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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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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Creating A Family Tradition

Creating your own family tradition

Forging a family tradition takes time and effort. . .May my faltering experiences with this bring you hope and encouragement in this season.

"Joy to the world, the Lord is come..." As the disbelieving eyeballs of customers and tellers at our local bank peered at us in astonishment, my children and I continued to quietly carol as unobtrusively as possible in that most unusual setting. Why were we caroling in a bank? Because friends who worked there knew that we enjoyed Christmas caroling and that we were used to performing for strangers—we were headed for our local Mexican restaurant to carol next! How did Christmas caroling in oddball places become a family tradition? The answer took twenty years, with many fits and starts, to get us to that moment.

It all started when I visited a friend’s class in college. The professor said, "Tradition and ritual are the glue that holds families together. They give a strong sense of belonging and continuity, which is absolutely vital, especially in today's culture. . ." Coming from a broken family, I really wanted that kind of glue! It was determined right then: whenever I married and had kids, we would come up with family traditions and rituals to give us this sense of belonging and community. The problem I didn’t understand was that instituting a tradition—for the sake of tradition—could easily become a mere external effort with little meaning. . . Only when the traditions come out of your heritage, or from the things that give your unique family joy, can that amazing sense of family continuity and strength develop. And it will take time to find them.

I learned this the hard way. I kept trying the traditions others raved about, growing weary and grumpy as nothing seemed to stick. My children watched me with puzzled faces as I kept growling instead of grinning my way through all these attempts.

I had forgotten the reason we were doing this.

The external rituals and traditions are valuable only as they come from the heart of the family.The point wasn't to hear exclamations from friends about how incredible our traditions were or have magazine-worthy photo shoots! The point was to simply give our children and ourselves a special sense of belonging, an ongoing sense of being the "Waring family," a delight in the distinctives which make our memories. I slowly discovered that the external traditions and rituals are valuable only as they come from the heart of the family.

Somehow, the tradition of caroling began to rise to prominence for our music-loving, concert-giving family of singers. It was such fun to see the delight on friends' faces when they opened the door to our homemade music. There was a camaraderie with one another as we raced from house to house to give our special "Waring" gift to people all over town. And, there was the continuity of caroling year after year, since it didn't take much time and required no monetary funding, just a warmed-up voice and a stout scarf and hat. . .and gloves. . .and boots. . .and parka!

I realized how important this tradition had become when my college kids began to ask over the phone, "When will we be going caroling?" and to express, "I can't WAIT to go caroling!" This was the one tradition that stuck. It was the one Waring tradition that brought all of us joy and satisfaction.

So that is how, several years ago, we came to carol in a bank. . .and a Mexican restaurant. . .and a music store. . .and all over town.

May you discover this season some repeatable expression that can give YOUR unique family a special tradition that brings joy to you all!

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Is it time for Christmas Break?

Do you find your thoughts running to Christmas?

Have you noticed that your kids are more fidgety, more distracted, and less enthused about studying Daniel Boone than they were in October? Why is that?

Actually, are YOU less enthused about math and science and history right now? Do you find your thoughts running more and more to Christmas—when to get the tree, when to decorate, when to clean the house before guests arrive, how many cookies to make, and what gifts would delight the hearts of your family?

Are you feeling guilty about your lack of “commitment” to homeschooling and frustrated with your kids because they’re not with the program, particularly if your lesson planner tells you that if they could just finish THIS chapter, THAT project, and THOSE books, you could be “done” in time for Christmas? Is the pressure mounting?

Believe me, I understand. In the words of a good friend, “Been there, done that, got the bumper-sticker.”

I’ve been learning a lot lately about the value of listening to your heart when it comes to these kinds of struggles and pressures. Though, like you, I can force myself to do things I don’t want to do, ignoring ongoing internal messages like, “I wish we had time to enjoy this season,” often means ignoring what the Lord is offering us.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that I’ve missed a lot of wonderful opportunities to take in and enjoy the moment, the season, the special time of year because I was so busy trying to get my impossible to-do list done BEFORE I could rest and enjoy. These moments, these seasons, these Christmas-when-my-kids-are-home don’t last forever. . . If we’re determined to keep marching through our planned out schedule, the precious gifts—the laughter, the fun, the making-memories-that-happen-when-you-do-unexpected-things—will be lost.

Throw textbooks in the closet & enjoy the next 3 weeks!So, dear friends, if I could share a bit of wisdom that I wish someone had shared with me when I was homeschooling, when you see your kids and yourself longing for Christmas break, consider carefully throwing the textbooks in the closet and thoroughly enjoying the next three weeks!!

Play with your kids, plan special times, decorate cookies together, make a snowman or go swimming (depending on your climate!), go caroling at a senior citizens’ home, and all of the other things you’ve wished you had time to do. Immerse yourself thoroughly in giving and celebrating this Christmas in the ways that matter to your family.

And, just so you know, when you take this kind of a thorough break, when you come back to “school,” your hearts will be refreshed and ready to go. That’s what makes listening to your heart a win/win!!

Remember, stay relational.

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