Archive for August, 2014

6 reasons why you are reading this post

How many numbered lists have you read this week on digital media sites? Do you ever wonder how those lists are put together? Do you ever question the research that goes into putting these lists together and ranking the information in them? How do these writers decide the optimal number for their lists? And why do people love to read and re-post these lists?

In attempting to understand this list-writing phenomenon, I think I have come up with the perfect list. 

So here it is, folks, the 6 reasons why you are reading this post: 

1. 6. You are reading this post because I put a number at the beginning. I have defined some limits and you know reading a list of 6 things will not overly tax your brain or cause you to miss out on the other 26 posts on your reading list for the week.

2. Reasons. I am giving you reasons, which you like. Reasons help you understand things, even mysterious things like why you are reading this post.

3. Why. see point 2.

4. You. I used the 2nd person pronoun. I am writing directly to you– how could you NOT read this now that I have written to you personally?

5. Are Reading. You are now on point #5. (This is a verb in the present progressive tense, which indicates an ongoing activity in the present–you are doing this NOW.)

6.This Post. There you have it. I’ve gone and convinced you that I know what I’m talking about. I’ve put numbers and reasons and personal pronouns…and you read THIS POST, didn’t you?

*Disclaimer: If any grain of truth may be found in this, I am happy for the reader. This is just a writing activity to help spark some creative juices. Nevertheless, I hope Distractify  picks this up.
#feelinghopeful #tiredofreadinglists #alittlesarcasmcanbeagoodoutlet

What it takes to continue homeschooling

There are just so many things in this house that don’t work exactly right.

Today as I pulled back the half-ripped shower curtain and later turned on the stove light, which now has only one dim bulb working, I decided:  It’s time to make a list.

bathroom tap

electrical outlets (kitchen)

walls (dirty and with patches of paint missing in a few spots)

balcony blinds

bathroom light (it only needs a new bulb)

I could go on.

It seems most days our homeschool isn’t working right either. I could make a list for this as well, but it would be too embarrassing. It would include too many mom-faults and too many son-criticisms.

In the last couple of years, I have often said, “Oh, I don’t read homeschooling books anymore” and “I don’t look for curriculum anymore.” I mean it has to stop somewhere, right? Someone will always be writing another book or presenting another curriculum. And I have so many books and guides and projects that I haven’t even used yet. I just keep telling myself to find something I already have and use it.  And those thoughts come on the good days. On the not-so-good days, I just want to get through the checklists and see some completed workbook pages.

This year has probably been the worst for me. This year, #1 son has to take a national exam (at age 12), which he has to pass or retake again next year. So out of necessity I have too often found myself telling the boys (and myself) to just “get the work done.”  I have had to switch off creativity for the most part (just give them the answer that they want), I have had to drop all the really interesting subjects (sorry son, history and geography are not on the exam), and I have had to focus almost solely on exam preparation (real learning will have be put on hold until October). With this mentality, I had reached a point of no longer caring about good materials or even about why we were homeschooling. We are under siege, bombarded with requirements of the law of the land, who has time to read about how kids learn or how to how help this dyslexic boy with his spelling?

And then that Brave Writer lady had to get inside my head and write this blog post.  Just because I have been homeschooling in one form or another for the past 7 years (or 11, if you look at as starting from birth), doesn’t mean I can now switch off my brain and switch on veteran homeschooler auto-pilot. I still need to read blogs and homeschooling books. I still need to look up ideas for fostering a good environment for learning. I had proudly assumed that I didn’t need those forums or email subscriptions, but I do. I have started reading again. I have been looking at blogs and forums. And I have actually purchased an item or two based on what my son is interested in studying after this exam is over. 

Recently, we have come close to a decision that we will continue to homeschool #1 son for secondary school. So again, I find myself back to researching methods and curricula, reading about the experiences of other homeschoolers and looking for things this boy-becoming-a-man is interested in studying. While I must admit that I find homeschooling a teen a daunting prospect in some ways, in other ways I find it rather exciting.

And in order to rise above all the things that don’t seem to be going right, I have *tried* to start writing again. This is critical for me as it is what keeps my brain alive and my vision fresh and my soul cleansed. I can wax philosophical about the undone housework–or at least put it into proper perspective.   And the insane length of the to-do list need not be the focus of my life. These things are the sandbag-weights for my hot air balloon. It’s time to do them, drop them, and fly. 

Giving Thanks

Is it really that simple? 

I hesitated to dole out such a simplistic solution…

…to her–a former addict weighed down by years of hurt and groping in darkness

…to him–a young man striving to make the Good News known in a place that is filled with hardship and disappointments. p>

I stuck my neck out, ready to be rejected, ready for this piece of advice to put up on the shelf with other advice-that-doesn’t-see-my-situation.

But then, the replies came after a few days of trying it. It was, in fact, the antidote to negative thoughts and bitterness.
Ann Voskamp has already written the book. And she certainly wouldn’t want us to be preaching it as her message, but THE message–from THE BOOK. Do the search yourself. See how many times you find people, especially the God-Man Jesus, giving thanks. Start writing down what you are thankful for. Every. Single.Day. Try to get to 1,000 things. See what happens to your eyesight. You will be seeing things you overlook every day. See what happens to your prayers. See what happens to your heart.