Joy: The day ended with an afternoon of blessed memories of what the Lord has done in the marriage of Mark and I - 20 years! How He, before we knew Him, had His hand on us preserving our union during difficult times and now how blessed we are to see His presence and purpose even then. We enjoyed sweet conversation and shared our hopes, prayers and desires for what He will do in our future. The anticipation of another child - to think how far He has grown us (literally as well) in even that area of marriage. When we married, "one was enough". Then, when we built our home 15 years ago, "well maybe one more". Then a continued softening of my heart to "I'm done by age 30". Now, here we are with soon to be seven, seen as foolishness to the world, but embraced by us as blessing.
Blessings and Peace ~ Jarnette
Daily Chore Chart for 2006-2007 (a schedule I created for using in conjunction with our Family Schedule...chores allow children to contribute to the family and teach them responsibility)
Family Schedule for 2006-2007 (this is the schedule we used in 2006, as it related to what needed to be accomplished each day - a guide to return to on the days the Lord redirected our steps - this will also give you an idea of how the Manager's of Their Homes method of scheduling works)
Breakfast/Lunch Rotating Menu from a few years ago (having one helps to budget, saves time and allows the kids to 'know' "what's for ...?")
Letter of Intent (usable sample for the state of Florida, compliant as of 2009)
Annual Home Education Evaluation Form (what we have used for the state of Florida with regards to portfolio method of evaluation, compliant as of 2009)
Reading Log by Title (one we have used in the past as part of the Florida portfolio requirements)
Reading Log by Title - another example that is more streamlined to Florida requirements
Notice of Termination for Home Education Form (when we graduated our son from the Home Education program, I created & used this form to notify our county that our program was complete...as in accordance with Florida Statutes)
Curriculum Planner (a form I use to help plan our school each for each child...I bring it with me to any Homeschool Conventions, book sales or when I am searching for used curriculum online.)
- Psalm 20:4 "May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans."
- Proverbs 20:18 "Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war."
- Proverbs 11:14 "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."
- Proverbs 21:5 "The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty."
- Proverbs 31:27 "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."
What is the purpose of planning? Is it really necessary? Are there any benefits? I believe and have experienced the fruit of planning. Without planning, my days can quickly escape me with the many distractions and time wasters this world throws my way. If I have been diligent to plan, I have a 'guide' to help keep me focused and ultimately have a more fruitful day.
The following are just a few areas and blessings reaped from planning:
- Meal planning - money savings, time savings, husband and children will know what to expect versus asking an unlimited amount of times "What's for dinner?"
- Chore planning - home can be more easily maintained, there is a sense of order, everyone knows their role and has a responsibility of how they contribute to the "family"
- School planning - children know what is expected each day and it provides opportunity for special projects that may not otherwise happen, you can enter each day "ready" therefore, avoiding wasting time (be it "rabbit trails", looking for materials), knowing what needs to be accomplished and what activities can be feasible to complete in a specified period of time (ie with lessons planned you have a better idea of how long it will take to complete your studies and how much time can be afforded to out-of-the-home learning opportunities...with a plan, you can participate in opportunities, because learning will be guided and you'll know each day what should be accomplished), saving money (purchases can be made for what you "need"; you can avoid duplicating material purchases if you are organized; you will not purchase something that doesn't fit into your plan)
- Project planning - this can be home projects, field trips or special school activities, vacations, etc. Typically in our home, if we have a plan (select a dedicated time to complete the project and have made a list of what that project entails, making any necessary purchases ahead of time) it usually gets done. This allows our family time to "play" and enjoy "spontaneous" opportunities of fellowship or learning.
- Planning allows you to extend hospitality, participate in 'unplanned' activities when they arise, minister to those in need, take time when needed for illnesses or refreshment all because each day you have a guide to follow and can easily return it to when God has redirected your path.
There are numerous tools and resources available on the market today to help aide with planning. Simple tools from list making to day planners or more technical tools such as computer programs or online resources which help you plan. I have used them all in one form or another depending on the type of planning that needs to be done. The following is a list of materials you may find beneficial to help you "plan" this year based on your season of life.
Microsoft Office, Works or Word (calendars, spreadsheets, tables, etc. can be created or templates can be used to suit your needs)
Donna Young provides free printable logs, calendars and lessons
Managers of Their Homes is a wonderful book I have used over the years to create schedules for schooling and chores
I will attempt to post some of our old homeschool schedules and chore charts in the next few days - I hope this will be an encouragement and provide a sense of hope to you for a more fruitful and peaceful year.
In this 'season' of motherhood, the daily demands of educating, nurturing and training seem to be all consuming (and that is the season I am to be in
John MacArthur wrote in his book Lord, Teach Me to Prayer that the Bible details at least five reasons we ought to pray:
- Prayer is commanded
- It is a sin not to pray
- Prayer gives glory to God
- Prayer aligns us with God's purposes
- Prayer results in answers
He says, "God has ordained the means as well as the end, and it is His design that the prayers of His people should be the means by which He is frequently moved to act." James wrote, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much". (James 5:16) How often have I turned to Him in prayer, after I shared with mortal man? He should be the first place we turn...a reminder to myself, as well as an encouragement to you.
What are the components of prayer? His word give us many examples of how to pray...Christ, himself gave us instructions on how to pray and the model prayer (The Lord's Prayer) in Matthew 6:5-15.
Praising Him: A friend shared a prayer idea with me that a friend of hers had shared one day. Her friend would go through the alphabet and pray to the Lord an adoration back to him that began with each letter of the alphabet. When things seem 'really bad', what a change in attitude doing that can bring! Praying back to the Father who He is: Almighty, Bountiful, the Creator, our Deliverer...it really puts it into perspective who He is and humbles me.
Confession: What a comforting Scripture He has given us about confessing our sins..."If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) After meditating on who God is and how sinful I am, it is not difficult to confess my sins. To confess our sins to one another, keeps us humble and brings us healing. "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." (James 5:16)
Thanking Him: We all really do have so much to thank our Lord and Savior for...once again, even when things seem 'really bad', I have recalled an old hymn "Count Your Blessings" as a reminder . The hymn begins, "When up-on life's billows you are tempest - tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings - name them ONE by ONE, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done."
Supplication: To make a request to the Lord we should do so with acceptance of what the Lord's will is - not what we desire it to be. For His word says, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10 - emphasis added) There is an acronym which helps me to remember how to pray (and serve)...JOY. Jesus first, then other and finally yourself. I can remember to pray for the Lord's will regarding the needs of others and then for help with myself...be it my sinfulness, weaknesses, needs, etc.
A prayer journal may be a good way to write out requests and then write in how the Lord has answered those specific prayers. It can be a means to show the Lord's faithfulness and to help 'see' what the Lord has done. Another idea is to keep a list or prayer guide in your Bible as a reminder to pray for those needs during your personal reading time. Some churches type out the requests/praises submitted by their congregations that week so that you can conveniently use that as a guide during the week to pray for those needs. Yet another idea is to keep a dry erase board on your refrigerator, write prayer requests and praises down so you can pray together as a family for those needs/praises.
Something we have done for several years now at Christmastime is to take all the cards/letters we receive, put them in a basket on our kitchen table and before dinner each evening each person selects one from the basket. We then go around the table and specifically pray for that family. It has been a blessing and become a sweet tradition for our family.
We all need to lift one another up in prayer...of which we can never do enough!
Three recent posts from Dr. Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, titled "Evangelicalism's Terminal Generation?", "A Christian Vision of Marriage and Family", and "A Governor, a King and the Tragedy of Adultery".
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Summer is also a great time to regroup from the prior school year, review accomplishments and reassess the prior year's goals. How was last year? Did you have many rabbit trails that took you away from what the Lord had laid on your heart to do? Maybe you referred to your goals throughout the year and were able to maintain focus and perspective. Maybe His direction was down a difficult road. No matter what last year held, know that He was not surprised by any of it and that as a believer we can be confident that "all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
So, where do we go from here? I would say the first thing should be to seek the Lord through PRAYER. Adore Him for being the One we can turn to for direction and instruction. Confess your weakness and need for Him to lead you. Thank Him for hope, His wisdom and the gift of His word (our primary resource for knowing who He is and what He calls us to do). And finally Seek Him for direction for this coming year.
As the Lord gives you insight through His word, begin PLANNING. Remember to "trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6 (emphasis added) Also, "commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." Proverbs 16:3
Finally, begin to PREPARE. We can "go to the ant" in Proverbs 6. "She prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." Proverbs 6:8 And the woman of Proverbs 31, "looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27 Preparing means to put into action what has been planned; to be ready. The Lord tells us in Ephesians 2:10, "for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." What a GOOD WORK it is to love and teach our children - therefore, PRAY, PLAN and PREPARE so that we may do what He has called us to do.
May this post encourage you to begin with joy, put aside lies of the Master Deceiver and press on, being confident that He has equipped you to do so. In the upcoming days, I plan to post some practical applications of planning and preparing for next year, along with some resources that may be an encouraging "resources" to you.