February 26, 2006

Thoroughly Confused

Today is Sunday and I find myself thoroughly and utterly confused and confounded about our change in plans for next year's schooling. Just the other day I posted that I had found the 'right' path for our high school adventure, I was totally confident, and completely at peace that it was the right move, at the right time, and that we were doing the right thing. Today, I am not so sure. LOL!

I know, you are probably thinking "she is just plain nuts!" Well, I will admit it that I am always "nuts" and that it is not uncommon for me to find myself right here in this predicament. I am not really sure why I started to feel uncertain but I think it had to do with the fact that a good friend this week needed my help placing her son into a high school program.

I spent a good part of the week helping her sort through options for her 14yos schooling. He has been homeschooled for 2 years and really does love it. He is flourishing and my friend enjoys having him at home. He is my son's best friend and as such I have been praying for him, his mom and dad, to make the right choice for next year. His mom had concerns about her son and was thinking that a public high school would be the best choice for him. I understand her feelings and while we are committed to homeschooling through high school, I began to doubt our program and began to feel as though time is pressing down on us and that I was at that "make or break" point. I needed to decide the next four years this week because every change from now on would "count."

I was confident in our new choice but the more I helped them, the more I began to question what we were doing and where we were going and how fast we were moving down that road to graduation. As you may or may not know, my son is highly gifted and one of our biggest struggles is to find curriculum that is challenging enough for him. Ambleside Online has been our answer these past two and half years. Our son loves the reading selections and loves the fact that our day is very low-key, flexible, and that he reads something different everyday. Our son is 12 and he is still such a little boy. Academically, he is working at high school level and he probably will continue to do so throughout the next years. But, nonetheless, he is still such a little boy. I don't want him to go into high school, I don't want him to graduate in four years. He will not be ready for the world and I don't want to rush him out of the house.

Like I said, I am not sure what prompted my initial desire to change paths -- it may have been born out of frustration with the lack of planning and teacher support in AO. Don't get me wrong, I love this program. But I struggle with scheduling, planning, and then record-keeping. Maybe it is because I have never home schooled with any other curriculum. I have no other experience to draw from. I want so much for someone to tell me what to do -- I want a pre-packaged curriculum, with teacher books and plans. I want to have it all done for me because my life is so complicated and my time is so limited.

Maybe it is also because this past week and half I have come under criticism from family regarding our schooling choice. I normally let these types of comments roll off me, but this week it was just too much. Maybe, just maybe, I thought that if we used a purely Christian curriculum and one that was tangible (textbooks are tangible), that my family would give me their approval and finally they would stop the criticism of our home schooling.

I don't know. It is hard to know why certain things make us move and other things make us stand still. As I was thinking about everything from this past week, I happened to flip the TV channel to Joel Osteen. I like Joel, BTW, and we often listen to him during the week. Today's message was on being yourself and on accepting who you are in Christ. He talked about how we often seek approval from other people and often will change our minds based on their actions. The problem he said, is that God has annoited our calling, and our situation is unique. We may be doing things differently from our neighbors, our family, our friends, because God has called us to do it. He also encouraged us to stop comparing ourselves to other people. Oh my, did I need to hear that today.

After the message was over, DS and I drove over to my parents house to help with some outside work (it is lovely here - 81!). I asked my son about next year and asked him if he wanted to switch curriculum and use textbooks like his friend does. I asked him if he liked reading different books and doing different subjects every day. I was surprized by his answer - he said he likes what we are doing and would like to continue it. He said "textbooks - like real school?" I said "yes." He said "I would like to continue doing what we are doing this year."

It wasn't eloquent or even overly impassioned. It was sort of matter of fact but it was an honest opinion. In truth, my son is happy with his schooling. He never complains about it (well, maybe just the 'doing it' part) and he always does such a good job.

Maybe the whole problem has been me. I compare myself to others, I feel jealous of what other's are doing or have, I bend when I am criticized, and I waffle when I feel uncertain and when I lose confidence in my abilities.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Help me today to realize that you have called me to home school my son. Help me to understand that you have annointed me with wisdom to choose the path for my son to follow. Help me to stop comparing myself to other people, to stop seeking approval, and to stop allowing critical remarks to cause me to stumble. I humbly seek your will and know that you will be faithful to help me KNOW exactly what you want me to do and then will provide the tools and resources needed to be able to accomplish your plan for my life.

February 23, 2006

Worship in Spirit and Truth

Last year, we made a very difficult decision to change our church fellowship. Both DH and I were conflicted about making such a change, considering that we had been at the same church for nearly 10 years. We had good friends and family there and our entire family was active in church service.

Our primary reason for making the change was to find a much smaller youth program for our then 7th grade son. We decided to begin fellowshipping at my parent's church, which happens to be about 3 minutes from our house, a nice change from the 20 minute drive to our large Bible church.

So with some hestitation, we made the switch last summer. Our son has done very well and has made some nice friends at my parent's church. DH and I enjoy the Pastor's messages. But despite the appearances that everything seems okay, there just is a lack of peace in our hearts about worshipping there. I thought for a long time that is was simply the 'getting used to something different' process. Our large Bible church was well-known for it's outstanding Music and Worship, dynamic preaching, and extensive missions and service/enrichment opportunities. Quite a different story at the small community church where my parents attend. We have met some very nice families during the past year. I have been involved in Awana, helping with the K-2nd graders. It has been a nice experience for us all -- but again, something just wasn't sitting right with us.

Over the past couple of months, there has been a spirit of disharmony and disunity in the fellowship. It has caused a split in the church, with about 20 or so families leaving to attend elsewhere. The cause you ask? Simply put - a disagreement on how we should worship the Lord on Sunday mornings. It is quite a silly thing IMHO. I mean we all worship the Lord in our own way and I see no problem with having a variety of music styles every week (jazz, contemporary, hymns). However, the Pastoral staff has not done a very good job of handling this situation and in fact have behaved rather poorly.

I am not sure if you are familiar with the term "seeker" or with the "seeker movement." But at one time this church body was aptly labeled as such. They attempted to create two groups of fellowshippers out of one body. One reflected the traditional mindset and made up the majority of members in the church. These were a mixture of people, from all walks of life, most of whom had grown up in the church or came from a traditional church background. The other group were made up of people who had rejected traditional church and were 'seeking' something different. The church attempted to cater to each group and failed miserably. A church divided cannot stand.

Last year, the elder board and Pastoral staff decided that they needed to embrace the 'contemporary' group by hiring a new Music Director who would reflect the 'hip', be worldly so as not to offend those 'seeking' spirituality. In doing so, they alienated those 'traditionalists' who finance the church, the building, and pay the salaries of the staff.

Now, here is our problem with this whole issue. I understand and do not doubt the motivation of the Pastoral staff. I believe that in their hearts they truly want to reach the lost and provide a warm and loving community for them. I don't believe that the 'seeker' movement itself is biblical and I take issue with that on the ground that the bible tell us that as believers we are to be 'salt and light' and that we are not to be conformed to the world or it's ways, it's culture, or it's standard. It is a theological issue with me -- but more than that it is the very pettiness of this whole thing. I cannot understand how members of the body of Christ can cause such disunity. The Apostle Paul urges us all to be of "one mind, one spirit, one body." It is our duty as members of the household of God - we are not to be infighting or squabbling over such matters.

Well, to make a very long story short, we have decided to return to our home church. Our son will continue to attend Wednesday night youth group and I will help in Awana through the end of May. But after that, we will return to our first love and will settle back into a fellowship where the Lord is first always and the family behaves and lives as it should.

Plans for a new season in my life...

A friend on one of my home school groups once said that "our plans are often Plan B or C, whereas God's Plan is always A" (my paraphrase). I have been seriously considering her words and this week, have committed myself only to accepting God's Plan A for my life. Through prayer and bible study, the Lord has shown me that He desires for me to experience his "Plan A" and that it is not something unattainable or unimaginable. It is real and tangible and is readily available to every person who believes in, trusts in and relies upon the Lord Jesus Christ. I have always believed (incorrectly) that God's Plan A was not something we could participate in here on Earth, that it was reserved for Heaven only. But this is not biblically sound thinking. No, God has a Plan for my life, a plan for my dh's life, and a plan for my child's life. It is His perfect Plan A, and not something that is second best. It is His best and to receive it, we must humble ourselves daily and then steadfastly and dilgently seek after Him and be patient to wait upon Him for His peace.

The Greek word for "Patience" is Hupomone and it literally means "abiding under." W.E. Vine writes "Patience perfects Christian character, James 1:4, and fellowship in th patience of Christ is therefore condition upon which believers are to be admitted to reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12)."

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~James 1:4

if we endure, we will also reign with him. ~2 Timothy 2:12a


I know that in my life, one of the reasons I have not experienced God's Plan A is because I am impatient and not willing to wait for the Lord to show me His way. I want it now and this attitude is not scriptural at all. It is the mark of a Christian that is not grown up in the Lord and is more interested in wordly pleasures (being satisfied - a baby believer who cries and wants help NOW!)

The very act of being steadfast (secure, firm, strong) and diligent (exerting oneself, enduring, hastening to do a task), is something I don't choose to do regularly. Often, I am willing to 'give it a try' and then when I don't see results right away, I give up. This is not the type of believer the Lord calls us to be - He longs for those who will be steadfast, diligent in doing good, in seeking Him, and then who will wait upon Him (abide under His authority). It is then, and only then, that we will begin to see the results of our labors. Until that point, all we who labor, will do so in vain.

I know when I am content and abiding in His will because I have this wonderful sense of peace inside of me. The world around me is still complicated and not all my problems, my concerns, or my prayers are answered. But I have this abiding sense of peace -- that everything will be OK -- that my life is in His hand. It is when I step out of this peace, that I feel the most frustrated, the most lost, the most confused.

This past week, I realized that if I truly want the Lord's Best for me, then I am going to have to do some things everyday to show him that I am serious about receiving it:

Seek Him first each and every day

Before I rise, I am to seek Him. I need to pray for His care and comfort, to ask for His forgiveness, and to set my mind right for the day (His priorities, not my own).

Be steadfast and diligent to seek His way

I must choose to be steadfast (strong, firm, secure) and to diligently seek His best for me. This means that instead of instant gratification, I must wait for Him. I must study the scriptures, pray and meditate over them, and abide under His Authority.

Accept nothing less than His Best - make no compromises, no second best options

If I believe that God has a Plan A for my life, then I must not settle for second best. No, second best is my way, my attempt to resolve problems, issues, or difficulties. I want His best and I must wait for it.

Believe, Trust and Rely on His promises

When I feel the temptation to give in or settle, I must recall the many promises of God and affirm them in my life. God's word is clear - He is faithful to keep His promises. We can trust in, rely on, and believe in them.

Paitently wait and wait and wait. No matter how long it takes, wait for His way, His will, His best.

This is the hardest part for me but it is the most crucial part of learning how to receive the Lord's best. I must grow up in the Lord and be patient. It is like giving birth -- the Lord requires us to wait nine months for a child to be born. We look forward to that day, we anticipate it, we prepare for it, we await the coming of a new born baby. In a similar way, we must wait upon the Lord and expect His Coming, His plan, His best, for us. It takes time to prepare our hearts to receive it and if we rush and try to make it happen, we will end up with our own way, our own path, and ultimately, a less than perfect answer.

***
The Lord is faithful to keep His promises and He wants us to experience the full blessing that is ours through Christ Jesus. How often have I allowed my own wants and desires to interrupt His plan and to forstall or even in some cases, miss completely the Lord's best for my life.

February 22, 2006

Scheduling Samples

I think one of the most difficult aspects of using the Charlotte Mason method along with the Ambleside Online curriculum has been trying to get organized. I have made over a dozen forms, charts, and spreadsheets since we first started using AO in the spring of 2004. You will see that each year is different and that I have tested out a number of ways to schedule and track our school year. I still haven't found the "right" way but am OK with this as the years progress (there is no "perfect" way!) Please feel free to download these forms/schedules and modify them if you feel that they would help you get your family organized.

Note: I moderate a group called AO-Member-Schedules. This group is open to anyone using the AO curriculum and who would like to see how others do AO or who want to donate their own daily/weekly schedules.

Some Sample Schedules

Unit Study on World War II

We are currently reading through a short study on World War II (about 12-15 weeks). My son finished almost all of Y8 last December and we made the decision to hold him back and begin 9th grade this fall, 2007. Partly this is to keep him on grade with his peers and also to allow him to turn 14 at the beginning of high school. This study is reflective of my son's love of the topic and as such is very heavy on military books. Feel free to borrow or browse!

British History and Literature (Victorian Era)

We decided to put off HEO Year 9 (American History) until fall 2008. For 9th grade (2007-2008), we are instead focusing on the period of 1800-1900, British History. I plan on awarding one credit in European History for this course of study.

Missey Gray's Pre-Year Schedules

These were put together by a dear AO Mom who passed away suddenly in 2006. The idea behind these schedule was to help an older student transition to AO. The student would complete the Pre-Year schedule first and then follow it with the full-year schedule as designed on the Ambleside Website. You can see her resources here: http://www.geocities.com/justahappygrl/

How to Set a Schedule

Sample Schedules and Forms

The following are some of my schedules from previous years. These pages have links to Word, Excel and PDF samples. Please feel free to use them, modify them to fit your needs.

February 20, 2006

No Longer Fearful...

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." ~2 Timothy 1:7

I have made this verse my mantra (new age term - my affirmation) and am reciting it daily to help me realize that it is not God's plan for my life to live in fear. The Bible says that fear is not just being afraid but also happens when we become anxious, we worry, or when we doubt.

The Amplified Bible says this:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

I understand that it is God's plan for me to live a well-balanced life, to be calm and disciplined and in control. He doesn't desire for me to lose control or to feel as though my life is spinning out of control.

The problem as I see it is that often the difference between being calm and at peace and being fearful, anxious, and worried, is simply allowing Him to be in control and to lead us. Too often, we want to lead and then pray that the Lord will bless our plans. We forget that it is His plan for our lives and that He is more than willing to share it with us, if we would only ask Him. Some times the plan isn't clear or isn't completely revealed to us. This is not because the Lord doesn't trust us, but rather that we are not ready to whole-heartedly accept it.

The sooner we can let go and let Him lead, the sooner we can experience that calm, that sense of discipline and self-control, we all desire so very much.

Peace Like a River...

When peace like a river, attendeth my way;
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well...with my soul... It is well, it is well, with my soul...

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well...with my soul... It is well, it is well, with my soul...

He lives--oh, the bliss of this glorious thought;
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Oh my soul.

It is well...with my soul... It is well, it is well, with my soul...

And, Lord, haste the day when our faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend;
Even so, it is well with my soul...

It is well...with my soul... It is well, it is well, with my soul...


~Horatio Gates Spafford [1873]

February 16, 2006

Jr. and Sr. High Books

As I plan out the next couple years, one of the issues I am concerned about is my ability to teach upper level courses such as history, literature, philosophy, apologetics, etc. I think my apprehension has more to do with my own feelings of inadequacy and less on the reality of my ability to teach my son.

Last evening, I spent quite a bit of time before the Lord in prayer to inquire as to His will for our homeschooling. I have several paths to choose from: stay with a literature-based program like Ambleside Online, choose a traditional textbook approach, create a unit study or use a prepared unit study, or do my own thing. I will admit that the doing my own thing scares me the most even despite the fact that it is probably closer to my heart's true desire.

I have looked over House of Education's booklists for Years 8-12 and think that the "salad bar" approach is a good way to go for the upper years. Some of the suggested books are new to me and I am hestitant to sign on and teach them without any prior knowledge.

I have also looked over Veritas Press' Junior High and High School program. This program is more familiar to me as I read most of the History/Literature selections in my college Humanitites courses. I also prefer the the way the books are scheduled with two reading periods per day, one in the morning and one in the am. Another plus is the integration of history, bible, literature, art and philosophy into the reading. Rather than studying these subjects separately, they are read as one unit.

Another program I have researched is Dr. Stobaugh's Literary Analysis Skills program for 7-12 grades. This is a literature based program that stresses the development of critical analysis and writing skills.

I took time last night and perused Tapestry of Grace's website and really like these unit studies. While I only have one student, I still like the fact that these studies include an integrated approach to learning.

Additionally, I have looked over the Bob Jone's University website and through their online catalog. I know that BJU's history and literature programs are very good and highly recommended.

I took notes as to costs, books and other recommended teacher resources and feel that I have a good start to analyze the different approaches and can now list pros and cons of each. I know that this sounds like over-kill to go through these steps but it is the way my mind works and this is how I make important decisions. I trust the Lord and know that he will guide me as I review each choice, look closely to determine if it will fit with our goals and my student's abilities. Once I have the information sorted, the final decision will be up to the Lord.

I am grateful that my Lord understands my brain and that he is patient as I try and use my skills to understand the complexities of our schooling method. I think sometimes that I make a "mountain out of a mole-hill" and that I should just "pick one" and stick with it. This may work for some people and I wish I were this way -- oh my, would my life be so much easier. But I believe that the Lord made me this way and for a reason. He has equipped me with a logical and orderly brain and given me analytical skills to help me make wise choices and good decisions. No, this is part of the process and I know that I must work the details out to feel fully satisfied and to have confidence in what I am doing and in the overall program and outcome.

February 12, 2006

Cast Your Cares Upon Him...

But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God. For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves to them as themselves secondary and dependent upon them]. It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority). And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you].1 Peter 3:4-6 (Amplified Bible)

Today as I was reading my Bible, I turned to the 1st Book of Peter. I flipped over to chapter three and began reading about God's ideal for wives and their role in the family. I decided to read today from the Amplified Bible and for the first time something wonderful spoke to me. If you have been reading my blog of late, you will know that I have been anxious and worried about my life. So much so that I have been struggling and questioning many of the decisions I have made over the past few months. Well, as I was reading the Lord spoke to my heart and showed me that it is not His plan or desire for me to be anxious or wrought up (my words - stressed out!) No, this is not His plan for my life nor is it His plan for any other woman of God. The words in the above verses spoke to my heart and showed me that it is up to me to choose to either pursue a gentle and peaceful spirit or one that is anxious and terrified (vs. 6).

It is a choice, a matter of the heart. We must either trust the Lord completely or we must rely on our own thinking, our own feeings, and our own decisions. James 1:5 directs the believer to ask the Lord for wisdom (knowledge and understanding) but to do so without doubt or wavering. James continues by comparing the man with little faith (doubt or hesitation) to the billowing surge of the sea, blown here and there by the wind. Verse 8 says "[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]" The man who tries to do everything on his own is unstable, unreliable, and uncertain. He doesn't trust the Lord to provide wisdom (discernment) and therefore attempts to navigate outside the will of the Lord.

Oh my! This is surely me. I often experience these same feelings - especially those of uncertainty and have experienced the unstable emotions that usually accompany anxiety and stress. The Lord tells us that this is not how He wants us to live our lives - we are encouraged to be "sober -- circumspect (morally alert)" and to set our hope on the wholly and unchangeable grace (undeserved favor) of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).

Yes, the answer is to fix my gaze upon HIM and to choose not to be anxious, worried or terrified about any of the details of my day, my week or my life. I am to ask the Lord for wisdom and expect that He will answer my prayer (James 1:5).

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5:7

If you have been feeling stressed out, worried or anxious about something in your life, consider asking the Lord for the wisdom to understand this biblical truth. Then trust Him. Believe that He will deliver you and give you a spirit of peace.

Cast all your worries, concerns, and anxiety upon Him and know that he cares for you!

February 11, 2006

Sacrifice Praise


"Know, recognize, and understand therefore this day and turn your [mind and] heart to it that the Lord is God in the heavens above and upon the earth beneath; there is no other." ~Deuteronomy 4:39

Praising God starts your day right. Start thanking God as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. Hebrews 13:15 says, "Let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name."

Jesus said, "Whoever believes in mem as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him" (John 7:38 NIV). Acknowledge the Lord, and drink that living water.


I read this short devotional (Joyce Meyer's "Starting Your Day Right") yesterday. I really needed to hear the Lord's word because lately I have not been praising him and thanking him for everything he does in my life. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and have written about my feelings of either losing control or trying very hard to take control of various areas, from home to work to school. Anyway, this passage of scripture reminded me that my number one priority is to give a 'sacrifice of praise' to the Lord every moment of the day. I am humbled because I know that the root cause of all these feelings is that I have taken my eyes off the prize, the Lord, and placed them squarely on myself. When I look into my own life, all I see is the impossibility of everything. But when I look into God's face and sit in His presence, I can "know and understand" that with God all things are possible.


We bring the sacrifice of praise,
Into the house of the Lord,
We bring the sacrifice of praise,
Into the house of the Lord,

And we offer up to You,
The sacrifices of thanksgiving.
And we offer up to You,
The sacrifices of joy.


Praise the Lord for He is so Good!

February 9, 2006

Joan of Arc

My son and I are reading Mark Twain's "Joan of Arc" this year. It is a required reading text for Ambleside Online's Year 7 program. At first, neither of us really thought we would like this book. I will admit to not being a Twain fan. I have always found his writing to be wordy, verbose, and long-winded. It is his style, I know, and whenever I have read anything of his, I try and picture Hal Holbrook in costume speaking the words. I really think that with some writers - you just have to hear the words and not read them. Does that make sense?

With this in mind, I decided to read "Joan" out loud this term (actually for two terms). This book is very long and we will not finish it until mid-summer. We didnt' start right off because I didn't have the book on hand. I later found it at Half-Price books (yippee!) and since then we have been playing catch up.

We are now into Book II and about a third of the way through. I read it out loud after lunch and I have to say that I am beginning to really enjoy the story line. I never knew much about Joan, mostly because I am Protestant so she was not really a "saint" to me. We have a large Catholic church down the road from us named for her. Anyway, as I read this book out loud, I am so very impressed with her life and her calling. Twain's style of writing, in the first person, carries you along as though you were right there on the battlefield and admist the ambuscades (my newest favorite word).

I am excited to see what will happen next (we are just at the part where Joan has met the Dauphin, in disquise, and ask to be sent into battle). Maybe when I finish this book, we will try our hand at some other Twain novels - reading them out loud, of course!

February 7, 2006

Control Freak or Freakishly in Control?

I have been thinking a lot about my need to be in control of everything. It is a serious issue and one that I need to deal with appropriately. I am not sure if I will ever successfully get a handle on my need to be in control, but I certainly feel like I need to try for my own sake and that of my family.

It is really funny how certain things tend to manifest themselves the more you think about them. For example, I have been thinking about my need for control and lately every email I get, every post I read (from my group lists), every phone call, seems to have something to do with my need for control. I am sure it is KISMET or FATE (really, it is just the Lord helping me to understand myself and then accept my flaws and move on). It annoys me in some ways and in other ways it reminds me that there really is a connecting force out there, stringing the events and experiences of my life together for all the world to see.

Ok, so I am rambling on a bit. The point is that I have been thinking about being in 'control' and trying to understand why I do it and how to let things (fill in the _____ blank) go. So today, while making breakfast, I started to put some ideas together. This is what I have come up with and I am not sure if it actually makes sense but for now, it seems to give some impetus to why I am feeling the way I am.

Middle English controllen, from Anglo-Norman contreroller, from Medieval Latin contrrotulre, to check by duplicate register, from contrrotulus, duplicate register : Latin contr-, contra- + Latin rotulus, roll, diminutive of rota, wheel; see ret- in Indo-European Roots.

According to the dictionary, the word control when used as a verb can have several meanings. For me, when I think of control, I think of my need to "hold in restraint or to hold in check" something, anything, or mostly everything in my life. It is the sense of losing control that I fear the most and that I struggle to avoid (at all costs).

Once I started to think in these terms, I realized that my need to control or hold in check is really an attempt on my part to keep my life from 'unfolding and expanding." In the "expanding universe theory" the universe as we know it is not finite but is forever changing, forever growing, forever morphing into something new and exciting. I know this is not really biblical, per se, because we tend to think biblically in very finite terms. But really if we give God the credit that is due HIM, the truth is that the universe is infinite. God is infinite power, infinite authority, infinite understanding, infinite compassion...the list goes on. Therefore, the universe itself would follow suit and be infinite.

My life unfolds before me and I have absolutely no control over it. I didn't choose the day I was born nor will I know the day I will die. I do not know what will happen tommorrow or the next minute in my day. It is unknown, it is uncontrollable, and it laced with myriads of infinite possibilities (both good and bad).

I have determined to stop trying to control the infinite.

There are just some things in life that are beyond my control. No matter how much I wish I could control them, the truth is, the reality is, that they are not MINE to control. They are out of my perview and they are not my responsbility. They belong to other people, but mostly they belong to God. Jesus was correct when he said we were to "render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar's and render unto God, that which is God's."

Number one in this category is my need to control other people: their feelings towards me, their attitudes about me or my life, and their behavior (the good, the bad or the ugly).

I have determined to control only those things which are under my perview and within my ability to control

This deals with everything that legitimately is within my control: from my personal habits to my time, from my goals to my dreams and aspirations, as well as my relationships with other people (my side only). Most important is my attitude and my spiritual development (my side only).

I have determined to compromise when necessary to restore balance and control

This is an interesting issue because there are times when we are faced with choices that require compromise. Sometimes we choose not to compromise and must therefore accept that we cannot control the outcome. Othertimes, we can compromise and work towards an equiable solution (ex. dealing with other people).

more in the next post...

February 6, 2006

More High School Planning

Okay, so now that I am confident (once again) in our curriculum choice, I decided to spend a little time and plan out (tentatively) our next six (6) years. Oh, I know, you are saying..."You have to be kidding, right?" Well, not really. I am not saying that I am planning out everything we will do for the next six years, but more like laying a foundation, a guide for us to follow. I find it very helpful to see everything laid out in a grid form (spreadsheet) so that I can make my book purchases and let things go that I just don't need to worry about right now. Without a plan like this, often I find myself getting worried that I have forgotten something, missed a book or two, or that we should be doing something I have not added to the list.

We are following Ambleside Online this year and our plans will be to continue with this program through Year 12 (12th grade). To do this and to make sure that my son has satisfied the requirements for our state, I need to make sure we are crossing all the T's and dotting all the I's so that he can get into college or university.

February 2, 2006

Back in the Saddle Again

Yesterday, I wrote the most wonderful post to this blog. I published it, reindexed it, and voila! It landed out in that big "unknown" of cyberspace. If someone finds my post on another blog, would you kindly send it back to me? LOL

Yes, we are back in the saddle (AO) again! Last week was one of those horrible ones, where the entire family was sick, nothing was accomplished, and everything, absolutely everything came to a complete standstill. There is something humbling about being sick, I mean really sick. When you are holding on to "whatever you can" for dear life, praying that "this too shall pass", and placing all your trust in the One above to carry you through, it is amazing how clear everything becomes. I was in the midst of such an illness, a violent flu episode, all the while trying to take care of my DH and DS, who were battling head colds. It wasn't a very pretty site at our house. In fact, I told everyone to stay away and keep clear until the worst had passed us.

Well, we survived the trauma and are all on our way to feeling better. I am still not 100% but am getting there. DS and DH are both better (still that nagging cough but we are so thankful). While I was flat on my back for the week, the Lord gave me plenty of time to think about my life, my priorities, and all my plans. It was an amazingly wonderful time for me, despite the nastiness of it all, because I actually focused on the BIG issues only. When you are sick, whether temporarily or long-term, you do tend to let the little things go. You know that you must concentrate on the things that matter most - your faith, your family, and your future (in Heaven).

I have been struggling with our home schooling, my work load at home, our financial situation, and some family issues for a long-while. I have been faithful to pray and study the Word but really haven't had that sense of PEACE about anything. It has been as though I was just chattering away, hoping that my prayers would be answered. But they just weren't materializing in the way I wanted them to. So I just kept on (that is my motto "keep on, keeping on!)

Interestingly enough, while I was so sick and just concerned about making it through the night in one piece (or whether or not to make the trip to the emergency room), I realized that my desire to KNOW everything was the root cause of all my frustration. I am one of those people who must KNOW what is going on, KNOW what will happen next, KNOW what is expected of me. I am uncomfortable with letting things go. It really is the root cause of doubt -- this need to KNOW business. It reminds of the Lord's words when he said "my ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts" (my paraphrase). Yes, it is true. The Lord doesn't have to tell me anything and he chooses to reveal his will to me -- simply in his own time.

Doubt is a terrible thing. I doubt my plans, I doubt our progress, I doubt my daily routine. I doubt, doubt, doubt. Psalm 46:10 says "Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!" This is my favorite verse now (this Psalm was one that DS and I were to mediate upon in Term 2) because it clearly addresses my number one issue - my unwillingness to BE STLL and KNOW and RECOGNIZE that He is GOD. All things do work together for good (my paraphrase) but only so long as you accept the fact that you cannot be in control - this is the Lord's domain, it is His request of us. Let Him be in control.

So after much prayer and tears (literally through the pain), I decided to do just that. To let HIM be in control and to stop doubting Him. In the process, I decided to stop doubting myself. I looked myself straight in the eye (a not-so-pleasant-looking eye for that matter) and gave myself a good talking to. I told myself that our plan for school, our routine, our curriculum choice, our progress, that everything we were doing was on track and that we were doing just fine. It is the truth, really, it is. We are fine. We are good. Everything is OK.

God in His Merciful Kindness allowed a very nasty virus to sideline me. It was His "Hello, are you listening to me" and without any other distraction, I said just like Samuel, "yes, Lord, I am here."

February 1, 2006

High School Plan - A

I just reviewed my "Tentative Plan" for high school (posted on this blog a couple weeks ago) and thought I would add a bit more to it. Since I first posted my plan, the Lord has suggested an alternative course for us to follow and I am committed to seeking and obeying His direction.

The biggest change between my tentative and the new plan is the fact that the Lord has placed it upon my heart to accelerate my son up from 7th grade to 9th grade. My DS has been working through Ambleside Online's curriculum for Year 7, which in my opinion, is more accurately 9-10th grade work. He is doing excellent in all subjects and is ready to begin Algebra I in the fall. I see no reason to hold him back and since he is such a strong and solid reader, official 9th grade work shouldn't be any more difficult that our current curriculum and course of study.

9th Grade (2006-2007)

Bible

*That I May Know Him (BJUP)
**Why The Bible Matters (BJUP)
***Publishing Great Things (BJUP)
Scripture Memory Work

History

World Geography (BJUP)
Historical Biographies (AO)
Selected history sources (AO)

Literature

Fundementals of Literature (BJUP)
Great Books List (AO)

Math

Algebra I (BJUP)
Standard Deviants Algebra I DVD

Science

The Physical World (BJUP)
Selected Natural History Readings (AO)

English Grammar/Compostion

Easy Grammar Plus OR
Writing and Grammar 9 (BJUP) OR
Jensen's Grammar plus
Written and Oral Narrations
Copywork, Dictation, Recitation

Foreign Language

French - course TBD
Latin - Lingua Latina I

Music

Appreciating Music (BJUP)
Composer Study (AO)
Musical Instrument Practice

Art and Art Appreciation

Drawing with Older Teens
Art History Text - TBD
Artist Study (AO)

Health

Health for Christian Schools (BJUP)

PE

Athletes in Training (AIT) weekly
Karate lessons weekly
daily activity (bike riding or walking with Mom)

More to follow...