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#HeartMtr Radio: Sharing the Gospel, Battling Oppression

September 12, 2014
Leslie Segraves

Leslie Segraves and her husband founded the 10/40 Connections. They share the Gospel and battle oppression. She shares stories of changed lives.

All, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Emotions, Family, Leaving a legacy, Love, Marriage, Uncategorized

The Blind Date

August 24, 2014

Cynthia's parents

Buddy and Alma Jo Thomas

Alma Jo bit her lip as she gazed at the dresses in her closet. She’d finished her hair and her makeup. If only she could decide what to wear.

 

Why did I agree to go on a blind date? 

 

A friend talked her into this. Whoever this man was, he couldn’t be as handsome as the one she’d dated a few weeks ago. Besides, anyone who needed someone else to find dates for him must have a problem.

 

Her eyes strayed to the clock beside her bed. Decide something. It’s getting late.

 

She pulled out a blue dress and fingered the fabric. It had a belt that fastened with a rose. This one made her feel comfortable, and tonight she’d need that.

 

But wait. What was that? The fabric on the sleeve was fraying. Her father’s long illness made it necessary to cut corners, but she refused to look dumpy. It could be mended, but not tonight.

 

The red dress. She tugged it out and held it up. Annie Ruth always told her the color looked great on her. After she slipped it over her head and zipped it, she peered at her reflection. A strand of hair hung in the wrong place and she snatched her comb to fix the damage.

 

A knock sounded on the front door, and her heart banged against her chest.

 

“Alma!” Her mother’s voice rang through the house. “Can you get that? Your daddy wanted biscuits, and I’ve got flour on my hands.”

 

“Sure, mom.”

 

A little breathless, she flicked curls one last time and hurried to answer.

 

A slender man with a fair complexion and a full head of dark hair stood on the porch. “Hello. You must be Alma Jo.”

 

“And you are Lloyd Thomas?”

 

“My friends call me Buddy, and I’d like to be yours.”

 

“So, I should call you Buddy?”

 

His blue eyes met hers as he gave a hearty chuckle. “Yes, please. I’d like that.”

 

Later she sat sipping coffee at the restaurant with him. They’d talked about siblings and parents. Now what? She hated searching for topics, and she knew nothing about him. “How exactly did Lloyd become Buddy?”

 

He smirked. “Well, Lloyd’s not my name. Actually, there’s a story about that. Would you like to hear it?”

 

She shrugged. “Sure.”

 

“I don’t really have a name.” He grinned. “Just the initials ‘C’ and ‘L’. My birth certificate says C.L. Thomas.”

 

“What?”

 

“That’s a good question.” He chortled. “What do you call someone without a name?”

 

How odd. But he doesn’t seem upset. “I don’t know. What did you do?”

 

“My teachers wanted a name, so I told them to call me Lloyd.”

 

“Is that your father’s name?”

 

“No. His is Creed.”

 

“Well, that’s the C.”

 

“And Mother’s is Laura.”

 

“Hmm, Creed Laura Thomas. It doesn’t work for a boy.”

 

“Nope.” He shook his head and snickered. “But C. L. could stand for Cute Little Thomas.”

 

Alma Jo had just taken a gulp of coffee and she slapped a hand over her mouth. Her stomach quivered and she couldn’t hold back. As she doubled over with laughter, warm coffee spewed from her mouth.

 

She managed to get her cup back to the table without spilling any more. With a deep breath she worked to control herself. What a mess. “I’m so sorry.”

 

“Don’t apologize. I love coffee.” He guffawed.

 

For a moment her body shook with laughter again. But when she glanced down at her clothing, her cheeks grew warm. “I must look dreadful. My dress is drenched.”

 

He winked as he pressed a handkerchief into her hand. “It’s not so bad. You can blot it right up. You’re pretty when you laugh.”

 

“Thanks.” Her face flamed. “You never did explain about why you’re called Buddy.”

 

“Someone called me that in high school.” He chuckled. “It seemed to fit, so everyone started using it.”

 

“Yes.”  She smiled as she gazed into his face. “It does fit.”

 

Alma Jo slipped his handkerchief into her purse. The next day she ran it through the wash. As she ironed it, she thought about Buddy.  Despite her anxiety over the date, she’d had more fun with him than anybody she’d ever gone out with. Maybe he’d ask again.

 

On August 24, 1952, Alma Jo and Buddy married in the chapel of Highland Park Baptist Church.  They were married almost fifty-six years when Momma stepped into glory. Dad followed about two and a half years later. I wonder if heaven’s full of laughter as they celebrate up there together.

Celebrating fifty years

Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Thomas

All, Commitment to Christ, Communication, Divorce, Doing Family God's Way, Emotions, Family, Forgiveness, Freedom, Heart of the Matter, Marriage, Uncategorized, Walking by Faith

#HeartMtr Radio: What I Wish My Mother Told Me About Men

August 22, 2014

Julie Gorman shares about her new book, “What I Wish My Mother Told Me About Men.”

Julie Gorman is a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Trainer and Speaker. She writes, produces, and hosts a weekly Broadcast with FYI and is the founder of For Your Inspiration and His Love Extended Ministries. Julie’s transparent story telling is sought after both nationally and internationally.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Bible with minors in Pastoral Ministries & Communications. She is the author of What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me about Men (Release October 2013) and What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me about Marriage (Release August 2014). She also released a 16 Session Video Series Live with Purpose with FYI-For Your Inspiration. Julie has spoken to youth, college students, and adults since 1988.

 

Learn more at juliegorman.com

All, Commitment to Christ, Doing Family God's Way, Educating your children, Emotions, Family, Heart of the Matter, Parenting, Uncategorized, Walking by Faith, Worry

#HeartMtr Radio: Just 18 Summers

August 15, 2014
Author of Just 18 Summers

Michelle Cox heard a pastor comment that parents only have eighteen summers to raise a child, and she used that idea to write a novel. How can a parent focus on what matters? She has ideas on parenting so you have no regrets.

All, Doing Family God's Way, Family, Forgiveness, Love, Surrender to Christ, Uncategorized, Walking by Faith, Worry

#HeartMtr Radio: The Family of Jesus

August 7, 2014
Karen Kingsbury

Have you ever wondered what the family of Jesus was like? What about his relationship with his mother or his brother, James. Karen Kingsbury shares her thoughts on the family in her new book.

Karen Kingsbury is an American Christian novelist. She was a sports writer for the Los Angeles Times and later wrote for the Los Angeles Daily News. Her first book, Missy’s Murder, was based on a murder story that she covered in Los Angeles.

All, Care for God's creation, Commitment to Christ, Educating your children, Family, Heart of the Matter, Uncategorized, Walking by Faith

#HeartMtr Radio: Care for God’s Creation

August 1, 2014
Mother and Daughter

Karen Whiting and her daughter, Rebecca White wrote a book for young ladies on how to care for God’s creation. We care, not because we don’t want to lose diversity, but because God created the world and gave us the responsibility to oversee it. They have an abundance of creative and fun ideas for girls and adults. Karen’s bio:

Author and speaker Karen Whiting shares from her heart to bring creativity, truth, and inspiration to her readers. She shares her messages through her sixteen books for women, families, and children plus hundreds of articles, media appearances, and speaking engagements. To learn more go to www.karenwhiting.com

Abuse, All, Commitment to Christ, Emotions, Finances, Heart of the Matter, Living through heartache, Marriage, Parenting, Sex, Uncategorized, Walking by Faith, Worry

#HeartMtr Radio: Protect Your Child from Abuse

July 11, 2014
Lisa Cherry and her husband.

 

Every parent wants to protect their child from abuse, but in our declining culture that’s getting harder. Lisa Cherry and Cynthia talk about ways to keep your family free from the sexual predator. From personal experience, Lisa knows the dangers to avoid and the warning signs a parent might otherwise miss.

Lisa’s Bio:

Lisa Cherry and her husband, Doug, have a heart to see families make the spiritual baton pass to the next generation and fulfill the calling of God that is on their lives. For this reason, they founded Frontline Family Ministries Inc. in 1998. Together with all their 10 children and now son and daughter-in-law  and their growing numbers of descendants, they lead the various Frontline Ministries including Pastoring Victory Dream Center (pioneered in 1998), REALITY Youth Center, POTTS (Parents of Teens and Tweens), and Frontline Families Resources. Joyfully married for over 32 years, Doug and Lisa know what it is like to navigate a family through both smooth sailing waters and troubled dangerous storms. Their sensitivity, passion, and wisdom equip parents to launch strong Christ followers for the next generation. As they enjoy loud family dinner nights, toy-strewn messy living rooms, and traveling and speaking to churches, parents and teens, they have found their Frontline for Him.

Learn more at www.frontlinefamilies.org

 

Contact Cynthia at Heart of the Matter: Cynthia@clsimmons.com

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Heart of the Matter: Dealing with Tough Relationships

November 22, 2013
Cynthia: This is Cynthia with Heart of the Matter radio, for women who seek the elegance of God’s wisdom. 
Evolution is a survival of the fittest. The mindset is I walk on you to get what I need. People are accidents of nature and it’s not the kind of mindset that would have dug all those people out on 9/11. Christianity, on the opposite side though, values people.
1 Corinthians 15:22 says “For as in Adam all die.” And in my parenthesis says it’s because of their sin. “So also in Christ all shall be made alive.” We can be made alive because Jesus died for our sins to pay the price. So that makes every person valuable, because he or she is worth the price of Jesus’ blood. 
As the holidays come, we will be with family. And sometimes family can be the hardest because you really care about those people, and yet they annoy the daylights out of you. Today I have Linda gilden with me and she has written a book called Personality Perspectives. And she is going to help us talk through some of those little issues that we run into over the holidays when we’re with those people that we really care about, but we get all hung up.
Welcome, Linda.
Linda: Hi, Cynthia. It’s so nice to be with you.
Cynthia: Basically you mention four different types of temperaments. One of them is choleric, he’s outgoing, he’s someone who loves to get things done, he loves to give orders. He is on the go and could be seen as a little bossy.
Then you have the sanguine, who is also outgoing. A sociable, fun-loving, pleasure-seeking person, but a little bit impulsive and forgetful and maybe even chronically late. 
Then you have the shy melancholy who is cautious, perfectionistic, conscientious and independent. Maybe someone who procrastinates because they’re overly cautious.
And then you have the phlegmatic who is very shy, relaxed, quiet, consistent, a faithful friend, but could be seen also as lazy and sluggish.
And we’re going to say that you are one of these personalities that’s choleric, that’s driven, and you want to get up in the morning and get your day going. And some of your relatives are the more laid back personalities like the phlegmatic. What is that going to do when you’re around your relatives?
Linda: That’s a really good question. And quite honestly, there was a time when I really didn’t understand all of our different personalities and how they worked. When I had the first taste of studying the personalities it was just an eye-opener because I was like oh man, I understand this person, this person. When I came home that day from the conference where I had learned this I went up to see my daughter and she was actually my drama queen. She always liked to see if she could get a reaction out of me, because I’m very melancholy or purposeful. There are lots of words you can use for all these personalities, but most of them are divided up into the four different categories.
But I went up that day to my daughter and I just looked at her, after I’d learned all this. I said guess what? I know why you act the way you do and we’re not going to have this trouble getting along anymore. And it wasn’t a perfect fix, but it sure did help things when we understood each other.
If the person who is the doer and always busy has a person come along who is just very laid back, and we call them peaceful people. Some people call them phlegmatic. There are all kind of words that you can use. But obviously these two personalities are not alike. And the doer wants to know why the person who is so laid back can’t get up and do something, and the person who’s so laid back it just makes them tired watching the doer do all that he or she is doing.
If we can understand that that’s our make-up, the person who gets up every morning and has a list and is ready to check it off and get everything done and knows how everything should be done and knows how you should be doing everything and is not afraid to tell you, seems like a very intense person. And very controlling, and control is part of that personality.
But we can get along. These two personalities can get along if the person who’s laid back understands that this person is so driven they can’t not do something. They’ve got to keep moving till they get their list checked off, and they know how everything should be so they don’t want to stop until it’s right. 
And then if that person would understand that this person who’s laid back is just not programmed to “do do do” all the time, they have got to have that space to relax and just be who they are. They enjoy just being. Is that totally confusing?
Cynthia: No, it’s not. I’m kind of wondering if that person who’s laid back, maybe they just enjoy doing nothing or maybe they enjoy people more.
Linda: They do enjoy people. And many people look at a peaceful, phlegmatic person and say oh well they’re just lazy. And that’s not really it at all. They do enjoy people. They enjoy thinking deeply. They enjoy kind of being a spectator as to what goes around them. But they are not interested in getting involved in what’s going on, usually, in a big way.
Cynthia: So how would that phlegmatic person then respond to someone who’s trying to gather the family to start opening presents, or maybe organize some music or something. Would they want to watch or would they just resist? What kind of things are they going to be thinking?
Linda: Well, if it’s a holiday situation, when we’re talking Thanksgiving or opening Christmas gifts or something like that, every personality’s got to give a little bit. And that person who is laid back and would rather sit on the couch while everybody else does their thing really needs to kind of get with the program and come be a part of the group for that time.
What happens, though, is that you might notice that this person comes and participates, and then at the very first opportunity, once it seems like the major hoopla is finished, they might slip back into the family room or back to another quieter part of the house just to recharge. 
Cynthia: So you’re saying that that phlegmatic person then is a very shy person.
Linda: They are usually shy. They do love people and they are very good group people, but they like to be usually with people that they know. 
The melancholy’s the same way. That personality also likes to be with people, but they’re very shy about actually instigating a relationship or getting in a group and just going around and introducing themselves and being the life of the party. They’re not good at that. And if they do that for long, then they’re going to have to do the same thing the phlegmatic person or the peaceful person is going to have to do. They’re going to have to withdraw and kind of recharge.
Cynthia: Because it wears them out.
Linda: It’s exhausting. And my personality is extremely melancholy, or purposeful, whatever words you want to use. For the purpose of our book we used purposeful for that personality. But I have found, particularly when I’m speaking or when I have to do something in a big group setting, I love it. And I can get in there and I can do it and I can do what I need to do and do it well. But when that event is over, or if I’m teaching a class and the class is over and I’ve interacted with the whole class of people, questions, and I love doing it. But at the end of that time I
am absolutely exhausted because I’m having to operate and use some of my weak points to operate in, rather than all of my strengths.
Cynthia: Right. I can see that, I can understand that. What if you have a relative that wants you to come over and do things at their house, but you can’t go in their kitchen and get anything. It’s just off limits, this is my kitchen don’t touch anything.
Linda: In that particular case I think you would have to understand that your relative is very controlling and probably very much a very powerful, choleric personality who knows the way they want things done. And if you’re willing to go over and help that’s great, but I think you need to arrive knowing that for whatever period of time you have arrived to help for, you’re going to follow orders. And you’re going to do whatever he or she tells you, to help, but no more. You’re not going to venture into the kitchen if that’s off-limits, or open drawers and try to help get out things out of drawers.
What you’ve got to do is know that that is their personality. And if you know your personality that helps a lot. For instance, if you were another powerful choleric personality you could really have a big clash go on here, pretty quickly, if you arrived to help and the recipient of the help knows how he or she wants it, but you’ve got ideas about how you can help. That’s probably not a great combination there. 
There are going to be clashes like that, probably, during the holidays, with two powerful cholerics. And most families have at least two. So what you need to do is before the crowd ever arrives, the whole family, know that Uncle Dan and your cousin Mary are both very strong, powerful, and they love to help. But they also love to be in charge. So when they come through the door you ask them to be in charge. Maybe Mary has several children and let her be in charge of the children’s games and give her something to be in charge of. 
And then Uncle Dan, he really likes to sit and talk with the guys. So maybe you can put him in charge of keeping the conversation going and get him to sort of bring up a couple of good subjects that the guys would like to talk about. 
If they have something to do, then they are not trying to jump in and be what some people would consider bossy, but it’s really just a personality that wants to make sure everything’s done right and has that list to check off. It’s not that they really say well, I’m going to be bossy and I’m going to be in charge of this party. That’s not it. But know that when they come through the door you need to give them something to do.
Cynthia: That’s a good idea. Okay, what if you’ve got a situation where there’s several families that have their own children, and the children get into an argument, and then other people from outside try to discipline somebody else’s children. That can really get to be a hot issue.
Linda: That is really a hot issue. And I think the answer to that is not really so much a personality issue. Although it could be. But I think that that particular issue can be solved by the adults talking with one another, and talking honestly with each other. I don’t think that’s something you want the children to be privy to that conversation.
But if your sister, sister-in-law, aunt, mother, anybody, speaks to your children in a way that you don’t think is appropriate or that you feel like you should have handled them, I think the parent of the child that was spoken to must speak up. And say I hear that interchange between you and my child. The next time would you please just come to me and let me handle it? I’d really like to handle that rather than my child be called down in front of the whole family.
Cynthia: That does sound good. What if you have someone who is a braggart? Who gets in there and talks about wonderful he or she is, and all these things they’re going to do, and then they never follow through.
Linda: Well, with that kind of person you just get to the point, it’s kind of like crying wolf I guess. You hear it so much and they never do it, you kind of get to where you’re numb to what they’re bragging about or what they say they’re going to do because you know that it’s never going to happen.
So I would think that the family would begin not to take this kind of person seriously. People who have a sanguine, or playful, personality, they love to talk. They love to be the center of attention. And sometimes they will just say whatever they need to say to keep the party going. If it’s a very sanguine, a very playful personality, it could be that it’s just their personality and it never occurred to them again, they never thought about that statement again. That they had said well, I’m going to do this, or I’m going to take you shopping later this afternoon, or I’m going to do this or that. They just didn’t even think about it again because it was in the course of the conversation, they were having a good time, they were catching up with their cousins they hadn’t seen in awhile or their parents, or whomever, and they just might not think again of that statement.
They’re just that way. And it is a personality issue for that.
Cynthia: How can you demonstrate love? Say, what two personalities are really opposite? The sanguine and maybe the choleric, the driving personality.
Linda: The personalities that are opposite, I think, would be your sanguine and your phlegmatic. Just because of the energy level. That’s part of it with them is the energy level. And then your choleric and your melancholies are pretty opposite as well.
Cynthia: Okay. So what if you have a choleric and a melancholy and the person that is a believer is the choleric, and they really want to demonstrate that they care about the other person but they end up getting so irritated with them and they’re just stuck. What can they do to say I know we’re different, but I care.
Because I think sometimes it happens in families is that you really care, but you can end up saying things, and to the point that you almost pass people, you miss them, even though you know the person or know the situation, you know that they both really care. But they just seem like they can’t hook up.
Linda: Sometimes there are people in our families that we just have trouble communicating with. And I think we can only do what we can do. And sometimes it means that we might withdraw from a conversation. You can’t quit being with family. It may be that there are people in your family because of personality differences or maybe even circumstances of years gone by that you just really have a hard time carrying on a good conversation.
And I think in that case you might have to just withdraw from spending the most of your time with that person. 
We need to make an effort. In Romans 12:18 it says if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Well, as far as it depends on you says a lot. Because sometimes we have to just step back, or be quiet when we would like to retort. We might have to go the extra mile and operate out in front of our strengths in our weak areas. I have to work hard even at family gatherings sometimes to be more chatty than I normally am, because I’m not a super chatty person. And if I don’t chat a lot somebody’s going to say to me. I guarantee they’ll say this, are you mad?
Well, I’m not mad. I’m just melancholy, purposeful, thoughtful. I sit there and process everything that
happens. So I need to remember to smile more. That’s one big thing I make myself remember to do, especially when we’re at family gatherings, because I’m not mad. I’m just processing, I’m just back out of the main flow of conversation because that’s just my personality.
Cynthia: There’s people out there who have to say everything they think, and so you hear them and there’s just this gush of words, and it kind of overwhelms me because I think of every word and I put it together like a puzzle. I’m so deliberate, usually, unless I’m caught by surprise. And so they kind of overwhelm me. It’s like I need some space here to be able to process all this.
When you get those kind of people together you may have a clash. Because one wants to be quiet and the other one won’t hush.
Linda: Right. And that’s the beauty of understanding our personalities, and understanding what makes us tick and what recharges us, what drags us down. I travel some and speak, and I also teach with a company called CLASSeminars, and we have roommates. And my roommate that I have a lot of times is extremely choleric. Very very very choleric. And I’m about as melancholy as you can get. So you’ve got your powerful choleric and you’ve got your purposeful melancholy.
And she learned very quickly that if she had a room full of people in there, for any reason, like in our room, there would be a point where I just would have had enough. She could see it on my face. I’ve just got to have a few minutes here with a little quiet so that I can recharge. And so she would take the party, or whatever, and move it on to the lobby of the hotel or to another room, and give me 15 minutes, 30 minutes to recharge, and then I was ready to join the party again.
That sounds very antisocial, but that doesn’t happen in an hour. This would happen in a number of hours that you’ve just got so drained. Does that make sense?
Cynthia: Yes, that makes sense.
Linda: It’s not like very hour that I talk to people I have to have 15 minutes of recharging. It’s not that at all. It’s that when you get into a situation where you’re, like a wedding reception or even a funeral and a family dinner afterwards, or speaking in a large group where you need to meet the people in the audience before you speak, then you speak, then people are talking to you afterwards. So the whole package there is exhausting if your personality is one that you need some recharging time.
After a whole evening of that you would probably need just to rest a little more than the other personalities.
Cynthia: You need to go in your cage. See, I’m kind of schizophrenic because I’m kind of half melancholy and I’m half choleric. 
Linda: That’s okay.
Cynthia: I can do. I run a writer’s conference and I can go for days. But then I’ve got to go in a cave for about three days and recharge because it really wears me out. And I can even be funny, I can even crack jokes that I wasn’t even aware, I just say things and people roll on the floor. But I need to rest after I’ve expended because my little melancholy says whoa, you’re out of gas. I understand both sides because I can do both.
Linda: Right. Most people are a blend. Most people are not totally one thing or the other.
Cynthia: Right. But I love the approach that you’re taking, because, like I said in the beginning, we’re kind of trying to reach out to people and understand that not everybody’s made like us. Because God had different people in different places, because if we were all workers then who would be friendly? And if everybody was friendly there’d be no one to get anything done. So there’s a mix of personalities because God needed that, and we get things done that way.
I love the verse in Hebrews that says “Consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” So that means that you try to think about that person. You sit down and you think about how you could love them and let them know that you care about them, despite your differences, and work with them. 
Christianity is gracious toward people, and I think we ought to put effort into that this Christmas as we go on the holidays, Thanksgiving. Think about these people that come into our lives. How can we show them that we love them? And minimize those hard times, and even say I’m sorry if you hurt them. Because you care.
I think your book could go a long way toward helping us, because you’ve thought through some of those issues for us.
Linda: Right. You know, I think living at peace with everyone is one part of it, that the verse in Romans said. I think stimulating people, like the verse in Hebrews, to be the best that they can be. And sometimes just a word of encouragement instead of a sharp word, when you really wanted to tell someone how to do something.
Instead of saying that, maybe give them a compliment. Or say something that would build them up and really bring them to a point where they have more self-confidence. I think God intended for us to do that for each other, just to build each other up and to love each other unconditionally. And that’s really hard to do for some personalities with other personalities.
Cynthia: Absolutely it’s hard. But it’s worth doing because they’re valuable.
Linda: Oh, absolutely. For sure.
Cynthia: Linda, where can we find you?
Linda: I have a website, that’s www.lindagilden.com and you can find my books on Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble, or some of the local Christian bookstores in my area have them. I don’t know if they have them all over the country, but they’re available and certainly can be easily ordered either from my website or from Amazon.
Cynthia: I want to thank you for your hard work in writing this book, and for just chatting with some of these difficult problems that we’re going to face. And just want to say thank you and a big blessing to you for the holidays.
Linda: Thank you so much. Same to you, Cynthia.
Linda Gilden
Uncategorized

Heart of the Matter: Homeschool as a Lifestyle

October 25, 2013
Cynthia: This is Cynthia, with Heart of the Matter Radio for women who seek the elegance of God’s wisdom. Today I want to address homeschool moms. I know that there’s moms out there that are trying to obey that Scripture in the Old Testament that says for you to teach your kids when you sit by the way, when you lie, when you walk. And sometimes that is a hard assignment because you feel like you’re going twenty-four-seven.
Today we’re going to encourage you to keep going and not be quite so tense. I have with me Colleen Kazanchy. Colleen, welcome.
Colleen: Thank you.
Cynthia: Colleen, tell me how many kids you homeschooled.
Colleen: I had four of my own children, and then I had some that were through a private foster care type situation, so I was able to homeschool them as well. So I had seven of them there for awhile.
Cynthia: Wow. That’s quite a job. Well, tell me your story.
Colleen: Well, I first started, I thought about it on and off, you know. Then we moved from one state to another, so then I kind of thought well, we’ve got enough stress I won’t start anything new yet. But my daughter was really struggling in high school, and my son was a serious asthmatic. And so I started to think you know, I really don’t want to fight with this homework with my oldest daughter at night time. I’m just not a night person.
And I thought well, if I’ve got to be helping her a lot with her school work and trying to keep her on task I’d rather be in front of the situation than behind the situation. So that’s kind of what got it started. Plus my son with his asthma in and out of the hospital all the time. So I thought well, if he was at home that would be healthier for him.
That’s what precipitated it. But then after awhile I started to realize that I’m keeping these teenagers away from all this rushed boy-girl kind of stuff, especially in high school. A lot of humanistic type of teaching. So I didn’t start with the big picture, I started with a small picture and then started to see more as I went on.
So my son was doing well at home, feeling well, with my daughter we were staying on top of everything. Soon after that, I guess that was in the fall, they got involved in ice skating and softball and other extracurricular activities. And those things can take three nights a week or whatever. And I thought there’s no way I can do this with having them come home from school at four and then struggling over all this homework, and then have these extracurricular activities. So I also saw that you can kind of move your schedule around a little bit to fit into these activities. So that was great.
And then we had some foster children and we adopted some younger children. That was difficult, that was just kind of a whole different situation because some of the kids had emotional problems. They probably did better at home than they would have in school. But it was really really difficult. And then we have our adopted daughters, our two youngest ones. I couldn’t homeschool them right away because they were in foster care. 
But once they were adopted we did. I really wanted to build that time of just being with them, because they were girls close in age, that I could be with them and we can study things that we like, because they were still in the younger grades. And I knew the pressure wasn’t on too much yet.
I even tag-teamed with another mom. She had two girls the same age as mine, so one of us did the language and the other one did the math, and we kind of divided it up. That was a very fun experience. And then those girls of mine got very involved in being at a Christian dance studio, and that took three, four nights a week and Saturdays.
I was very glad to have the homeschooling to make our day more flexible. I don’t know that I felt really pressured, academically, all that much. We stayed on task, but my main goal was to have that family time together, have time for the extracurricular activities, keep the humanism out of the way, and with my girls being as pretty as they were I was glad I kept them away from boys until they were seventeen-years-old. 
Academically we did well. Truly, I think I could have done better academically, but I really didn’t push that as hard as the lifestyle.
Cynthia: Okay. So you’re saying that one of the advantages to you was for your son’s asthma. So was that aggravated, then, by being out among other kids?
Colleen: Oh yeah, because he was always getting every kind of sinus infection, head infection, upper respiratory and then it would go into full blown asthma attacks. Yeah. Then he’d be out of school for a week and have to go back. Oh yeah. When he was home that helped his health a lot.
Cynthia: When people came to you and said you’ve isolated your son from other kids so that he’ll be healthier, but is he interacting with children, how is he going to be socialized, what would you have said?
Colleen: I don’t know if I got that too much. It was a long time ago. But he was in baseball, so he saw kids there. And he went to church, and he went to youth group, and he had a friend in the neighborhood, and we had kids in the homeschool group, got together with those families. So did my kids interact all day, every day from seven in the morning till four in the afternoon? No. But did they interact with other people and other kids probably at least ten hours a week? Yes.
Cynthia: Okay, so you feel like that was normal.
Colleen: Yeah. I mean, I don’t think the purpose of school is for socialization. The purpose of school is education. 
Now, I understand the development of children they have to develop socially and emotionally and all that. But I don’t think you have to do them both at the exact same time.
Cynthia: Exactly. Now, I want to ask about this boy-girl stuff. Because a lot of people feel like that that is just the way it is, that when they get a certain age they have to do this and it’s just part of growing up. I want to have your perspective on that a little bit. How did you do that differently so that it didn’t turn out badly?
Colleen: They were in healthy situations. Like my son was in boys’ baseball, my daughter was in ice skating. That was mostly girls. They developed friends in church. Girl friends and sleepovers and they were just attracted to socializing with their own gender. 
Cynthia: Okay. So that kind of cut down on the dating and going out and boy-girl, and worrying about immorality and so on. Did that delay all of the dating, then, till later?
Colleen: Oh yeah. It didn’t even come about till they were almost eighteen-years-old. 
Cynthia: And probably better able to handle it emotionally by that time.
Colleen: I’m not quite sure, but at least they were over eighteen.
Cynthia: Right. Okay. But you were still doing stuff with your kids. You were out there actively involved in other activities, and you found it a little bit easier to fit into your homeschool day.
Colleen: If we wanted to take a trip for a couple of days, or if baseball was really gearing up, yeah, we would maybe do more work some days or take some stuff in the care with us or whatever we could. Yeah, we could custom fit it. Or with baseball there’d be three games in a row that got rained out, well I would know that next week was going to be a really busy week with baseball once the weather cleared up so we kind of picked up the
pace a little bit, yeah.
Cynthia: How did it work with your adopted daughters in terms of spending more time with them? How did that help you bond?
Colleen: Oh, it was great, because they were only a year apart in age. So they were like twins. They had a lot of friends who were sister sets. They had like seven different sister sets of friends. We would have so much fun if we had another set of friends over. We’d do toasting marshmallows together and I was friends with their mothers, as well. So we just spent a lot of fun time together.
At lunch time there was on the History Channel for several months there was a thing on World War Two. Well, they absolutely were enthralled with World War Two, so the three of us would make our lunch and sit in front of the TV for our lunchtime. Actually they had more social studies that way because that’s what we did for lunch for about six months. And we would talk about it and then talk with Dad about it in the evenings. It gave us more things in common, more things to talk about.
Cynthia: Okay. And so if any issues came up, say humanism and that sort of thing, y’all could talk about it right there. And I suppose you did right?
Colleen: All I can remember, really, about that was, we just kind of kept them on the path of what they’re supposed to know. I didn’t focus too much on what they weren’t supposed to know. But I remember my one daughter when she was still in school, before we started homeschooling, my oldest, when she came home and she said this book says that there is a theory of evolution and that is a lie. And I said to myself, no, that’s not a lie, there is a theory. That theory does exist. And so then we did talk about it then, so as it came up.
But I don’t remember that too much with the other ones.
Cynthia: Okay. So but if it did come up, it did happen, that you did talk about things like that.
Colleen: Sure.
Cynthia: It sounds like a really healthy situation because you are spending all that time with your kids and you were doing school, but school was ending up being fun.
Colleen: Well, most of the time. That book that’s called Handwriting Without Tears, we had our moments sometimes when we struggled, of course. You always do. But overall yes, it was really a very relaxing time and we had our evenings to do other things. If we wanted to go on a trip on off-season, when places aren’t crowded and it’s not hot, we could. Either we took those days off or we brought some school work with us.
Overall I would say it really was a very good experience.
Cynthia: So what did you learn from all of this?
Colleen: Different than what other people learned. I had not attended or graduated college before I started homeschooling my kids. So when I got finished with my oldest one, she took her SAT’s and went to college, and then my second one took his and he went to college. And then I thought about a year or so later I thought hmm, all this information that they have, all this knowledge that they that got them into college, I taught them. Oh, I guess I can to go to college. And so I did.
Cynthia: Wow. And so now you have a college degree right?
Colleen: I have two of them. I never use them for anything, but I’m sure glad I have them. 
My oldest daughter and I ended up being in class together for probably about two years in school. That was way fun. That was really fun.
Cynthia: I bet that was.
Colleen: That’s a very unusual experience, but we took a lot of classes together. That was really fun. So you could say my kids homeschooled me too.
Cynthia: That’s fun. So what would you do differently if you had the opportunity?
Colleen: I probably did push for excellence too many times. Although we were pretty relaxed, I did get times because sometimes kids can be oppositional. I still don’t know how I would handle it now, but I would just demand that they get everything right on this paper before we moved forward. And I just think I could have dropped a couple of things, just let it go.
Cynthia: So you think you would be a little bit more laid back now if you did it again?
Colleen: In that aspect. I think that’s the only way I could be more laid back, because the rest of it went pretty well. And I did stick to a pretty strict schedule as much as I could. And I wouldn’t change that either. I don’t think homeschool should be a fly by night oh let’s just do this for a few minutes here and there. I really do think you need to have a structured day. I think kids need structure. 
But I just think sometimes I just homed in a little bit too, I was just too focused. And sometimes it’s just a bad day or whatever, and sometimes I think I should just fine, you got a ‘C’ on this paper, and just not strive for them to get everything totally correct before we move on. In that respect I wish I was a little more relaxed sometimes, yeah.
Cynthia: So you’re saying that if they made a ‘C’ on something it didn’t make a whole lot of difference what they did miss, it was okay, that they would get it elsewhere?
Colleen: Yeah. Well, I think with the difference sometimes it just made them a little bit more nervous or whatever. But overall in their education, though, I don’t think my being overly picky sometimes made a difference though.
Cynthia: So did you find yourself being tense at all and worried about the outcome?
Colleen: Not in the long-term. I would get just tense about sometimes I’d say that moment when there was that one assignment that was difficult, or the child was being difficult I would get frustrated in the moment. But no, I never really worried long-term, no.
Cynthia: So what would you say to a mother who was just getting started and feeling very nervous about the prospect of taking on something so big?
Colleen: To just take it one day at a time. Just start with the first page, the first letter, the first number. Like I said I was not a college graduate. I wasn’t even college material, I really wasn’t, and by the time I got done I went to school and graduated with honors. Basically I homeschooled myself with my kids. 
If they’re seven-years-old don’t worry about what am I going to do about geometry. You have to start with one year at a time, but one day at a time.
Cynthia: Did you make plans for the entire year when the year started, then, that you were going to cover this much material in a certain period of time?
Colleen: No, no. I would pick out their books and I would know that pretty much the book is designed to be done within a school year. And the books do give you ideas on lesson plans, so I kind of went by that. But no, I didn’t sit down and plan out a whole year. Maybe a week or two at a time.
Cynthia: Did you have to study ahead? Obviously you didn’t have a college education, so did you have to study ahead or did you just study along with them?
Colleen: I learned right along with them. We were all in the same grade.
Cynthia: Did you have different grade levels at the same time?
Colleen: No. My older two I just put them together because they were only a year apart, and my younger two were just a year apart. The ones in the middle, that was just a temporary situation so we don’t ha
ve to address that. But yeah, they were so close in age that I just did them together.
Cynthia: Did you have any protests from your kids when you put them in the same grade together? I mean, obviously one’s older and the other one was slightly younger.
Colleen: Not at all. Not at all. I just let them know that the tight grade level was really, I don’t mean it as a negative, but it is an institutional type of organization of your levels. Whereas in real life we don’t have, as adults, we’re not on this grade or that grade. Some people might be more knowledgeable in one area or more talented in another, but we are not on grade levels. 
I just told them that wasn’t important, and they believed me.
Cynthia: See, that’s interesting, because it would be some kids that might react to that and say well in school they’re such and such and I want to be where they are.
Colleen: Then I told them school is an institution and they have to organize people in a particular way, they just have to. And so they do it by age and by grade. I said, but at home we don’t need to do that.
It just wasn’t an issue. It just was not an issue.
Cynthia: Interesting. So maybe your kids had so much respect for you that they just accepted that.
Colleen: I guess. I think they enjoyed being on the same level because they could do things together more. One of the things that I really enjoyed with mine was not ever giving them a vocabulary list. We would be reading some kind of a book, for literature, and in reading I would kind of do more of a holistic thing. You don’t have to have this is spelling, this is English, this is literature, this is reading, or whatever. I kind of put that together. And what they really enjoyed was we would read through a nice book that girls would like, maybe something about pioneer girls or something. Of course they get some history in there. And if we got to a word that they didn’t know what it meant I would try and get them to look at the context of the whole paragraph to figure out what it meant. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t, and then we’d put that word aside and we’d make our list from there.
And then they would . . . yeah, they had to learn how to spell it. But then together they would sit down and write a little short story or an essay and incorporate some of those new words that they learned. And because they were so close in age that was a fun project to do together.
Cynthia: You know, that sounds absolutely ideal that you got them interested first in the words. You didn’t just throw a bunch of words at them, but you got them interested so that it was related and then they did something else with it, did something creative.
Colleen: Yeah. A list of twenty-five words that you never heard of, you never saw before, can’t even pronounce, and just try and memorize the spellings and the definitions, I didn’t think there was any purpose to that. I really didn’t.
Cynthia: What about the holidays? How’d you do those differently? Did you have them participate in cooking or decorating?
Colleen: Yeah, but they would have done that anyway. I’m not a big holiday person, so I don’t do a whole lot anyway, but whether they were at home or at school yeah, they still would help me make cookies and decorate a Christmas tree. But I never really did a whole lot for holidays anyway.
Cynthia: Okay. I just like what you’re describing because you’re talking about living a normal life and interacting with your kids in normal day-to-day ways, and yet pulling education into it in such a way that it increases their interest and they want to do it. And they’re encouraging each other to do it, because it’s a family project and maybe a sister-brother project. That sounds so ideal.
Colleen: Yeah. So we weren’t peers in there. I was definitely the authoritative figure, but in ways we were students together. In ways we were taking care of the house together. They used to hate us, okay cleaning day, and they’d go ugh. But everybody had their thing. Somebody cleaned this bathroom, somebody cleaned that bathroom while I washed the kitchen floor. We all had our things, and the kids, at least there were a lot of us.
We went through that house in two hours and everything was all done. So we were all, I can’t say peers, but we were a team when we did that. And then we were doing school together and we were a team for that. And then, again, a lot of their friends were children of our friends so there was a lot of getting the families together. Get together on a Sunday afternoon and we were all together.
We were just a team.
Cynthia: Well, this sounds almost like a Little House on the Prairie where the family’s all involved and the people that you get to know, also you know them and so you see who is interacting with who. And that’s going to prevent an awful lot of problems out there that go on. 
I just did a broadcast on human trafficking. Well, you just prevented a lot of that kind of stuff from happening because you knew everybody they were interacting with.
Colleen: Yes.
Cynthia: Great. Absolutely wonderful.
Colleen: And they also learned to interact with people of other ages. That was another issue I had with school is that the kids ended up really only caring about and relating to kids that were their own age. And I didn’t want them to fall into that trap. I wanted them to be able to sit down and play with a baby, speak respectfully to an adult, meet eye-to-eye and emotionally and socially with somebody their own age. I wanted them to have a broader social life.
Cynthia: Yes, I remember that. I’ve talked to kids that just will not talk to anyone unless they’re their exact age and the exact place in school. Because they’re not part of their world. But when you homeschool I think you spread that out and everybody becomes somebody that you can talk to. I remember my kids loved to talk to old people, and they loved to play with kids. Because we did the same thing, we were all working together at home.
Colleen: And I think that helps them to be better parents as well. 
Cynthia: I think it does too.
Colleen: Because when you have children, obviously they’re not your age. And you better be able to interact with them.
Cynthia: Exactly. I think so. Colleen, thank you for your time. This is so good. I love doing this because what you’re doing is you’re kind of giving an image to someone who is starting to homeschool or who is homeschooling, of how someone else did it and made it through and succeeded, and yet it was a beautiful picture of a homeschool family working together.
Colleen: And it’s a little bit out of the ordinary where, like I said, I was not the college educated parent. By the time I got done with my kids we all just went to college together. But that’s a little unusual.
Cynthia: Absolutely great.
Colleen: We’re all proud of that. We tell everybody that. Oh, we all went to college together and it was fun.
Cynthia: Very good. Well, blessings to you, Colleen.
Listeners you may send feedback to my email: Cynthia@clsimmons.com 
Colleen Kazanchy
Uncategorized

Heart of the Matter: Homeschool as a Lifestyle

September 7, 2013
Sherri Wilson Johnson

Cynthia: This is Cynthia with Heart of the Matter broadcast,
for women who want to obey God in a less than perfect world.

School has started and mothers out there are sending off
their kids, but some mothers are doing it at home. And I want to address those
moms at home today, because I know how heavy the responsibility felt for me as
I started back to school. I always feel, in the summertime, like I had enough
just running my house and when I had to restart school I just felt oppressed a
little bit. But I wanted to do it because I wanted to obey that Scripture in
Deuteronomy 11:19 where it says that you’re supposed to teach your kids when
you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, and when you lie, and even
when you rise.

So this was a huge job that I wanted to do right. And today
I have a guest here named Sherri Wilson Johnson and she homeschooled her
children for fourteen years. Welcome, Sherri.

Sherri:  Thank you.
Thanks for having me.

Cynthia: Sherri, can you talk to us just a little bit, just
encouragement for those moms who are taking on this responsibility again.

Sherri:  Every year
when we would finish up for the year, I would think to myself do I want to do
this again the next year. I was tired, I was ready for my summer break, a
hundred and eighty days seemed to be eighteen hundred days it seemed like at
times. They would ask me are you going to keep doing it, how long are you going
to do it. And I just said I’m taking a year at a time, I want to do what the
Lord wants me to do. I wanted to homeschool, but I wanted to leave it open for
if the Lord led in a different direction.

And so every year when we would finish I would take that
breath of oh, I’m done I’m done! But it didn’t seem like any time at all before
I already had those juices flowing, I was getting ready for the next year, I
was excited about it. Even though it was a challenge. It was just something
that I kept, every year, I couldn’t wait till the next year to see.

In fact, that was one thing I had a problem with. I would
often live in the next year while I was still trying to accomplish the current
year. So I’d have to rein myself back in. But I always tried to encourage
homeschool moms who would feel like they were burned out, take a break from it
a little bit. And do a lot of praying. If you’re just not sure about where
you’re going, what curriculum you want to use, if something didn’t work, you
want to try something different but you’re not sure, prayer is the number one
thing.

It helped me more than anything just to sit back and listen
to what the Lord was leading. And it always calmed my nerves. Talking to other
homeschool moms got me launched back off ready to go again. So that’s one thing
I encourage moms, always be involved with other homeschool moms. Because if
you’re not, it is so easy to become discouraged with what you’re doing. You
feel like you’re out there by yourself and no support.

Cynthia: That’s exactly what I would have said. There were
so many times, especially with a disabled child, that I came across problems
that I could not solve any other way besides prayer. I would call my friends,
or I would call my education specialist, and say this is what’s happening. And
he would make some suggestions, which I would have tried, and then I would just
say okay. Well, I’m going to have to go pray, and I would figure it out. As we
kept going the Lord would just guide me. And I think that’s something that you
can’t ever replace is that relationship with Christ.

Which, I think, that’s one thing about children that’s good,
because it makes you depend on Christ. Because we need that.

Sherri:  Oh yeah. Oh,
definitely. I found too, like when my children became teenagers, they’re three
years apart, so we had a lot of hormones going on in the house, we had a lot of
mood changes and things like that. And a lot of times just stepping back from
where we were at. Taking a break, stepping back, assessing the situation. A lot
of times I found that we didn’t really need to do anything but just hang out
for a minute. I would always just want to scratch everything and start over.
We’re failing at it, and we weren’t. We just needed to step back, take a break,
reassess, do that prayer, read some Scripture, and then it seemed like we were
always refreshed and can go a little bit longer.

Cynthia: There were a few times I would say I’m not going to
homeschool, I’m absolutely done with it, I’m quitting. And within thirty
minutes, forty-give minutes, I would be okay and be able to restart. But just
that power of being able to say I quit just felt really good.

Sherri:  I found a lot
of times my kids would kind of take advantage of me when they knew that I was
at my weak point, and they would just really play off of that. And when I would
get to the point that I was ready to quit, they would both come, no we don’t
want to go to school! I went well then you better straighten up and you’ve got
to do your work. Just because I’m your mom, I knew some moms who didn’t really
push the school work very much. It was more just hey, we’re at home and we’re
learning and doing whatever. And I was not that way.

If I was going to homeschool them, they were getting an
education. And I was strict on that. We might be flexible or creative in the
way we did it, but we were going to do it.

So once my kids realized that they had pushed me a little
bit too far, I could rein ‘em back in a little bit and we could get going
again. Somehow, fourteen years passed. I really don’t know how, but it did.

Cynthia: I think you’ve hit on one of the problems that a
lot of parents describe to me. Because when they are at home they feel like
it’s okay to be who they really are. They’ll act the way you taught them at
other places, church, school, wherever, but with you they feel like they can
let all their whatever hang out.

Sherri:  Oh yeah.

Cynthia: And so you do have to kind of sometimes think about
motivating them, giving them something to work toward, to give them some
rewards or whatever. And I tell parents don’t be afraid to keep a new idea
coming. Because your kids are always growing, so always come up with a new idea
and go ahead and launch a new incentive program. That’s okay.

Sherri:  Oh yeah. And I
tried always, cater to their individual learning styles because my daughter is
very very creative. She’s very artistic, and was into photography and things
like that. Which she is a photographer now. But I found that certain subjects
that were very difficult for her, if I would allow her to express herself
artistically through her work, if it was history I would allow her to paint a
picture, or maybe she didn’t always write a report on something. She might have
presented it in a different way.

My son is very musical. He did better with a guitar in his
hand while he was working on his school work. Or if I was reading something to
him he would have his guitar and be playing. They couldn’t have done that if
they were in a classroom. But it helped them to be able to focus and learn
according to their learning styles. And that’s very important too.

Cynthia: Absolutely. There are some kids that move and learn
at the same time. That’s why I got one of those bouncy balls for my disabled
child, because he did need to be able to learn to bounce and move because he
could concentrate better. And if they need to do that you have the environment
at home to be able to offer that to them. Go ahead and do it. You don’t have to
create a classroom in your home.

Sherri:  Exactly.
That’s the beauty of homeschooling, is whatever works. And I did find that what
worked for one didn’t work for the other. But there were times when I was able
to combine things. Like I remember when my son was in ninth grade and my
daughter was starting her senior year, it was time for her to do the government
and economics. So he was in ninth grade, so I thought well why not go ahead and
let him do government and economics. It didn’t say it had to be done at a
particular year. It just needed to be done in high school. 

And so we did that together and it worked so great because I
got a bunch of videos from the library on the different presidents. It was like
these little documentaries, and we watched those together. They did projects
together. Their assignments they did together. It was a subject that they might
not have been very interested in, but working together, we went on some field
trips and things like that. But that’s what I love about that, is that you have
the ability to customize everything.

Cynthia: Right. And to make it kid-friendly depending on
what’s the best way they learn. And things that they would not normally care
about you can find ways to make it fun.

I know we took time to make a volcano in our kitchen one
day. And not all the kids were studying that particular thing, but they all got
involved in the volcano cone and all that. And we put the stuff in there to
make it blow up and we enjoyed it so much that we had it blow up in all
different colors. We started coloring it blue and green and yellow and orange.
And everybody got interested in the volcano.

It can become a family memory as well.

Sherri:  Definitely.
Like the dissect thing of the owl pellet. I loved that. My kids were grossing
out, but I loved it. I thought it was so interesting to see the little bones
and all that that was inside of an owl pellet. And my husband, we were all four
in there doing that. We still talk about it, and he’ll actually, when he’s out
in the woods, I’m like if you ever find one, and he’s just like what? Because
we’re not even homeschooling anymore. But it was just an interesting thing to
do and it was a fun memory to make.

Cynthia: We hung a hummingbird feeder in our office right
where we sat and worked. You could look out the window and watch the
hummingbirds. And we had so much fun because there would be one coming and the
other would chase that one off. So you got the kids interested in nature
because they’re watching it right in front of them.

Sherri:  Exactly. Oh
yeah. When kids were younger I actually wrote a magazine article about this. I
love birds, always have loved birds. My kids have always loved being out in
nature. And the house that we used to live in was more in a country area, we
had like two acres. We had a screened-in back porch. We would always leave the
door open. For some reason it just always got left open. Well, birds would fly
in and get stuck. And so we would have to go out there and rescue these birds.
Throw a kitchen towel over, catch the bird.

But what was so neat about it was we would have these birds,
the kids would get to pet them. All different kinds of birds. What kind is
that? We’d go in and look it up. They might even color a picture or paint a
picture of that bird. We actually rehabilitated one that our Labrador tried to
eat, and had it for several months in a bird cage. It even came back the next
year, landed on my shoulder when I was out in the backyard one day.

Just the neatest things. It’s like taking what God has
already created and then using that to educate your children. Especially when
they’re younger. It’s just so awesome. It’s so much fun to do.

Cynthia: Yeah. It makes it part of the family life, and it
makes it so natural that you get your kids interested in education. While at
the same time you enjoy them. And that was the thing I enjoyed most about
homeschooling, myself.

Sherri:  Yes. Me too.

Cynthia: We made it into a lifestyle. When we went on
vacation we would do field trips together, which was wonderful fun. Made great
memories looking at all kinds of historic stuff and things.

Sherri:  I know. We get
tickled at the fact that we have been to more zoos outside of our state than we
have ever been to the one in our state. That’s just something we would do
whenever we would go, we’d want to go see the local zoo or the local water
place. The whales and the seals and all that stuff. But we would never do it
here, but it’s always because Dad was at work and we just didn’t go do it as a
family thing.

Some of my friends are like you go to the zoo when you’re on
vacation? I’m like yeah, why not? It’s something educational and I would tell
the kids we’re going to count this as school today. All right!

Cynthia: Absolutely, yeah. You can learn so much as a
family. And like I say, you’re also enjoying your kids. There’s lots of ways.
Can you think of anything else that you did to kind of make school part of your
every day life?

Sherri:  At first I
tried to separate it when they were younger. I had a school room, I’d say it’s
time for school and we would go off to the school room. And all of life stopped
while we were in the school room for those couple of hours. But as they got
older, more involved in different activities, that was harder to do.

I tried to be organized and have a schedule, but like with
my son, he tended to work better at night when the house was quiet, because he
was kind of ADD. His school work he would do at night, usually from midnight to
three in the morning, put his folder outside of his door, I’d pick it up in the
morning, check through everything, and then we’d have any lesson stuff together
the next day.

I didn’t want them to feel like they were going to school. I
wanted them to feel like they were learning. Like we all do, even now when
you’re graduated from school you should be learning. Even if you’re just
reading something on the Internet or go out in your community or whatever. We
should never stop learning and stop growing in that way.

So I always tried to just not be like the school principal,
I’m going to get my paddle out if you don’t do your work. I tried as hard as I
could to just instill in them the joy of learning. I didn’t really want to be
their teacher. I wanted to be their mom who was helping them teach themselves.
Because once you get out in the world you’ve got to desire to learn, or you’re
not going to learn anything else.

It just became a part, as we kept going year after year
after year, it just became a part of who we were. I did organize. In summer I
had my days scheduled out because I did want to finish the school year before
it got hot and we would have summertime and then not be sitting there just
bored and ready to do stuff. I always planned and organized.

I was flexible, if we needed to be flexible. One year my dad
was dying with brain cancer and he lived with us during that time. And it ended
up being the year that I was going to put them in private school and go to work
there. The week before I was going for my interview, my dad got sick. All of
that got put on hold and I said well, I guess, Lord, you’re wanting me to
homeschool one more year.

That ended up being the best year we’d ever had. Because the
kids spent a lot of time with Dad. They were at the doctor’s offices with me,
they were meeting adults and things like that. They were learning things about
hospital and doctors and just life experience, really. But if I had not been
able to be flexible with that and incorporate that into our every day life, we
wouldn’t have gotten any school work done that year. Which would have led me to
feel even more frustrated and want to quit.

I don’t know. I feel like every year I just tried to let
school just be as natural as possible. Especially reading and things like that.
I mean, there’s some subjects like math and stuff that you just have to do it.
Whether you want to do it or not. There’s no way for it not to be school. I
don’t know. I just tried to stay focused and teach them that life was all about
learning. Whether you did it at home, or whether you did it at school. That’s
what life’s about, is learning.

Cynthia: I hear several different themes in what you’re
saying, and one of them is I strongly agree with lifelong learning. Because,
you know, if it’s not inside of you and you don’t want to do it, and you see it
as difficult or uncomfortable, you’re not going to pursue it the rest of your
life. And I think as Christians we have that responsibility to keep growing as
Christians in the word, and knowing more about who he is.

And so that idea of implanting that is just, I really
strongly agree with that. That’s one of the reasons I homeschooled for so many
years is because I wanted to implant that growing desire in my own children.

But I also hear you saying that you also had them
interacting with adults and doing adult things. Caring for your father, and
dealing with real situations. That’s something that you simply cannot do in a
school situation. You get more caught up in got to be cool for this person, or
I’ve got to be part of this group. As a homeschooler I think you have an
opportunity to be more a part of the real world, and it’s healthier. It’s a
healthier life I think.

Sherri:  Yes. And it
helps them not be so peer-oriented. Which, I mean, they are going to be,
especially as they become teenagers. And my children, the church that we
attended had 350 high-schoolers. And there were very few homeschool kids. So
even though we were in a homeschool group and that’s where the majority of
their really close friends were, as soon as they became involved in that youth
group their eyes were opened up to a lot of things that I didn’t even realize
they would be experiencing at that young of an age.

But I loved the fact that we had that foundation already
established in there before they started that. And that they were comfortable
talking with adults. Because it made them, both of them, more willing to jump
in and volunteer to do some things that kids normally wouldn’t volunteer to do.
Because they weren’t afraid to step up in front of an adult.

My daughter went on mission trips to Jamaica and for awhile
said she was going to move there. I’m like no, don’t move there! She was so
comfortable being a leader. I think homeschooling, if we do it the right way,
we do encourage our children to become leaders. Even if it’s leaders in a small
group, they’re more comfortable. To me the benefits, I still see the benefits
even now. I really do.

And also just in teaching them purity and that sort of
thing. Working with youth at church I realized that there’s just a lot of
warfare that they go through. Sometimes they don’t even have an opportunity to
realize that they’re being hit with it, before they’re already hit with it. I
loved that opportunity to be able to pour that into my kids before they got out
into that real world, of what our guidelines were and what God’s view of things
were.

I don’t know. I think I’ll be counting those benefits for
the next fifty years.

Cynthia: So overall, I’m glad I did it, and it sounds like
you’re very glad that you did also.

Sherri:  Oh,
definitely. Definitely. And now, I mean I have friends that they want to quit
sometimes and I just keep encouraging them. Of course I don’t tell them, oh you
should do it, you have to do it. Because I mean, everybody’s situation is
different, everybody’s life stage is different. But I’m always going to be the
advocate for that.

I’m around very few homeschoolers now. I still, I light up,
I know I light up when I find out somebody is homeschooling. I’m just like
whoo! I just love it. I’m glad I did it and I will encourage people as much as
I can. 

And having wanted to quit almost every single year, but not
quitting, I feel like I can help people when they start to really doubt whether
or not they can do it. But it’s so worth it. Definitely worth it.

Cynthia: We’re giving a message today that you need to hang
in there and keep going. Because it really is worth it.

Sherri, tell me where we can find you on the Internet.

Sherri:  I have a
website, I’m on Facebook and everywhere else. Pinterest and all of that as
well. But my website is www.sherriwilsonjohnson.com
I do all kinds of stuff. I blog, I interview different authors. I also write
two monthly blogs on purity for a ministry called Choose Now Ministries, and
then I also blog for Habits For A Happy Home, which is a homeschool, primarily,
homeschool and family oriented website. So I’m on there too.

I tend to be floating around all over the place these days.

Cynthia: I appreciate your time and your encouragement. And
thank you for being with us and helping us out here.

Sherri:  Well, thank
you so much for having me.

Cynthia: You’re welcome.

Listeners, we’d like your feedback. Let us know what you think, and what subjects you’d like us to cover.  

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