October 21, 2015 Edition 
The Joy of Teaching--do you have it or have you lost it?
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Gena Suarez
Hey Mama,

There are some days it is hard to find joy in anything--let alone homeschooling. You know those days. The baby didn't sleep through the night, and now you're dealing with kids who don't seem to remember anything you taught them. They're dragging their feet. They don't want to do their work.
There are days like that. Those are the days you might as well just get outside and let God's beautiful world restore the peace. 
And remember ...

Joy is what is ours, no matter the circumstances. We can find it by looking directly in the face of God. So get into His word and see Him. Hear from Him directly.

Sadness, grief, stress, fear, anxiety, deep unhappiness. These are sometimes present and often specific parts of trials we go through. But joy is bigger, and it is higher than the rest, because our salvation trumps any sadness, any fear, any temporal condition. 

Keep walking, Mama. And may you have much joy today. Look up. He will never leave or forsake you.

"But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield" Psalm 5:11-12, ESV.
~ gena

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Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring
Dear Friends,

What a wonderful thing to talk with you about today--the joy of teaching! At times, when you are surrounded by mounds of dishes and unfinished art projects, when you are running out of patience and energy, when the happy, well-dressed families pictured in homeschool magazines are the opposite of how you look and feel, it is important to step back and consider the significance of what you are doing.

Just yesterday, I read the blog of an insightful Christian historian (and my friend), Dr. Tracy McKenzie, chair of the history department at Wheaton College. He wrote a tribute to two of the most influential teachers in his life, ones who had helped to shape his vocation as a professor. As part of this, he quoted from John Steinbeck's essay, "Like Captured Fireflies":

"I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. It might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit."

(Here is Dr. McKenzie's blog in full:

This reminded me of an experience I had many years ago, while touring a castle in Toronto (yes, a castle!). This spectacular building had equally spectacular furnishings, the work of many master craftsmen who had labored long and lovingly over wood or stone or canvas. In a later blog, I wrote:

". . . as I considered the rare beauty of the handcrafted piece before me, the Lord gave me a precious insight--this was a marvelous depiction of what homeschooling is all about! Our children are NOT taught in a factory-type environment when we homeschool. Neither are we looking for "instant" results. Instead, we have taken the stand that this child and that child are worth the dedication of years of our lives. We have committed ourselves to patiently handcrafting their education and their character training. We carefully seek to discover the giftings, talents and passions of our precious and unique children. We prayerfully consider the right path to take with each one. Just as the master craftsman works with the individual strengths and weaknesses of a piece of wood that he is fashioning, so we work with the individual strengths and weaknesses of each of our children, lovingly building them up as we recognize and work with their uniqueness."

(For the whole story, go to

Friends, this is the vision for what you are doing day by day. This is the joy set before you, this is the goal, this is the reward. To labor long and lovingly over your children, nurturing and nourishing them in every facet of their lives, this is the incredible JOY of teaching.

Remember, stay relational!



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This week's article is being written from the parking lot of some laundromat in Florida. We've spoken about eleven times in thirteen days and we have three more to go. We're starting to run down and the troops seem a little touchy. Oh I love this part of life, but it ain't easy. 

It's the same for the topic at hand. Even though we love the idea of homeschooling--being home with our children and learning together--there are times when we don't LIKE it very much. There are times when the joy has departed and has been replaced by discouragement. That's normal. 

As a semi-official homeschool doctor what I prescribe is a break from the norm. Instead of sloshing through the lesson plan load up the car and take the gang to the park, the beach, or fun spot and do school differently. Don't try to accomplish anything except enjoying the time together. You might read a book aloud, collect colorful leaves, or play a game. I'm telling you that stuff is way more important than grammar. 

The next day get back in the grind until you need another break. 

You're doing a great job Mom. What you do each day with your children matters more than anything. Enjoy these fleeting days. 

Be real, Todd 

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Find tools to teach your children in the Everything Homeschool Directory in the Fall issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. Check out our other directories here for ideas for travel and family, higher education, online learning, special needs, and educational apps, toys, and gifts.


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One Mom's Cry . . . Another Mom's Answer

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