Category Archives: Homeschool

I’m the Poster Mom for Homeschooling….NOT!

It’s that time of year again when I start getting lots of questions about homeschooling –

  • can I do it?
  • should I do it?
  • how do I do it?
  • how do you do it?

Every summer I get a dozen or so requests to get together with someone & talk about homeschooling.

But here is the “real deal” – I am NOT the poster Mom for homeschooling. Yes, I am beginning my 16th year of homeschooling (K-8…so far they have all gone to private high school) and you would think that I would have it all organized & together….but NO I am still “flying by the seat of my pants” and loving every minute of it!

♥ I LOVE my kids and I LOVE just being with them!

♥ I LOVE not being beholden to a school district & their schedule or a teacher and their assignments!

♥ I LOVE all the learning time I get as we hop around from subject to subject, book to book and project to project!

♥ I LOVE traveling & hands on everything!

I suppose because I have my first three children up & out and they are…

…academically successful –> the eldest a graduate from a highly academic college with an impressive first job in NYC, #2 , despite a learning disability, pulling out a solid academic performance in college while playing intercollegiate soccer & the most recent who just graduated from high school with honors & scored in the highest group for her college placement exams! (I am not bragging…as truly this is NOT because I am some amazing homeschool Mom)

….socially adroit (as opposed to socially awkward which is the common accusation from the anti homeschooling advocates)

….emotionally healthy with amazing self confidence (the daughter with the first job applied for a position that desired a Master’s Degree and she did a great job of marketing herself and her skills to them and got hired!)

….spiritually solid and growing

that this makes folks think I have the “homeschooling answers”. I certainly do not claim (nor ever have or ever will) to have the “homeschooling answers” but if you are interested in my homeschool philosophy…here it is in an article I wrote this past Spring (It originally published here at Hip Homeschool Moms.)

If you are one of the many who have asked for time to chat about homeschooling…please forgive me for not getting back to you. I hope this helps!

P.S. – How many of you had to look up the word adroit?

I’m the Poster Mom for Homeschooling….NOT!

“You’ve been homeschooling for how many years?” the young woman loudly exclaimed at the park where all the homeschooling moms were hanging out waiting for their children to finish state testing. “Mmmmm….15”, I mumble under my breath as I watch a crowd begin to gather around the park bench.

And then it happens, just like that I am standing in front of a crowd of ladies who are fussing over me like I am some type of homeschool celebrity Mom who has in her possession the coveted secrets to successful homeschooling.

I reluctantly admit that yes, I have been homeschooling for 15 years and with eight children ranging in age from 2 to 22, I have 15 more years to go. (and after a few gasps and stares of disbelief someone says under their breath…”Wow, she looks great for having eight kids” …leaving me: an overweight, out of shape, mascara smudged, slightly frazzled looking girl…wondering what exactly they think a Mom of eight is suppose to look like????….but I digress) For a split second though I picture myself as the “poster Mom” for homeschooling before I am quickly snapped back into reality by my two year old who has peed in her pants because I got distracted by a phone call from one of my college kids and forgot that baby girl had told me awhile back that she needed to go potty! Oy vey! Besides not being a celebrity homeschooler, I am more often than not, less than a stellar Mom.

And yet even after informing them of the “real homeschooling me”…

  • that I have been known to not order my curriculum until weeks after the start of the school year
  • that I often forget what grade my kids are currently in
  • that I can’t remember the last time I actually scored a test or assignment
  • that we never…and I mean never…finish our curriculum each year (and there may or may not have been years where we didn’t start it either)
  • that my all time favorite science lesson is for the kids to examine mold close up in the bathroom…with a sponge
  • that if I can’t explain a 6th grade math problem I shrug my shoulders and say…”Oh what the heck I’ve gotten along this many years without knowing that”
  • that we don’t have an official first day or last day of school (maybe that explains why I can’t remember what grade they are in or have curriculum ordered)
  • that there is a distinct possibility that I let my then 10 year old daughter teach her younger siblings for months on end as I lay in bed with morning sickness

…yes even after hearing all of these realities of my homeschooling life, it doesn’t scare them off or make them run away shaking their heads in disgust.  And so slowly I share my “secrets to successful homeschooling” with those inquiring minds.

1. If I do nothing more than have prayer & devotions…it’s been a good day!  

A very wise homeschooling Momma told me this nugget of truth when I was just starting my homeschooling journey (which by the way wasn’t ever my plan…but that is another story for another day). Her six kids were bright, extremely accomplished, athletic, musical and had outstanding character. It set me free of the stress of trying to accomplish, strive for perfection and look good to everyone around me. You simply can’t do better than having the favor of God!

2. Life is school!

Ok, sometimes you need to do lessons but really ALL of life is school – chores, running errands, phone calls, grocery shopping, being a spectator at a siblings athletic event – all involve learning.  Therefore we “do” school all the time and on occasion we also complete lessons!

3. Relationships are not just the most important thing…they are the only thing

The only reason I homeschool is to develop & strengthen my children’s relationship with God, with their Daddy, each other and me. At the end of the day, relationships are really the only thing that matter. And homeschooling is the perfect incubator for growing close relationships because of the sheer amount of time we are all together…making memories, solving conflicts, bearing one another’s burdens and loving through all of life’s ups & downs.

4. Learning is a personal responsibility

I can’t make anyone learn anything…and neither can you! Inspire your children to want to learn for themselves. Let them investigate, figure it out (even if it is hard), research and find the answers. When they can do this then they are truly educated and will be life long learners.

5. Begin with the end in mind

What do you want your children to “look” like when they are grown. I want mine to love the Lord, to have great relationships with their family, to have found and developed their passions combined with their unique gifts & talents and to be using them to have a positive influence in the world. I concentrate my homeschooling efforts around these outcomes….anything else we accomplish is a bonus!

++++++++++++

Beth Lambdin is a recovering “control freak” who is hopelessly addicted to coffee & dark chocolate and got a “sweet deal” on a husband who has been her best friend for 25 years. She is “Mommy” to eight blessings from God and has been faithfully following & failing Jesus for over three decades. She blogs at Monday Motivation & More 

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Accolades for Amy

Here I am on the eve of my second sweet daughter’s graduation from high school.

In many ways that is not remarkable as millions of families will watch their children and grandchildren march across a stage, field or platform in the upcoming days and weeks to receive that coveted diploma. Yes, she is just one of millions in the global class of 2011.

And it is quite unlike the first born graduate who accomplished this same milestone four years ago. There will be no valedictorian speeches, no honor cords or scholarships awarded her at the ceremony tomorrow. She will be just another one of the graduates in the JECHS class of 2011.

  • Unremarkable?
  • Average?
  • One of many?

NOT!

Amy, while not an academic achiever according to the standard of this world, is an amazing young lady with unique gifts and talents, influential leadership, godly character and a heart for the Lord!  She is remarkable! She is uncommon! She is stellar!

And yet she is in the season of life that I call the “academic” years.  Those years where it seems like most of life is centered around your academic achievements.  You are judged and evaluated by your ability to take tests, your grade point average, your SAT scores, your AP & honors courses, your college acceptance letters and your scholarship awards.  You are continually being asked questions about your academic achievements by relatives, adult mentors, teachers & peers.

Personally, I sailed through this season of life with relative ease. (and it truly is just a season…no one has asked my GPA in the last three decades!)  While I was the least “academically inclined” of my parents four children, I still had giftings in the area of academics and along with my brother & sisters acquired the appropriate amount of academic accolades, achievements & awards.  I was also an “academic snob”.  While I realized that people had various degrees of intellectual ability, I figured that most everyone (with the exception of the most severe disabilities) had the ability to achieve academically if they “put their mind to it”.  This carried into my early years as a teacher as I was appalled by students who came into my classroom as junior highers not being able to spell simple words like paper (papper) or having acquired basic reading skills or understanding of math.  Not that I expected everyone to be “straight A” students, I actually thought most had just not “worked hard enough” or were lazy.

My first born fell right into my line of academic thinking.In addition to being a classic first born overachiever, she spoke in full sentences by year one, began to read at age four and could spell “beautiful” in kindergarten. I am sure in my mind I was “patting myself on the back” for creating such an academic acheiver (which in reality I had precious little to do with it)  Then along came Amy….

She was the sweetest baby ever.  She was calm, good-natured, smiled & slept a lot. (in shocking comparison to her extremely colicky…crying for 9 months straight… elder sister).  We nicknamed her “Sleeping Beauty”.  It didn’t concern us that she was not speaking as early as her sister as we figured this was typical for a second child.  But….when she still was not speaking more than 10-15 coherent words by age four we knew there was some “issues”.  She was diagnosed with serious speech delay and began four years of therapy. Then she was only able to read very short kindergarten readers by age ten. After trying every program known to man to teach her to read we finally found the program (Powerline) and the teacher (the amazing Miss Pam) that worked for her dyslexia. We rejoiced that she was able to read and comprehend novels before going to high school (and went from “I HATE reading” to “Mom, can I read all day?”).

While I was raising Amy (or perhaps she was raising me) I began to change my mindset.  I began to “re-think” the way society sees academics. I began to be very purposeful about teaching Amy that her value did not come from her ability to excel academically (or for that matter athletically, musically, artistically or in outward beauty or wealth…all things the world puts a high value on) but that her value was to be found as a child of God. I also ingrained in her heart & mind that the God who created her had also endowed her with unique gifts and talents to be used for His glory. (“Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.” 1 Peter 4:10)  For her those gifts did not happen to be in the area of academics and yet she would still be required to perform at a certain level to get through this academic season of life.  It is just the way we have set up our society.  (on a side note I find this interesting…what if we required someone to play sports for years and “pass” athletic milestones even if they had no athletic propensity?  Or if we required musical accomplishments from people who were tone-deaf or can’t clap & sing at the same time?) Of course since she was homeschooled, the normal academic pressures of traditional school were not something she had to face.  She had a happy, carefree childhood free from thoughts of – “I’m in the slow group” or “I am dumb” or “What is wrong with me?”.  She learned at her own pace. She discovered her unique gifts and talents and excelled at them. She learned to love the Lord. She developed godly character.  She actually blissfully unaware of any disabilities she had.  As she began to prepare to go to a traditional high school, I spent time reinforcing these values and ideas so that she would be able to get through school without losing her sense of value and purpose. I warned her:

  • She would have to work harder and likely not get as good results as many of those around her
  • That she may stay up half the night studying and still fail the test.
  • That some teachers would be “academic snobs” just as I had once been or think she was lazy or had not studied…just smile and pray for them.
  • This is just a academic season of life and that it has no reflection on her future success and plans
  • That her accolades would need to come from the Lord and the voice in her own head (she spent much of her childhood listening to motivational speakers and memorizing their quotes! It paid off!)

I encouraged her:

  • That God has uniquely gifted her and that she needed to develop those gifts and use them for His glory
  • That she needed to work hard (and thus develop godly character) no matter what the results
  • That it was much smarter to take the areas you are good at and make them great than to take things you are poor at and make them average. (Why spend time trying to take a two to a five when you could take a seven to a ten?)
  • God is in control of your life.  You seek Him, commit your way to Him and live upright, He will accomplish what concerns you and He will lead you in the right path.
  • Never forget your value lies in being a child of God!

And she did just that! It was hard at times. She had moments of disappointment and discouragement…but she pressed on!  As she walks across the stage tomorrow and receives her diploma, this former “academic snob” momma will be

  • rejoicing with her as she celebrates her success!
  • beaming with pride (just as I did with my first grad in ’07) that she is pursuing her God-given gifts and talents, developing godly character and loving the Lord
  • shedding a few bittersweet tears as she ends this season of life

PS – For those Moms of “youngins” who struggle with academic achievement and are concerned (translate worried) about their education and future let me encourage you.  Amy will graduate from high school with a 3.18. She was accepted to five colleges (two on academic probation) even with below average SAT scores and received financial aid & academic scholarships from the colleges (we did giggle with delight when these offers arrived). She will be attending Bethany University in the fall and continue to seek the Lord’s plan  & purpose for her life.  Who would have ever guessed that 10 years ago?  But God…..

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Filed under Attitude, College & Career, Determination, Homeschool, Jim Elliot Christian High School, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, My "take"

Tea Time Tuesday – beginning again

Our school year routine is back in full swing!

It is a bit different for me this year because for the first time since 1998  I only have two home schoolers (6th grade and 2nd grade).  Last week I was a bit melancholy about the whole situation as it seemed a bit small, quiet and lonely.  But this week I have recovered and began to get excited about all the great things we have in store for us this year.  I am a fairly eclectic homeschool Mom not really following one system or philosophy of schooling. 

One of the things that we have recently decided to do together is reading biographies of great men and women of faith  – George Mueller, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Charles Spurgeon, Jim Elliot, David Livingston – to name just a few.  This week we began with Brother Andrew, reading his biography together aloud and stopping to review vocabulary words (grammar), looking at maps to see where his home in Holland was as well as how close they were to Germany (geography), going on the Internet for a picture of the Nazi Germany flag (history), and discussing how their own great-grandfather was killed in World War II.  All of that while being inspired and challenged by God’s work in  Andrew’s  life and his amazing faith.  Now that is my kind of school! (We also spent the late afternoon while the “littles” were napping watching Sound of Music because as we were reading the girls were reminded of things in the movie concerning the German invasion of Austria before the war….music, history & culture – bonus!)

We also started up our weekly – Tea Time Tuesday!

Tea Time Tuesday (yes it is on Tuesday because I love alliterations!) is something that we began years ago when I had four daughters being homeschooled together.  I decided to set time aside every Tuesday afternoon during the school year to have a “formal” tea complete with the fancy china, delicious teas, homemade goodies, classical music and a decorated table. Besides it being enjoyable, relaxing and fun I wanted to use this time to be purposeful about training, teaching and mentoring my daughters in:

  • proper manners, ladylike behavior and etiquette
  • modesty in dress and action
  • purity and godliness
  • relationships and courtship

As we sat down today to have our first tea of the season I realized that these two girls were very young when we began Tea Time Tuesday events and that perhaps we needed to “begin again” in our training.  So today we chatted over tea about the use of the words – please, thank you, you’re welcome and excuse me. We discussed that your napkin should be in your lap and used to dab your mouth clean (as opposed to wiping your mouth on your sleeve which is the norm for the 7-year-old right now).  We also brought out one of our favorite books…”The Princess and the Kiss” and read it aloud.  What a great message about saving your heart for the man you will marry! (complete with beautiful illustrations)

I have also decided that even though my high school girls lives are full to the brim with school work, sports, clubs, church, chores and jobs that I need to make time at least monthly to have a “Tea Time” with them during their final years of being in our home so that I can continue to influence them in these areas through reading books, telling stories and having discussions.  I will simply have to put it on the calendar and “make it happen”!

Perhaps we’ll call it – Team Tea for Three?

We also solved the problem of “the boy” wanting to disturb our tea party by setting him and our neighbor boys up in the farthest back corner of the backyard and giving them PB&J sandwiches and apple sauce with some ice tea (with of course plastic plates & cups). That kept them distracted long enough for us to enjoy our tea time! (another lesson for the girls?? “Food – the way to a man’s heart.”)

 I guess I have a few years to decide what type of similar idea that Dan can regularly do with “the boy” (and hopefully by then it will be “boys” should we get the desire of our hearts – adopting two young boys from Ethiopia) to instill these values, philosophies, paradigms and character qualities in him. (ideas anyone?) Although you can be sure any boys in our home will also occasionally attend our tea time so that he can learn to play the role of a proper gentleman as well as being wild at heart!

PS – If you want to read my other blog posts about past Tea Time Tuesdays you can find them here.

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Filed under Homeschool, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Raising Girls, Tea Time Tuesday

Eroding Parental Rights in California

Dear blog friends…
   
I have not used this blog to write about anything political (although I am a VERY political person) but what I am writing today is very crucial to our rights as parents – the right to choose how we educate our children! This right is being threatened in my home state of California.  If you are at all concerned about the government infringing upon your rights you need to read this AND DO SOMETHING about it. (even if you are not a homeschooler or live in California!)
      
Here is “the deal” in a nutshell (as stated by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association) — 
      
A California Court of Appeal recently decided that homeschooling is illegal in California unless a parent is a certified teacher. (how ridiculous is that!  In California the classes you take to get your credential are mostly classroom management, teacher organization & other “politically correct” classes including how to teach non English speakers –  tell me WHY any home school parent would need those classes to effectively teach her own children?????)
         
The case arose in a confidential juvenile court proceeding. (IE – behind closed doors – how sneaky is that!) The family was represented by court-appointed attorneys and Home School Legal Defense Association did not become aware of the case until the Court of Appeal case was published on February 28, 2008.
    

The Court could have restricted its decision to the facts before it, but instead, it issued a broad ruling that effectively outlaws home education in California. The Court also certified its decision for publication, which means that the decision can now be cited as legal authority by all other courts in California.

The family and their California counsel are planning to appeal to the Supreme Court of California, which could result in reversal.

Another option to keep homeschooling free in California is to petition the Supreme Court of California to “depublish” the opinion. If the opinion is “depublished” then it cannot be used by other California courts and this threat to homeschool freedom will be neutralized for other California homeschoolers.

HSLDA will be formally petitioning the California Supreme Court to depublish the opinion. We would like to show that many other people, both in California and across the country, care deeply about homeschool freedom in California.

Please show your support for this effort by signing the petition today at the following link and encouraging others to do the same! (And please don’t say – “I don’t homeschool” or “I don’t live in California” – if we let our parental rights continue to get eroded – it is ONLY a matter of time before it will be an issue that DOES effect you and then you will be wishing you had made a stand!!) 

  
If you would like to hear more – Focus on the Family has a radio broadcast today over the court decision made in CA to make homeschooling illegal.  http://listen.family.org/daily/A000000997.cfm
   
Please pass this information on to everyone who believes in parental rights!
   
P.S. – Here are three comments received from friends who I emailed about this earlier (none of these people homeschool!) –   
   
“Beth, although I no longer have children that would be affected by this.   I support your right to homeschool your children.  If “public schools” did as good a job educating our children as you do educating yours,  there wouldn’t be such a need for an alternative to what is offered by the Government.  I’ve completed the petition.  Good Luck!”
     
“Signed, sealed and delivered! While the issue of home schooling doesn’t hold much of a direct impact for me, I’m firmly of the belief that the state should not go about casually interfering with issues where its intervention is not pressingly needed. State intervention is not pressingly needed here. ‘Nuff said!”
   
“I absolutely couldn’t believe it when I heard this, and walked through the day in shock & INCENSED at such arrogance. What I experienced  JUST TODAY (foul language of the most descriptive kind) as a substitute teacher on the public school campuses coming out of the mouths of eight year olds would make me, if I had children, want to leave California or go to school with my child–or fully protest this asinine ruling.”
     

As always, you are welcome to leave your comments here. 🙂


 



 

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