yes, I just called math exciting).

Once you clearly see the pattern, it is easy to just keep going with it.

So we wrote the counting by twos pattern and we cut out numbers that could be switched out as we bumped up into the next number family. Our little guy was counting by twos with ease.


And then we did place value.

Place value can be tricky for little ones because so often they don’t understand exactly how the placement of a number greatly changes its value. They don’t get that a “7” in the tens place is equivalent to 70 as opposed to only 7 and so on.

One exercise that seems to help our kids is this: I read out loud a three-digit number, like 110.

I then draw out three boxes in a row. Above each box I write what number we are “counting by” when a number is written in that box.

Hundreds place- we count by hundreds- so I write “100”

Tens place- we count by tens- so I write “10”

Ones place we count by ones- so I write “1”

(Writing “100,” “10,” and “1,” as opposed to the words “hundreds,” “tens,” and “ones” seems to make the concept far less intimidating for young children.)

Once again I say out loud the number, this time adding emphasis: “one HUNDRED and TEN.”

“How many hundreds are there?” ONE HUNDRED
“How many tens?” ONE TEN
“Did you hear any other numbers? No. There are no other numbers. Write a zero in the ones place.”


We go through the exercise a few times and the child begins to understand how the placement of a number greatly effects its value.

Patterns… Place value…

These are Biblical concepts as well.

The Old Testament was laid as the pattern for the New, but I was never able to see that until I really started to study the works of Christ. Once I caught glimpses of the pattern between the two reading the Bible became more exciting to me.

It became even more exciting when I began to understand that our value can only be truly understood once we realize our place in Christ.

That will put a smile on your face for sure… A smile like a child who finally understands patterns and place value.



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Yes, Step into the Middle of the Mess


She walks out of her room,
Dirty diaper in hand.
For reasons that I,
Cannot comprehend.
Onto the floor falls her waste.

And there she is,
This daughter of mine,
Covered in poop,
One more time,

Another miss.
Another mess.

Another chance,
For me to step,

Closer to your heart.

I feel you whisper,


Step closer to a love,
That changes.

Step closer to a love,
That endures the stench.

Step closer to a love,
That washes clean.

Step closer to a love,
That covers.

Step closer to a love,
That says, ‘Try again.’

Yes, step.
Step into the middle of the mess.”

So I step.

And I feel your heart.

He is sitting at the table,
Pencil in hand,
Needing help on a problem,
He cannot understand,
Calling for me to come.

And there are dishes in the sink.
There are crumbs on the floor.
There are so many messes,
My attentions have implored.
But I feel you urging,

“Stop and step.

Step into the middle of the mess.

Because in the messes,
I still speak.

In the messes,
I still teach.

In the messes,
Is where I long to be.

So step.
Step into the middle of the mess.”

So I step.
And I feel your heart.

Later in the evening,
I fill a request,
To accompany my husband,
And try my best.

So I find myself,
Back behind a line,
Messes around me,
Yet one more time,
Cleaning and cooking,
Lending a hand,
Speaking a language as best as I can,
Seeing broken people as they stop by.

And I feel you whisper,

Yes, you have stepped.
You have stepped into the mess.

You have stepped,
Closer to a love that keeps pouring.

You have stepped,
Closer to a love that keeps cleaning,

You have stepped,
Closer to a love that keeps serving,

You have stepped,
Closer to a love that keeps standing.

You have stepped where I step,
Into the middle of mess.”

Now, I don’t know what mess,
May surround you today.
But I want to challenge you,
In this very same way,
To step.

Step into the middle of the mess.

Step where your Savior,
Has stepped for you.
Step where he daily,
Continues to.

Step where you will find His rest.

Yes, Step into the middle of the mess.

John 3:16
For God so loves the world…

He stepped.


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Teaching Tip: Long Division for Young Children


Division can be a hard concept for young children to grasp. I like to tell our kids to think of the long division sign as a kitchen table. Under the table are balls, and sitting around the table are children that each want to share equally all the balls under the table.

If “under the table” there are 8 balls.
(If the dividend is 8)

And sitting “around the table” are 2 children.
(If the divisor is 2)

Then each child will get 4 balls.
(The quotient will be 4)

Act out the process at your kitchen table. You can use balls or crayons, or whatever you have on hand to act out the process.

Just remember to teach them the proper names of the long division sign, the dividend, the divisor, and the quotient, as it is likely that they will want to call them simply “the table”, “the balls”, and “the kids” from this lesson on.



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Color Your World

This morning I watched our son coloring a “color by the sound” type of Phonics activity paper. To be totally honest, these papers are one of my least favorite papers to give as an assignment to our kids because, in general, they take so long for the kids to complete.

Each little space is meticulously colored in the same color that matches the sounds of the words they pronounce from their lips. If they pronounce a word incorrectly, the space the word is in on the page becomes colored in the wrong hue.

They get frustrated when the picture does not look right. It is hard to erase the wrong color.

And so I have watched this process many times, wanting to simply move on with their lessons. But today, the Lord used this to teach me something about the way I color my world. I COLOR IT WITH MY WORDS.

Every word I speak is casting its hues on my day. Words that I speak quickly and carelessly, words that are not to the tune of God’s words, can leave me frustrated, at a day, a situation, or a life, that doesn’t look right.

Thankfully, God’s Word has the power to erase mine, and recolor my world if I read it. If I pick it up and keep it sharp. But do I? Or is His Word sitting, like colored pencils boxed up on a counter somewhere. If so, my faith becomes dull. I am missing many points.

And if I am overworked, burnt out like an overused pencil sharpener, how can I expect to keep His Word sharp in my heart? I can’t. I must rest first and recharge.

What words will color your world today? When is the last time you stopped to rest in God’s love?

Today, take some time to stop and rest. Take some time to stop and read. Take the time to stop and breathe, and really think, before you begin to color your world with the words you speak.

The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life… Proverbs 10:11



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Their Grade is Not Your Grade- Encouragement for Parents


Our three year-old daughter scribbled all over her brother’s math test earlier today. Frustrated, he said to me, “I am going to fail! She scribbled all over it!” I tried to reassure him, “You can write over her answers. I will be able to see your writing. I am not grading her. I am grading you.”

In that moment, God made clear a similiar concept that I have struggled with for some time. As a mom, when my kids misbehave it is easy to feel like I am a failure. Indeed, there will be others who will judge me for their mistakes. But the truth is my “grade” is not based on my children’s mistakes. My grade is based on how I perform in the midst of their mistakes. God is able to clearly see me in the midst of the mess. Their mistakes are not equivalent to my failure.

Perhaps you need to hear that today too. Your grade is not based on your children’s mistakes. Your grade is based on how you perform in the midst of their mistakes. God is able to clearly see you in the midst of the mess. Their mistakes are not equivalent to your failure. Have no fear. If you continue to walk in love, you will pass the test that matters most.


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