Schoolhouse Connect
April 6, 2016 Edition 
One Room Schoolhouse or Three-Ring Circus? 
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Hey Mama,
At our house, it is definitely a three-ring circus most of the time. If your little monkeys are like mine, they're so active. All they do is hop around and make a mess, get into trouble, drive you batty all day long. Laugh too hard, talk super LOUD in your ear, and interrupt four hundred times a day. And they smell like little zoo animals when they come in from the hot sun after playing in the yard. Calgon! Please!

Would you have it any other way? Maybe you think so now, but ...

Fast forward 10 years, Mama, and 20 years, too. Everything you are pouring into them NOW is called "seed planting." The love you show, the patience, the "realness" (because we all know we lack patience often), the heart talks, the good habits, the prayer time ... God is using it. Let HIM be responsible for the harvest, OK? Plant seeds, and enjoy your time with them because it is so temporary, this childhood of theirs. In 20 years, you will strain to remember, and you will long for these sounds.

Right now it's a zoo. A barnyard! But not always. Keep your perspective. Your life, along with theirs, is NOT RANDOM. Purpose, Mama. So much purpose. Keep your eyes on Him, for He is the One who gave you so much ... and He continues to bless you every single day. Perspective.

~ gena

Dr. James Dobson    
Dr. James Dobson
Lessons In Love
By Dr. James C. Dobson
A traveler was walking along a road when robbers suddenly attacked him. They tore his clothes, beat him, and left him to die. A priest walked down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed on the other side. Later, a local man came upon the scene, but he, too, passed on the other side. Finally, a stranger from another land walked down the road, noticed the beaten man, and rushed to his aid. He bandaged the man's wounds, helped him onto his own donkey, and transported him to an inn to take care of him. The next day he paid the innkeeper to look after the man.
You are no doubt familiar with this story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). Have your children heard it, too? Jesus told the parable to show us who our neighbors are--and how we should lovingly respond to their needs. Does the elderly woman on the corner need help with her yard? Does your teen know a classmate who needs a friend? Opportunities to serve are all around us.
As you teach your children to love their neighbors as themselves, you might ask: Are they learning to understand and empathize with others' feelings? Do they resist the urge to be selfish and demanding? Are they learning to share? We're never closer to God than when we seek to love one another.
It was a cold December in Philadelphia. Eleven-year-old Trevor Ferrell was watching TV in his comfortable home when images of street people flashed on the screen. Trevor's heart was touched--he had to do something. He grabbed a blanket and pillow from his closet and begged his parents to take him downtown. They resisted at first--it could be dangerous, after all--but eventually relented. Soon, Trevor was handing the blanket and pillow to a grateful homeless man.
That night marked the first of many visits by the Ferrell family to Philadelphia's street people. Trevor's friends started joining him, others began donating items to hand out, and a ministry was born. Trevor's Campaign for the Homeless attracted national interest and inspired chapters across the country. An abandoned Philadelphia hotel was turned into Trevor's Place, a home for street people, and an adjacent building was transformed into Trevor's Next Door, a residential living and service center.
Hundreds of people found help and hope because a fifth-grader remembered the words of Jesus: "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40). When you encourage your children to help those in need, you move them that much closer to the compassionate heart of Christ.
For over 30 years, Dr. James Dobson has been America's trusted source for psychologically sound, biblically based advice to help strengthen marriages, parents and families. For more practical help and a FREE resource on parenting a strong-willed child, go to:

Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring
Dear Friends,

What you are doing matters. All of the planning, all of the work, all of the struggle, all of the sleepless nights ... All of it is giving your kids the opportunity to know what it is to love learning, to be loved in a family day-in/day-out, to learn without fears of physical abuse or bullying, to learn all subjects in relationship to God. They can experience freedom to pursue what is interesting to them in ways that few students in regular classes will know, they can apprentice and intern as they become teenagers, they can start their own business or start college at home. When you homeschool your kids, the sky's the limit!
So, even if it feels like a three-ring circus sometimes (and it will), don't lose your perspective on what you're really doing. Write down the successes you've seen in your kids recently, things like:
  • making the bed;
  • reading a book all the way through;
  • helping a sibling who's upset;
  • getting multiplication facts (YAY!);
  • asking a heart-felt question about heaven;
  • remembering to say "Please" and "Thank you";
  • auditioning for the homeschool band;
  • and all of the other "little" things that have been taking place.
Once you've written them down, read through them. Again. And again. Of course, you have more to do, but look how far they've come!
I've learned that when we think things are hopeless, it grieves and crushes our hearts, making it very difficult to try again. That's a VERY hard place to be in, and, usually, it's not true. Usually, we have problems to solve, things to fix, steps to take, and it takes time to do these things--about 18 years when it comes to homeschooling.
On the other hand, when we have hope, when we trust that God is working all things together for good in our lives and in the lives of our children, we find inside of our hearts a fresh anticipation for the next step, the new adventure. Yes, we need to solve problems, fix what's broken, and continue to walk forward--but it's got life in it, promise of good things to come.
Remember, dear friends, stay relational!

P.S. Speaking of fixing things that are broken, if you've ever had a conflict with one of your kids during homeschool, be sure to check out this week's new video blog: What is YOUR Teaching Style?

The Familyman 
It's a gray day here in northern Indiana. I'm ready for spring, warm weather, and sunshine ... but today is not that day. It's got me feeling gray and blah ... and maybe a tad irritable. You can probably hear it, as you read these words.
From this irritable dad, looking at the topic of one room school house or three-ring circus, I feel bothered by all the labels that people feel compelled to attach to our homes and homeschooling.
I know the labelers don't mean to irritate me, but on this yucky day, they can't help it.
I guess I just feel tired of all the conversations I hear, read, and participate in. There just seems like a constant prattle of folks trying to validate noisy, chaotic homes as viable educational places of learning. It irritates me.
The truth is that homes are noisy, chaotic, and wonderful. Kids learn more in homes than anywhere else. Moms are God-prepared to train and teach their children. In fact, they were doing it way before there were any teachers, schools, or homeschool experts.
Mom, enjoy your noisy home; don't label it or justify your style, children, or school. I don't care what you're doing ... if you're trying to do a good job, you're really doing a great job.
Being real,

Homeschooling the Rebel
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Contest Corner 
For the month of April 2016  
Nick Vujicic: No Limits, is an inspiring book about the life of Nick Vujicic, by Renee Taft Meloche. It is a 32-page, hardback book from YWAM's Heroes for Young Readers Series. Each double-page spread is beautifully illustrated with watercolor drawings.
The book is designed to illustrate the faithful design of a loving God in our lives regardless of our physical appearance. The story is written in prose form with each stanza being only four lines long. In this book, you will hear about Nick's struggle with school bullies and how he chose to deal with each one. Children and adults alike can identify with the impact each of these bullies had in Nick's life. As Nick grew and matured, both in spirit and body, he learned to deal differently with each bully and learned that, despite his physical differences and limitations, he was perfectly made for God's calling in his life. We, the readers, are encouraged to accept and embrace the life God has given us. Nick's example of Christian character is an encouragement to everyone who feels weighed down by the challenges of disabilities, mistreatment, feelings of inferiority, and more. (Read the rest of the review.)

You can win this book for your family!
TO ENTER: Email Heather ( with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "No Limits" for a chance to win* it for your family! 

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