Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey


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Welcome to Reviving Motherhood!

The MOB Society, a great blog for mothers of boys, is hosting their second annual boy mom blog hop, and this year I am participating.

So MOB Society readers, welcome to Reviving Motherhood!

I’m Stephanie.  I have two sons—9 and 1 ½ (and three daughters too.)

I’m joyfully married, and I’m a homeschool grad who now homeschools my own 5.

I LOVE to learn from wise older women who have successfully raised great kids, and to pass that knowledge on to others.  I want to be just like them when I grow up!  I just started Mentor Mondays on my blog, where I publish guest posts and quotes from godly older women we younger ladies can learn from.

You might enjoy this week’s Mentor Mondays post, 4 Ways to Raise Your Children With Honesty and Good Communication, by my friend Debbie Wilson from Marriage Matters Now. 

Debbie says this: “The most influential person in your child’s life is the parent of the opposite sex.”  Read the whole post for her wise words about raising kids!

Another passion is fearless mothering.  It can feel like there are so many things for moms to fear!  As a young mom, God helped me to overcome persistent, crippling fear and learn to walk in faith and freedom.

In fact, I’m now writing an e-book about fearless mothering (especially appropriate for those of us with wild and crazy boys, yes?) that should be available for purchase this fall.  I’ll be giving away lots of copies, so watch this space!  Feel free to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter to get updates.

The theme of this year’s blog hop is games. My boys’ favorite games differ because of their age differences.  I have found that old-fashioned fun still trumps everything else.  My older one loves sports and whooping me at checkers, and the baby loves balls, blocks, and music.

I’m so proud of my sons, and I love being a boy mom, as well as a girl mom.

New here?  Here are a few more links to get you started.

For pregnant moms and moms of babies, check out what I’ve written on babies and birth.  These categories include posts about preparing for birth, breastfeeding, nurturing your tiny ones, and my favorite baby products.

Thinking about homeschooling?  Start here.

I bet I am not the only mom who has food sensitivities in the house.  Here’s a favorite summer recipe for dairy free ice cream.

Thanks for visiting, friends!  Please come back and see me again!

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Again, please feel free to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter!  I would be thrilled!


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Get Your Mornings Off to a Great Start With Gratitude

Sometimes in the morning rush, it’s hard to set a positive tone for our days. 

When you have a busy family, it’s easy for the days to get off to a rough start—or at least a not-so-great one.

After listening to this interview with Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, I had an idea for our homeschool mornings.  I purchased an inexpensive journal for me and each of the kids who is old enough to write, and each day during this school year, we will begin our days with a gratitude journal.

What better way to set the tone for the day than by giving thanks?

 

 

How do you start the day off right in your home?  Do you keep a gratitude journal?

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Please feel free to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter!  I would be thrilled!

 


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For the Children’s Sake Friday 2-3-12

Sorry, I totally flaked out on For the Children’s Sake Friday last week!  Back on track today!

“Twaddle.  If I were to have to label much educational material today, I’m afraid a large percentage would definitely be twaddle.  How colorfully and scientifically our generation talks down to the little child!  What insipid, stupid, dull stories are trotted out!  And we don’t stop there.  We don’t respect the children’s thinking or let them come to any conclusions themselves!  We ply them with endless questions, the ones we’ve thought up, instead of being silent and letting the child’s questions bubble up with interest.  We tire them with workbooks that would squeeze out the last drop of anybody’s patience.  We remove interesting books and squander time on a clinical procedure called “reading skill testing,” using idiotic isolated paragraphs which nobody would dream of choosing to take home to read.  The recording of testable features of a child’s taught tricks (“skills”) is held to be more important than the mysterious, exciting growth of a person. ~For the Children’s Sake chapter 2


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“Fall In Love With Reading” for February!

The other day I ran across this great idea for reading encouragement/emphasis during the month of February.  (Do check out the link!  It is very inspiring!) I meant to post it sooner since February has already begun, but it isn’t too late to do this fun project!  I made us a little poster for inspiration.  I see that Allison put her tree trunk on poster board which is probably a better idea.  We quickly realized that we are going to run out of room on our trees, even using small hearts.

{side note: our little clothesline above the picture window has been the best educational tool we’ve employed lately.  amazing what a few feet of twine, a couple nails and some clothes pins can do!}

Mom and Dad have set goals for ourselves too.  I think it is important to set a good example when it comes to reading.  I used to read books voraciously, but thanks to busyness, poor evening lighting, and other distractions (coughpinterestcough), I have not read much lately.  I have three books that I have wanted to read for a few months, so they are on my list of books to complete.  Here they are: (apparently I am on a black and red themed book kick):

Gospel: Rediscovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary by JD Greear (so basic, so essential)

Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything by Tullian Tchividjian (close to my heart)

Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb (to be better equipped to help sweet ones who have suffered at the hands of others)

How do you encourage your children to read?  What is on your reading list?


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For the Children’s Sake Friday: 1-6-12

~picture by Jessie Wilcox Smith~

“Where to start?  How?  Parents need to evaluate their priorities.  They need to consider why they respond, “We don’t have time to hike/camp/paint/talk with our children.”  What is really important?  The sacred career?  Educational institutions make poor substitute mothers, fathers, and homes.  There has never been a generation when children have so desperately needed their parents’ time, thoughtful creativity, and friendship.  The surrounding culture is deeply out of step with the Word of God.  Other pressures threaten to take away sanity, stability, and simple humanity.

One of the greatest powers for good is a family whose members respect each other and who have learned to function, however poorly, with the rich concepts the Word of God gives us human beings.  It is almost incredible to think of the stabilizing effect ordinary families can have, not only for themselves, but as a light in a troubled generation.”

~For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay


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For the Children’s Sake Friday: Week 1

When a baby is picked up, spoken to, and loved, he is starting his education as God planned it.  For all our lives we are human beings, in an active state of learning, responding, understanding.  Education extends to all of life.  In fact, an educational system that says, one bright summer’s day in the dawn of my youth, “There, Now you are educated.  This piece of paper says so,” is doing me a gross disfavor.  The truly educated person has only had many doors of interest opened.  He knows that life will not be long enough to follow everything fully.

~For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, pg.8


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The Charlotte Mason Method of Homeschooling

~painting by Lee Kaula~

Over the past months I’ve been mulling over my educational philosophy.  For several years I’ve been burned out and paralyzed as I tried to live up to some kind of rigid, artificial, school-at-home homeschool method I imagined was expected of me.  It felt grueling and lifeless.

This past semester I backed off from a few subjects, focused strongly on the 3 R’s, prayed, and observed.  I was inspired by some unschooling blogs.  While I know unschooling is definitely not the right choice for us, reading about families who educate this way helped me understand a lifestyle of learning and exploration.  Soon my kids were spontaneously asking, “Can we research this?”  “Will you help me look this up?”  “Let’s read a book about that.”  I felt refreshed and freed.  I started doing creative learning projects with the kids, and school became fun again—maybe really fun for the first time!

Right before we left for Christmas vacation, I stumbled on a community of blogs influenced by the Charlotte Mason method of education.  I’m familiar with Charlotte’s methods, but it’s been a long time since I considered them.  (Her method is summarized at Simply Charlotte Mason this way:

“A method of education popular with homeschoolers in which children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, firsthand experiences, and good habits.”)

   Reading through these blogs felt like answered prayer.  This philosophy seems like the best of both worlds—excellence in education combined with the grace and freedom to cultivate a life-culture of learning.

I had been praying about which books I should take on vacation.  (Don’t laugh; yes, I think God cares about little things like that!) At the last minute, I grabbed For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, which is about the Charlotte Mason method.  All during our week away, as I read, my heart kept saying “Yes, yes, yes!”  When I read the book years ago I didn’t understand it.  This time around it made sense.  I guess timing is everything.

I’ll be honest and say that I’m not too interested in being a Charlotte Mason purist.  In fact, I had her original homeschooling series, read it, found it too much to wade through, and sold it several years ago.  At this point I’m satisfied with a synopsis that gives me the heart of her philosophy, alongside the ideas of others who are putting them into practice.  We’ll still be an eclectic homeschool, but I look forward to seeing how some of Charlotte’s ideas play out as we continue our journey.  Already I have some just waiting to be put into practice during the next part of the school year.

In light of all this, I have two announcements.  One is that I plan to have For the Children’s Sake Friday each week, to share quotes from the book that I find inspiring.  Also, I will have a related giveaway soon.  Stay tuned!


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Homeschool Mother’s Journal 11-12-11

Image via Pinterest

Linking up with The Homeschool Chick

In my life this week…

We returned from a trip and all got a stomach virus.  It’s a miracle we got anything done.

In our homeschool this week…

We eased back into the swing of things.  I did some school work with those who felt well enough, and worked on catching up on some grading on which I’d fallen behind.  It was a relaxed few days.  I enjoyed working on Thankful Tree art with the kids.  It is so fun to see their creativity and how each one approaches the same project so differently.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

If you are a Christian, let God lead you.  There is no way, really, to explain what this is like.  All I can say that as a Christian I know God leads me and speaks to me.  He is my friend and my leader, but sometimes I do not listen.  I am learning to throw everyone else’s opinions out the window about how I should do things, and follow what God tells me to do, not just in school but all of mothering.  How should I discipline this child?  How should I feed my family?  Why is this child struggling in this subject?  How should I configure my day?  Block out the strident voices and listen to the one important Voice.

I am inspired by…

Pinterest.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Well, this was last week spilling into this week, but we took a fall break of sorts and visited my wonderful sister and her four sweeties while our husbands attended a conference together.  I got to see most of my family and the kids got more cousin time than they have ever had.  Then we visited my husband’s family too.  We were too sick for our normal activities this week, but we saw a lot of people over the last few days all the same.

We did have eye doctor appointments today.  We have three new pairs of glasses on order.  I can’t wait to see again.  Neither the receptionist nor the doctor (a man of about 70) had ever met a homeschooling family before.  They were full of questions such as “Do they make friends?”  Ummm…Seriously?  When I explained that they had many friends through their homeschool group and church, among other places, it seemed like a new concept that children could make friends anywhere besides school.  I think I could have made a better case for homeschooling in the conversation, but I have to admit that I was a bit taken aback.  Once my friendly children started talking, asking questions, and being their normal engaging selves, the doctor seemed more convinced that we are not some kind of sideshow freaks. I did appreciate that he did not grill my children like some adults do, as if to perform some kind of inquisition.  He was full of questions for me, though, mainly about the legality of homeschooling.  It is amazing to me that some people have actually never met homeschoolers.  Their social circles must be very narrow!

My favorite thing this week was…

Feeling better.  My kids feeling better.  My husband feeling better.

What’s working/not working for us…

Something that is working really well is combining art and writing.  I have come face to face with the fact that I am an artist and a writer at heart and that is the way I teach best.  When I try to force myself into a rigid, cold, academic mold because I think someone expects it of me, our school days lose all their life.  God made me to be creative and when I operate in the strengths he has given me, that energy flows to the kids.  So that is really working beautifully.

I need to work out a better time for grading their work consistently (instead of letting it pile up over a few days).  This is one of my weakest points.  I tend to fall behind but it is something I am determined to work through.

Questions/thoughts I have…

This has nothing and everything to do with school.  How can I make our bedtime routines better so that our mornings flow smoothly when we get up?  I know that making sure everyone tidies their rooms and lays out clothes for the following day is key.  We are really good about early bedtimes, but it’s the leading up part that needs help.  I read a great post by Sally Clarkson this week on this very thing.  It inspired me and made me determined to work more on this.  Speaking of Sally, I know I mention her a lot but she is a person God is using in my life right now to help me become a better mother.  I have lamented the lack of older ladies who are willing to share their wisdom with us young moms, and I’m grateful for those like Sally who are stepping up to the plate.  I’m not idolizing her, God has just put her writing in my path for this season when I need it very much.

Things I’m working on…

This week I really want to get the house clean enough and the laundry caught up enough that I can sit down for awhile with a cup of tea and my knitting.  It’s fall, and I’m craving some cozy knitting time.

I’m reading…

The Message paraphrase of the Bible.  I only pull it out every now and then, but it’s a refreshing change.  Also Rod Dreher’s blog.  It’s different from other blogs I read and I don’t always agree, but Rod’s writing always makes me think.

I’m cooking…

Homemade bread tomorrow.

I’m grateful for…

Getting to see my sister last week.  We so rarely get time together.  If you have a sister you get to see often, treasure that gift!

I’m praying for…

Someone I love who is having health difficulties.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

This is an awesome idea for a birthday, especially for an adult.  Imagine getting so many notes from people who love you!

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