Wanting to See

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
~ Henri Matisse

New Year’s Resolutions

If y’all are like me, you cringe at the thought of making yet another list of ill fated New Year’s Resolutions. Well, years ago I came across a list of resolutions that blessed me immensely. A list I could accomplish because it did not rely on me, but solely on my Heavenly Father.
May they bless you as well! Happy New Year!

(Click on images below to enlarge)

Q & A – Math Without Textbooks?

Question:

Currently my elementary aged daughter is working through Rod and Staff Math. She is on grade level but we are taking an entire year to cover each textbook. She will do the textbook work but gets overwhelmed if I attempt more than 2-3 formal lessons per week. So the non-textbook days she works on sewing, knitting, and cooking. I think this is giving her a well rounded math background and not killing her desire to do math. However my friends are telling me that I am handicapping my daughter by moving so slowly with such a basic math text. They say I need to pick up the pace and cover at least one and half to two books per year! They imply that my dd must be a bit slow to need so much time. I don’t think so; I thought going at the child’s pace was a good thing. Am I wrecking her future? Would you count practical skills for math education? I’m so upset. Please share your thoughts.

 

Answer:

Sounds like your daughter is very blessed to have you as her mother! You know your child better than anyone, including your opinionated friends, so prayerfully following your gut in regards to teaching your daughter math is the best advice I can give. What has worked for the children of your friends is not necessarily going to work for your daughter, or for my daughters.

Not being one to do anything “just because”, I look at the “whys” of teaching math, and I keep those goals in mind when deciding what and how I will teach. My desire is to raise virtuous young women who will be successful, helpful, and blessed, and my choice of educational goals is based on this desire. On deciding what math skills I believe are needed, I went to Proverbs 31, where the infamous Bathsheba describes an idyllic wife, who just so happens to be quite math savvy.

 Proverbs 31:10 – 29

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, So that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil, All the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; She bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, And giveth meat to her household, And a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, And strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: Her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, And her hands hold the distaff. She stretched out her hand to the poor; Yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: For all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; Her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, When he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; And delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; And she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; And in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, And eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, But thou excellest them all. 

Now let’s take a look at the practical skills in which this gal is learned:

• She is good with money and won’t easily be taken advantage of
• She has good fiscal sense
• She spins, weaves, and sews
• She shops and knows a good product and value when she sees it
• She cooks
• She manages employees
• She runs businesses, and understands profit margin
• She buys and sells, and is fair and just in her dealings
• She sows and she reaps, making a profit to expand her family’s wealth
• She financially helps those in need, tithing to the poor.

This woman is not ignorant. She has the math skills to maintain numerous businesses and employees, run her household, manage her family’s finances, and do right by her husband and children. Not only is she virtuous, but she is a math genius!

Based on the above list of practical skills, what math skills would a modern Proverbs 31 woman need?

• Customary and metric measurements of liquids and solids
• Add, subtract, multiply and divide whole numbers, fractions, and decimals
• Geometry to include figures, construction, angles, symmetry
• Budgeting including positive and negative numbers
• Comparison shopping
• Price per unit
• Traveling costs (MPG)
• Inventorying
• Sales and sales tax
• Ratios
• Figuring percentages
• Payroll/Bookkeeping
• Time and time management
• Charts and graphs
• Problem analysis and solving
• Basic economic principles

How did the virtuous woman learn all these math skills? I’d venture to guess it wasn’t by sitting at a desk with textbooks, plodding through problem after problem of seemingly irrelevant information. More likely it was while working at her own pace alongside her mother, striving to someday be among those called blessed, watching and emulating the practical skills that don’t stifle the desire to do math but make it just another part of life. And that, my friend, is a wonderful thing.

 

Letting Go of Perfect {A Book Worth Reading}

So many moms feel the pressure to be perfect, and expectations seem much greater during the holiday season. Whose expectations are they, though, and are they in any way realistic? How do we live so that we take care of the important things but still have time for some extras? What are God’s expectations and how do I meet those while living out my everyday life? Amy Spiegel tackles all of these questions (and a few more) in Letting Go of Perfect.

Amy Spiegel is a mom of four and a wife to a college professor and clearly knows something about how life can get crazy at times. She tells stories with humor and lets you know that no, you’re not the only one who has absolutely loved your life one moment and then been astonished at how on earth you ended up such a mess five minutes later. Though much of the book is geared toward moms, women of all ages will find something good to take away. Single women (or moms of girls who will be of dating age soon) will appreciate her thoughts on dating relationships and pretty much any woman in our society can relate to feeling stretched too thin. Whether you homeschool or not, I think all moms can identify with the struggle of how to integrate aspects of secular culture into our lives so that our children aren’t too sheltered but at the same time we want to protect them.  Are you female? If so, I think you’ll enjoy this one. If you aren’t, you probably know one who would like it!

There are so many topics covered in Letting Go of Perfect that I can’t cover them all, but I want to share a couple that really spoke to me. One chapter discusses dealing with outside influences and input. There are so many mom blogs and homeschooling blogs out there that really make some women feel like they aren’t doing enough. With a few clicks of your mouse you can see someone who makes perfect meals, someone who always leaves her husband thoughtful notes and gifts, someone who is always dressed to the nines, someone who has no dust bunnies in her house, someone who homeschools her small army of perfectly behaved genius children, and on and on. And if we aren’t careful, we start to think that all those someones are one perfect person that we’re supposed to be. We hold ourselves up to everyone else’s perfect day and come up short. When we think we’re failing ourselves and our loved ones it’s easy to look to the “experts” for advice on what we should do, and the cycle continues. As Spiegel says, though, if “we take the focus off ourselves and put it on Christ, God will grant us a more objective and accurate picture of ourselves as well as Him.” I love her idea that if we focus on following Jesus, the rest will fall into place.

Another chapter focuses on how easy it is for our lives to fall into chaos. There are so many options available for socializing, but if you participate in everything that seems good, you’re not going to have the time and energy to spend on the most important things. This is true for people at any stage on life, but as a homeschool mom I feel it acutely as I try to decide which activities to keep and which to cancel so that we are, indeed, home to do some school. Spiegel gives three questions to consider when you’re trying to decide whether or not you should commit to something and reminds us that it’s okay to say no. Down time is necessary for all of us and we should remember that saying no to something outside the home can allow us to say yes to something else.

As I said before, there are so many ideas in Letting Go of Perfect that I can’t do them all justice here. Even with so much food for thought, this is a pretty easy book to read. Sometimes I get bogged down with all the thinking I do when reading this kind of book, but the stories make it flow easily and kept my attention. The book finishes with a list of book recommendations and a week long plan for letting go of the man-made expectations in your life and focusing on what God wants for your life—even if it’s not what you had mapped out.

This would make a great Christmas present for any woman, and if you keep watching the Homeschool Share blog you will have a chance to win a copy!