Archive for the ‘Young Adulthood’ category

Looking Forward

May 2, 2015

I’ve known since I was in high school that I planned to homeschool my children someday.  I probably assumed it even earlier, but I think the decision was conscious and concrete in middle or high school.  My own experience of homeschooling was so wonderful that I had no intentions of letting my kids miss out on what I had.

That intention has never wavered.  It was an important question I asked Sir K before I got engaged, especially because he was not homeschooled.  He responded that I myself was a good argument for the lifestyle, and he has supported my desire from the start.  I’m very much looking forward to the day when I begin teaching my own children, while at the same time I am still a bit intimidated by the enormity of the task.

I probably have a head start of a lot of moms who weren’t homeschooled themselves, and quite a few of those who were.  That head start comes from being the daughter of a homeschool mentor.  My mom has helped numerous other moms get started, whether they were starting at the beginning or pulling kids out of school systems.  I also got to see a lot of the inner working of her eclectic system (although we incorporated from some of the more well known prepackaged curriculum, my mother did all her own planning).  As the eldest, I was trusted to check my younger siblings’ work when there was an answer key, and in high school she even let me check some of my own work.  Not like I was going to cheat by then, I really wanted to know the answers!

Mom also included me in the process of choosing curriculum for myself and my siblings.  Letting me help choose my own materials meant that when I had a strong negative reaction to one history textbook’s confusing page layout, she was able to look for other options before the school year began and not wait till the second week when I was suffering through my lessons.  Part of helping children learn is being able to choose curriculum that suits their individual learning styles, and I got exposure to that early on.

Even with all this background, however, I still sometimes think “how on earth am I going to get started!”  What I remember of homeschooling is mostly the last five or six years of it, not the first.  Teaching a child while also keeping track of smaller children sounds like fun of the exhausting kind.  On the other hand, I know from experience how wonderful homeschooling was, and I would never think of quitting, especially not before I’ve begun.  I know that when the time comes in a few years, I will rise to the occasion, just like I did when facing what seemed like tough problems or subjects in my schoolwork.  I’m not always going to swim well, but I know I have a support system that won’t let me sink.

Those few years are going to go by faster than I can keep track.  You see, I can already number them.  Five years from now, I will be making kindergarten plans.  Yes, Sir K and I are expecting our first this Fall.  While various members of both families are exhibiting characteristic excitement or enthusiasm, Sir K and I are already praying for parental wisdom, and I am thinking of the sweet days to come when I can gather my nestlings on the couch for reading time.  You see, as I’ve said many times and probably written at least once or twice, homeschooling is not an educational choice for me.  Homeschooling is a lifestyle, and it’s the best one I know.

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The In-Between and the Afterward

December 15, 2014

When my youngest brothers graduate from high school in two and a half years, they aren’t getting a graduation party.  They weren’t keen on the idea anyway, not being social butterflies or party people, but we had a better idea.  Instead, my mother is having a retirement party.

Someone recently asked her what she will do when she’s no longer overseeing their education.  The suggestion was that she might quickly become involved in homeschooling again – her grandchildren.  I was also part of the conversation, and I quickly assured the inquirers that I am planning to homeschool my own children, thank you.  That’s my responsibility and privilege; one which I have no intention of giving up.

This period between being homeschooled and the time when I can begin being the homeschool mom myself is an interesting in-between.  My mother has switched from educator to mentor for me, with the transition lines being very blurry on occasion but nevertheless present.  I am looking forward to homeschooling my children, even though I’m also a bit intimidated because I had such a great mom myself.  I keep thinking that I’ll never be as good as she was/is.  The point, however, is not that I’m as good as she is, but that I do the best I can, and I am trying to keep that in mind.

While my mom won’t be homeschooling my children, I do hope that she and my father can be involved to some extent.  I know of other families in which the children have benefited from taking a subject or two from a grandparent with expertise.  I want my children to know both sets of grandparents well, to respect who they are, and to love spending time with them.  That’s easier to do with my own parents right now, as we live in the same town versus my in-laws, who live 3 hours away.  I intend to give both sets of grandparents their chance to love my children despite any difficulties with time and proximity.

By now, you’re probably wondering if I’m ever going to go back and answer the initial question about my mother.  What is she going to do after she retires from active homeschooling.  I may have given away part of my answer just now.  She may retire from active homeschooling, but I believe she will remain a willing resource for new homeschooling moms like I hope to be in the not too distant future.  She has a library of materials I hope to borrow when my children become ready for them, and I know she will lend them to others as she feels led in the meantime.  She also has many insights into homeschooling approaches and techniques which I hope to discuss as I am making decisions someday.

Yes, we’ve suggested that she write a book about homeschooling.  She says all the books she would write have basically already been written, so that is probably unlikely.  Not impossible, however!  We joke that she may finally have time to finish all those sewing projects that she has had in the plans but never had the time to make.  We’ll see whether she finds enough other things to keep her busy.  Other things like caring for my grandparents, teaching one of our church’s ladies’ Bible studies, and helping my youngest siblings with their projects, studies, and other endeavors.

There is indeed a life after homeschooling, just as there is one in-between.  Both have a great opportunity for serving and blessing others.  We’re both enjoying the stages of life we find ourselves in right now, and looking forward to the next.  In the Lord’s perfect time, we will find out His will for the next stages of our lives, and I know because He planned them, that they will be amazing!

An Average Scholar

August 23, 2014

Do you ever feel like you’re just an average scholar? Like no subject seems stronger than another? Maybe you get good grades, maybe you don’t, or maybe you don’t care because you already know what you’re good at, and it’s not academics. Or maybe you’re like me.

I got good grades in most subjects, certainly by the time high school crept up on me. At the same time, I didn’t have a particular affinity for any of the subjects. I liked music and art, but I couldn’t imagine doing either professionally (wasn’t that good, just enjoyed them).  I wasn’t interested in pursuing science, math, or history.  English either, although I was getting pretty good at writing by the time I graduated high school.

So when I looked for something to major in for college, I felt as if I’d struck out.  It’s not like anyone offers a degree in Homeschooling!  And I already had most of the credits I thought necessary for that one after helping homeschool myself and four younger siblings . . . But anyway, I couldn’t figure out what I was suited for that I wanted to study.

Do you feel like your dream job is elusive?  Like you’re not sure where to fit in?  That was me for a year or more in high school.

I had settled on a General Studies degree, and yes, it was settling.  My favorite thing was books, but they only offer Library Science as a Master’s degree, which I didn’t figure I’d want to go for once finished with a Bachelor’s degree.  So I had something at least, even if it was settling for second best.

That’s when I started to write my scholarship essay.

My father’s company offered a scholarship which would cover most of the cost of the online school to which I was applying.  It required an essay, in which I needed to convince the readers of why they should help pay for my education.  In writing that essay, I realized that I liked helping people.  I made the assertion that they would be benefiting more than just me by helping me pay for college.  That I was interested in helping people around me, and they would really be benefiting the whole community.

As I was planning and writing, someone finally suggested, “why not study helping people?!”  That’s when I started looking into degrees in Human Services.

I ended up building a degree that incorporated human services, human development, and communication courses, all of which were meant to support each other in helping me prepare for a job in the field, as well as preparing me for the rest of my life where I would continue to help people, watch them grow, and communicate with them.

Four years later I walked across the stage with a huge smile on my face, happy with my choice and my direction.  I like to feel as if I’ve helped someone, whether it be simply holding the door for a mother with little ones, or showing someone how to use Excell’s many features.  I’m not a wizard at any one thing, but I have experience in a variety of things, and am very willing to pitch in.

To go back to my question, my dream job was never all that elusive.  I knew I wanted to be a homeschool mom, but I also knew that there needed to be something between college and that!  My dilemma was in what God wanted me to do with the between years.  I’m glad He directed my steps so that I wrote that essay.  I found something that I enjoyed doing, and through writing about it, I figured out how to turn it into something I could study and then practice.  My subsequent work in a couple of non-profits was very rewarding.

Having now left the workforce, hopefully for good, I’m not inclined to say any of it was wasted.  I grew through the requirements of the jobs I’ve held, and through the friends I made among my coworkers.  I’m happy to be home now, but the journey here makes me appreciate it more.

Your journey will look different.  Have you considered what you like to do in your choice of  a career path, rather than just what you’re good at?

Have You Got the Time?

March 4, 2014

Since I’ve stopped working, I’ve sometimes felt like I have time on my hands.  I’m not sure that I’ve been using it as wisely as I could be, but one of the reasons why I felt like it was time to come home for good was that I was getting glimpses of inspiration while I was at work and by the time I got home, it would be gone.  I had no energy to pursue creativity.

I resigned in November, and then the holidays came, so I didn’t feel like I could really find a new normal until late January or February.  I’m falling into something of a normal pattern now.  It involves some outside activities like my Ladies’ study one morning a week, a piano lesson for a new homeschooler, and my weekly shopping.  I also usually visit my Mom and younger brothers at least once a week.  And then I have a bunch of projects going at home.

Beside the furniture and painting plans we’ve been making and the various household items that I’ve been working on picking up during my shopping excursions, I’m also working on a few craft projects.  I think I posted once about all my hobbies/crafts.  Right now, I have two crochet projects, three painting projects, and one cross stitch project all going at once, plus two or three other painting projects and a crochet project or two in the wings/early planning stages.

And now that I’m at home, when inspiration strikes, I pick up my guitar and work on a song.  I’m just beginning to see the fruit of the decision Sir K and I made last fall that I needed to come home.  I have the time and the freedom to write the melody that is singing inside of me.  And that wants to be shared.  I have the time and energy to practice my playing and singing, to become better able to share all God’s songs with people.

These days I sometimes feel like I have time on my hands, but I can usually find something constructive to fill it.  And I finally have time to focus on the things that God has called me to do.  One is to create a welcoming home for my husband, future children, and friends.  Another is to share the music He has put in my heart.  I am a vessel through which He wants to sing the songs of His heart, and I just pray that I can keep getting out of His way.  My songs may only ever touch my small circle, my church family, but God knows and will send me the songs He wants them to hear.  If he wants a song heard by the nation, he sends it to someone on the national scene.

Do you have time in your schedule for the things God is doing in and through you?  So many people these days, especially women, are so busy at work that they have little time for the basics at home, let alone hobbies.  Between work and their social life they are emotionally drained, leaving less and less for family and self.  Or their work and family take up all their time and they have little left for socializing or for God. I’m not trying to say that everyone should give up working, but that you should give some serious thought to this question.

What is your calling, and are you spending time on it?

Which Shelf Are You On?

February 25, 2014

At some point during the last year, my husband told me a story very similar to the one I told in my last post, and told me that he was the little boy who had let his father choose.  I was the wife off the top shelf.  Of course, I countered that he was on the top shelf himself, so how come he hadn’t seen me!

As a follow up to that post, here’s the flip side.  Which shelf are you on?

Are you a person worth putting on the top shelf?  One of my most viewed posts is Are You a Woman Worth Waiting For? which I wrote back in 2011.  I talked then about focus and preparation, focusing on God’s plan for you right now and preparing for the future He’s planning for you later.  Those things are valid for both men and women as we wait for the spouse God has planned for us.  Whether you’re 15, 25, or 45, you can be focused on God and preparing for the future He is bringing you.

I value the fact that my husband didn’t go wife-hunting, dating every girl who came along.  He’d been out of college for three years before he met me – plenty of time to have given up on God ever bringing someone along and have gone looking himself.  But he didn’t.  He just kept doing the work that God put in front of him, and in His time, God brought me to that church and introduced us.

And because Sir K had waited patiently while preparing for having a wife and family, he already had a steady job, had bought a house, and had paid off his student loans before asking me to marry him.  Many young couples do not have this opportunity, some because God wanted them to take another path, others because they rushed ahead with their own plans before they were ready.

Are you willing to wait?  To be “on the shelf” for a few years?  To focus on God’s plan instead of your own?  To prepare for the future instead of just wishing it would get here sooner?  If you want a “top shelf” spouse, then start thinking how to be worthy of that person first, and let God take care of getting them to you.  Then when God brings that “top shelf” person along, they will also see something “top shelf” about you.

Which Shelf Are You Looking At?

February 23, 2014

I’d like to tell you the story of two little girls.  Their names are Gabby and Fay, and they are twins.  One day they went to the toy store with their father, to pick out a toy because their birthday was coming.  The girls were on a quest to find the best doll ever.

Gabby immediately grabbed a doll off the nearest shelf, a very pretty doll with  a pink dress.  “This is the one I want, Daddy,” she announced.  “She’s the prettiest thing here.”

Fay looked over, and agreed.  “I like the pink dress too.  She looks like a princess.  She’s the prettiest doll I’ve ever seen.”

Their father looked down, “Are you sure?  Would you rather have those, or would you prefer that I choose for you and make it a surprise?”

Gabby piped up quickly, “Oh, no, Daddy, I want this one most.  Please, please?  Just let me have this one?”  She hugged the doll closer as if to prevent her father from taking it away.

“And what about you, Fay?  I’d like to give you the best present I can,” he continued as he met her eyes.

Fay thought for a few long moments, then looked down at the doll she held.  To Gabby’s surprise, Fay put her doll back on the shelf and quietly turned to their father.  “Daddy, you pick out my doll.  I know you’ll pick the best one.  You always give me the best presents, and you never needed my help before.”

“But Fay, this is the best doll here!” Gabby was aghast.  “Daddy, aren’t you just going to get her that same doll?  You’re being silly, Daddy!”

“Am I? Well, you’ve made your choice, so I’ll buy your doll now and we’ll put it in the spare bedroom until your birthday.  I’ll come back later to buy Fay’s doll.”

The birthday dawned a week later, and the twins were both excited to open their presents.  Each had received a few gifts from friends and relatives, which were quickly opened and exclaimed over.  Finally, they turned to their father for his gifts.  A small smile played around his face, chasing twinkles from his eyes.

Gabby’s doll was wrapped in pink with a silver ribbon.  She tore into it quickly, and pulled out her doll.  Her smile dimmed a little, and she looked over to watch Fay open her gift.  The pink princess’s glamour was already wearing off.

Fay’s doll, on the other hand, was wrapped in blue paper and tied with a white ribbon.  She tore into it carefully, and gasped at what she saw.  The doll was dressed as a queen, wearing a wonderful gold ball dress.  The queen doll was smaller, but even more beautiful than the one Gabby had picked, and she had a small trunk of accessories.

“Happy Birthday, Fay!” said her father.

Fay’s eyes shone.  “Oh, Daddy, she’s so beautiful!” she breathed.  “Thank you for picking her for me!”

“Daddy!  Where did you find this doll?!  I didn’t see it at the store.”  Gabby’s eyes were stormy and her tone upset.

“Oh, this doll was there all the time, but you couldn’t see her.  She was on the top shelf, above your head.  You chose your doll from the ones you could see, but Fay decided to let me choose from the dolls I could see.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Are you like Gabby?  So intent on finding the best present, best job, best husband that you are unwilling to step back and let God do the choosing?  So sure of yourself that you won’t relinquish control?  What if God is like this father and can see the top shelf?  What if He has bigger plans, if only you’ll let Him give you His best?  Will you be like Fay and wait?

Note: I heard a version of this story from my husband during our engagement period, and it was not original with him.  I have taken some artistic license with it, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway.  Stay tuned for the second question!

Waiting for Happily Ever After

January 10, 2014

I’m beginning to wonder if “happily ever after” doesn’t strike a discordant note with some children, since so many families do not have a happily ever after as I’ve described.  The parents do not stay together or if they do they fight.  On the other hand, those children may find their only ray of hope for their own future in the fact that stories and movies usually have a happily ever after, and in the few examples they can find in real life.  If someone can write about it, then happily ever after must be possible even if it doesn’t happen all the time.

Happily ever after is not something you find laying in the street.  It’s not something you can dig up with a treasure map.  It has to do with waiting for the right person to come along at the right time.  Many unhappily ever afters seem to be started with the wrong person or at the wrong time.  Sometimes people are in a hurry to get married because they think that will solve all their problems.  In those cases, they don’t always evaluate whether the person is a good fit, whether they have similar beliefs or hobbies, whether they like doing things with the person and whether it is the right time to get married.  Hence, sometimes couples find that their happily ever after dissolves quickly upon returning from the honeymoon, or even several years into their marriage, after the feelings of being “in love” have worn off.

I say this because I want to encourage any young readers who find my blog that it’s okay to wait for your happily ever after.  My mother met my father in college, and they were married just weeks after she graduated.  I had always hoped that would be my story too, because I didn’t want to have to go job hunting, and all that.  That’s not what God had in mind.

Although I also met my husband while I was in college, I wasn’t ready to think about marriage while carrying on with my studies, so we were just friends.  He was perfectly content to wait on God’s timing as well.  I had been out of college for 18 months and working for a year before he asked me to prayerfully consider whether God had marriage in mind for us.  I was nearly 24 at the time, and he was 28.

Because neither of us rushed into relationship with the first person we met, we were able to wait until God gave us the signal that it was the right time and the right person.  We have been blessed wonderfully these past five months, and we are very much in love.  Why do I think it will last?  Because we took the time beforehand to do our homework and make sure we saw each other clearly.  Because we were already very good friends, and enjoyed talking together, playing games together, and doing ministry together. But most importantly because we are both committed to God first, and then to each other.

You might find your happily ever after at 18, or it might be 28.  Whichever is God’s plan, are you prepared to wait for happiness?  Understand, people can make things work, even in less than ideal circumstances, and be “happy enough,” but the point is, are you willing to wait until God puts all the details in place?  Please don’t rush headlong into your future.  Just because the movies get to happily ever after in an hour or two, doesn’t mean you will, and you have a long ever after to think of.  Wait for the one you can see yourself spending the rest of your life beside.  Because that’s when you will live Happily Ever After.


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