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Simply...Living For Him

The Most Important Life Skill To Teach Your Child

Homeschoolers are notorious for teaching life skills. Along with math, reading, and writing, we focus on many of the necessary life skills- balancing a budget, managing a home, cooking a meal, and so on.

But I have found the most important life skill we will teach. Because from it all of the others will fall into place.

Seek God first.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 ESV

Truly. We get so caught up in preparing for life and teaching for a test and making a transcript. But if we teach our children to seek God first, then all that they do will come from keeping God at the center of everything.

What does it mean to seek God first? It means not seeking after self-satisfaction. Not serving oneself. But seeking after what God has laid out in His word- the truth. It means following after God and living out His purposes for our lives. It means building His Kingdom and not our own self-serving little kingdoms.

It means striving for righteousness. Living a life that glorifies God. It means choosing holiness above happiness. Because ultimately our happiness is found in our holiness. It is truly living for God.

If we teach our children to seek after God, we can rest assured that everything else will fall into its proper place. God is ultimately in control of our children’s lives, and we must teach them to depend on Him. Not on us. Not on schoolbooks. Not on achievements. Nope. None of it. Depend on God first and He will order everything else.

Academics fall into place when we are living a life with God at the center. Because ultimately our children will work hard and be diligent because they want to please God. And ultimately God will lead them in all areas of their lives, including academics.

Society has it backward. They say teach your children to be self-sufficient and self-motivated and pursue happiness. But God says, He is sufficient, He is what drives us, and we are to pursue holiness.

Teach your children that only what God says matters. Measure everything against His Word. That is truly the most important “life skill” they can have.

Biblical discernment. A life that is lived for God. Those things matter. And ultimately they will recognize every breath they take comes from God.

Teaching our children life skills are important, but without this life skill, it is all for naught. Follow God. And everything else in life will be an outflow of that relationship. And everything else will be in its proper place.

To learn more about my Homeschool Consulting and Mentoring visit: Homeschool Consulting and Mentoring. Don’t walk this journey alone.

Get My Book!

Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool: Updated, Revised, and Expanded with Journal Section

 

Simply...Living For Him

My Perspective on Homeschooling Has Changed Now That My Daughter is in College

Bringing my daughter to college has changed everything in so many ways. First, our daily life has changed. The whole family dynamic has changed. It is different. And hard sometimes. But oh, so good too. She is where God has led her to be and we are excited about that! (that makes the hard times easier to handle.) 

But something else changed that I didn’t expect. My perspective on this whole homeschooling journey. Well, there are some regrets-or shall I say, lessons learned. Nothing huge, but things I realize I could have done differently. That’s always the case with the firstborn in anything I am sure…you learn from your mistakes.

But, my perspective on what truly mattered has really shifted. I look at my boys that I am schooling now and realize, these truly are the greatest years. And I want to live out this calling with joy instead of fear that crippled me many times early on.  I want to keep it simple more than ever because I don’t want to be distracted. Time is short…why waste it on things that don’t matter?

I think fear is why I got caught up in so much of the “homeschool stuff” over the years. Yes, fear. Instead of faith.

Homeschooling moms…I know it seems overwhelming and you want to do it all. You want to keep up with what everyone is doing. You want to succeed. You want the best for your kids. You feel the responsibility of educating your child.

I get it. I truly get it.

But looking back in the rearview mirror, it is like everything came into focus.

The time spent around the table, on the couch, on the porch…in the yard…it mattered.

The time spent worrying over all the little details. Did not.

The time we spent together…our inside jokes, our fun moments…and even our arguments and hard times…it all mattered. It was shaping our relationship.

The time spent shopping for school room decor, or researching methods…not so much.

We learned together, and ultimately we raised a young woman…we didn’t just build a transcript. 

Life is about so much more than academics.

She ended up learning math, and science, and history…but most importantly she learned about life.

I see homeschool mamas chasing after so many things- the right curriculum, the right plans, the right stuff…

And I want to tell them…

STOP!

Stop. God called you to this journey and He already knows what you need to walk through it and do it well.

God called you to this journey and He already knows what your kids need.

So why are you looking everywhere else?

In the end, so much of the stuff I stressed over is just a memory now. It seemed SO so big at the moment. But now…I get it.

The year of the workboxes. Oh, finding just “the right” plastic little boxes and the right cards to insert. That was the homeschooling trend of the time, I suppose.

Or the year I wanted to make sure our little office was transformed into a proper schoolroom. It just had to be the “right atmosphere…” Otherwise, how would they learn? (Ha!)

The right planner. The right system. The discipline chart. The chore chart. The meal plan. The hacks everyone said would make my life easier. You name it. I chased it.

In the end, they seemed to complicate things more. I relied on all these things. Expecting them to make me successful. And if I wasn’t, then on to the next one…Always a new trend to follow. Always a new thing to research.

And all along, my kids’ hearts and my own heart were needing tending to most.

I have talked over the years about the homeschoolers of years ago…how they didn’t have ALL the STUFF we have today and they did just fine. Well, I know now more than ever how much I want to be like them! Not relying on stuff, but on God. Keeping it simple. Focusing on my kids. Getting off the screens (that just make me feel so inadequate anyway) and stop searching for answers there, and start searching for answers in the Word.

They say your babies don’t keep. Well, neither do your teens. In my mind, I just hadn’t really realized that. But when your daughter starts a new life two hours away…no matter how good of a life it is, that is just HARD. You are faced with the fact that those childhood years are done. They are over. It doesn’t go forever.

 

But they were the foundation for that has built her into who she is now. And thankfully we built mostly the right things…even though we may have fussed over things that we didn’t need to at times.

So I am telling all the homeschool mamas today…your babies don’t keep. Your teens don’t keep. Picture yourself here like me someday, when it’s all done…and ask yourself…is what I’m focusing on right now really going to matter in the end?

I want to tell every homeschool mom reading this…yes, the transcript is important. Yes, the curriculum is important. But truly, what matters is a mom that points them to Jesus. Not to the things of this world.

I am thankful I learned some of these lessons along the way. Some were painful lessons, but I am thankful that I tried to keep it simple. And to my surprise, it seems there is still room to simplify even more.

I recently started a Personalized Homeschool Consulting and Mentorship Program for these very reasons. How I wish easly on I had someone to walk alongside me, that was seasoned, and could have gently told me…”Keep your eyes on Jesus.” or someone to say, “Stop looking for the perfect curriculum. You’ve got one that works. Look at your kids instead.”

I have just started appointments and I am so thrilled to be able to do this for the homeschooling community. If you are interested in my consulting or mentorship click here or email me any time! karen@simpylivingforhim.com

This journey is such a blessing. It doesn’t have to be filled with fear when walked in faith…

Babies don’t keep. Teens don’t keep. But thankfully, by the Lord’s grace they grow into adults you will adore and be blessed by each day.

To learn more about my Homeschool Consulting and Mentoring visit: Homeschool Consulting and Mentoring. Don’t walk this journey alone.

Get My Book!

Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool: Updated, Revised, and Expanded with Journal Section

 

Simply...Living For Him

New Seasons,Cleansing Tears, and Perspective Changes

There are pieces scattered about. Remnants still of the going away party. The wooden palette backdrop daddy made and the boys helped decorate. We spent a little too much time in Hobby Lobby for the right decor. And here it sits. Reminding me of the day I felt so overwhelmed with so much to do standing in Hobby Lobby with you shopping for so many last minute things.

And it’s all done already. 

Now it is just an empty backdrop that was filled just a week ago with smiling faces and phones snapping pics and friends all wishing you well.

I looked outside this morning so saw the badminton net. And I flashed to all the family games we played this summer after dinner. All the laughs. As the mosquitoes began to bite, there we would play until the last glimpse of light was left and evening fell. I can still hear the crickets coming out and the frogs peeping signaling that it was time to go inside. Then we’d go into the house and eat ice cream and stay up way too late. You’d come in our room and you’d all pile on our bed. Teenagers! Who would have believed they’d still pile on our bed. And we loved it. Oh, how I miss it.

I was thinking about this stage of life. Every other stage of parenthood and childhood sort of happens slowly. The transformation of a newborn into an infant. They start to roll, then crawl, then toddle about. Then a toddler turns into a child. And then a teen into a tween. It’s sort of gradual process and a slow loss of the last season. Sometimes we longed for the last season, but we never realized it until we were in the next, because of they all sort of melded together, ever so slowly, not realizing where one ended and the next began.

But this time it’s so abrupt. One minute we’re playing badminton and shopping for party supplies and the next day you’re living in a new state with new people. You’ve gone from a teenager and high school senior to a college freshman and young adult seemingly overnight.

I know that this transition is necessary and part of life. And the school she is attending is more perfect than I ever dreamed. (More on that in the future)

But even though it’s all good, my mama heart just needs time to adjust. Grieve a little. And even be excited in the midst of all that pain. I don’t ever remember a time of my life when I can go from crying sobbing sad tears to joyous ones in minutes. But that’s what this stage does to you.

And cleansing tears. They really are cleansing tears. They need to be shed. And soon, we will have a new rhythm and a new season as we go through this journey of life.

This kind of change once again brings into light what is truly important in life. Your perspective changes greatly. And my quest to live simply so I can focus on what matters most is greater than ever. I have seen this week what truly matters.

May we never hold so tightly to one season we don’t move into the next.

That’s my prayer for today. In this moment. Because in my flesh I want to hold on tight. Yet, God wants us to hold loosely to everything. He always has something better and new in-store.

So I cling to that promise expectantly. Even if it hurts a little letting go.

This morning there was a brilliant sunrise. What a gift to remind me that each day, each season, brings a new and promise-filled time of hope and joy and excitement. Because living for God is what it is all about and His mercies are new each day.

Simply...Living For Him

Mac and Cheese and Life Changes

There it sat in the sink. A plate with remnants of macaroni and cheese. The cheese hardening as it does after sitting out an entire day. A sight that would normally cause frustration.

“Who didn’t put their plate in the dishwasher? Who left this here all day only to leave me to clean it up?”

Only this time it was different. I held the plate, stared at it and fought back tears. But they still came.

My mind flashed to earlier that morning. Tensions were high. Emotions were high. Excitement was high. We were almost ready to walk out the door and take my firstborn to college. One last “mothering” moment. I asked her if she had eaten anything.

It was barely 7 am so I knew the answer. She never liked to eat early, let alone this early. “Please just eat something. It’s going to be a long day and you need to be nourished.”

Without a word, she walked over to the fridge and took out the leftovers from her special going away meal the night before. Homemade mac and cheese. One of her very favorites. I bit my tongue because heaven knows mac and cheese at 7 am isn’t usual, but I was just thrilled she was eating something. And truth be told, it would nourish her for the day ahead.

She stood there eating from the plate, one last comfort of home before we left for the unknown.

And now, here I was left staring at the plate. Perspective changed. Normally I would fuss about the plate being left in the sink, but here I lingered. I held the plate and was so caught off guard that such a thing would set me off. But it did.

Tears started to well up. I was grateful for that plate.

 

It was a sobering reminder though of the last thing she did right before she left. Something that was so ordinary now became a profound moment. I know that the next time she eats a meal in the house things will be different. They just will. She will have new friends, new mentors, new experiences. She will have new knowledge and Lord willing, new wisdom. She will be different. Our family will be different. One has gone out to experience life outside of our safe little haven and our familiar life. And that’s a good thing. It is time.

Our last meal at the school, together

I am grateful the last thing my daughter did before she left was to eat a nourishing meal, homemade by her mama. And I pray that her soul was nourished in some way too.

Life changes are hard. But good. But really hard. But really good.

Who would have thought a plate of macaroni and cheese would spark such feelings? You just never know.

I am grateful for this moment. We have arrived at a new chapter in life and it is exciting. I couldn’t be more overjoyed for the place she is in. And it’s all God’s leading. For now, I am taking time to adjust to our new normal. Whatever that means. But that’s what they say you need to do. Trusting the Lord with each moment and thanking Him for that plate of mac and cheese.