Chronic Illness and Homeschooling – Tricia Soderstrom

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Chronic Illness and Homeschooling - Tricia SoderstromHave you ever felt sick and miserable, but still had to push through a homeschool day? What about every single day? Tricia Soderstrom (AboundingInHopeWithLyme.com) shared with me how she and her children survived homeschooling for many years with chronic illness (Lyme disease). Once again, we talk about the faith element in homeschooling and how when we obey His call, He provides all we need!

This episode sponsored by Smash Maths

SMASH Maths provides 2 online math Practices every week for children.

Each Practice contains at least 10 bespoke questions, so that means 20+ questions a week. The program is available for pupils in Kindergarten to Grade 6. The cost is $7.50 per month.
Use CODE: FELICE to receive your discount. Visit SMASHMATHS.org/homeschooling 

Tricia lives in the beautiful state of Maryland with her husband and children. She’s been married to Scott for 28 years and together they have four children who are now 23, 20, 17 and 10. Their two oldest have graduated from their homeschool and they will graduate another one this year.

Tricia decided to start a blog after much prodding and nagging, or rather encouraging from family, friends and even from people she met along the way who insisted she share her story and experience living with chronic tick-borne diseases. So in January 2015, she began Abounding in Hope with Lyme where she shares her journey with Lyme, homeschooling and her deep faith in God.

Her whole family was diagnosed with Lyme disease, Bartonella, and Babesia and a host of other things. You can read more details in My Story on her site. The purpose of her blog is to share her experience with Lyme disease in the hopes that it will be encouraging and informative. Lyme disease can be a devastating disease and Tricia’s hope is that the information on her site will help you to be educated so that you can protect yourself and your family or get the help you need. (Bio taken from https://aboundinginhopewithlyme.com/about/.)

On this episode, I ask Tricia the following questions:

  • For those of my listeners who don’t know, we have a personal knowledge of Lyme disease ourselves, as my husband has suffered with it (to varying degrees) for the past 18 years. Tell us your story and were you already homeschooling when you became sick with this chronic illness?
  • Were you ever tempted to quit homeschooling?
  • What are some of the considerations for those who may be dealing with chronic illness, but want to homeschool?
  • One thing I read in one of your aticles on deciding to homeschool was, “You can homeschool when you’re sick but make sure your children are being nourished in every area of their lives, not just educational book work.” This is so true and is what lifeschooling is about! What does that look like in your family?
  • How has Lyme shaped and influenced your educational philosophy?
  • To remind our listeners, the definition of lifeschooling is “the individualized process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents through real life experiences that happen within the context of your family’s unique situations and missions.” Is there a part of that definition that particularly speaks to you and how does your family lifeschool?
  • What are some of the gifts that you saw early on in your children and how did you tailor their education around the development of those gifts? How did Lyme influence that?

And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!

The Philosophy of Lifeschooling (Replay)

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Danielle and Christi - The Philosophy of LifeschoolingDanielle Papageorgiou and Christi Deason discuss the homeschooling philosophy of lifeschooling and share some real life experiences of what that has looked like in their individual families.

Lifeschooling

Lifeschooling is the individualized process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents, primarily through real life experiences that happen in the context of your family’s unique situations and missions.

It is about freedom.

Faith is an integral part of homeschooling, but many of us struggle with fear and search for “security blankets” in the curriculum we choose and the way we homeschool. We struggle with allowing God to lead our homeschools and trusting the process. As all homeschoolers, Christi and I both faced this battle in our own ways. And I still face it as I continue on this homeschooling journey!

But Christi, having successfully graduated two children, has already accomplished the task and has much wisdom to share about her experience. “I just knew that the Lord was saying to me, ‘You’re not going to know the outcome if you put them in school, either,” she says, “Leave it with me and let me with my sovereignty control the outcome.’ Once I really realized that, it was very freeing and it became exciting at that point.” Today, Christi’s son works as a successful engineer, and her daughter, while she is currently focused on her role as wife and mother, is working towards opening her own martial arts studio in the future.

Lifeschooling and Community

Over the years, Christi has seen plenty of changes within the homeschooling community. While the early pioneers had to create their own curriculum and use the resources and experiences at hand, as homeschooling evolved, curriculum companies saw an opportunity to market to homeschoolers. While we are blessed today to have more options and resources than ever, there were some pitfalls that came with the options. Christi talks about how she watched the homeschooling community go from a “creative community to a consumer community,” becoming more and more reliant on boxed curriculum and trusting in someone else’s packaged plan for their unique children, rather than the Lord’s individualized plan.

Lifeschooling is about getting back to the roots of homeschooling. It is about the “ancient paths.” What should a real education look like? What is most effective for your own child? We believe lifeschooling, with its focus on relationships and finding our children’s unique gifts, is the answer.

To learn more about lifeschooling, visit www.LifeschoolingConference.com.


Thanks to our sponsor, Harper Collins Christian, and the Kingdom Girl’s Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible. This is the ideal Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. With over 400 engaging features, colorful illustrations, and helpful notes, this Bible is perfect for girls ages 8 to 12 as they learn about the strong and faithful women who came before them. Visit the website for more information.

How to Raise Children Who Love God

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

How to Raise Children Who Love GodIt’s easy to slip into the thinking that if we just homeschool, all will turn out fine. Our children will grow up to love God; they will be well-educated and spiritually mature, always following the Lord and living godly lives.

Wrong.

A quick search of the internet will prove this is simply not the case. I loved the blog post Israel Wayne posted not too long ago addressing the current trend of homeschoolers who are rejecting their parents’ faith and basically dishonoring them.

(Can I just say that I literally laughed out loud when I read this line: “I just want to say to everyone who wishes that I was writing blogs about how badly my life sucks lollipops…I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you by having a happy and satisfied life.”).

And then, of course, there’s the story of Josh Harris, who grew up a zealot of homeschooling, courtship, and so many good things, only to recently divorce his wife and leave his faith, rejecting all he supposedly once held important. What a sad time for his parents.

Oh, dear homeschoolers. Once again, we have to be reminded that life is not about a checklist. We so easily forget, don’t we? There are no secret formulas, no magic bullets. You can’t manufacture a genuine relationship. There is no amount of work you can invest that will guarantee your children will turn out fine.

Homeschooling is great. I personally think it’s the obvious best option for educating and investing time into one’s children to build strong relationships. But it’s not the secret formula and relying on that alone will only bring frustration and disappointment.

But fret not. God doesn’t want us to just throw up our hands and sing Que Sera, Sera. We can look to Scripture and look to godly examples around us to learn some ideas for helping our children grow into spiritually mature adults who love God. We cannot force them to love the Lord, but we can entice them towards a deep relationship by showing them how precious it is!

Here are some ideas:

 

1. Make your relationship with the Lord your top priority.

How can you expect your children to love God if you don’t love Him with all of your heart? The very best thing you can do is lead by example. Spend time with Him daily and share what He is teaching you. When your children see that God is a priority and when they hear you speak about Him, they will be drawn towards Him.

I could probably end this entire blog post with this first point because it is just that important and impactful! But I won’t… 😉

 

2. Start early encouraging your children to spend time with the Lord daily.

We have always made daily devotions a part of our children’s required “daily chores.” That might sound terrible, but the Bible does talk about “disciplining ourselves unto godliness.” Part of the Christian walk is self-discipline and if we want them to truly love God, then we must teach our children to be self-disciplined early. They need to learn how to “own” their faith.

When they were young, they read this Learn to Read Bible, among other Bible story books. They also enjoyed these inductive Bible studies by Kay Arthur. Korban also really loves these books. They are short and address specific sins through the eyes of a child, with Scripture references to go along with them.

Something else we did was to encourage them to pray for wisdom like Solomon did. I remember specifically having this conversation with our oldest son, Konur, and seeing the impact it made on him to think that he could have as much wisdom as he wanted simply by asking in faith!

We watched him grow spiritually even as a young child and we didn’t even have to ask how it happened. We knew he was praying for wisdom. Today, that boy spends hours in prayer and Bible reading daily and has a close walk with the Lord.

 

3. Have daily devotions time as a family.

Fathers are called to be the “priests of their homes,” but many households do not have regular family devotions. It is not always easy and grace is sometimes needed for difficult schedules, but it’s important to make a commitment to do something! Martin Luther is famously quoted as saying, “Work, work from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

There is always time! Even if it just starts with just one song, reading a couple verses, and praying through a prayer list, if it’s a daily time together as a family, God will honor the effort and increase the desire. It is very impactful for your children to see their father leading spiritually and worshiping the God he loves.

I think it’s so important to focus on reading the Bible, but stories can also be helpful, especially for younger children. These books are a current favorite of my seven-year-old’s.

 

4. Make the Lord a part of everyday life, not a separate subject.

Talk about Him as you go through your day. Remember all the things He has done for you and your family and recount them to your children. (Hmmm… this sounds strangely similar to Deuteronomy 6:4-9, doesn’t it? 😉 )

In our family, we often talk about how good God has been to us by providing our homestead to us for $40,000. It’s an incredible story! We also recount other specific answers to prayer, like the time I cried out in desperation for my husband to get a different job and that very day he was let go. It might not sound like an answer, but we knew it was! And God provided a better job a short time later.

Encourage them to pray specifically and point out the times when God has answered their requests, too. God is a good Father and loves to give good gifts to His children. Once, Korban prayed for 6 inches of snow. God answered that prayer and actually gave him an inch more! We made sure to tell him what a special answer to prayer that was and how much God loves him, and he continues to bring that story up. God didn’t have to answer the request, but He delighted to do so!

 

5. Get to their hearts with Scripture.

When you train them, God’s Word should always be what you use to exhort and encourage. So often we focus on changing their behavior so that we can be more comfortable or so that we don’t look like bad parents. But if we want our children to love God, our focus should always be on Christ. How does their behavior make Him look?

We need to get to their hearts and focus on their motivations for doing right. What does the Bible say about their behavior? Do they truly love God and want to please Him? Do they remember all the Jesus did to pay for those sins they are committing? Do they know how much He loves them and longs to have a relationship with them?

We must always bring it back to the Gospel.

One of our favorite resources for doing this was a book called Parenting with Scripture. It’s a topical book that helps us address different kinds of behavior issues using Scripture and activities to go along with it. We also tried to have clear expectations and swift consequences for disobedience. Allowing things to slide leads to anger and nothing will harden a child quicker than parents disciplining in anger.

 

6. Be open and real about your faith.

Kids are perceptive. They know when you are not being real with them and teens, especially, can smell hypocrisy a mile away. When they are young, they may let it slide because you are still their hero. But when they get older, they have no qualms about calling you out on all the inconsistencies they have seen for years.

You have two choices: You can respond in humility or you can respond in pride. Pride says, “I am the parent and I am in charge. I have my reasons. Do as I say, not as I do.” Trust me, you won’t get very far with that approach and it will not draw your teens closer to Christ.

Humility, on the other hand, says, “You are right. I didn’t see that, but I need to change and I will work on it. (And, by the way, I love you, but you need to work on how you confront authority.)” That last part may or may not be necessary. 😉 But the point is, don’t let their own spiritual immaturity and hypocrisy blind you from the sin they are pointing out.

When you are humble enough to admit wrongs and share your heart about how God is teaching you, they will let down their own defenses and share their own struggles. This brings us right back around to the first point. Again, it’s about modeling what you want to see and leading by example.

 

Of course, when it gets right down to it, prayer is the number one, most powerful tool we have to ensure that our children grow up to love God and serve Him!

All of these practical ideas are just empty works without the power of the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts. We must always be seeking Him and asking Him to reveal to us the specific ways that we can encourage our children’s relationship with the Lord.

I hope this encourages you and gives you some practical help in raising up children who love God with all of their hearts, souls, and minds! We can’t control their hearts, but we can make a big impact if we follow the Lord’s leading and humbly walk along side them.

Also, if you’d like to actually be able to see me while you listen to this episode, be sure to watch it on my new YouTube channel!


Thanks to our sponsor, Harper Collins Christian, and the Kingdom Girl’s Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible. This is the ideal Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. With over 400 engaging features, colorful illustrations, and helpful notes, this Bible is perfect for girls ages 8 to 12 as they learn about the strong and faithful women who came before them. Visit the website for more information.

Missions, Movies, and Lifeschooling (Replay) – David Cook

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Thanks to our sponsor, A Fanthom Presents Film – The Ark and The Darkness – Movie Trailer here: NoahsFlood

In theaters March 20-21! Noah’s Flood is preserved in ancient writings from every major culture around the world. Recent discoveries confirm what the Bible has said all along. Sevenfold Films and Genesis Apologetics present: The Ark and the Darkness.

Missions,Movies,  and  LifeschoolingMissions, Movies, Lifeschooling - David Cook part 2

On this episode of Life as a Lifeschooler, Danielle wraps up her interview with David Cook, a former MK who was homeschooled and now works in the Christian film industry.

David grew up on the mission field in Spain. A homeschool graduate, in 2001 he started working in media, both radio and television in Spain. In 2009 God placed it on his heart to get involved with feature filmmaking. Moving back to the United States, David started working with Advent Film Group to start the learning process and get hands on experience on film sets. Since that point, David has worked on 18 feature films in various capacities, including The Screenwriters, Polycarp, Princess Cut, Beyond the Mask, Badge of Faith, War Room, Like Arrows, and most recently the upcoming films Overcomer and Once Upon a Time in Mongolia.  David also helps with the annual Christian Worldview Film Festival in Franklin, TN, where he enjoys sharing with others what he has learned and encouraging them to follow what God has placed on their hearts to do.

Here are some of the questions I asked David on this second part of the interview:

Tell us about your journey into the Christian film industry.

When did you start to develop an interest in Christian film and did your parents tailor the education around the development of your gifts and interest in film?

What has been the most exciting thing about being in film?

Your biggest challenge?

What was your favorite film set to work on?

I know you do a lot of traveling with your work. How many countries have you traveled to while working in film?

For those who may have children interested in getting into film, what would you suggest?

If you want to find out more about the Christian Worldview Film Festival, you can visit their site here.

And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Subscribe to our podcast so you never miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!

 

Lifeschooling | Love in Homeschooling

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Love in homeschooling, a special Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network episode from Life as a LifeschoolerOn this very special episode of Life as a Lifeschooler, I talk about Love in Homeschooling. 

What an honor it is to recognize the work of Felice Gerwitz and 10 years in homeschool podcasting on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network!

➡️Episode Sponsored by the 10th Birthday Celebration Sponsors, CTC Math & More on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network ✔️ out the $350 giveaway, too!

Love in Homeschooling – Exploring how love plays a central role in homeschooling

Over time, love has become a central focus of my Christian walk, as I’ve realized how impactful this one concept of loving others can be. Jesus says that all the law and the prophets are summed up in “love God, love your neighbor as yourself.” If one thing can cover so much ground, it must be essential that we understand it!

In a very basic sense, when we homeschool our children, we are loving our neighbor as ourselves. We remember what school was like for us and we want better for them. We are sacrificing our own opportunities for income, self-fulfillment, and achievement in order to see our children successful and fulfilled.

But there are times we forget this motivation. Or the motivation becomes cloudy, tainted by the pressures, fears, and worldly ambitions we allow to enter our hearts.

So it’s good to be reminded of what love really is. If we want to truly love, we must know what exactly love is. And to know exactly what love is, we must turn to the Bible’s definition in 1 Corinthians 13, the “love chapter.”

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Moms, you can have the perfect homeschool curriculum and teach with eloquence and simplicity, but if you don’t have love, you will fail your kids.

You can even do it in the power of the Holy Spirit, according to this chapter, and still fail your kids! That’s how important love is to everything you do in life. In fact, love was so important to God that He sent Jesus to die for us. Love is at the very core of the Gospel!  So we need to have a full understanding of it.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Now, let’s look at what love is…

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Patient

Are you patient in teaching your children about 56 times in a day that 7×8 is 56? Are you patient in teaching them how to do their chores quickly and diligently? Or is your goal to check off the boxes and be done?

Kindness

Do your children see you as an example of kindness? When they talk back and disrespect you, do you respond “in kind” or with kindness (and discipline, of course)?

Does Not Envy or Boast

Pride is the opposite of love. Pride is all about self, not God and others.

If you are busy making yourself feel accomplished from the shiny, perfect children you have raised, then your homeschooling is not about love. It is about boastfulness in your own achievements. If you look at others whose kids graduated high school at age 13 and think, “That’s not so great. We could have done that if we had wanted to,” then you may have an envious heart that has no room for love.

Not Arrogant or Rude

This again comes back to a prideful heart that is not focused on others. If you think you don’t need the advice or opinions of others in your homeschooling journey, then first of all, why are you here? 😉 And secondly, you may be arrogant.

Arrogance often leads to rudeness. When someone gently and lovingly corrects your parenting or offers a kind word of advice, do you respond rudely? When your children respectfully correct your teaching, pointing out an error in something you say, do respond graciously, thanking them for the information, or do you speak to them rudely? Is your instant reaction, “You’re being disrespectful!”?

Does Not Insist on its Own Way

Do you insist on doing school in a way that works for you as the teacher? Or do you submit your own comfort to the needs and desires of your children in their learning?

Not Irritable or Resentful

Do you have to have your cup of coffee before you can be nice? Do you resent your children for keeping you from pursing your own career or hobbies? Or do you consider it a joy to sacrifice your own desires for the sake of their callings (and your highest calling)?

Does Not Rejoice at Wrongdoing, but Rejoices with the Truth

Are you more focused on the wrongdoing of your children than what is good and true? Are you almost happy when you finally catch them doing something you had suspected of them so you can finally dole out the punishment they deserve? Or do you focus on their good behavior and rejoice when they choose to do right and follow truth?

Bears All Things

Do you bear all the frustrated tears? The arguments? The lack of confidence? Do you encourage your children and give them a break when they are tired and burned out on school work?

Believes All Things

Do you believe the best when your children fail? Do you try to see their hearts and give grace, even thought discipline may still be required?

Hopes All Things

Do you tend to focus on the positive or the negative? Do you rest in the hope we have in Christ, that He is our strength and our “very present help in time of trouble”? Or do you allow fear to cripple you in your homeschooling and cause you to believe the enemy’s lies about your children’s future? Perfect love casts out fear! 1 John 4:18

Endures All Things

Are you in it for the long haul or are you swayed by your feelings and doubts? If you are homeschooling out of love, you will endure the hardest days because you know spending each day with your child is the best way to get to his heart. If your decision to homeschool was made because of love, you will continue to homeschool because of love and nothing will move you.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

“Knowledge will pass away.” It is only a tool for advancing God’s Kingdom on this earth in the short time we have. Love is what really matters and what will transcend anything we can possibly teach.

“More is caught than taught.” We’ve all heard that phrase and it’s certainly true here. No matter how biblical your teaching; no matter how diligent you are with discipline; no matter how much information you manage to fill their brains with, if you are not doing it all in love, they will “catch” that and learn the lessons you are not meaning to teach. Children know whether they are being loved or controlled.

If you want to have a successful homeschool, with children who grow up to love and serve the Lord with their gifts, let Holy Spirit-empowered love be the central, guiding force in your homeschooling!

 

And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!


 

 

Lifeschooling with Boys – Hal and Melanie Young | Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Hal and Melanie Young - boysOn this episode of Life as a Lifeschooler, I talk with Hal and Melanie Young about their homeschooling/lifeschooling journey and about what that looked like with boys.

Homeschooling Boys = Unique Challenges

Hal & Melanie are the award-winning authors of Raising Real Men, My Beloved and My Friend: How to Be Married to Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses, and several other books. They are publishers, writers, bloggers, and popular conference speakers internationally, known for their Christ-centered focus and practical, real-life stories. They are the parents of six real boys (four grown!) and two real girls and live in noisy, messy happiness in North Carolina.

Here are some of the questions I asked in our interview:

I’m sure many of my listeners have heard you both speak, but tell us about your background. How did you start homeschooling?

Many homeschoolers bring the school model home because we all tend to just do what we know. Is there anything in particular that helped shape your educational philosophy?

The definition of lifeschooling is “the individualized process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents primarily through real life experiences that happen within the context of your family’s unique situations and missions.” In your family, I know that mission aspect plays a large part. Can you share with us how your mission in encouraging homeschoolers played a part in your homeschooling? (In particular, with regard to technical skills, etc. that were learned in that context.)

How has homeschooling strengthened your relationships with your children?

What has been one of the most difficult times of homeschooling in your family?

What are some of the gifts that you saw early on in your children and how were you able to tailor their education around the development of those gifts?

When it comes to raising boys, tell us some practical tips, especially for those of us with very active young boys who can be hard to homeschool.

Hal and Melanie Young can be found at HalAndMelanie.com and their podcast can be heard at HalAndMelanie.com/radio. You can purchase their books and also find many other wonderful homeschooling books and resources, as well as gifts especially for boys in their online store at RaisingRealMen.com/shop.  Or if you need ideas, check out their special gift guide for boys at RaisingRealMen.com/giftguideforboys. (I mentioned Christmas gifts in the podcast, as this was recorded earlier, but there’s always time to shop for next year, right?!)

And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!


This podcast is sponsored by Route 60: The Biblical Highway

Best of Life as a Lifeschooler: Self-Sacrifice in Lifeschooling – Dr. Jill Butryn

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Self-Sacrifice in Lifeschooling - Dr. Jill ButrynEnjoy one of my favorite interviews on this rerun of “Self-Sacrifice in Lifeschooling – Dr. Jill Butryn.”

How much self-sacrifice would you be willing to practice? Would you give up a six-figure career in medicine to be “just a mom”? My friend Dr. Jill Butryn did just that. She went from a practicing MD to a present mom. Listen to one of our most popular episodes, this inspiring interview about how the Butryn family made it work and how lifeschooling and “staying out of the way” played a key part in “letting their boys be wiggly boys.”

Passionate about living and loving, Jill Butryn, MD, left a thriving medical practice to rededicate herself to faith, marriage, and family. When her verbally precocious eldest child made it very clear in no uncertain terms that being away from home all day to attend kindergarten was completely unacceptable, Jill and her reluctant husband began homeschooling and never looked back.

Bucking convention by not using a curriculum, Jill has home educated two wiggly and willful boys on a steady diet of Legos, literature, and labor, with a dash of mentoring. Committed to “staying out of the way” and allowing each child to develop at his own pace in his own way, the Butryns stress spiritual and relational development over academic achievement, where all that boy energy is channeled into meaningful activities and work projects instead of pointless busywork.

Jill believes parents ultimate responsibility is to turn out healthy adults who love and serve others, and this can only be achieved by modeling and facilitating personal growth through relationship and experience. It is an imperfect process carried out by imperfect people. Thankfully, there is grace.

Here is what I asked Jill during this episode’s interview:

  • So, you were a family doctor before you had children. Tell us what led to such self-sacrifice: the decision to leave your practice and start homeschooling?
  • What was the most difficult part about leaving your practice and did you ever doubt that decision?
  • To remind our listeners, the definition of lifeschooling is “the individualized process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents through real life experiences that happen within the context of your family’s unique situations and missions.” Is there a part of that definition that particularly speaks to you?
  • What are some of the gifts that you saw early on in your children and how did you tailor their education around development of those gifts?
  • Tell us about a typical day in your homeschool?
  • Now that you’ve graduated and married off one child and can look back on the entire journey, what would you say you did right, and is there anything you wish you would have done differently? Was the self-sacrifice of giving up your career worth it?
  • I feel like many of us, as adults, are just now learning what our passions truly are and what we were meant to do. I think lifeschooling is such a wonderful way to allow our children to find out who they really are and what gifts God has put into them when they are young. You recently started an online business that provides life coaching in several aspects. I know that came about as a result of some self-discovery of your own, so tell us a little bit about what led you to start that.
  • You can find out more about Dr. Jill and her services by visiting her website, www.jillbutryn.com.

And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!


Thank you to our Sponsor – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie!

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.

5 Lifeschooling Tips to Freedom in Your Homeschool!

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

5 Lifeschooling TipsI often say that lifeschooling is about freedom. But how do you achieve that freedom in homeschooling? Here are five tips that will help you find freedom to homeschool in a way that fits with everyday life and brings peace. These tips will help you find the heart of lifeschooling and what that can look like in your home!

 

LIFESCHOOLING TIP #1: Encourage reading by letting your children read books they love after bedtime.

Reading is one of the foundational skills to learning. (Before you moms with late readers freak out, let me assure you that reading late is really no problem. Most late readers catch up to the reading level of their peers in very little time, and in the meantime there are many other ways to learn.)

Once a child learns to read, they can learn independently. Allowing them to read after bedtime makes them feel privileged and can be a great way to encourage this important skill! I’ll always cherish the picture of the time I found my son asleep on his Narnia book.

 

LIFESCHOOLING TIP #2: Let the early years be focused on play!

It is scientifically proven that children learn a LOT through simple play that we adults think looks pointless. Being given time to play allows your children to learn independently of adult direction and input. It builds problem-solving and creativity!

Our youngest is 7 and is not yet ready to sit for more than about an hour or two (max). That’s okay! He’s learned so much on his own! Even hobbies and crafts are a form of playing that is considered okay for adults to do. 😉

If you need more encouragement that play really is okay, one of my favorite resources is Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, a book about how children really learn, written by two scientists. It will give you confidence to just let your children play!

 

LIFESCHOOLING TIP #3: Give them plenty of free time!

Free time is one of the best gifts your can give your children. When they are adults, they will no longer have so much time to explore, create, and learn about their world to discover who they really are. They may also surprise you with what they do with their time.

I have found my children working on Algebra; learning about genetics; and researching facts about Wales simply because they were interested. The constantly surprise me with what they know!

 

LIFESCHOOLING TIP #4: Invest in your children.

We often don’t have any problem forking out money for expensive curriculum, but when it comes to our children’s gifts and passions, do we provide them with the necessary resources and materials?

Fund your children’s projects. They may only stick with them a short time, but they are learning valuable lessons about who they are…and who they aren’t. That is worth the investment!

You can teach them about perseverance and a hard work ethic through other areas, such as chores and service to others. But give them freedom to learn who they are. When they find their passion and what God put into them to do, they WILL stick with it! In the meantime, think of these changing interests as courses…and feel free to record them as such!

 

LIFESCHOOLING TIP #5: Do one subject or project a day.

One of the difficulties with traditional school is that they are constantly changing subjects. A child may be fully engrossed in a project, but when the bell rings, it’s time to move on!

Lifeschooling allows children the freedom to fully engage with whatever projects or academics they are working on. You can maximize the benefit by focusing on one project/subject area per day!

For several years, we tried this and enjoyed it. One day it was English (lots of time for a writing project!), the next day science (plenty of time for experiments!), the next day history (history notebooks were not rushed!), etc. The difficulty was with intense subjects like math, which we ended up doing in half days, along with English.

 

I hope these tips give you some good ideas that will help you turn your homeschooling into lifeschooling! Do you have other tips you’d like to share that have helped you “merge life with homeschooling”? I’d love to hear them!

 

Missions, Movies, and Lifeschooling (Part 2) – David Cook

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Missions, Movies, Lifeschooling - David Cook part 2

On this episode of Life as a Lifeschooler, Danielle wraps up her interview with David Cook, a former MK who was homeschooled and now works in the Christian film industry.

David grew up on the mission field in Spain. A homeschool graduate, in 2001 he started working in media, both radio and television in Spain. In 2009 God placed it on his heart to get involved with feature filmmaking. Moving back to the United States, David started working with Advent Film Group to start the learning process and get hands on experience on film sets. Since that point, David has worked on 18 feature films in various capacities, including The Screenwriters, Polycarp, Princess Cut, Beyond the Mask, Badge of Faith, War Room, Like Arrows, and most recently the upcoming films Overcomer and Once Upon a Time in Mongolia.  David also helps with the annual Christian Worldview Film Festival in Franklin, TN, where he enjoys sharing with others what he has learned and encouraging them to follow what God has placed on their hearts to do.

Here are some of the questions I asked David on this second part of the interview:

Tell us about your journey into the Christian film industry.

When did you start to develop an interest in Christian film and did your parents tailor the education around the development of your gifts and interest in film?

What has been the most exciting thing about being in film? What has been the biggest challenge?

What was your favorite film set to work on?

I know you do a lot of traveling with your work. How many countries have you traveled to while working in film?

For those who may have children interested in getting into film, what would you suggest?

If you want to find out more about the Christian Worldview Film Festival, you can visit their site here.

And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Subscribe to our podcast so you never miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!

 

How to Raise Children Who Love God

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

How to Raise Children Who Love GodIt’s easy to slip into the thinking that if we just homeschool, all will turn out fine. Our children will grow up to love God; they will be well-educated and spiritually mature, always following the Lord and living godly lives.

Wrong.

A quick search of the internet will prove this is simply not the case. I loved the blog post Israel Wayne posted not too long ago addressing the current trend of homeschoolers who are rejecting their parents’ faith and basically dishonoring them.

(Can I just say that I literally laughed out loud when I read this line: “I just want to say to everyone who wishes that I was writing blogs about how badly my life sucks lollipops…I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you by having a happy and satisfied life.”).

And then, of course, there’s the story of Josh Harris, who grew up a zealot of homeschooling, courtship, and so many good things, only to recently divorce his wife and leave his faith, rejecting all he supposedly once held important. What a sad time for his parents.

Oh, dear homeschoolers. Once again, we have to be reminded that life is not about a checklist. We so easily forget, don’t we? There are no secret formulas, no magic bullets. You can’t manufacture a genuine relationship. There is no amount of work you can invest that will guarantee your children will turn out fine.

Homeschooling is great. I personally think it’s the obvious best option for educating and investing time into one’s children to build strong relationships. But it’s not the secret formula and relying on that alone will only bring frustration and disappointment.

But fret not. God doesn’t want us to just throw up our hands and sing Que Sera, Sera. We can look to Scripture and look to godly examples around us to learn some ideas for helping our children grow into spiritually mature adults who love God. We cannot force them to love the Lord, but we can entice them towards a deep relationship by showing them how precious it is!

Here are some ideas:

 

1. Make your relationship with the Lord your top priority.

How can you expect your children to love God if you don’t love Him with all of your heart? The very best thing you can do is lead by example. Spend time with Him daily and share what He is teaching you. When your children see that God is a priority and when they hear you speak about Him, they will be drawn towards Him.

I could probably end this entire blog post with this first point because it is just that important and impactful! But I won’t… 😉

 

2. Start early encouraging your children to spend time with the Lord daily.

We have always made daily devotions a part of our children’s required “daily chores.” That might sound terrible, but the Bible does talk about “disciplining ourselves unto godliness.” Part of the Christian walk is self-discipline and if we want them to truly love God, then we must teach our children to be self-disciplined early. They need to learn how to “own” their faith.

When they were young, they read this Learn to Read Bible, among other Bible story books. They also enjoyed these inductive Bible studies by Kay Arthur. Korban also really loves these books. They are short and address specific sins through the eyes of a child, with Scripture references to go along with them.

Something else we did was to encourage them to pray for wisdom like Solomon did. I remember specifically having this conversation with our oldest son, Konur, and seeing the impact it made on him to think that he could have as much wisdom as he wanted simply by asking in faith!

We watched him grow spiritually even as a young child and we didn’t even have to ask how it happened. We knew he was praying for wisdom. Today, that boy spends hours in prayer and Bible reading daily and has a close walk with the Lord.

 

3. Have daily devotions time as a family.

Fathers are called to be the “priests of their homes,” but many households do not have regular family devotions. It is not always easy and grace is sometimes needed for difficult schedules, but it’s important to make a commitment to do something! Martin Luther is famously quoted as saying, “Work, work from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

There is always time! Even if it just starts with just one song, reading a couple verses, and praying through a prayer list, if it’s a daily time together as a family, God will honor the effort and increase the desire. It is very impactful for your children to see their father leading spiritually and worshiping the God he loves.

I think it’s so important to focus on reading the Bible, but stories can also be helpful, especially for younger children. These books are a current favorite of my seven-year-old’s.

 

4. Make the Lord a part of everyday life, not a separate subject.

Talk about Him as you go through your day. Remember all the things He has done for you and your family and recount them to your children. (Hmmm… this sounds strangely similar to Deuteronomy 6:4-9, doesn’t it? 😉 )

In our family, we often talk about how good God has been to us by providing our homestead to us for $40,000. It’s an incredible story! We also recount other specific answers to prayer, like the time I cried out in desperation for my husband to get a different job and that very day he was let go. It might not sound like an answer, but we knew it was! And God provided a better job a short time later.

Encourage them to pray specifically and point out the times when God has answered their requests, too. God is a good Father and loves to give good gifts to His children. Once, Korban prayed for 6 inches of snow. God answered that prayer and actually gave him an inch more! We made sure to tell him what a special answer to prayer that was and how much God loves him, and he continues to bring that story up. God didn’t have to answer the request, but He delighted to do so!

 

5. Get to their hearts with Scripture.

When you train them, God’s Word should always be what you use to exhort and encourage. So often we focus on changing their behavior so that we can be more comfortable or so that we don’t look like bad parents. But if we want our children to love God, our focus should always be on Christ. How does their behavior make Him look?

We need to get to their hearts and focus on their motivations for doing right. What does the Bible say about their behavior? Do they truly love God and want to please Him? Do they remember all the Jesus did to pay for those sins they are committing? Do they know how much He loves them and longs to have a relationship with them?

We must always bring it back to the Gospel.

One of our favorite resources for doing this was a book called Parenting with Scripture. It’s a topical book that helps us address different kinds of behavior issues using Scripture and activities to go along with it. We also tried to have clear expectations and swift consequences for disobedience. Allowing things to slide leads to anger and nothing will harden a child quicker than parents disciplining in anger.

 

6. Be open and real about your faith.

Kids are perceptive. They know when you are not being real with them and teens, especially, can smell hypocrisy a mile away. When they are young, they may let it slide because you are still their hero. But when they get older, they have no qualms about calling you out on all the inconsistencies they have seen for years.

You have two choices: You can respond in humility or you can respond in pride. Pride says, “I am the parent and I am in charge. I have my reasons. Do as I say, not as I do.” Trust me, you won’t get very far with that approach and it will not draw your teens closer to Christ.

Humility, on the other hand, says, “You are right. I didn’t see that, but I need to change and I will work on it. (And, by the way, I love you, but you need to work on how you confront authority.)” That last part may or may not be necessary. 😉 But the point is, don’t let their own spiritual immaturity and hypocrisy blind you from the sin they are pointing out.

When you are humble enough to admit wrongs and share your heart about how God is teaching you, they will let down their own defenses and share their own struggles. This brings us right back around to the first point. Again, it’s about modeling what you want to see and leading by example.

 

Of course, when it gets right down to it, prayer is the number one, most powerful tool we have to ensure that our children grow up to love God and serve Him!

All of these practical ideas are just empty works without the power of the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts. We must always be seeking Him and asking Him to reveal to us the specific ways that we can encourage our children’s relationship with the Lord.

I hope this encourages you and gives you some practical help in raising up children who love God with all of their hearts, souls, and minds! We can’t control their hearts, but we can make a big impact if we follow the Lord’s leading and humbly walk along side them.

Also, if you’d like to actually be able to see me while you listen to this episode, be sure to watch it on my new YouTube channel!