Friday, March 22, 2013

Defining Words

Whose eyes do you see yourself through ? What words do you use inside your head to describe yourself?

My prayer at the beginning of 2013 was for God to heal me of insecurity.  I have the verse “He must increases, but I must decrease” John 3:30 on my bathroom mirror and on my fridge.  I have prayed numerous times to be emptied of my own self doubt and fears and filled with His Spirit. So far this year, God has brought scripture and friends who have affirmed me in too many ways to count.  They have spoken words of affirmation; they have given me positive Scripture to bury in my heart. These have strengthened my security and put me on the path to healing.

Well God has answered my prayer with a deeper, more meaningful answer and harder process than I ever anticipated.  While I had in mind the insecurity of not fitting into skinny jeans or not being invited to every friend’s every party, He decided to get to the root of the insecurity.  He went straight for my very identity. How do I define myself? What words to I play in mind as I look in the mirror?

Step 1: Identity the Words you use to Define you.
God chose to allow an estranged family member back into my life who has been hurtful and verbally abusive to me. This family member was only back in my life for a short while, but in the few and short conversations this person, they use many word to describe me.   A few were bright and beautiful, which I was thankful for these.  Some other words in the same conversation were deceitful, hateful, and thoughtless. 

In hindsight, I am grateful for these interactions because God used them to open my eyes to lies I have believed.  As I heard myself being called these things from someone who had really didn't know me at all, I realized I still saw myself through this person's eyes. I have taken the the words of others and buried them deep in my heart, and really BELIEVED them.  I saw that God was answering my prayer by showing me I still believed and even used lies to define who I was.  Over and over again I have taken words that have described a past behavior and used it to define my character and identity.

Step 2: Recognize the true source of the negativity  
  The key to lasting healing with be when I truly recognize the source of these negative defining words are not from this family member, but Satan himself.   I am choosing to rebuke the lies of Satan. This family member is not the one seeking to destroy me like a lion prowling the night. Our enemy wants to destroy me and there is nothing too low for him to scheme as he seeks to destroy those who Choose to find their identity in Jesus Christ.

Step 3: Recognize the true source of the my Identity.
  God is bringing me new defining words. In every scripture that has touched me in the past two months, there has been a thread of being made new in Jesus Christ.  Last week we even learned about the metamorphosis of butterflies in our Kindergarten home school.  The Bible lesson for the butterfly unit is “God can make me new”.  As I had my children repeat this simple principle over and over again, I am praying that I would also believe it.  That I would choose to see the new defining words God has given me.   I choose to believe words spoken by friends, by family and by my children. I am choosing to let the words spoken by the people who know me best  and the identity given me by my Savior become my new defining words. 

What words will you allow to define you?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Learning to TEST or Learning to LIVE

Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself. John Dewey

While freedom to teach my children our faith has since proven one of my main joys of homeschooling, I will freely admit it was not my first motivation in considering home school.   Sadly I think the message being sent to the kids in the public school is the motivation to learn is to pass a test. The goal in my house is for the motivation behind learning is living the the joy of learning something new. 

The biggest motivator for our family to home school was my personal experience as a teacher with the aftermath of this "Accountability Movement". Homeschooling numbers have risen in the past 20 years, with many of the new homeschooling families not citing religion as their main reason for not sending their kids to public school. The past twenty years in the U.S. have also been termed the "Accountability Movement," as states are being held to mandatory tests of student achievement, which are expected to demonstrate a common core of knowledge that all citizens should have to be successful in this country.[1] As part of this overarching education reform movement, the nation’s governors and corporate leaders founded Achieve, Inc. in 1996 as a bi-partisan organization to raise academic standards, graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability in all 50 states.[2]  

The latest Common Core Standards have been a heated topic of debate with Home-schooling Families in my community, and I see it as another in the line if Federal Initiatives in the "Accountability Movement". I can't help believe many parents are also seeing the aftermath and how this "Accountability movement" has negatively effect the public school classroom.

To measure these new academic standards and keep teachers "accountable", there logically had to be a way for government to know what was happening in the classroom. The farther removed you are from the
student, the more generic the measurement of that standards is going to be. Here is an example of how the performance measurement gets more generic the father removed you are form the child:

Steps from the Student/ Performance Measurement
  1. Teacher=Personally Designed tests and personal observation of child
  2. Principal=Grade Books of Teachers
  3. School Board= Statistics based on grades/tests of ALL kid in School system
  4. State School Board= Statistic based on Standardized Tests of entire school district
  5. State Government=  Statistic based on Standardized tests in the County
  6. Federal Government= Statistic based on Standardized tests in each State
Everybody in the education system reports to someone else, and they must prove each child is learning.   No accountability=no money. Please note that I know from personal experiences that the vast majority of public school teacher put their hearts and souls into their classrooms. They spend their free time grading papers and their own money to buy supplies.   But no matter how much they try to make the best classroom possible, they are always accountable to someone above them. Remember to pray for these teachers as they do their best to reach kids in a broken system.  The homeschooling community as a whole could do a better job of praying for our public school teachers and kids.

 With all this information, in the end we decided to home-school to keep our children's curriculum being decided by a statistics based on a pile of test scores.


  1. ^ Gibbs, T. H. and Howley, A. (2000). “"World-Class Standards" and Local Pedagogies: Can We Do Both?” Thresholds in Education. ERIC Publications. 51 – 55.
  2. ^ "About Achieve." (2011) Achieve, Inc.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

100 Days of Homeschool

 For our 100th day of school, we decided to incorporate the celebration into our weekly family pizza and movie night.  This was meaningful because we were able to involve Daddy when he got home from work:)

Hundred Topping Pizza
We used the tens bundles we had been making through the year to measure how mean rows of ten toppings we needed for our Hundred Topping Pizza.

 100 Pizza and Cake
And what is 100 Day without a party?! Bagel Pizzas and bread sticks for dinner and a "100" cake the boys decorated for dessert.

100 Day Printable
We took abreak from our kindergraten curriulum to have a relaxed day and do a couple 100's day workheets.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Haircuts...kind of.

I was going to give both a hair cut, but Batman asked to keep his long for a little longer.  Since everyone has a hard time telling them apart, I thought I'd give them a week or two of different hair cuts to make the identical thing a little easier;)
See, now super easy to tell them apart!
 I know Spiderman got this face from my husband because there is no way I can do this eyebrow!

Since Batman chose to keep it his hair longer, we spiked it for him.  
His hair  won't stay up like this without a whole bottle of gel, but it was cute while it lasted!

Spiderman right after his haircut and my hubby right before his:)

Our Family Tree~Button Art

I had lots of fun making this piece of art because it consists of magazine articles that describe our family and the things we love. There are articles on preschoolers, marriage, homeschooling, compassion international, and healthy budgets.  And since my husband is a Do-It-Yourself man I even included  building materials lists from a Lowe's projects he has made.

  • Canvas
  • Homemade Mod Podge/brush
  • Articles/words from magazines
  • Brown Acrylic paint
  • Green Buttons of various sizes 
  • Acrylic Sealer Spray Paint

1. First I used my homemade mod podge to put the articles on the canvas. Make sure you put mod podge on back of paper to have it stick to canvas. Layer these with big articles first that you don't mind having covered up. Then use the single words as top layer to fill in any holes.  Let dry.

2. Paint tree and let dry. I used chocolate brown acrylic paint to match the trim in the room I was planning to hang this painting, but you could use water colors if you want to see the articles through the paint.

3. Glue buttons to ends of limbs with either hot glue or craft glue.  I used Mighty Mend-it because it was the only thing I had in the house and didn't want to go out and spend any money on this project.

4.  Spray with Acrylic Sealer-Spray Paint.  Let dry for 24 hours.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Homemade Mod Podge

This was so easy! Instead of paying $8 for store bought mod podge, I found a couple different recipes online and made my own for only the 25 cents I spent on the Elmer's Glue at the beginning of the year!

 I used an old jelly mason Jar (so don't mind the date of jelly on top). The formula that worked best was:

Homemade Mod Podge
  • 1 Bottle of Elmer's Glue
  • Water- Half bottle of Glue  (the more water you use, the thinner it will be and longer it takes to dry)

 Here is the canvas I used the mod-podge.  See the finished canvas on Our Family Tree.


We made a new canvas inspired by Pinterest.  The one I saw on Pinterest had a valentine's theme, which I didn't really like.  I went with outdoorsy theme and the letter being the "clouds".

It is made from simple Acrylic paints.  Don't forget to buy Acrylic sealer to make it dust and water resistant, this was especially important for us since we put this in the bathroom.

Not safe, but good.

This C.S Lewis quote changed and shaped my view of God the Father.