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!

Are we teaching our kids or helping them learn?

When it comes to teaching your kids, what model of a "teacher" do you have in your mind? For me, one of the wisest teachers I ever met was the man who taught my daughter violin. His approach to education transformed my understanding of what it means to be a teacher. . . If I were teaching parents Homeschool 101, this would be my first class!

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Kindness in our hearts and words

Kindness in our hearts and words

I’ve been pondering the concept of kindness this weekend. It’s not something we see modeled in our culture, it's not an attribute generally valued in movies, in magazines, and certainly not in current political speeches.Yet, it can change your world—and transform your children’s lives.

One of the most stunning characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman, in my opinion, is that she “opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.” 

Frankly, I think this is the most difficult and demanding thing she does because it reflects what is in her heart—you know, from Matthew 12:34: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Ouch. This is where the rubber meets the road. Our words reflect our hearts.

So, here we are, working morning till night, feeding our kids, teaching them, making sure homework is done, dealing with sibling rivalry, balancing the checkbook, going to the grocery store, getting everyone to co-op or music lessons or soccer. . . Whew! We’re tired, we’re overwhelmed, we’re busy, and there’s no end in sight. And now I’m talking to you about the words that come out of your mouth??

Yes. 

Words have powerWhy? Because our words have power, particularly in the lives of our children. Words can affirm and words can accuse. Words can build up and words can tear down.

By the way, it is not just women who need to be careful and kind in their speech.  In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul makes an interesting and similar connection between teaching and a heart attitude when he writes to Timothy: “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient. . .” (2 Timothy 2:24)  He also describes (in Galatians 5:22) the fruit of God’s Spirit in a human heart: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Did you notice that? Kindness is just one of several attributes that can revolutionize our parenting and teaching! 

If you're interested, here’s a more in-depth article, The Surprising Ingredient in Teaching.

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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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