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Letting Go

June 30, 2012
posted by Tia in Home Schooling, Learning
Boys reading

This little guy turned three years old recently.

He’s also now decided that he’s potty-training. Yeah, we’re a little laid back about that around here.

It was somewhat of a different story five years ago, though, when Captain was in his shoes. I’m in the ranks of moms who are way more relaxed with subsequent children than with the first child. I kept trying to figure out how I could “get” my little boy to potty-train. He just wasn’t in a hurry. And I kind of was. How did I convince him to do it by my timetable? We tried all the tricks, you know: treats for using the potty, begging, reasoning (with a three-year-old – ha!), and we even had a special toy he had picked out, up on the shelf in the bathroom, for him to receive as a reward when the step was finally (and completely) taken. But, he still wanted to do it on his own timetable.

I must not have been too forceful, because he still didn’t potty-train until he was over three-and-a-half. I remember when he did it, though. It was like magic. Something just clicked. He just got it. Because he was ready for it, it was time, and he suddenly knew he could do it. And he did it in a day, and never digressed even a little bit. You know what, I learned from that. Eventually.

Vi was next in line for toilet-training and I think I pushed her more than she was ready for as well, and regret it. But over the next few years that fell between then and now, I’ve learned from those lessons. I’m not so worried about it now. Sure, I’d rather the kids be out of diapers, but I’d much rather do diapers than frequent accidents. I know that none of my perfectly healthy children will wait until they are eight years old to potty-train. They will hit a point when they are ready, and they will do it, and that will be that.

So with Orator, he’s getting a different ride than Captain and Vi did. There are no treats, no mommy begging, no tempting toy sitting just out of reach in the bathroom. The strategy this time: If he keeps the diaper dry and goes on the potty, he gets underpants. If he has an accident (unless it was in an honest attempt to get to the toilet), he’s back in a diaper again. That’s it. And there is no cajoling – I just put a diaper on him in the morning, unless he remembers and asks to “be a big boy today” on his own. And do you know what? It is working!!!

I’ve been amazed at the progress we have made. He is not there yet, but he is getting there. Because he wants to, and because he is ready.

I’m really grateful that Captain is the kind of kid who has to do things on his own timetable. It has made me a better, more patient and understanding mother. But still, as the oldest he has to be patient with me as well as he blazes the trail. He constantly reminds me that it’s okay for me to let go and let him lead in his own paths.

I called my wonderful mother in distress the other day, asking her what in the world I was doing wrong. Why wasn’t Captain reading well yet? What was I doing wrong? Was I failing as a homeschooling mother because I couldn’t even help my child become literate?

Thank heaven for mothers. As a homeschooling veteran, she has taught all of my brothers as sisters and I to read. She was not worried at all, but gently reminded me that each child has their own timetable, and that is okay. It turns out that many of my siblings didn’t learn to read well until they were eight or nine years old. And they are some of the most functionally literate people I know. They read hefty books, write stories and articles of their own, edit manuscripts for other people. Learning to read on their own timetable and through their own readiness and motivation has not crippled them in the least.

I had thought Captain would be an early reader, because he learned his alphabet quickly and easily, with very little prodding, at 18 months. My mom shared with me something she had read about how, often, those children who show early signs of literary ability are those that learn to read later than is normal. Why? Because they are the ones that really want to do it themselves. They don’t want to be pushed. Boy, that described my Captain to a t.

He actually reminds me a lot of my brother that is just younger than me. He didn’t learn to read until he was eight or nine, but when he did learn to read, he learned to read out of an encyclopedia, because everything else was just too boring for him.

Patience, Tia, patience. My mom commented during a different conversation that it takes time to realize that you can’t control those that you are closest to. You can’t make them do what you want them to do by monitoring, manipulating, and forcing. In the end, you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. But that’s okay, I don’t want to. One reason that I am homeschooling is so that my children can be self-led academically. There is great benefit in that!

I’ve backed off for now. He’s getting there on his own. Captain actually loves to write notes and letters to people more than he loves to read, because he knows enough phonetics that he can usually make a note legible. He thinks writing is cool; reading (for now) still seems hard. So instead of pushing the reading, we are capitalizing on the writing! That way he can have it his way and teach himself how to read, right? :-)

We have been writing letters to cousins and friends, he’s been writing in a journal, and we’ve been writing letters to each other. We’ve got a simple mail delivery system going on in our home right now, but I think I’m going to make fun felt mail pockets for the wall to make it even better. If you want more ideas, check out this post by my wonderfully clever and creative friend Arianne. It will provide you with some great inspiration!

I’m learning, really I am! Hopefully by the time Orator gets around to reading, I’ll be wiser like my mom, more relaxed and ready to let him lead the way. Sort of like I am now with potty-training him. There is so much value in simply assisting children and inspiring children to educate themselves. They are interested. Don’t push and make them hate it! This is easier said than done sometimes, but it is true and it is worth it. Some children learn to read early, like I did, and others just need a little more time. And that is okay.

*Update* It took me a few days to get around to finishing and publishing this post, and as I write we are on day six of Orator in underwear with zero accidents. And that includes staying at someone else’s house for several days, and other trips. We made it! Hooray for self-motivation!!

What have been your lessons in letting go?


Anatomical Adventures

May 18, 2012
posted by Tia in Living

Just in case any of you have wondered whether I had fallen off the planet, let me assure you that I did not.

I only fell through a lawn chair.

A broken hand makes for a wonderful reason to learn some anatomy. Makes it really hard to type, though. I think I wrote a post about my hand about twenty times in my head, but transferring it to the blog was another matter entirely. Two months after the accident, I have only some advice and a bit of good news.

Advice: Don’t stand on an old, sun-rotted plastic lawn chair in order to reach something on a shelf in the shed. Especially with a cement floor you could fall to if said chair gave way.

Good news: My hand is almost fully functional again. It still is stiff and sore, and it probably won’t ever again be as good as new. But hey – I can type, play the piano, and change diapers once again. What more could a mom want?

Blogging isn’t the only thing in my life that has been neglected recently. I have a lot of catching up and pulling together to do. But I have not forgotten you, dear little blog. There is hope for you yet!

What has your Spring been like?

To My Younger Self

March 3, 2012
posted by Tia in Learning

A younger mom was coming over the other day to talk about homeschooling. And I couldn’t stop cleaning my house. And wondering at myself.

I’m older, right? I know what I’m doing, don’t I? Aren’t I comfortable with myself? Can’t I be “the expert” to her? Who cares if my house is a little messy? It’s not that bad. Why am I not comfortable giving her a glimpse into my real life? Why am I trying so hard to impress her?

Then it struck me: it was me I was trying to impress. I was seeing my younger self in her, with all of my ideals, judgements and preconceptions. And I wanted to look good and live up to those ideals.

I could see myself in my mind’s eye, a brand new mother. And boy, was I going to be a good one. I was going to be structured, and spiritual, and I was going to teach my kids good habits and good manners. I’d have a consistent routine and regularly and thoroughly take care of all of the housework. My kids would be cheerful workers (all the time!) because I would be such a good example. I…could go on.

Don’t we all start out that way, young and naïve? Shouldn’t we, though? I don’t think that I would change it.

I’m still somewhat idealistic, I admit it. But, I’m also a little more realistic at the same time. I’ve come to realize that my dishes will often be undone. There will always be a basket or two (or three) of dirty laundry somewhere in the house. My house will never really, completely, totally be organized the way that I think I would like it to be. Nor will my life.

But still, there is this young, new mother self within me, eyeing the mess critically, passing judgment and shaking her head in dismay. Why couldn’t I live up to the ideal? I was going to be different, remember?

If I could say one thing back to that young mother right now, it would be this: Relax. It’s not as bad as it might seem. Don’t be afraid to lose yourself in the unknown of motherhood and find the joy that is found there. Just let go.

From my point of view, life is beautiful. I’m not oblivious to the chaos around me, but I’ve discovered a beauty in it that I wouldn’t understand if I weren’t a part of it myself. To an outsider, my life would most often resemble this:

Can you even tell what is going on in that picture? I’m not sure I can! But that’s not what I usually see. When I look up from that book I’m reading, I see this instead:

I’m in a place now where I don’t often notice when the baby has a messy shirt or the toddler has a finger up his nose. It doesn’t make a difference to me if my daughter’s clothes are mismatched, or if my son’s pants have gaping holes in the knees, again. Although I take good care of my children and tend to their needs, these things have just stopped being as big of a deal overall. I notice them when I need to, but they no longer change the way that I see my children. I’ve come to truly learn that appearances don’t really matter. Cliché? Yes. But true. If my child’s messy face affects how I feel about them, my love is conditional only.

I’m still learning to love unconditionally. I’m not perfect at it. But that is my new ideal. I hope my younger self inside me can understand. And that I can stop worrying about whether or not she does. Now that I know she is there watching me, I think I’m going to work on helping her to relax and not act so concerned over what she sees.

Don’t worry so much about the mess, sweetheart. Live the joy.


Our Homemade Christmas

February 29, 2012
posted by Tia in Loving
Sunshine Christmas

Now that February is all but over, I guess I’ll tell you a little about Christmas! (I think February could use a little Christmas cheer sometimes, don’t you?)

No, I didn’t do a totally homemade Christmas. All of the kids got books, a little whistle/compass tool, and oranges (I wish I could grow those here!). We also got a Spanish language program and some other books and things for helping us to learn Spanish, since we have been working on that.  Several things were homemade, though, and I wanted to share with you how they turned out.

This year I made each of my kids a stuffed animal, and a pair of wool mittens. I also made the two boys aprons. I had found a cute one at a thrift store for Vi, so that saved me the trouble of making her one this time around – and she already has a mama-made apron she got as a birthday present the year before. It was a good thing I didn’t have to make her one, too, since I was whipping the boys’ aprons out on Christmas Eve.

The best thing, though, was to have Dad on board. My husband made rubber band guns for everybody, carefully fitted to a specific size of rubber band so that the shots aren’t too stinging, nor too wimpy. We’ve had a few really awesome family rubber band battles since Christmas, what a blast. :-)

My method on the stuffed animals was simple. A month or two before Christmas I asked each child what their favorite woodland creature was (we’ve been reading a lot about those lately). Once they had told me, I simply went to, and did a search for that type of stuffed animal. I then picked one or two that I liked, and then fashioned my own stuffed animals as I eyeballed the pictures on the screen (with a little help from my significantly more artistically gifted husband). And no, I’m really not that talented at sewing, but it was pretty easy to make it up as I went. And that is the extent of my Christmas stuffed animal tutorial. 😉

Without further adieu, meet Sneaky, Captain’s weasel:

He’s made from a couple of old, thrifted wool sweaters.

This is White-Tail, Vi’s fox:

I had that plaid in my fabric stash and it was asking to be made into a fox.

And here is Peter, Orator’s teddy bear. At least, I think it’s a teddy bear. When he opened the present, he said, “It’s a bunny!” and Vi said, “No it’s not, it’s a dog!” :)

He’s made from another thrifted wool sweater. Sometimes I think Sunshine likes him better than Orator does.

Sunshine got a little owl, made of felt. For some reason, I don’t have a very good picture of it. But you can kind of see it in the front of this one. For perhaps the same reason, the owl hath no name. I’m afraid he’s not very well-beloved, but I’m thinking I’ll make Sunshine a teddy bear of her own for her birthday coming up since she seems to have taken such a fancy to Orator’s….

The picture above also shows off Sunshine’s Christmas stash. See those adorable pink wool mittens there that I made for her with such loving care? Cute, huh?

They don’t fit. Can’t get her hands in them at all. So I gave them to Vi, for her dolls to use. She couldn’t get them on her doll’s hands, either. Sniff, sniff. Perfect for snowwoman stick-hands, perhaps?

Here are Orator’s mittens that I made to match his teddy bear. And next are a couple pictures of what Captain and Vi got. You can see Captain’s light blue mittens in his pictures; Vi’s mittens look almost identical. You can sort of see the kids’ aprons in these pictures as well.

Don’t you love the rubber band guns? I thought that they turned out amazing. This next shot of Sunshine with hers, I thought, was one of the best pictures of the day.

Isn’t she sweet? 😀

So, the take-away? The stuffed animals turned out pretty well for the most part, I thought. The aprons turned out pretty well, although Orator’s didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked. The mittens? Meh. Definitely should have made all of them bigger (some of them, much bigger). But, the idea was to make the kids real mittens that actually kept their hands warm and dry in the snow – which these do, as they have since proved (yay!). I made them lined with fleece on the inside, and although that was one of the things that complicated the project and created the sizing issues, I think that was the way to go and I’m definitely going to have another shot at them sometime in the future. Next Christmas, maybe?

Yes, I’m already thinking about next Christmas. What do you think of these? I found them while I was looking for stuffed animal ideas and think they are adorable!! I don’t think they would be too hard to make, either….

Am I crazy to be doing homemade Christmas presents for four children? I admit there were times in the middle of the night when the sewing machine was acting up and something wasn’t turning out the way that I had pictured, that I would have said yes. But I also had to admit to myself that I loved it. For me, gifts have special meaning when I have put more into them than money. I love giving my kids something that I created with my own hands. Will I always do it? No, probably not. I doubt Captain will want a stuffed animal for Christmas when he is 16. But right now, anything Mom makes is still magic. So right now, I’ll take that magic and run with it.



January 9, 2012
posted by Tia in Living

I was trying to decide what to title this post, but all that would come out was “January.” I feel like January right now. All of it. Excitement for the new year, and nostalgia over time passing too quickly. The welcome calm after the storm of the holidays, and the mild letdown and winter blues that come along with it. Cold. Finally getting over a long winter illness. Still working on getting over holiday messes. Prevailing is the let’s-snuggle-together-under-a-blanket-and-read-a-book-together feeling.

I’ll put up the other posts I promised soon, I need to get my pictures together so that I can share our Christmas with you. For now I was just going to share tidbits from our home.

Sunshine is still feeling a little under the weather, so I’ve been snuggling her a lot. No complaints there, the house can wait. She’s crawling all over the house now and I’ll take all of the loving cuddles I can get.

Orator, what can I say, was talking up a storm today. Things like, “Go ahead and throw that back in the fridge now, Mom,” and “I don’t want nothing,” and “Don’t read it in Spanish, Mom, read it in English.” (I was reading it in English.)

Vi kept disappearing into her room today to play with her “children.” (She’d loudly protest if she knew I put that in quotation marks.) She has a dozen or so dolls and stuffed animals that she says are my grandchildren and that she can play with and draw and talk to all day. They’re quite an assortment, but she makes me think of Beth in Little Women and I think that it’s sweet.

Captain is pretty determined about his reading lately and has really been going at it. He’s also quite fascinated with the revolutionary war time period and we spend a lot of time reading out of books about it. And then he’ll get out legos or blocks or action figures and role-play battles with General Washington and the Hessians.

As for me, I continue to have life’s assortment of struggles and victories. I have a box or two of apples going bad in my kitchen because I haven’t found someone with time to help me make applesauce and I haven’t seemed to be able to pull it off myself. I read a stack of new-to-us books to my kids this afternoon and we all reveled in it. The meals I made today weren’t very popular, but our family night together was rich and simple and sweet.

My lessons that I am working on right now? Learning the meaning of unconditional love. Learning to abandon doubt and fear for faith and hope. Learning again that the most precious gift that I have is every moment that I have to spend with my husband and children.

I love my family. I feel so very blessed. I hope you have a wonderful new year.

How is January at your home?

One Comment

Coming Out of the Christmas Haze

January 4, 2012
posted by Tia in Living

This is a Christmas picture of Captain and Sunshine. Sunshine looks a bit like she just woke up and isn’t sure what’s going on. That’s about how I feel right now. :-)

Christmas at our home was wonderful. As you can see, I took a break spanning all of the winter holidays! Between staying up nights making Christmas presents, regular holiday traditions, and the entire family taking turns being sick for the last month and a half (well…we’re almost done with that), I’ve had lots going on. But lots to share, too!

I’m looking forward to sharing our homemade Christmas with you (the successes and the failures), how the kids are doing with their reading, our math ventures, and some other thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head like so many rubber bands (more on that later).

In the meantime, Happy New Year to you all. I wanted to share a link to Doctrine and Covenants 6 with you, since it is one of my favorite passages in all of scripture. It speaks directly to my soul and I find direction and guidance there any time that I seek it. I always feel that the Lord is speaking directly to me. If you don’t already love this section, get to know it and you will. If you already do, I invite you to read it again.

How was your Christmas season?

Oh How Differently They Learn

November 21, 2011
posted by Tia in Learning

My two oldest children, Captain and Vi, are only about 19 months apart in age. They are the best of friends, and I have loved it.

One thing in particular that makes it fun is that they tend to hit a lot of milestones together. If one of them is doing or learning a new thing, the other one wants to be in on it too. And, just as I thought they would, they have recently hit a new milestone together: reading.

Captain has been on the verge of reading for a little while now. I could tell he wanted to. But he is a cautious child, and likes to take a good long look before he leaps into the unknown. I was starting to wonder if it would actually be Vi that initiated this time.

One morning several weeks ago, we sat down for personal scripture reading at the beginning of our devotional. I have been taking the first 5-15 minutes (okay, sometimes it’s 2, depending on the morning) to read scriptures and journal about them to help model these habits to my kids. I invite them to use the time to look at the pictures in their scripture story books. This time, though, Captain broke down and started to cry.

“I’m tired of looking at the pictures,” he said in frustration. “I want to be able to read the scriptures by myself.”

We stopped what we were doing, right then and there, and did our very first formal reading lesson. Vi, of course, was in on it, too, as I had expected. What I didn’t expect, however, (although perhaps I should have), was how differently they each approached reading! It was so interesting to watch them as they took turns reading on each page.

Captain has a very good memory and has always enjoyed memorizing things. He memorizes things easily just by hearing me recite through them a few times – more than once he has surprised me by reciting an entire poem, song, or scripture that I’ve never heard him say before. He doesn’t want to say the scripture or whatever it is over and over in general, though. He wants to just listen to me recite it, and he’ll pick it up that way. Interestingly enough, he is approaching reading the same way. He is not particularly interested in sounding the words out phonetically. Instead, he prefers for me to just tell him what the word is, and then he can try to remember it for next time. In general, he remembers quite well. Also, he is very literary and is very good at guessing what the next word is by the context of what we are reading.

Vi has a completely different approach. She loves to sound words out! Even if she already knows what the word is, she likes to pretend that she is sounding it out. I’m amazed at how well she does; that method really works well for her. She really enjoys having the tools to figure out how to say the words by herself.

Another interesting thing is that Captain, from the time he was small, was always begging to be read to. All the time. Every book. Several times a day he brings me books, asking for me to read to him. (And he asks his dad. And anyone else he can pin to the couch for a few minutes.) My younger son, Orator, is the same way. Vi, on the other hand, loves to be read to, but often would rather sit and look at the book herself. I remember that even as a toddler, I would often find her looking at books alone, but when I would offer to read them to her, it was as likely as not that she would actually turn me down!

This difference has meant that Captain has been taking learning how to read at a pretty easy pace. He’s not in too big of a hurry because, hey, he’d just as soon have me read to him most of the time anyway! Which is fine. He’s catching on. And I’m sure that once he is reading independently he will be very happy to be able to enjoy books by himself even when I’m to busy to read to him.

Vi, on the other hand, is still pretty fired up about reading. She checked out a Dick and Jane book from the library the other day, and has been working her way through it, bringing it to me when she wants help with a word (she wants to read it by herself as much as possible). She’s thrilled with the thought of actually being able to read books all day on her own. She can’t wait. (Neither can I!)

Math has been the same. Captain wants concepts to be fully explained, and then he can do the work, no sweat. Vi would rather try her hand at figuring it out herself.

Can I just say again that I love homeschooling? What fun to be able to sit down with my two oldest kids and be able to help them to learn how to read, all at the same time, and be able to cater to their pace and their learning style. I’m so excited about this new phase!

One Comment

Reading in the Evenings as a Family

November 8, 2011
posted by Tia in Learning

It was the beginning of June, right after dinner on a Friday evening. My husband asked me what we should do for fun that night—something relaxing, maybe, like watch a movie . . . ?

I thought for a moment. The older kids had already run outside to play, and it was so nice and warm out, and the sunshine was beautiful. It seemed a crime to call the kids in to the house to watch a movie. Perhaps we should think of something to do out of doors this summer that would keep us outside more in the evening.

As a result of this musing, we devised a plan. Reading a book together in the evenings, but with rules to keep it special:

Rule #1, All of us had to be there together (no reading without Daddy when he was at orchestra, etc.).

Rule #2, It had to be evening.

Rule #3, We had to read outside.

The first book that we picked out was Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls. We had the old copy that my mother-in-law had read to her kids when they were little.

It was a success! Right away the kids started looking forward to reading together outside every evening that we could. They would rush through any evening chores or cleanup that we asked of them. One evening, Captain even jumped right up after finishing his dinner, then went over and filled up the sinks and started doing the dishes himself! Hurrah!

The book was a definite hit. The kids loved Summer of the Monkeys—all of us did. The kids would sit on the swings of our backyard set, or lounge on the blanket I had spread on the grass, and listen, fully enthralled. Captain was the most involved in the story, and we all got a big kick out of his expressions when we would reach a twist in the story line.

Alice in Wonderland was the next book we read. The kids weren’t quite as involved in that one, but it was fun, and it was short. We read this one while waiting for or watching fireworks outdoors more than once.

After that came Treasure Island. This, too, we enjoyed. However, half way through the book it got too chilly to read outside all the time, so we changed the rules with the season. Now we could read indoors, sitting around our fireplace together. We switched off for a week or two, reading sometimes indoors and sometimes out as we straddled the seasons. But we’ve had snow on the ground for three days now and I’m pretty certain now that we’ll stay in.

Last Friday evening we stayed up late finishing the last few chapters of Treasure Island. I can’t wait for our next book. We’ve had so much fun reading while the TV stayed on the rolling cart in the closet.

What are your favorite ways to read as a family?

In it for the Long Haul

November 1, 2011
posted by Tia in Living

What a crazy month it has been – and already it is over. I feel as though I have been so busy and I hardly know why.

Lately, when people ask me how it is going with four kids, I give them somewhat of a bewildered look and answer,

“Pretty well. I love it. I’m just not sure when I’m supposed to clean my house.”

I can almost do it all: caring for the babies, spending time with the kids, homeschooling (those are my favorite parts of the day), and even meals. It is the cleaning that has me baffled. We’re at a bare maintenance right now and that’s about it. There’s so much dejunking, reorganizing, wall-washing, systematizing, and just plain cleaning that I want to do, and there’s just no time to do it in.

Sigh. Deep breath. Oh, well.

I’ve heard it so many times before, but it’s true: walls will wait to be washed. The piano won’t give up on being dusted any time soon, but my children won’t let me push pause on their growth to enjoy them later. They are of primary importance, and it’s when I really remember and act on that, that I am happiest.

Something that my mom taught me a few years ago has been running through my head lately. Now, Mom had lots of kids – in the double digits. And she’s homeschooled all of us. She knows busy, overwhelmed, and tired, almost as intimately as she is acquainted with joy, love, and fulfillment. She’s amazing. (I’m rising up to call you blessed right here, Mom, just so you know. Thank God for you!) When I spoke to her a while back about the overwhelming responsibility of being a mother, she counseled me to remember what was important and spent most of my time on that, and not worry so much about the things that don’t really matter.

We talked specifically about homeschooling, and she told me that she had learned to be very careful not to go overboard with her methods and efforts in that area. This is when she said the phrase that has stuck with me:

“I’m in this for the long haul. I can’t afford mother-burn-out.”

I’ve thought about that a lot. What am I doing that could cause me to burn out? What will matter in the end? I’m sure we all ponder these questions at times, especially when our time and energy are limited and we have to spend them carefully.

Well, my family matters. My relationship with God matters. The other people around me in my life matter.

I’ve been trying to spend time on those areas, and ignore the walls. (And the bookshelves. And the closets, and sometimes occasionally the dishes or the laundry.) These things will have their time, but right now is not a season in my life that I should be worrying so much about them. Because I can’t afford burn-out. My family is too precious.

What things do you do to avoid burn-out? Is there anything that helps you remember what is most important when you’re feeling overwhelmed? It’s not just me that feels this way sometimes, right? :-)

Rainbow Moments

October 6, 2011
posted by Tia in Learning

There are as many unique and complex reasons to homeschool, I suppose, as there are parents doing it.

I love homeschooling. It is a family lifestyle that I have just fallen in love with deeply and endlessly both when I was young, and even more so since I’ve been going that route with my own children. It would probably take me a week to tell you about all of the reasons that I love it, but this is one that I have been pondering about the last few days.

Rainbow Moments.

When a rainbow appears, you didn’t know about it far in advance. You can’t schedule it on the calendar. Those grand, lovely, real rainbows way up in the sky are out of our control. They are unplanned, fleeting, and breathtaking.

It is like that in our families, too. Home is the perfect environment for rainbows. A child’s curiosity is sparked and you run with it. The Spirit whispers something to your hearts, and you teach with it. Large, serious eyes come to you with a question, and you help to answer it. These moments are unplanned, breathtaking, and easy to miss.

The other day, the kids and I were doing our devotional together and something—I couldn’t even tell you what, now—sparked a powerful spiritual conversation. Suddenly I was sharing something very close to my heart, and my children were listening intently, and then I was turning to Doctrine and Covenants 82:3 and teaching them that:

“…Of him unto whom much is given much is required…”

We talked about how very much we have been blessed with, and how the Lord asks us to share those blessings with others, because He loves His other children just as much as He loves us. How we need to do our very best to follow the Lord’s guidance so that we might reach our full potential and use it for His work and glory.

I can’t remember now exactly what I said, or how they responded, or any other particulars. But I do know that the Holy Spirit was with us, teaching me as much as it was directly teaching my children.

It brings to mind a scripture, Isaiah 54:13:

“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”

There we were, sitting together, and suddenly there burst upon us a rainbow. We would have missed this particular one if Captain and Vi had been in public school. We would have missed it if we hadn’t been taking the time to read the scriptures together. I don’t need to rush my kids around in order to help them get a good education. Because Home is the perfect environment for rainbows. And having my children taught by the Lord is certainly my primary goal for their education.

Home school is not the only way that rainbows can shine. I hope we all take the chance to spend precious time with our children. But I think when you are homeschooling, you catch them more often than if you were away more.

When did you last see a rainbow?

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