The Comparison Trap

A and O

There are some things as a homeschooling mom, and in life in general for that matter, that I have had to learn the hard way. The really hard way.

One of those things is…not to compare myself with other moms.

I am an optimistic bubbly person by nature.  People would describe me as positive, friendly, and fun. But nothing steals my joy quicker than the feeling of inadequacy. Feeling like everyone is getting it right but me. Have you ever felt that way? Can you relate?

You know what? It’s a lie. Really.

My favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 30:21: Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying…”This is the way; Walk in it'”.

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I would look to the right and see that #1 Super Mom’s kids were doing this and that, but…we weren’t. And I would think…

“Should we be doing this and that, too?”

Then I’d look to the left and see that #2 Super Mom was using this fabulous amazing curriculum. But…I wasn’t. And I would worry…

“Should we be using it, too?”

After a while I noticed that my joy was…gone. I wasn’t that optimistic bubbly mom anymore. I wasn’t positive and friendly. I was caught in the comparison trap, and to be completely honest with you…I had a hard time getting out. I was miserable. Full of second guessing myself….of insecurity…and self doubt.

Bethou

I think we must ask God for His vision in all things, (homeschooling included), and then trust Him with it. But, I also think it’s difficult to obey the vision He gives us when it sometimes means going against the current. To give ourselves the freedom and permission to forge the path He gives us. To bravely pioneer a journey that is uniquely ours. Especially, when so many moms are eager to sell you on what they are doing.

Guess what? It may work for them and that is truly wonderful…but it may not work for you…AT ALL!

AND THAT’S OKAY!

There are a lot of well-meaning moms out there who live to give you their advice. Learn to  to glean what you need from them and let the rest go.

And while we are being transparent with each other…let me confirm a suspicion you might already have about homeschooling moms: Yes, we are ALL scared of messing it up. We all have seasons of insecurity and self doubt. We are completely privileged to be able to take all of it to God and pray, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

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Pray…pray…pray.

Remember that favorite Bible verse of mine? Did you catch the last part of it?

your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying…”This is the way; Walk in it'”.

That voice…that still small voice…God’s beautiful comforting voice…is what you are to listen for. He’s how you get out of the comparison trap. He’s how you muster courage and stand taller than you thought you could. He’s the joy giver!

I am happy for #1 Super Mom, by the way. She’s my sister in Christ and I want to encourage her. Because down deep inside…I know she’s scared to death she’s messing it all up, too.  She might even be caught up in the comparison trap herself, and I know what that feels like.

Don’t we all?

Sincerely,

Deborah

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Art Project- Hidden Textures

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So, this is a fun little project to do with your kids. It’s for a class I co-teach for our homeschool co-op. The class is called, A.C.E. (Artistic and Creative Ensemble) and it’s about all kinds of creative thinking for artistic kids.

The idea behind this project is to work with textures in a fresh new way. So here’s what you’ll need:

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  • A piece of watercolor paper
  • Acrylic paints
  • At least 5 paintbrushes in different sizes
  • A pencil
  • Elmer’s glue (liquid not a glue stick)

Start by drawing the turtle’s shell.

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Add the legs, tale, head, and belly. Then fill in the shell with a cool and simple design. I also made a double outline around everything.

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Now for the fun part!! You get to add texture to your turtle by using your Elmer’s glue. Use it like a marker or paint and design away! He’s going to be ultra snazzy!

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Now, let dry. Completely. This is no small task for excited kiddos. But, you must do it. By the way, it takes a couple days to dry all the way. I know, I know, but I promise it’s worth the wait.

After it’s spent an eternity drying…get out your paints. I used very diluted acrylics but you can also use watercolors.

Start to apply the paint slowly, right over the dry glue designs. You will begin to see the glue textures start to peek their way through. It’s like magic!

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Keep painting!

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Fill in the rest of your turtle with your favorite colors and don’t forget to outline his eyes, toes, and the rest of him. When you are finished… use a little paint, (very diluted), to give him a little bit of a shadow effect.

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You are done! He is too cute, and your kids have hopefully had a blast while discovering something brilliant about color, texture, and…turtles!

Sincerely,

Deborah

Ender’s Game

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When gathering ideas for my daughter’s junior year Modern Literature reading list , Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, was at the top of the list. Post Apocalyptic literature is a genre near and dear to both of us…and since the movie was also coming out this year, I knew she would love it.

I took her to see the movie before she read the book and as it turns out, I’m glad I did. At the time, she was finishing up The Lovely Bones, (extremely intense and hard to get through), and apparently she was not half as excited to read Ender’s Game as I wanted her to be.

Until she saw the movie!

She loved it! I loved it! I was sorry that dad and the boys had missed it. (It was mom and daughter night, after all.) We walked out of the movie theater talking a mile a minute…terribly excited to discuss every nook and cranny of Ender’s world. She and I stayed up half the night marveling at the incredible worldview of this story.

We thought the movie was very well done, by the way. Could you tell? Not as good as the book, (by far), but definitely worth seeing. We continued to ponder over it for days afterward, and without any prompting from her mother, she quickly wrapped up The Lovely Bones and jumped headfirst into the world of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin and his “Game”.

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She completed the book in a less than a week. When she finished it was like coming up for air. At first, she was very quiet about it. I love that silence. The stillness and quietude of a deep thinker.

-Watching the gears as they turn and work in her mind.
-Waiting as she pieces together her thoughts with her feelings like a puzzle.
-Wonder-struck by the passion that starts out as a spark but then ignites into a fire. 
-Welcoming the opinions, convictions, and lifeblood of who she is.

The silence was broken as we began again to talk about Ender’s Game. A very different conversation this time.

Her: Mom, I don’t want the boys to ever play those war games that everyone talks about, okay?

Me: What war games?

Her: You know, Call of Duty…Halo…any of them.

Me: Why is that?

Her: Because…don’t you get it? That’s exactly the point of this book, mom. Well, one of the main points, anyway.

Me: What makes you say so?

Her: I think our world is doing exactly what the book warns us about. We are choosing to put violence in the hands of our young people and warping their innocence by calling it a game.

Me: Well done.

Her: I want them to see this movie.

Me: We can arrange that. Let me talk to dad.

Well, tonight we watched Ender’s Game as a family. It was interesting to watch my boys’ excitement. Their dad and I could tell that they thought it was going to be a cool space movie, or something a long those lines. And as we watched them, we wondered if they would “get it”.

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I can tell you that I had many conversations with the Lord while they watched…their eyes mesmerized. I was hoping…praying…that they would be able to discern the symbolism and meaning lying under the surface of all the action, lights, and sound.

When the movie ended, they announced that they loved it! When we asked them why and what was their favorite part, they didn’t know. They just liked it.

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Our family has had our struggles on the topic of war games and whether or not they will be permitted in our home. (They currently aren’t, by the way.) Our teenage son argues passionately that he is the only guy he knows who is not allowed to play them. Our preteen son could care less, at this point, as long as there’s Minecraft.

Right now, we have no future plans to introduce war games into our family. I hope it stays that way. I don’t like them and I don’t think they have a place here. That’s what is working best for our family anyway. Every family is different.

At least we were able to have a good conversation together about it. The boys didn’t have as much to say about it as their sister. But, they did contribute great thoughts and opinions about Ender’s Game. They are great young men!

My preteen did say, “Mom, you just wanted us to watch this so that we won’t want to play Call of Duty, right?”

Smart kid.

Sincerely,

Deborah

Delight Directed Homeschooling

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So, maybe you’d like to hear a little bit about our homeschooling style. Maybe you weren’t thinking about that at all, but now that I’ve mentioned it…now you’re a little curious.

First of all, there are LOTS of different homeschooling styles, and not one of them is the perfect style that works for everyone. Homeschooling can look as different as A to Z. I think it’s important  to find what works for your family and to realize that what works for you…might not work for someone else.

We are a Delight Directed homeschooling family and we have a blast! My husband and I decided a long time ago that we wanted to prayerfully help our children ignite a fire for learning that we hoped would burn bright their entire lives.

A friend suggested we listen to a concept by Chris and Ellen Davis from The Elijah Company. I don’t know if they are around anymore but their concept was brilliant. It spoke directly to the heart of what we dreamed homeschooling would look like for our family.

In a nutshell, we decided that academics, (although very important to us), were not going to be our main focus. In fact…academics weren’t even going to be our second area of focus. (I know you’ve just fainted but try to stay with me here.) Academics were going to be third.

Yep, I said it. Third. I know you are scratching your head and staring at my page in disbelief. But, let me explain. Our vision was simply this: Relationships…character…then academics.

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1. Relationships is our primary area of focus…period. Relationship with God, family, friends, the church, neighbors, community…etc. Our mission is to help them understand their need for a Savior, to help them be in the world but not of the world, and to love others as themselves. Awesome!!

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2. Character is secondary. Contrary to what the world has to say, virtues are still extremely important, especially in our home. Are our children learning kindness and compassion? Are they loyal and honest? Do they know how to treat each other, their friends, the elderly? Do they have respect for themselves and others? Do the moms at park day cringe when they see our car pull up or do they celebrate our arrival? Seriously…try the park day experiment if you really want to know if you’re working on character effectively! No kidding!!

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3. Academics is third. I’m not saying that we don’t focus on this because we do! Is math important? Sure. Language Arts? Of course. Reading? Absolutely! But let me ask you a question? How far will grades get you without good character and solid relationships?

For us, Delight Directed homeschooling is about what our children are passionate about. If ocean life is the area of interest for one or all of them, we delve into the world of underwater creatures. If curiosity leads us to dine with Medieval kings and queens so be it. We have the recipes and costumes to prove it.

Delight Directed homeschooling is child led and parent designed to promote discovery to the fullest. And yes, we still do our Math. (But sometimes, we put it away early and play Monopoly!)

Sincerely,

Deborah

Hi there. We homeschool.

We Homeschool

Hi there! We homeschool.

That’s how I feel like introducing myself to someone I have just met. Just to get it out of the way.  Because it’s going to come up, (you know it will), and once it does…the conversation usually centers around it.

I wish more than you can possibly imagine that when it does come up, it’s because people truly want celebrate that we homeschool with us. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the way it goes. But, we knew that going into it…almost 10 years ago. And we’re okay with that. Truly.

Our reasons for homeschooling are MANY! So many in fact that I could fill up the whole page. But the main reason is this…because God called us to it. Pure and simple.

I’m also going to be very transparent with you. It took us 3 years to obey this calling.

Why? Well…I have a lot of excuses. Some in fact are completely valid. But, let’s just say we had some obstacles in our way and were resisting giving it to God. May I also say, that as soon as we did give it to Him, our obstacles fell away. Yep, gone!

We started homeschooling the second week of our daughter’s third grade year. Our son started shortly after his sister, and their little brother never stood a chance. Yep, he was homeschooled from the start.

Miraculously, God blessed it from the first day, which might have something to do with obedience.  It fits our family like a glove. We love love love it!

We have never looked back. Did I mention we love it? We truly do.