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Investing Time in Things that Are Good

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 This is one of my favourite passages in scripture. It has shaped my parenting and our homeschool in profound ways. I use this scripture as a litmus test as to what resources I use, which books I read, the places we visit, and the things we watch. I do this to make the end goal more achievable: to think on these things. We cannot think on things that are not permeating our being. We cannot be expected to dwell on the noble, if we have no notion of nobility. In modern culture how can we expect a child to recognise virtue, and value it, unless there is a model of virtue to aspire to. I believe this is true for moral virtues, but also the ascetic. A soul gazing on beauty will be richer for it. If we are exposed to the awe-inspiring richness of creation we are more inclined to worship the awesome God of creation. How to Invest in Good on a Tight Budget? It is all very well and good having lofty thoughts and great ideals, but such aspirations can be expensive. To take a large family to classical concert, a ballet or art exhibition can be very expensive. How to feast on the best affordably? Nature I choose wisely where to spend the budget. I want to take the children to places of outstanding natural beauty, therefore I invest in the diesel to take us there. So when we go on one of our adventures in the wild I pack a picnic so we do not need to stop and buy food, and I make sure we have enough snacks and drinks for the journey home. It also means I choose not to spend money on more expensive family pastimes. These times of exploring natural beauty store up a treasure of beautiful memories. It reminds me of William Wordsworth’s famous poem The Daffodils: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils. By intentionally filling our mind with natural wonder we can draw on these memories at other times. Art and Literature Art galleries are often free to visit, although special...

Self Care as a Homeschool Mama

The days are long, but the years are short is a very wise saying that pertains to parenthood. Surviving those long days means applying wisdom, and being intentional to manage your own mental, spiritual and emotional health. Finding ways to look after yourself is an essential part of being a mother. When we become overwhelmed and burnt out, we are not able to give our children our best. This looks different at the different stages of motherhood: the demands on our time vary from when we have babies, to when we have older children. I have found some basic principals that can help our mental health as mothers: Find Your Tribe This is basically finding a source of fellowship. In the many and varied relationships we have not every person will be the right one to share life with. I find I need other home educating mothers around me to encourage and support me. They have an empathy as to what my day looks like that other friends cannot have. It’s also about finding those people who you just “click” with; those people you can share your weaknesses with and know you won’t feel condemnation, but will be supported and loved by. It’s also about having friends you can meet up with who have a depth of spiritual maturity who can encourage you to grow in faith. If this is lacking in your life, pray God will supply this need. When I first had children, I had to develop this area in my life. As a natural introvert, I found this difficult, but I have reaped the rewards of having a wonderful network of wonderful friends to do life with. Spend Time in Nature My love of nature is no secret, I truly believe God has placed within us a need to be in His creation. Walking through a beautiful wood, or hiking up a magnificent mountain revives and restores the soul. Countless studies have proven the link between time spent in nature and improvements in mental health. Rest Time There are times when the demands of life mean that “getting away from it all” simply won’t happen. But I find just being able to settle the children either in their rooms, or in front of a DVD; whilst I can go to another part of the house, alone with a cup of tea, will be enough to refresh me so I can be a happier mama for the remainder of the day. I have also made Saturday’s a “Sabbath” day, practically speaking this means I make sure Saturday...

Nature: Food for a Weary Soul

Walking through woodland on the banks of beautiful Rydal water, in the glorious Lake District. The warm sun shining through the new leaves, gently unfolding. The woodland floor, still, with a few late daffodils and some early bluebells. The air filled with the sound of busy birds, natures great symphony. Then out of the wood onto the the side of Loughrigg Fell. We walked along the side of the fell with Rydal water below, and then onto the slopes above Grasmere. The children climbing boulders, and doing battle with sticks! From this beautiful vantage point, I could understand why Spring was so celebrated by Wordsworth in his poem “Thought On The Seasons” Flattered with promise of escape From every hurtful blast, Spring takes, O sprightly May! thy shape, Her loveliest and her last. Less fair is summer riding high In fierce solstitial power, Less fair than when a lenient sky Brings on her parting hour. When earth repays with golden sheaves The labors of the plough, And ripening fruits and forest leaves All brighten on the bough; What pensive beauty autumn shows, Before she hears the sound Of winter rushing in, to close The emblematic round! Such be our Spring, our Summer such; So may our Autumn blend With hoary Winter, and Life touch, Through heaven-born hope, her end! My weary soul drank the scene in, refreshed, renewed by the beauty of it all. As the winter had passed into Spring I had, like no other year, been yearning for the return of the green leaves and flowers of the wood. And after an April which had seen me spend three weeks ill in bed I needed this time in nature to restore and sooth my tired soul. I am convinced that everyone of us needs to spend time in nature, in God’s creation. We need this connection. Nature enables me to connect with God in a way I simply cannot do in a town or city, or in the house even. The very nature of God is hidden within His creation (Romans 1:18-25). Some of the times of greatest joy I experience with the children are in wild places where we soak in the wonder of God’s creation, and the children are free to simply be. And I take the finding of joy as a sign that this is where God would have as be also. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Weekend Wonders

It looks like Spring has finally arrived. The air is filled with the sound of birds singing, the sun is out, the sky is blue. Time to get out and about! Here are some fun activities to try this weekend! 1. Visit a Local Wood Woods are coming alive again in the Spring. Birds are nest building, and buds are beginning to open. It is a wonderful time to let children run free, climb trees and be immersed in nature. A fantastic site to visit and sign up to is the Woodland Trust’s Nature Detectives. The Nature Detectives site is full of fun activities, as well as really good educational material to help parents get their kids out and personal with nature. You can sign up to their newsletter with regular updates, and downloadable sheets. I am a big fan of their identification sheets, that help children looks for plants and animal species, at the times of the year they are most likely to see them! 2. Get Out in the Garden Although it is mid-April, we have not planted anything yet. The time is still perfect to sow seed potatoes, or bring some much need colour with some flowers. Here are some ideas: Mum’s Net 3. Some Spring Cleaning?? If you can face it! Homeschooling all week, means the weekend is a naturally good time to catch up with household chores. And if you can face it, you will have that lovely smug feeling afterwards, that you have achieved something with your weekend! Here is a glass cleaner recipe Enjoy your weekend- whatever you find to do!! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

What Shall We Do Today: Feed the Ducks!

Today was a beautiful autumn’s day, so I took the boys the Blackford Pond in Edinburgh to feed the ducks, and play in the small play area there. We took the silly lab puppy with us- I’m not sure if it was fun or torture for her- she desperately wanted off the lead to swim in the pond and chase the ducks! What was really touching about this trip is firstly, it was a place I was taken to as a child, and it was exactly as I remembered it. Secondly was the messages written on the many park benches. Over the decades people have bought benches, to remember loved ones, to go around the pond. The messages on them speak of love, companionship, and loss. Memorials to old couples who would sit together looking at the pond, talking, remembering, loving. Families who had spent a lifetime visiting the place. One remembered an elderly lady who had died in 1954, she had taken her three daughters to Blackford Pond as children, thus instilling a lifelong love of nature. This lady, immortalised on a bench; with as her three children (who also have died, their families have placed additional plaques on this bench). One mother, three children, over 100 years of history on one bench, four lives touched by the beauty of one wild place nestled in a city. It makes me wonder what impact the experiences we give our children will impact their lives when they are elderly. It enforces that belief that places of natural beauty leave a powerful impression on us that we carry through our lives. View Larger Map Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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