Confessions: On Pause for Now

My dear, faithful, jumped-in-to-support-me readers,

As it turns out, I jumped-in-too fast. For many years, I blogged at 10 Million Miles with a pace that worked with my lifestyle and felt peaceful doing so. When we designed and launched The Homeschool Baby, we were so excited about this new space online and pushed it through even though (I have to admit), I had some reservations about *how* I was going to blog here faithfully during this particular season of life. Quite honestly, for a while I have felt God pulling me away from blogging and encouraging me towards some other avenues of ministry right now. I don’t want to be a quitter here, nor do I want to be disobedient. So, with a lump in my throat, I am putting The Homeschool Baby on pause.

I deeply appreciate the way in which you have supported me. I appreciate the companies who agreed to do give-aways in the first week. And I regret having to let you down by putting this sweet and promising blog on hold for now. I am not saying “good-bye” forever, just for now. The Homeschool Baby will stay up and you can access the handful of posts here anytime you’d like. If the time comes when I am able to blog here faithfully and peacefully, I’ll return with the biggest smile on my face.

If you came here looking for some direction and encouragement regarding homeschooling, may I point you in the direction of a few blogs that fill me with instruction and inspiration??

Try: Totally Tots


I Take Joy

Homeschool Creations

The Homeschool Village


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Build a Valentine’s Day Tradition

“Homeschoolers like a love party just as much as the other guy.” – me

A few years ago, my friend Renee began a Valentine’s Day party for a handful of young homeschool families. She sent out invitations via email, asked each mother to bring a certain ingredient for sugar-cookie decorating, sent out a list of the children’s names, and organized a simple craft. Needless to say, we all pounced on the idea and invaded Wegman’s Cafe with our crew of red-accented preschoolers and babies. To make it worth Wegman’s while, we all chipped in a few dollars and ordered pizzas for lunch. It made for a memorable Valentine’s Day celebration, and gave the girls the experience of making cards for lots of friends and receiving cards from lots of friends.

Next week, we’ll enjoy the third annual Valentine’s Day celebration with a fairly consistent group of friends. It’s always simple, celebratory, and downright fun.

I personally love that the girls have a little bag full of written expressions of friendship, love, and kindness just for them. I add Mommy’s & Daddy’s, Grandmom’s & Grandpop’s’ cards to their collection and we read them all – over and over again – for many days after February 14.

Here’s a tradition to consider

My dad established this precious tradition when I was a child. We’d come home from school with our white paper bags full of Valentine’s cards and we’d snuggle up to Dad on the couch as he would read our Valentine cards aloud.  Dad would take each one out of the bag, unfold it, read it aloud, fold it back up, and return it to the bag. This was like a liturgy to me; it connected me to the other students in my class as I listened to their kind words over and over again, and it connected me to my Dad as he learned the names of my classmates, and took an interest in my childhood community.

In my memory, we read through them every night, many nights in a row. I’d keep my little white bag close by and jump at the chance to savor Valentine’s love over and over again. Regardless of how much the other children meant the messages on the cards, my heart was filled with favor from them – and for them.

So, this year, consider being the mom who gathers a bunch of friends together for a party and looks for the priceless investment tucked in her child’s Valentine’s Day bag.

What Valentine’s Day traditions are important to you??

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Where You’ve Got To Go!

Oh, wow!

I just got news that the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP) is offering free tickets to first-time attendees of Parents of Preschoolers. If this describes you, and you can get to Harrisburg on Mother’s Day weekend (May 11-12), do everything you can to make it! If you are even considering homeschooling, this will be a great way to dive right in, surround yourself with resources, and begin to find your footing. (Disclaimer: yes, when you dive right in, you will feel the strange sensation of drowning, but if you keep going long enough, your oxygen tank will kick in and you’ll feel like yourself again in no time. I’m almost certain of that.)

My husband and I make CHAP a standing get-away each year. The speakers are phenomenal and the sessions are so uplifting. I also love moseying through the vendor booths, handling the materials that I’d otherwise only see online, and asking the vendors (and surrounding parents) lots of questions about what works – and what doesn’t. I can’t recommend the conference highly enough! Go! Go! Go!

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Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going

I just wanted to let you know where I’ve been for the past two months: home!

I haven’t had one spare ounce of creativity or time, and I needed to pour my energy into our little realm on the homefront. I had just preached a message at the Relevant Conference that sounded like this: “When it comes to blogging and homeschooling, prioritize homeschooling! Prioritize homeschooling!” As it turns out, I came home and discovered that I needed to do just that.

By next week, I think I’ll be resurfacing and ready to share some more ideas with you. Hang tight. I’ll be right back. :)

Posted in Homeschooling, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Merry Christmas!

I’ll be taking a few weeks off from blogging.

I hope to see you in the new year!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Play & Pray: A Scarf

You’re going to love the scarf. While baby is laying on his back, dance the scarf in front of him. Collapse it into a ball. Unravel it again. Dance it through the air like a wave. Twirl it around. Cover your head and play “peek-a-boo”. My six-year old can entertain the baby for 25 minutes at a time, acting out stories with the scarf. It’s inspiring! Baby just watches the movement of the sheer fabric, dancing about and listens to his sister’s lilting voice. (She’s really the scarf-expert who should be writing this post, but because she’s still hunting-and-pecking on the keyboard, I figured I’d crank it out.)

Posted in Ages 0 - 1, Play & Pray | 20 Comments

No Whining!

Whining is just one of those things that we have to nip in the bud if we plan on being around our children day-in and day-out. Otherwise, it grows into a whine-monster and we. go. nuts. And that, my friends, does not make for a happy homeschool.

Here are 3 Things to Consider Concerning Whining:

1. Helping your child to overcome whining is like giving her one thousand birthday presents. Philipians 2:14 says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure children of God.” What an amazing blessing! Learn this verse quickly as you sing along with Steve Green:YouTube Preview Image

(Did you like that? Check out Steve Green’s 2-Volume “Hide ‘em In Your Heart” DVDs!)

2. I don’t know how else to say this but, if we don’t want our children to whine, we’ve got to stop whining, too. Do you complain over and over again about a sore muscle? Do you constantly talk about how exhausted and overwhelmed you are? Take a close look, and let God change you first if necessary.

3. Equip your child with a strategy not to whine. We can’t just break a bad habit, we’ve got to replace it with a good one. Here’s one that works in our home:

YouTube Preview Image

(The book I referenced is the terrific Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Turansky.)

Let’s learn from each other: How do you help a whiny child?


Posted in Ages 2 - 3, Ages 3 - 4, Character Growing, Poems, Songs, Scripture | 6 Comments

The Importance of Beginning with the Future in Mind

The UPS truck delivered our orchard: 35 skinny saplings, wrapped in brown paper, piled on our driveway. It didn’t look like much, but we had a field and we had a vision, and we were fixin’ to turn those sticks into apple trees. So we sunk our shovels into the earth. If we didn’t know any better, we would have taken one look at the tiny root balls and thin trunks and would have planted them too shallow and too closely together. Instead, we took a look at the future – the dream that these saplings would one day have nice, thick trunks, far-reaching branches, and bushels of fruit. We planted them deeply in the ground and left several feet in between each tree for all of the growing and blooming that would happen over the years.

…Find out what this has to do with homeschooling babies by reading the rest at The Homeschool Village!

Posted in Homeschooling, Mommy's Heart | Leave a comment

Making Peace with Social Media

If I’m fixin’ to homeschool my darlings for the next so-many years, I better come up with a plan to harness social media. Otherwise, every new-fangled thing – from twitter to pinterest to whatever’s next – will pull my affection, smarts, and energy away from my calling as a teacher.

I’m passionate about doing this well. My dear friend, Sarah Mae has given her blog to me this week so that we can explore this topic as a community of women. I have a few posts scheduled to pop up here, but I’ll be pouring my heart out at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee this week and I’d like for you to join me.

One of the best things we can do for our homeschools is decide how social media will only ever help our cause… and not hurt it. Let’s get down to business!

Posted in Mommy's Heart | Leave a comment

Learn to Be Joyful

Another best word of advice I ever received was, “Don’t even think about disciplining your child until you have chosen to be a joyful momma with a joyful home.”

The concept is that when discipline is surrounded by a joyful mother who is in the pursuit of more joy, the human heart responds eagerly. We all know how much easier it is to receive correction and guidance from a person who lavishes us with genuine peace and good-will. I don’t mean that we have to be smiling and bubbly when we correct our child; on the contrary, these occasions usually call for us to be sober and firm. But I mean that when a child is in a joyful environment with joyful relationships, he will want to heed the correction, because he loves the community that he is a part of.

It wasn’t long into parenting when I saw my child’s need for correction and knew I needed  to get the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart… and fast. Of course, it wasn’t for this reason alone that I choose to be joyful, but it sure put a fire under my pants!  And now I know that joy is a daily choice that doesn’t always come easily, but when I do pursue it, our homeschool is incredible.

Here are my top 3 tips to becoming a joyful mother:

1. Smile. I hope I give this advice one million times on this site. I believe that my smile is my most powerful, brilliant, effective attribute as a mother and a wife. In fact, just recently, my eldest daughter said, “Mom, when you smile, I know that everything is all right.”

2. Sing or hum. Did your mother ever sing quietly to herself while she was cleaning or just moseying around the house? Mine did. It let me know that she was in a good mood, that the world was not about to collapse, and that we were at peace with one another. I’ve noticed that if I am singing or humming to myself, my children play contentedly and the environment in our home feels secure.

3. Pour your heart out to God. Because joy is a fruit of the Spirit, it will appear in our lives when we talk with Him and listen to Him. I’ll be the first to admit that motherhood is replete with anxieties, annoyances, and personal struggles with sin. When I talk to God about these things, receive His grace to overcome them, and walk in victory, the result is… true joy.

What do you do to be a joyful momma?

Posted in Mommy's Heart | 5 Comments