Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!
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How to Crush Learning

How to Crush Learning

How to crush learning? That’s not what we signed up for, right? As homeschoolers, we are committed to our children’s education and development. We want to help them soar!

So, why this blog on how to crush learning? Good question!

To answer, let’s play with our food for a minute:

Imagine that you are hungry.
You are told, “Sit down, be quiet.”
You are given a plate with a portion of something labeled “food.”
It has no taste and no recognizable texture.
You are not allowed to add spices or ketchup.
Though it is unappealing and unappetizing, you can’t get up until you eat it.

Imagine that that is your experience every single time you feel hungry.

It wouldn’t take long before you’d lost interest in eating.

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The Dad Who Had to See For Himself

The dad who had to see for himself

I love when a dad involves himself in some aspect of homeschooling—whether it is listening to his kids’ recital of what was learned that day, teaching a subject he enjoys, or finding practical ways to support his wife in her extraordinary (and challenging) career as a homeschool teacher. The following is one of my favorite examples.

One snowy February day, I was speaking to a group of parents at a homeschool conference  in Saskatchewan. As usual, my topics ranged from loving learning to loving history, with generous doses of “enjoy your kids” and God’s faithfulness interspersed throughout. One couple sat in the front row for each of my workshops, responding with smiles and affirmations for the things they heard. 

As a speaker, finding those folks in the audience who are “with you” is very encouraging, so I was glad to have them in the front row. It wasn’t until the end of the day that I learned what had motivated them to be present at all my workshops. 

The dad introduced himself and said, “My family listens to your history CDs as part of their curriculum, and, frankly, I’ve been listening as well.” He went on to say that he owned a recording studio, which gave him a behind-the-scenes look at those who might sound “bigger than life” on a recording, but were less than that in real life. As he had listened with his family to my history CDs, he had enjoyed the stories but had been somewhat skeptical about me.

So, when he saw that I was keynoting at the homeschool conference, he told his wife that he was coming too—for the express purpose of checking me out.

Gulp. I hadn’t known that. I anxiously held my breath to see what he was going to say next.

With a beaming smile, Kelvin said, “And, Diana, after sitting here all day, I can tell you that you’re the real deal! You absolutely believe this—you’re really speaking from your heart.”

Relief. I passed the test I hadn’t known I was taking. 

To hear Kelvin’s thoughts on my curriculum and history CDs for yourself, here’s an informal interview (imperfectly mic’ed!):

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3 Tips for Breaking the Wall of Inertia

3 Tips for Breaking the Wall of Inertia

Is there a wall of inertia looming all around you right now? Sometimes that happens in the gray days of winter. . .When inertia takes hold, homeschooling is tedious.

Is there a solution—apart from gritting your teeth and waiting till spring? Absolutely! Here are 3 Tips for Breaking the Wall of Inertia:

      • Inspire
      • Discover
      • Play

First of all, Inspire. When facing a Wall of Inertia, or obstacles of any sort, read someone else’s story about how they overcame the odds, broke through the wall, and achieved their goals. Inspiration provides hope, which is the first step—it helps us to believe that it is possible to keep going. That is why we love stories of people like Joni Eareckson Tada and Corrie ten Boom, because they remind us that there is incredible blessing on the other side of our challenges. So, I want to encourage you to read or reread a story that will inspire you. I am currently rereading an old biography of Billy Graham by Stanley High.

3 Tips for Breaking the Wall of Inertia, Diana Waring BlogNext, Discover. Take time to ask yourself what specific factors are weighing you down, and then share that with your spouse or a wise friend. Discovery provides insight into our fears and worries, which is the second step—it brings those fears and worries into the light. Are you gripped with fears that you aren’t doing enough (even though you’re doing more than anyone you know)? Are you staying awake at night, worrying about the future for your kids? Are you convinced that you’re a terrible homeschool mom? Once you have exposed these hidden fears— sharing them with someone safe, who knows and loves you—you can bring them to the Lord in prayer (which is the best way to decisively deal with fears). Fear and worry are two of the most insidious destroyers of peace and joy, so don’t keep “entertaining” them. "Lies Homeschool Moms Believe" by Todd Wilson is VERY helpful.

Finally, Play. One of the best ways for beating the winter blues is to regularly laugh and have fun! Honestly, playing recharges your homeschool. Laughter wakes up the brain, a merry heart is like a medicine, and providing extra doses of fun for your kids is guaranteed to add energy to the day. So, take your planner right now and block out time for reading a funny book out loud, playing a game that makes your family laugh, and going outside to make snowmen (or sand castles). Playing will provide an energizing zest for both you and your children, making each day easier and, believe it or not, far more profitable when it comes to learning. "Hank the Cowdog" by John Erickson, read out loud, is hysterical!

You CAN do this! That Wall of Inertia is tumbling already.

And, remember, spring is coming!

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The Bible and History

The Bible and History

How do these fit together: the Bible and history?

Many people today say that they don’t fit together at all, that the Bible is filled with historic myths that only the ignorant believe. . .With a flick of their wrist, they dismiss both the possibility and the one who believes that the Bible and history are connected.

There is a different way to view this, however. Rather than dismissing the connection between the Bible and history, we can examine it. As we learn more, we will see evidence for viewing historic accounts in the Bible as real history. Some fascinating—and life-changing—things will emerge from this pursuit:

      • Bible stories we heard as kids will—with evidence and, maybe, with controversy—become rooted in actual civilizations;
      • ancient civilizations will provide new understanding of Biblical accounts;
      • our faith will be strengthened as we see God’s faithfulness.

I didn’t know this when I started teaching my kids. But when we began to read aloud A Child’s History of the World, by V. M. Hillyer, I kept wondering where the Bible stories fitted into the narrative. We heard about Itchy-Scratchy and the pharaoh who built the Great Pyramid, but there wasn’t any reference to specific people or events listed in the Bible.

Having had a dramatic encounter with the Living God when I was a teenager—which utterly changed my life—I knew that the Scriptures contained life-giving truths. And, having studied evidences for Christianity (apologetics) during university days, I knew that a Bible-based faith was grounded in historic events and specific fulfilled prophecies. So, undaunted, I began searching for the connecting points between the Bible and these ancient civilizations—with my kids watching closely.

First topic on my agenda was Egypt and the Exodus, which I quickly found to be filled with modern-day controversy. Entering museum galleries about ancient Egypt, I had seen posted statements that there “is no evidence of a biblical Exodus.” Historians argued over the date of Exodus (if they accepted there was one at all)—was it in the 1200s or 1400s B.C.? What was the route taken, and did the Hebrews cross the Red Sea or the Reed Sea?

Digging down into the controversies brought ancient Egypt (and the ancient Hebrews) to life for us. No longer merely mysterious (they mummified cats?), these ancient people were suddenly much more complex, with fears and uncertainties and encounters with the God who valued them. (If that last one surprises you, read Isaiah 19:25.)

He was faithful then, He is faithful still.Next, familiar Bible stories, like Jonah going to Nineveh, became far more dramatic when we learned archaeological details of that ancient culture. The Assyrians were so good at breaking into walled cities (the ancient form of protection from invaders), that their reputation preceded them everywhere they went. The atrocities committed on those who refused to surrender their cities were beyond my comprehension. Suddenly, Jonah’s reluctance to go to Nineveh and his anger at God’s forgiveness of the Assyrians became far more understandable. These were the “Nazis” of antiquity! And, yet, we see God’s heart for them in Jonah’s quote, “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” (Jonah 4:2)

Immersing myself into the Bible and history also brought a totally unexpected result that had nothing to do with academics. In seeing repeatedly God’s heart expressed in ancient history, I found that I was no longer afraid for the future. He was faithful then, He remains faithful still.

If you would like to immerse yourself in these stories, click here for my audio CD set, What in the World, Volume One—covering Creation through Jesus Christ.

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The Flaw in “Hurry Up & Rest!”

The Flaw in Hurry Up & Rest

Christmas is over. Whew! All the work and flurry ended a few days ago, and, hopefully, you weren’t so exhausted that you missed the celebration. You may be wondering if this is a time to get some rest. . . Hmmm.

School doesn’t start for another week. This in-between week, where one project is finished and the next hasn’t quite started, can be tricky. That’s what I want to talk about today. . .

As homeschoolers, we have taken on not only the enormous tasks of teaching AND parenting our kids, we’ve also taken on a 24/7 workload—or, at least, from first thing in the morning until late at night. Once you gear-up for the task, the pressure makes it hard to take a break. You’ve put on the mind of a homeschooling mom, so that means you’re trying to fit everything in by scheduling every moment of each day.

We know that this is a perfect week to relax, to have the leisure to play, to sit, to read, to sleep. . .But, it is also an empty week in the schedule, where we could get SO much done from our never ending to-do list!

What if Susie worked every day this week on her math problems and caught up?
What if Johnny took this week to write that paper he’s been avoiding?
What if I cleaned out all of my cupboards and closets every day this week?

It looks so good on paper. . .An empty void, waiting to be filled. There is that voice in your head saying that, if you work hard this week, your to-do list will be finished. And if you can just persevere through Thursday, you can all enjoy a nice, long rest on New Year’s Day.

But there’s this odd thing that happens when, deep down, we know that every other teacher on the planet is taking this week off. Though we may try to accomplish a lot, it will feel like we’re wading knee-deep in molasses. . .And the hurrier we go, the more we’ll bog down. “Susie, stop complaining and get the work done, and THEN you can play!”
“Johnny, hurry up and finish that paper, and THEN you can go outside!”

You can't rest and get your to-do list done at the same timeAnd you tell yourself, “Hurry up!! Finish those cupboards and closets and THEN you can rest!!”

What I’ve learned is that you can’t fool your heart. It knows that this is a week off—a week that you REALLY need. And you can’t rest and get your to-do list done at the same time.

So, my advice is to acknowledge to yourself and to the rest of the world that you are a legitimate teacher, and that this week is truly a break.

And, then, enjoy it. All of you, enjoy it to your hearts’ content. Let your kids enjoy the break in the ways THEY find delightful. Even more challenging than that, let yourself enjoy the break in the ways that YOU find delightful. Then when the legitimate start date in January rolls around, you’ll all be refreshed and ready.

You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make!

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