Canning

My homeschooling friend and I got together today and canned pickles four different ways–bread and butter, dill, refrigerator dill and pickled okra. Mmmm. Our next canning day is later in August with peach lemonade concentrate up for processing!

My mom always had a neat way of comparing canning to Christianity. Life’s pressures and how they hone us. So many things are important in canning: clean hot jars, veggies/fruits need to be softened, air bubbles need dissipated, lids need to seal so the contents will stay preserved…the water in the canner needs to be boiling, and pints and quarts have to cook for certain lengths of time. All that pressure in these combinations result in a good product.

Today my friend and I had one jar break while canning…the glass bottom just blew off and all the okra in that pint went to waste. It happens. Not sure what went wrong, perhaps it was just a weak jar or maybe we filled it too full.

What causes a Christian to stumble downhill…weakness during testing? Discouragement? Pride?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Ready, Set, Homeschool?!

By now, you’ve figured me not to be a “die hard” homeschooler…after all, I still need to order curriculum for this fall, right? The problem is, I’m not into the “one curriculum fits all” theory. I use a little of this, a little of that…and what worked for my self-motivated oldest is probably too boring for my 6 yo.

Two good questions to ask when browsing the endless choices would be:

  1. Will this encourage my child’s love of God?
  2. Will it enhance their love of learning?

My oldest has loved chapter books like Misty of Chincoteague since she was barely four years old. She’s like a sponge, very thoughtful and introspective and loves nothing more than to read “living” books with me. We read many missionary bios.

My 6 yo, still squirms at storytime, unless colorful pictures dot each page! Abeka has the color my 6 yo loves, but using Abeka for every subject would drive us crazy, so we branch out using it one year for health/science and the next for history/geography.

Most importantly, make sure your child catches your enthusiasm for learning. Our first day of school is a day of expectation that sets the mood for the year.

While the children are still sleeping, I take about 15 clues outside and hide them…each one leaving a hint about the next…scavenger hunt style. They include actions such as: “Jump up and run so you won’t be too late, run through the horse barn and over to the gate”…then on the gate they’ll find the next clue. At the end of the hunt, they’ll find a box full of their new textbooks/notebooks, pens/pencils, gold foil- wrapped candy (gold for hidden treasure!), and supplies for a fun craft that we’ve never made before. Then we rush to the house for a favorite breakfast/tea party and spend the day crafting.

The point of the treasure hunt is this: the physical and mental actions of the hunt signify the physical and mental rigors of learning. Sometimes it will be tedious (nah, surely not!) but the rewards are like gold nuggets of treasure…all that learning that no one can take from you.

Just as with parenting, homeschooling has its struggles and its rewards. Keep the faith!

Philipians 2:13, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure!”  (go ahead and follow the link…this verse in context is awesome!)