To the Homeschool Mom Who Wonders if Her Time at Home is Worthwhile

Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit

To the Homeschool Mom Who Wonders if Her Time at Home is Worthwhile

Do you ever wonder if you’re using your time well? Not in an hourly, time management sense, but in a big picture sense? Do you ever wonder if your time at home is worthwhile?

I know young women who have big dreams of changing the world, and then they marry, have children, and find themselves surrounded by domesticity. They freely choose to stay at home and serve first there. But at the same time, they look at the drastic needs of the world and wonder if they’re doing what they should.

Perhaps instead of important business meetings and global travel, your main concerns are getting through today’s math lesson and laundry while also buying groceries and a birthday gift for the party tomorrow.

The Ministry of the Mundane but Worthwhile

Maybe you feel like your all-consuming tasks aren’t very important …

But have you ever considered how Jesus spent 90% of his life? We don’t know much about his life before he was 30. Yet we assume Jesus spent those years at home, serving his family. As a young man we think he worked as a carpenter in Nazareth, caring for his mother and siblings. He only spent three years in public ministry.

I believe Jesus brought as much glory to his Father in his years at home as he did in his public ministry. Why? Because he was following the Father the entire time. He was home when his Father wanted him home. And then he preached and healed and trained disciples when that’s what the Father wanted him to do.

Jesus listened to his Father, walked in step with him, and served where the Father had him. It was that simple and that difficult.

This Season of Time at Home

Your life, too, will have different seasons to it. This season at home with your children while homeschooling is just one of them. I encourage you to do it well and to seek God’s face the entire time.

It’s true that God may ask you to focus on something in addition to your family and homeschooling right now. God may be asking you to homeschool and do something else too:

  • start a business
  • lead a non-profit
  • volunteer at church
  • go back to school
  • pursue an additional vocation

I started Sonlight with my husband while I was homeschooling. I worked very hard all those years to give my best to all my commitments.

But that’s something you need to discern. I want you to hear, Mom, that staying at home with your children is a high and very worthy calling. Whether that’s your sole focus now, whether you serve elsewhere as well, or whether you even decide one day to stop staying at home with the kids, you will not regret these years of letting motherhood shape and change you. The patience, logistical skills, big-heartedness, grace and love you develop in these years will serve you and the world for the rest of your life.

Your Job at Home Matters

And don’t forget, you are raising the next generation. You are equipping your children to know who they are in Christ, to know what they can do in the world, and to have the skills to go out to do it. You are equipping your children to do whatever God calls them to. Talk about a critical job!

The reality is that this season of intense motherhood is where God has you right now. I know it is beautiful and awesome, and sometimes frustrating and overwhelming. Yet it is always important.

So thank you for serving your children, and in so doing, serving the world. In seasons where you are also serving elsewhere, thank you for that. In seasons when your family life demands all your attention, thank you for your faithfulness to them.

To the Homeschool Mom Who Wonders if Her Time at Home is Worthwhile

Want more encouragement?

Sign up for Sonlight's bi-weekly e-newsletter

You'll be encouraged by the words of founder Sarita Holzmann, inspired by real-life stories from other homeschoolers, pick up practical tips for the journey and more.


Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit
Leave a comment

2017 Sonlight Scholarship Winners!

Share on Pinterest
There are no images.
Share this post via email










Submit

Like so many Sonlight students, these scholarship winners exhibit a love for learning, exceptional character, service to their communities, leadership skills, creativity and spiritual depth. They are extremely well-prepared for the academic rigors of college. While many have used Sonlight all the way from preschool through 12th grade, each winner has used at least five
History / Bible / Literature programs, including at least one high school program.

Their exceptional talent, along with an eagerness to follow God’s leading, make it a joy for us to invest in their continuing education. Sonlight has awarded well over $1,000,000 since we began the scholarship program, including $86,000 over the next four years to these 13 winners. We look forward to seeing all God does in and through them as they take what they’ve learned – through Sonlight and their homeschool experience – into college and the world beyond.

$20,000 Scholarship Winner

($5,000 each year)

Kiana Pieters

Kiana Pieters of Mexico has used every Sonlight program from Pre-K through 500. Over those
years she has developed a true love to learn, and has been eager to master anything from Formal Logic to Mandarin Chinese. Growing up as a missionary kid in the Mexico City area, Kiana has become a vital part of her family’s church planting efforts there. She serves as the music coordinator and worship leader for her church, and also teaches guitar to children who would otherwise not get to learn an instrument. Both determined and kind-hearted, Kiana is known for the handmade cards and thoughtful letters that have encouraged so many in her community. She has also done missions work on four continents (USA, Peru, Taiwan, and Uganda). With a 1490 on the SAT, Kiana feels eager for college. Her dream is to serve the Lord overseas in a rural setting, teaching sustainable agriculture and development strategies while seeking and providing spiritual help as well. She writes, “There is a world right now in desperate need of hope. My life is a journey, an opportunity, a chance to make a difference—and with God, all things are possible.”

$10,000 Scholarship Winners

($2,500 per year)

Amanda Christensen

Amanda Christensen of Buford, WY is a problem-solver whose greatest passions are medicine and cattle. She plans to major in Chemical Engineering at the University of Wyoming and then start veterinarian school. A leader in her 4H club, Amanda also holds significant responsibility at her family’s cattle ranch. Among other work, she tracks each cattle’s medical care and watches over those in the maternity pen. Her sharp mind and quick interventions in emergency situations have proven her aptitude for veterinarian work. She also serves the children who ride the Sunday School bus to her church. She helps with and plays the piano for children’s church and visits the children in their homes each week. Amanda says the literature she has read with Sonlight has helped her develop sympathy for people in situations she might not otherwise understand. Her hope is to share the Gospel through her life as she serves animals and the people who rely on them.

Daniel Norwood

Daniel Norwood of Siloam Springs, AR is the very picture of integrity and diligence. He has used Sonlight every year since preschool. A natural problem solver and leader, his stated purpose in life is simply to serve God. And he does that in many capacities. The second of eight children, Daniel is a mentor and role model to his younger siblings. Happy to work behind the scenes, he is eager to see a need and fill it, whether at home, at work or in his service positions. He is an integral employee at the Christian camp where he works in the kitchen and as a counselor. After earning his Eagle Scout rank in 2014, Daniel has continued participating and serving in his Boy Scouts troop, training and teaching the younger men. With a strong academic background, he is headed to John Brown University in Arkansas in order to major in electrical or mechanical engineering.

Ryan Watkins

Ryan Watkins of Eden Prairie, MN has used Sonlight since preschool. With a near-perfect 1570 on the SAT and 35 on the ACT, Ryan has a brilliant mind for engineering as well as an accomplished artistic sensibility. He recently developed a successful laser engraving system for a manufacturing company where he interned for a year. A National Merit Finalist, his central passion is to follow wherever God leads him, and he is particularly energized by problems in physics that we do not yet understand. Ryan is a voracious reader with a hunger for knowledge. The oldest of 9 children, Ryan is a leader at home, quick to serve and encourage his siblings. He also regularly spends time with elderly community members at the local café. He has applied to several top engineering schools, with plans to major in both Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. An avid outdoorsman, Ryan thrives on “high octane” adventures such as downhill skiing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking and scuba diving.

$4,000 Scholarship Winners

($1,000 per year)

Sonlight will additionally award these nine outstanding students a $1,000 scholarship for each year of college, up to four years: (bios coming soon)
Sarah Jones (Derry, PA); Lydia McGee (Colorado Springs, CO); Nathan
Pohl
(Canton, MI); Jordan Randolph (Telford, PA); Jessie Reeser
(Mexico); Ian Sheridan (Canada); Rebekah Spoelman (Southeast Asia);
Caleb Vivanco (Mexico); Andrew Joel Williamson (Aldan, PA).

Click here to learn more about Sonlight's college scholarships.

Share on Pinterest
There are no images.
Share this post via email










Submit
Tagged | Comments Off on 2017 Sonlight Scholarship Winners!

How Homeschooling Inspired Us to Adopt

Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit

How Homeschooling Inspired Us to Adopt

I had no idea the impact homeschooling would make on my family when we started this journey. At the time, my oldest son, Isaac, had just finished kindergarten in public school, and we simply wanted more time with him. That was all. I didn’t have lofty goals. I didn’t want him to be a child prodigy in math. I didn’t think he was ahead or behind; my husband and I merely wanted the time back. We wanted to slow down and have the time to influence his life and his heart.

When I chose Sonlight for our second year of homeschooling, I knew that even if we hated the curriculum, the books alone would be worth it. I can still remember the day we opened the door and saw The Box sitting there. It was like Christmas with our large dining room table, covered in books. I would have never guessed at the time that there were books in that box that would change our lives forever.

Thankfully, I can now report that we didn’t hate the curriculum. Quite the opposite! We loved it.  Every day was like entering into another time and place. One day, we were knights and princesses. Another day, we were Robin Hood and his band of merry men.  It was quite the adventure. But nothing prepared me for the day that I’ll never forget.

God Used Sonlight to Open Our Eyes and Hearts to Adoption

We were all piled in the living room one crisp fall morning reading George Mueller, and as I read, I realized that the room was completely quiet. I glanced up to see my kids with their mouths gaping open. We were reading the chapter where George Mueller sits down to the breakfast table at his orphanage, staring at 300 hungry orphans with absolutely no way to feed them.

  • What would God do?  
  • How would God provide?

With the incredible miracle of provision that followed, I saw awe and wonder of God in my kids’ eyes. After we finished reading, I wondered aloud, “Do you guys think we could ever do that? Do you think that we could ever care for orphans like George Mueller?” My son replied, “No way, Mom, that’s not for regular people like us. That’s for people like George Mueller!”

I understood how he felt, but I pressed him, asking, “Why not?  Wasn’t George Mueller at one time just a regular person like us? Doesn’t God use regular people every day?

And at that moment, I saw the wheels start turning in their little minds: Maybe God could use them too.

Through the course of that year, we were repeatedly challenged by our curriculum. I’ve learned that when God is leading you to do something, He won’t let you forget it. It seemed as if every book we read that year kept adoption fresh in our minds. We encountered it over and over. After reading Gladys Aylward, we discussed how caring for orphans was sometimes a difficult, lonely task. After each reading of Window on the World, we talked about how there were so many children, even in our own community, who did not have families. We prayed for God to send families to care for them and love them. Through these books, God used Sonlight to open our eyes and our hearts to adoption.

Great Biographies Inspired Us When Times Were Hard

Now, almost three years later, I’m looking at not three, but four sweet children. In January of 2015, after a lengthy process of training and paperwork, we adopted James, a seven-year-old boy from our state's foster care system. It hasn’t always been easy, but during the hard times, we were reminded of some of our heroes of the faith like George Mueller and Gladys Aylward.

  • We were reminded that God is faithful.
  • We were reminded that sometimes, we must persevere through the loneliness that often comes with following God.
  • We were reminded that God uses regular people like us to accomplish his perfect plan.

Today, a year and a half later, our adopted son is one of our many great blessings. Through adoption, we were able to give our oldest son something that he had never had—a brother.

It’s so interesting to see how God works in our lives. Today, I am homeschooling all four of my children, and I’m still using Sonlight, the same curriculum with James that helped bring us all together in the first place. I’m happy to say it still brings us together a little bit more every single day.

To find out more about Sonlight's inspiring Read-Alouds and our complete book-based homeschool programs, order a complimentary copy of your catalog today.

How Homeschooling Inspired Us to Adopt
Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit
Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Homeschooling Benefit: You are the One to Socialize Your Children!

Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit

A Homeschooling Benefit: You are the One to Socialize Your Children!

When parents mention they are thinking about homeschooling, the most common question they hear is “But what about socialization?”

I think this question means, “How will your children know how to act around others, if they only interact with your family all day?”

The quick response is: Between church, sports, clubs, co-ops, and friends, homeschooling offers children many opportunities to be around others. This is true of all the homeschoolers I have known.

Another Meaning of Socialize

However, there’s a second meaning to socialize, that you, as a homeschooling parent, might appreciate knowing. That definition of socialize is to teach people to act like their social group wants.

That may not be the clearest definition, but basically, socialization in this context means to teach someone to act like their peers. It means a second grader teaching another second grader to act like a second grader.

Most parents don't really want their children getting behavioral cues from other children. They prefer that adults model behavior for their children—free of bullying, silly talk, and put-downs.

Three Stories of Homeschool Socialization

To make my point more practical and understandable, let me give you three quick stories about homeschool socialization.

1. With the Librarian

At one point, my Dad was talking to a librarian. "I can always tell when homeschooled children come in," she said. "Most kids shuffle up to my desk and simply declare, 'I need some help' or some such. They don't care if I'm preoccupied at the moment. They simply demand. Homeschooled kids walk up to my desk and wait quietly until I look up. 'Excuse me,' they will say. 'Can you help me with _____?' They are so polite!"

2. With the Coach

Another illustration: my Mom walked into the pool area where my younger sister was completing swim practice. Jonelle was talking with the coach. After their conversation ended, the coach turned to Mom and could hardly contain his smile. As Jonelle walked off to gather her things, he burst out to Mom: "I can't believe it! Your daughter . . . she talks to me as if she were an adult! So much poise! So polite! So . . . self-confident!"At that time, Jonelle was maybe eight years old. She barely came up to his waist. And yet she knew, innately, how to interact with a man probably 30 years her senior.

3. With the Curator

At a family reunion, a dolphin enthusiast watched my extended family interact. "You homeschool, don't you?" she said. "I can always tell."Her comment mystified me at the time, but when I met her husband, a marine expert, a few days later, he gave me a little insight. My extended family was examining the displays at the small museum he ran, asking him questions, giving exuberant attention to artifacts and animals. He said, "My wife must have loved you."And I realized: we were all engaged with the experience—grandparents, parents, children. We were all interested.

So when the question arises, “But what about socialization?” you can say, “I get to socialize my children! I get to integrate them into my life. They get to observe how I behave and learn what mature, adult interactions look like. It’s such an exciting opportunity for our whole family.”

That's homeschooling!

Curious to see what this type of education might look like for your family? Go to SmoothCourse to explore your options.

A Homeschooling Benefit: You are the One to Socialize Your Children!
Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit
Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Two Images that Portray the Homeschool Lifestyle: a Day at the Beach and the Archer

Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit

Two Images that Portray the Homeschool Lifestyle: a Day at the Beach and the Archer

As I continue to reflect on my own upbringing, I offer the following two analogies of godly parenting and homeschooling. I trust they are an encouragement to you as you raise your children and help you answer questions others may have about your decision to homeschool.

How Homeschooling is like a Day at the Beach

I had a rather sheltered homeschool experience. If what you imagine by sheltered is something restrictive or fearful, may I reframe this word for you?

My sheltered childhood was like a day at the beach: sun, shells, bikinis, beach balls, and all. The sheltering I had was a shaded awning, like something made from bamboo and dried palm fronds. The sea-breeze could flow in with the sights and sounds of life. I could go out and come back. I had a safe place to be, protected from rain and cold. I was not tossed alone into the world. I was sheltered, covered, protected . . . and free.

Sure, I got sand in my shorts. The air occasionally was fishy. Sometimes I got sunburned.

But despite this mild discomfort, my parents let me dig moats, fly kites, talk to people, explore, run, play, discover.

The world was open to me, and I was encouraged to interact with it and, in doing so, to exhibit God's love and grace to any and all whom I met along the way.

Life does not disrupt the kind of sheltering I had. Because as we read our Bibles and various biographies and learn together, we encounter complex characters and situations. We learn about life. Like anyone, we can be disheartened and disillusioned. But we're not huddled in a house, hoping nothing gets in. We are standing on the shore, looking out.

Sheltered.

How a Homeschooling Parent Is Like an Archer

When I took archery in college, one of the first things I learned was that how they shoot in the movies is all wrong. Real archery is quite different from the big screen:

  • Archers shouldn’t grip tightly to the bow as they release an arrow.
  • Archers leave the hand open with the bow resting between thumb and forefinger.
  • When the arrow is released, the bow falls forward and hangs from a little rope around the wrist.
  • This action keeps the archer from accidentally jarring the bow as the arrow leaves his hand.

In other words: Archery is all about keeping your hands open and your body relaxed, as you point the arrow where it should go. Doing so actually makes the arrow fly more accurately toward the target.

The Psalmist compares parents to archers in Psalm 127: “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” What a beautiful picture of parents as archers: Hands open. Body relaxed. Pointing your children toward God.

Prepare your children for flight—and then release them.

If you want to find out how your family can enjoy this kind of sheltering, order a complimentary Sonlight catalog today.

Two Images that Portray the Homeschool Lifestyle: a Day at the Beach and the Archer
Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit
Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Homeschooling at its Best is Education, Not Indoctrination

Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit

Homeschooling at its Best is Education, Not Indoctrination

With homeschooling, you have the daily opportunity to teach your values and pass on your beliefs to your children. There is, of course, no guarantee that your children will choose to agree with you at the end of the day.

But homeschooling does give you time to demonstrate your faith. As Moses says in Deuteronomy (6:5-7):

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Time is incredibly important in teaching your values and beliefs to the next generation. And I like how Moses puts it, that you talk to your children—that you have a conversation, a discussion.

With homeschooling, your children have the opportunity to ask you questions and bring up tough subjects as they encounter them. Since you’re available, you can help them work through their struggles and doubts, and provide clarity in areas that confuse them (or, perhaps, commiseration—you probably have some questions, too).

Education, not indoctrination

When you homeschool with Sonlight, you walk with your children as they learn, providing education, not indoctrination. This principle means that your children are learning and growing, not merely repeating what they think you want to hear.

Sonlight helps you:

  • teach
  • instruct
  • train
  • coach
  • guide
  • inform
  • enlighten

You can teach your values and beliefs because homeschooling gives you opportunities to model your values, and address your children's questions.

Education, not indoctrination.

Curious to see what this type of education might look like for your family? Go to SmoothCourse to explore your options.

Homeschooling at its Best is Education, Not Indoctrination
Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit
Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Raising Brave Girls (Not Perfect Girls)

Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit

Raising Brave Girls (Not Perfect Girls)

I wonder if many children lose their bravery around middle school. With such intense pressure to fit in, the allure of conformity outweighs courage. Then it’s hard to gain it back.

I’m sure this happens to both girls and boys. But it seems our society sends a particularly strong message to females to be perfect:

  • to have the perfect body
  • to have it all together
  • to be successful and sweet and happy

I just watched an intriguing TED talk called Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection, by Reshma Saujani. In it, she points to some interesting studies and anecdotes that suggest boys in our society are conditioned to be brave (and perhaps foolhardy), while girls in our society are conditioned to be perfect (and overly cautious).

Raising Brave Girls Through STEM Pursuits

Saujani runs a nonprofit called Girls Who Code, which teaches girls to be brave, and aims to close the gender gap in the tech and computing industry. As she puts it, computer coding is a continual process of trial and error. It is an effective way to teach children that they can overcome fear of failure by tackling challenges that at first seem impossible.

Saujani claims there are currently 600,000 unfilled jobs in tech and computing in the United States. There just aren’t enough trained and talented workers here in those industries. Women are woefully underrepresented in the industry, so why not encourage girls to explore the field and see if they love it? The jobs are waiting for them if they gain the skills and interest. But even more than preparing them for careers in coding, Saujani recommends we teach our girls to code as a way to help them internalize the process of finding their way through a challenge imperfectly. That’s a skill that will serve them well in any vocation.

And while I don’t agree with everything Saujani says, I do appreciate her main message: we want to raise girls who fully develop their gifts. And that requires bravery. We don’t want our children to play it safe in life and do what they already know they are good at. If children are to do whatever God calls them to do, they must be brave, take risks, and even fail as they follow their call.

Now, bravery is different from foolhardiness. You could think of it as courage paired with wisdom. Bravery may not mean skydiving or bungee jumping, but it may mean loving someone in your life, or letting excuses fall away as you take responsibility for your actions.

Raising Brave Girls Through Books

You may notice that Sonlight subtly encourages this bravery in girls. So many of the books we read feature girls who do hard things. Many of these girls worry less about the status quo and more about what needs to be done.

  • So the Rickshaw Girl finds a way to provide for her family, even though her culture expects her to just quietly accept her grinding poverty.
  • Understood Betsy steps down from her pretentious judgement to truly love those around her.
  • Gladys Aylward leads the orphans in her care on a treacherous but life-saving journey.
  • Joanne Shelter takes the Good News of Jesus deep into jungles to people starving for God’s love.

None of these women is perfect, but all of them learn to value courage and love more than society’s assessment of them.

In Sonlight’s Preschool curriculum, the Mighty Mind game is an ideal way to help children learn that imperfection is part of life. Children can’t look at the Mighty Mind puzzles and fill them in correctly on the first try. They have to put down pieces, see what works and what doesn’t, and rearrange until they figure it out. This is a great time to explicitly teach them an important life lesson.

This is what we do in life. If you don’t know what to do, you try something. If that doesn’t work, you try something else. That’s how we figure things out!

This refrain can continue as your children learn math, reading, music, sports … you name it.

Valuing Bravery Instead of Perfection

We don’t want our children–boys or girls–to sit at home being perfect. We want them to explore their world, try to do things, and ultimately take on whatever challenges God has for them.

So whether that’s through coding or not, let’s teach our girls and boys to be brave. And let’s look for where God is asking us as parents to be brave as well!

To find out more about Sonlight's unmatched Read-Alouds and our complete book-based homeschool programs, order a complimentary copy of your catalog today.

Raising Brave Girls (Not Perfect Girls)

Want more encouragement?

Sign up for Sonlight's bi-weekly e-newsletter

You'll be encouraged by the words of founder Sarita Holzmann, inspired by real-life stories from other homeschoolers, pick up practical tips for the journey and more.


Share on Pinterest
Share this post via email










Submit
Tagged , , , | Leave a comment