Homeschooling an only

Every so often SweetPea and I have to have a pep talk about her being an only child--this week was one of those times.  She would love a sibling and since that's just not a probability, we have to go back to the basics--God has defined our family as it is and how do we live richly and with contentment within that definition?

I can't blame her.  It's often a lonely road and we are challenged to bring about that balance she wants.  We live in a neighborhood with no kids she can play with and puppies don't talk, P.E. is really boring (like how exciting is jump-rope?), we have to be careful not to be too demanding on friends and not to feel pushed to do too many outside activities to compensate.  All cousins and extended family live in another state.  Her mom has to be mom and teacher and friend and playmate, and when you're the whole student body, there's just not a lot of room for mess-up!

I've often told her she is having a unique opportunity to become good friends with herself.  People often live lives filled with so much activity and other people that if ever they are faced with significant aloneness, they are at a loss.  So I encourage her to write and develop all kinds of creativity...and to get to know Jesus, who is her best Friend.

I've grown to trust the Lord's leadership in her life, too.  Since her life is appointed as it is, He is arranging experiences for her that are tailor-made to teach her what she'll need to live a successful life.  For example, I keenly miss the lessons she would learn about unselfishness and care of others that she would have if she had brothers and sisters.  But she is learning these same things in friendships, both by experience and by observation.  And she'll certainly learn such things when it's her turn to be a mom, won't she?!

When it comes to homeschooling, I do feel pressure to "do it right" this first time around since it's my only time time around!  I'm working on that.  Part of me would love to just take a whole year and do all the fun and unschooling-sort-of stuff Right Brain whispers to me.  Alas, Left Brain usually shakes such nonsense out of me and we press on.  BUT, SweetPea told me just the other day that she is really enjoying all of school this year so I have no plans to rock the boat.

God is good!  I'm thankful He didn't leave me out of this fabulous journey of homeschooling.  One kid or many, I think it's one of the most exciting things going on the planet.



God's tender mercies

I've been thinking much in recent months about the very great and faithful mercies of the Lord.  I've had so many situations that were just beyond me to handle...to have strength for my day after a poor night's sleep, to juggle the full schedule, to make a decision, or even be faithful in the daily requirements.  And yet, just at the point of need, I have seen His glorious mercy so evident in some tender and very personal way.

Today was one of those days.  Two days ago, the Puppy (see previous post!) got an allergic reaction to some medication and was SICK.  A trip to the vet, a trip to the store for medicine, and all the interruptions to tend to her needs did in whatever semblance of order to our school for two days.  This, after two weeks of disrupted home life just training and tending to her.  Aack!  I was over the top.  (Did I mention the word 'stressed'?)

But today--what a different story.  God's mercies covered us like a soothing blanket.  Puppy was better, I figured out a way to successfully (and quietly!) give her kennel time while we did school, I got dinner done on time--and my daughter even said she loved math!  Out of the ditch and back on the road.

So I was reminded once again, He "will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, but will with the temptation give you a way of escape."  What a thoughtful, loving, ever-faithful and merciful Savior.  Thank You, Jesus!


Timeline idea

I wanted to share a neat idea for a timeline that we're using this year in our history studies.  It's actually a composite of several I'd read about.  It requires the continuous-feed computer printer paper--you know, the kind none of us uses anymore!  Don't tear it apart, just tear off the strip with the holes and count out a page for every hundred years from 5000 or 6000 B.C. to now (a good idea is to use only one page for the early couple of millenia--we don't have much of a record of history then).  I split my timeline into two sections at 1 A.D. just for ease of handling.

Then draw a continuous timeline about halfway down through all the pages and label the 100 year marks.  I also made 50-year marks.  Write the B.C./A.D. year at the top corner on each side of each page.

The kids can add timeline dates either vertically or horizontally and color-code them using colored pencils for different categories--political, births and deaths, religious or scientific events, civilizations, etc.  They can draw pictures, paste in graphics, use stickers, whatever.

You can then keep it in a manila pocket folder.  The great thing is, they only have to have it opened to a double spread at any one time, but can stretch it out for the "big view" anytime.  It's working great for us and I envision this as something that can be used and kept for years.

Happy timelining!