Saturday, November 10, 2007

Praiseworthy Book: Homeschooling With A Meek and Quiet Spirit

One of the things most homeschooling mothers hear over and over is "I don't know how you do it. I could never do that." Well, the truth is most of you could do it just as well, if not better than I can! Homeschooling is a big commitment and it's not easy but probably not in the way those who don't homeschool think. I love looking at curriculum. I find it very good brain food to think and ponder what to teach my children and how. To read and talk to others about how and why. I love to buy the books. What is hard is dealing with the day to day commitment of the routine of homeschooling. I used to be a teacher in a public school and it was no different there. Teachers don't always feel like teaching. Just like anyone who goes to a job. You have your good days and your bad days and sometimes you just get through it one step at a time. The difference with homeschooling, as much as I hate to admit it, is these are YOUR children! The little stinkers can push your buttons like no one else can!!!! Well, I have found the perfect antidote for those days when you feel overwhelmed and angry. It's Terri Maxwell's book, "Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit."

This is a book that should be read over and over again in an endless loop. It is very short really and doesn't take long to read. It manages to be both inspiring as well as practical. And Terri knows whereof she speaks. She is the homeschooling mother of eight children and has homeschooled since 1985. She shares openly and transparently about her failures as well as her successes. Terri is known by many as the author of the very popular book Managers of Their Homes but this is no Martha Stewart, perfect with all the answers. This is a woman like you and me who struggles to do the best job she can. Terri shares about the path God lead her on as He taught her how to be a homeschooling mother. The lessons she learned from Him are invaluable. There is also a study guide for groups who wish to study this group together. You can see both at the Maxwell Family's website

Teaching Loyalty

The Fighting Gillises - Norman Rockwell

I have been influenced in my educational philosophy by Charlotte Mason an educator who lived in England and died in 1923. Miss Mason wrote that children are persons with the ability to chose between good and evil and part of the goal of their education is moral teaching. Loyalty is one of the virtues held in esteem by Miss Mason and patriotism is a way of teaching loyalty.

On our trip to the grocery this week there was an older gentleman from the V.F.W. selling poppies as often happens around Veteran's Day. He was a sweet gentle soul and for the change I put in his collection jar he made sure that both my children had poppies (more on the poppies here) and then tried to give me one too. It struck me later that this sweet older gentleman was likely in some pretty scary places as a young man. He may have seen some horrific things during his service to our country. That's why it's called SERVICE. He put aside his own wants and needs to SERVE our country. He was obedient to the call for help. That obedience comes through loyalty.

Thinking on loyalty brought to mind another older gentleman I'm acquainted with. This gentleman is a door greeter at my church. He loves children and when we come through the door he always pretends there is a baby bird in his pocket and pulls it out to show my children. He makes little soft chirping sounds and bends down to show them. As they peer closer and closer he puts the "bird" back in his pocket to keep it safe. It never fails to delight.
In his youth this young man parachuted into Europe over enemy territory during World War II. He got stuck in a tree and considered himself fortunate since another friend who parachuted in with him was shot on the way down. He was captured and put in a prison camp. I've heard him testify that his faith in God was all that got him through those long months. After all these years he still tells the story with a catch in his throat. Yet despite his suffering he loves this country and still dons his cap and salutes the flag on patriotic holidays. That is loyalty.

A wonderful book to help you teach your children about loyalty, obedience and sacrifice is In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae. The illustrations are beautiful and with the text of the poem manage to communicate feelings that are difficult to put into words. The poem was written after a friend of McCrae's was killed in World War I and it urges the reader to remember the sacrifice made by the soldiers. In between the pages of the poem are pages devoted to historical information about John McCrae and World War I.

Take this Veteran's day to tell your children about the soldiers and their families who acted out of obedience to this country by serving in our military. Introduce them to someone you know who served our country. Let them see you thank the Veterans you see for their service. For their loyalty.