Monday, August 12, 2013

Encouraged, Inspired, and Gearing up for the Homeschool Year!!!

Our campsite at family camp...
 We just returned from the "Renewing the Family" camp late last night and I can't say enough great things about it! This was our first year attending and I'm sure it will now become an annual event. It was held at Maranatha Bible Camp in Maxwell, NE and that facility is just amazing. The activities were endless, the weather was beautiful, and the people were so encouraging! It was a breath of fresh air spiritually, emotionally... (not really physically, I think it will take a while to recover from family camp)!

Lets face it, when you have a parcel of kids and embrace intense home discipleship as a means of bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord, you are in the minority. When the days get hard, there isn't always another like-minded family around to pray with you and encourage you. It is always such a joy to meet others who have the same convictions (especially those who are further along and have survived the process)! That being said, we do have a great support in our current community, but not everybody is that fortunate. So meeting a lot of other people who have decided to walk this route through life is such a blessing. We realize that we are not as isolated as it seems at face value!

But now that family camp has come and gone, it is time to channel that excitement and energy into getting our school year jump started. Last year, after much prayer about the focus of our time, the Lord impressed 2 Peter 1:5-9 on our hearts and it became our theme. It was such a blessing to have such a great verse to constantly meditate on and strive toward. This year the Lord has given us another theme... it really has gotten a bit comical as to how often this same idea has repeatedly come up! Matthew 6:33 says: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."  For us, there are so many great things that we try to fit in each week that we end up rushing through stuff, eliminating others, or doing it all and barely surviving.  By the end of the week, we are all exhausted and burnt out! The Lord has been impressing upon me that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom".  Fearing Him means obedience and also seeking Him first. If we are faithful to do that, then He is faithful to do His part. If I am teaching my kids to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength... then I am not failing even if the 6th page of the logic workbook didn't get completed! As we have put this into practice the past several weeks, I am in awe (but not surprised) at how much we are able to accomplish without the stress. God is faithful to His word!
Kezi doing Bible reading at camp.

So this morning, after several late nights, my "flesh" was quite ready to wake the kiddos up early and get a flying start on their studies... rushing through devotions so we could get on to "school". But the Spirit led me in a different manner. I let the kids have a good night's sleep and we had a great family worship time (minus Daddy who had to be to work).  Last year we focused on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and while we will continually be working and re-working through that book, our focus for the next couple of months is a little book called "The Child's Book on Repentance" by Thomas H. Gallandet (1834). We've been having great discussion times surrounding each chapter culminating with each child making a goal of how they will apply the discussed concept to their life that day. The kids are also working through a precept workbook on James and memorizing James at the same time.  We took time to re-discuss Psalm 110 (which was discussed at camp) and then we sang it. (Psalm singing has been a real treat for us after buying a psalter a year ago, but that is a whole different topic). Again, we didn't rush through this worship time. It was a blessing and the rest of the day has been blessed as a result.  Needless to say, it wasn't 8 a.m. when the kids were done with worship and ready to start daily Bible reading and the rest of their studies.... it is the middle of the afternoon and we are still plugging away on math, book reports, english, reading, etc... The kids are still joyous, diligent, and applying character concepts from our lesson this morning. Was the day successful? You bet it was... after all: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!
Kaser enjoying the beach. Happy birthday, he turned 1!

 It is amazing that after spending 5 days with a group of like minded families (of which 99.999% of them also homeschool), I only had ONE curriculum discussion! And that mom used the same thing that we are switching to! What a wonderful, sovereign God we serve who divinely crossed our paths! It was a blessing to get tips/tricks from her and get to share some of my own insights as well. Again, what a blessing family camp was.  I'm posting a few of our pictures... enjoy!!

Evening chapel was too much when Kyli skipped her nap!

 There was a cardboard and duct tape boat building contest that we did with another family. Who knew how fun that was going to be. Let me tell you, they built a GREAT boat and it floated for a LONG time, even with two 11 year olds in it!! In fact, it didn't even sink. But FYI... duct tape doesn't really like to stick to cardboard!

 Happy birthday, Kenan!!! He had a birthday at camp too!!

We all enjoyed the sweet shop, that was a fun little hangout (albeit loud)!
Kaser eating Daddy's shake.

Kaleb jumping on the blob.

Kyli having fun swimming!

Kezi on the rocket.