Archive for the ‘Raising Babes’ Category

Homeschool Wisdom (worth interrupting the blog break)

January 7th, 2012

I was talking with my friend and mentor Sally about homeschooling this morning and what my days look like. I told her that I recently realized I have been overwhelming my six year old, and we aren’t even doing that much. When I explained that we just do some reading and math and tidbits here and there, but that Ella always seemed to be complaining about it, my friend said, “No! Little ones should not be sitting and learning, you should be reading to them and creating beauty and letting them explore. Make their souls alive! If you make them sit and do work now and they are miserable, they will hate it later. Make your home inviting, give them rewards at the end of the week for reading time each day (you reading to them), cuddle, make it fun. No book work.”

How is it possible that Sally is my mentor and friend, I have read her books, and I still didn’t get it?! I’ll tell you the biggest reason, I was reading other homeschooling posts and comparing my kids to their kids. I read about four year olds being able to read, and two hours of school a day, etc, and I think, “I’m supposed to be doing that, I’m behind, and I’m failing my kids.”

Fortunately, I not only have an experienced mentor, I also have a good friend who homeschools and she has given me some wonderful practical advice. For example, she explained that with Ella complaining everytime we went to do school work, I needed to figure out if it was an attitude problem or if she was just overwhelmed. Here’s what I did (based on her suggestion):

I set a timer for 20 minutes and gave her something focused to do that she enjoyed-mazes, drawing, whatever. When 20 minutes was up, we were done. We did this for one week with no other work, and there was no complaining!

This coming week my friend encouraged me to set the timer for 10 minutes of fun work, and 10 minutes of school work and see how Ella reacts, so that’s the plan. Her school work should not be frustrating or hard at this age or it will just discourage her. There will be a time when she’s ready for more, and I’ll know when that is.

Here is some of Sally’s practical advice:

“I started teaching my children to read when they seemed interested and ready and it differed a little with each one, but I didn’t require them to do any work alone reading and struggling with words until they were seven. I read their work right by their sides and mostly read out loud and didn’t require them to even begin text books or curriculum until they were seven and they had some time to practice their reading skills well. I cooperated with their little hearts and personalities, but I was engaged in their little lives pretty much all day long.”

More advice:

Set a timer for 15 minutes to read to your children everyday. Let them know that if we do our reading everyday, at the end of the week they get a reward (a dollar store toy or something). The goal is to build to 30 minutes to an hour and a half of reading a day by the elementary years. For her children that could read, she made them each reading baskets with new and exciting books or picture books for quiet times, and if they they read each day, they would get a star and a certain amount of stars could then could earn them something they’ve wanted.

Also, if you’re kids are miserable learning to read, they’re not ready. One veteran homeschool mama didn’t teach her son to read until he was eight, and now he is a double major in college and bright young man. Sally says that reading to her children everyday at a young age is what made her now grown children brilliant. :)

I’m taking Sally and my friends advice! My focus is going to be on creating beauty in my home, making it inviting, and setting up exploratory areas for the babes.

One more thing I want to mention. I now view T.V./movies and video/computer games as something like a Pandora’s box-once opened, it is very difficult to put back. If you have not yet begun letting your babes watch animated T.V. or play video/computer games, consider keeping that box closed. I wish I would have done that; letting my children watch too much cartoonish twaddle (as Sally calls it) dulled their desire for reading. The good news is that my babes are still young enough that I think I can stuff some back in. If I could go back, I would only let them watch real movies or educational ones, like Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables, Lassie (original), Curious George, etc., and those for special times.

For more encouragement, read Sally’s blog, I Take Joy. She’s beautiful and encouraging and is a gift to us young mamas.

See you in a month (unless I interrupt again)!


‎”What is your one piece of advice that you always pass on to new mommies?”

October 17th, 2011

Give Mom a Hug


“We only get one shot at it. Once they’re grown, they’re grown. Give up on doing it perfectly but do it with a lot of heart and a lot of laughter and a WHOLE LOT OF JESUS. And rock them all you can.” -Beth Moore, Let’s Play 20 Questions

Photo Credit: Give Mom a Hug


October 9th, 2011

‎”But even as Jesus took three years off from the work of the universe in order to pass his ministry on to his disciples, to live with them, eat with them, love them, instruct them, so as mothers, if we want the same kind of life-changing impact on our children, it will require the sacrifice of our time, our commitments, and it will be inconvenient and life-consuming. But leaving godly disciples is the greatest work we will ever achieve.”

-Sally Clarkson, Discipleship is a choice that will cost you your time and your life

(Our delicious roasted pumpkin seeds. You can find the recipe here.)

Go “In”

October 3rd, 2011

On my heart…

If you can’t see the video, click here.

The 10 Commandments – Tuck Them in Your Child’s Heart

July 5th, 2011

Click HERE to see my sweet little Ella singing the 10 Commandments (don’t forget to grab your babes!).

Treating Other People How You Want to Be Treated…

June 27th, 2011

…starts with how you treat your children.

Oh, Right, That’s Why I’m a Stay-at-Home Mama

May 4th, 2011

Yesterday I was driving in the car with my babes (the cheese wagon. WOOT!) and we were talking about how daddy goes to work to provide for the family and mama stays home to teach and train the babes.

Oh yea.

I’m not home to be a “work-at-home-mom”, I’m hear to teach and train my kiddos, and that is my number one priority.

How quickly I forget…

Words for Your Babes Today

December 18th, 2010

“Did you know…

you could never do anything to make me love you more


anything to make me love you less?

I love you just because you are my child.”


December 13th, 2010

The pull away from home is strong.

Lord, please keep my home forefront in my heart and in my everyday. Please help me to live in the reality you have given me, and let me find hope and joy and beauty in it. Would you renew my vision for my home and my family. Would you help me to live this life right where I’m at. Thank you for knowing who I am. Thank you for your gentle leading, and thank you for your constant grace. Amen.

Teaching Older Children To Be Encouragers, Not Second Parents

December 8th, 2010

My son clearly has the choke hold down

I’ve been sending my quintessential first born five year old daughter mixed messages.

“Honey, you are not the mommy, you are the big sister. I need you to let me be mommy and you be an encourager.” 10 minutes later I will say, “Honey, can you please go check on your brother and make sure he’s not getting into anything.”

Mixed message.

Why don’t I want my daughter to play mommy to her siblings? Two main reasons, 1. she is not the mommy and should not have that responsibility, and 2. it will more than likely cause conflict and/or resentment in the relationship with her siblings.  I want my children to have the freedom to love each other and encourage one another in grace, forgiveness, kindness, and truth. In fact, I want them to be best friends (or at the very least, be at peace with one another). If I allow my children to be second parent, my goal for their relationship will be seriously hindered.

I am finding that this truth crosses right on over to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our father is God, and He loves, corrects, guides, molds, disciplines, and instructs. He is the parent.

I am the child.

The sibling.

The encourager.

Now right about some of you (just like me) are saying, “well aren’t we supposed to speak truth to our brothers and sisters if they are doing something wrong?”

Hesitantly yes. After watching this and reading this I want to be very careful in how I walk that sensitive ground.

In the meantime, I’m going to head in this direction:

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19

“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” Galatians 6:1-3 The Message

How do you teach your children to be siblings and not second parents? How do you think we should translate that into how we treat each other?

Recommended Resource: Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends


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    I'm Sarah Mae. I'm figuring out how to fit perfect into fallen skin. Stick around for the stretching...your soul is welcome here.

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