Friday, July 29, 2016

A Guide for the Upcoming School Year

It's Thursday night, and our lights are on.
Maybe not a big deal to you, but certainly is to me.
I'd love to share some deep and touching things about life {and the upcoming school year}, but that's simply not going to happen today!

Tumbling through my brain right now {in no specific order}....
   the end of our summer break. Yes, if you've been paying attention, we just finished school at the end of June, but we are going on furlough next year in June, so school needs to start a bit early if it is to be finished on time.
   our very slow kitchen renovation that seems to be going from messy to messier. Today included two men with chisels and hammers and lots of noise and dust. So much dust.
   the upcoming school year. Big things planned for this year as my older two girls are getting.....older. Lili is also starting school this year. She is dying to start school right now. And of course, I have my two-almost-three year old who has a moral aversion to sitting still, but cannot be left alone for ten minutes. She's smart.....too smart.

Our break has been the best.
A few outings here and there.
A bit of reading aloud.
Spending some time with friends.
Mostly lots of free time to just let my children be children:
board games, card games, Lego, building a club house, making mud pies, drawing, art, dress-up, plays, reading, gardening, sewing, really whatever has caught their fancy at each particular moment.

I finished filing away last year's school folders and straightening the craft closet today.
I'm still working through my reading to prepare myself for the upcoming year.
It won't all be finished in time, but I'm far enough to get started.

I never wanted to school my children, but over the years God has really changed my heart in this matter.
It's no longer a duty, but rather a joy.
That's not to say there aren't hard days.
There are.
But every single one is still worth the opportunity I have to pour life into my children.

Writing about schooling can be volatile.
Many homeschool mamas live in fear and doubt that they aren't doing the best by their kiddos.
Then,when people write about the "best" ways to school children, people can get offended.
Over the years I've learned that what matters most is simply finding out how God wants me to teach my kids, and then just jumping in whole-heartedly: living, loving, and learning together.

Though many of you aren't quite ready to start the school year again, I thought I'd share some guides {NOT curriculum-related} that have been a blessing to me.
Hopefully they'll bless you, too!

Want a happy home? Start reading aloud! The Read-Aloud Revival podcast is the best place to start.
Need help fostering holy imagination? Head to Story Warren.
Not quite sure how to help the littlest ones in your house? The Peaceful Preschool E-course is what you are looking for.
Have kiddos who love to draw? Join in on Sketch Tuesday.
The first homeschool book I ever read {and now reread yearly}: For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.
Why good stories are essential to a good education ~ Caught Up in a Story by Sarah Clarkson.
Don't know what your kiddos should be reading? Both Honey for a Child's Heart and Read for the Heart are excellent.
And last, but not least.....a new favorite, Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie.
I do believe every single homeschooling mother needs to read this book.
She truly understands what teaching your kiddos is all about {let me give you a hint ~ it's not all about grades or the extracurriculars}.

I hope something in this list will be a blessing to you in this upcoming school year.

*The winner of The Lifegiving Home is Dahlia!

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