Journey to the Manger
December 3, 2014 Edition 

Serving God and Others: Testimony of the Homeschool Life   

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Gena Suarez

Hey Mama,


When you have a houseful of busy kids like mine, it can be tempting to think that you don't have time to serve anyone. But that's the unique thing about the homeschool life. The lessons learned aren't just from books; they also come from real life experiences like the time you took a meal to the neighbors after the mom had a surgery. That afternoon your family did yard work for your elderly neighbors. The few minutes you took to write an encouraging note or email to someone. There are many "little" opportunities to serve God and others at home and in our neighborhoods, homeschool groups, churches, and anywhere we go--even the grocery store. Let's ask God to show us how we can serve Him and the people around us.


And remember ...

  • You are a fruitful vine. (Read Proverbs 31) You are one who is an expert at LOVING.
  • You excel at compassion. You long for relationship.
  • You love mercy. You offer it freely.
  • Yours is a home of warmth and laughter.
  • You have children who feel secure and stable.
  • You have little learners. Your kids are not hurriedly schooled so they can pass a test; they are carefully taught because they LOVE to learn; you give them opportunities to make it stick. Your home resembles a library!
  • You are a Daughter of the King, and He has given you sons and daughters to raise up in His love and admonition. They are Sons and Daughters of the King.

Keep modeling this love, Mama. Press forward.

One day they too will be Mamas and Daddies, and they will remember what you showed them by example.


~ gena



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Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring

Dear Friends,


Happy December!


Having graduated all of our children more than a decade ago (homeschooled all the way!), I now have a bird's eye view of homeschooling: seeing such things as what worked and what didn't, how homeschool kids navigate adulthood, and which emphasis proved to be most valuable for our kids. For me, it is especially thought--provoking to see how things they eagerly pursued as children often were significant indicators of what they would pursue as adults.


Which brings me to this discussion of serving God and others. In our busy home, we found ways to serve our church and community by serving creatively (with music and drama) and sharing hospitality with people we met, particularly internationals. So, in my mind, I assumed that my children would grow up to do the same, simple, everyday things. And, in some ways they do. But in other ways, they leave me in the dust when it comes to serving.


A case in point: my daughter, from the time she was little, always showed a great awareness of--and care for--people who were hurting, left out, or ignored. We have story after story of how she would be so motivated to care for someone else that she pushed through her natural shyness to reach out. While still at home, my daughter sought to serve others by setting up a preschool reading program at our library, and serving at a soup kitchen. In college, she led a team of students to Belize to work on building a community center and soccer field for families living far from the closest town, a project started by locals who cared for their community but who needed help in seeing it completed.


After college, she worked for two years with refugees, discovering ways to help families struggling with incredible difficulties in adapting to their new home in America. In graduate school, she gave assistance to victims of domestic violence in the court system, and is now helping research jobs for those in need.



Honestly, I fought her on a lot of this. When she wanted to work at the soup kitchen, I told her in a snarky voice that there was plenty of work to do around the house! While my focus as a homeschool mom was so often on trying to get through each day, her focus was on people in need.


And, today, I can see that. I stand before you as one amazed--and one who is still learning. You see, my daughter's huge heart of service has opened a world to me that I never knew was there.


So, as you ponder how you and your kids can best serve God and others, I want to encourage you to listen to what is on your children's hearts. It is quite possible that God has woven something into the fiber of their being that is much larger than you can even imagine.


Remember, stay relational.




P.S. I sent a copy of this article to my daughter. In reply, she wrote, "i may have instigated some of the small stuff, but you always encouraged global thinking and world changing." Wow. Homeschooling and intentionally parenting can actually change the world as our kids serve God and others.



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The Familyman 
Mom, don't ever let anyone ... I mean ANYONE (including yourself) make you feel guilty for being "just" a mom, as though there might be a higher calling or service. As a church, we've even forgotten that one of the highest callings is motherhood.

You don't need to apologize for being one, rename it, or pretend like it's a temporary gig until the kids grow up. Our daughters don't need to be ashamed to have "homemaker" as their ambition. They shouldn't feel pushed into choosing something "marketable,"  or looked upon as "undecided"  if they don't want to go to college.

As a mother and homeschooler, you serve others everyday. You nail your life to the cross, give up your desires, drop into bed exhausted from serving your family, and serve God daily by serving your often ungrateful children and husband.

I believe with all my heart that God's message to you is, "Well done."

The only thing I would add is be careful not to become like Martha who was distracted by her serving (Luke 10:38-42). She missed out on the relationship part ... the part that really mattered. Sometimes homeschooling moms (and dads) are guilty of that too.

Be real,
PS. As part of our Magenta Monday Sale on Wednesday, December 3rd only, we're offering 15% off all orders. We have amazing, Christmas read-alouds and audio CDs, a wonderful, family, Christmas game, and the ultimate gifts for husbands and dads, such as The 2015 You 'da Dad Daily Calendar. Just use this code at check out: MMONWED. Offer ends tonight at Midnight!!!

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It's a whole new month on, and we have dozens of exciting new lessons to share with you! The biggest news for December is the return of French class with Greg Shone, now in its third year! All prior lessons remain available for your use or review at any time.
Nativity Heart
We'll have several Christmas-themed lessons for you on the site this month as well. Lapbooking and the Monthly Reading List both are debuting month-long Christmas units this week, and Dr. Sonya Brouillette's Animal Science course will look at animals of the Nativity all this month. We also have two new holiday unit studies in Ditch the Desk, and Rhonda Clark is celebrating the 12 days of Christmas with a special Renaissance History lesson for the month. Later this month, Tammie Bairen will study the architecture of gingerbread houses in Introduction to Architecture.

One membership to serves your entire family, regardless of how many children you are homeschooling or their ages. There are no per-child fees, and courses range from preschool to high school. If you've never had a membership to the site before, you can sign up for a Homeschool Welcome Basket and a free thirty-day trial. You can buy a monthly subscription or purchase an entire year for $139 and save over 10%. Try it today.


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Contest Corner 
For the month of December, 2014


Book 1 and 2 from Wizzy Gizmo



Recently, the Schoolhouse Review Crew had an opportunity to review a group of products that are all about providing resources to parents and teachers to help them "Equip children for life by exploring God's Word."


So "what" is a Wizzy Gizmo? You should be asking "who" is Wizzy Gizmo. He is a brilliant inventor who creates all manner of extraordinary gadgets. These inventions are used to help kids explore the Bible. Wizzy Gizmo is also a series of Bible books for kids, Bible audio dramas, Bible flashcards, and more. These Bible resources for kids are intended to appeal to kids and open up the truths of the Bible in an exciting way.

Here are the products you can expect to read about as you browse through the Crew Reviews:


Book One: Who Created Everything?

This paperback book is simply the written telling of Wizzy Gizmo adventure in Genesis 1. The book contains highlighted vocabulary words. There is also a glossary and a set of review questions in the back. Ideal for ages 4-12.


Book Two: In His Image

This is the story of Adam & Eve. Readers will learn how God made man different from the rest of His creation. We are reminded how we were created in the image of a creative and almighty God. This paperback book also contains vocabulary words, in addition to the glossary and review questions located in the back. Ideal for ages 4-12.


Click on the banner below to read the Crew Reviews!


Wizzy Gizmo Review  

YOU can WIN Wizzy Gizmo books!


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Wizzy Gizmo" for a chance to win* the these two books for your family!  



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