Friday, July 30, 2010

Home school ponderings

It's that time of year, when my spirit is quickening. Am I choosing the right curriculum, am I doing too much, too little, outside the home, inside the home, too many friends, too little, do we have their hearts, or just their minds? The Tapestry of Grace curriculum has been on my list of "want-tos" for several years, even before they finished writing it. Mainly because it was written for many ages to be taught all at once, starting at Creation and cycling around every 4 years like I have been doing, and because it keeps building on what they've learned. But then the co-op comes in. Where does that fit in, how much can we do. Lord, help my get my mind around it and ask for help where I need to. Here's a blog on the Tapestry website that meant a lot to me as we're trying to challenge our 2 teens. Marcia is the founder of TofG and the entirety of her blog can be found HERE.

As I was producing the Socratic Discussion webinar that is due to go online on August 1, I got into the topic of how important it is to give students the dignity of allowing them to honestly question, disagree, and make mistakes aloud. It’s been my observation that many Christian homeschooling moms (and dads) seem unwilling to allow their older students to challenge, explore, and think their own thoughts. Their impulse is to rebuke, repress, correct quickly, or deny spoken thoughts or opinions that would challenge Christianity, or doubt God or the Bible. What I’ve observed, over the years, is that this squelching approach to the teen years can have sad consequences. Repressing our teens’ doubts and questions concerning Christianity during these crucial years, or feeding them too quickly with stock theological responses to what to them are deeply emotional issues, may silence teens’ mouths, but it won’t answer the cries of their hearts, or stop them from continuing to ponder. In fact, repressing teens’ verbal expressions is one of the quickest ways to lose their hearts entirely, and by extension, our ability to influence them.My guess, from my experience with many moms at conventions and several good friends near to home, is first of all that this repression is largely unconscious. Moms who consistently and instantly correct, adjust, and challenge their teens’ comments think of themselves as continuing a process of teaching and training that began when their teens were born. Moms are concerned that their teens embrace the truths of the Bible, which they know to be authoritative and true, as well as the source of blessing and wisdom for an entire lifetime. It’s easy to continue tried-and-true methods and approaches to our teens that worked well when they were kids, even as they are outgrowing childhood. We can miss that a change is occurring; we can disrespect our teens because we are in the habit of treating them like children. “Do what I say, because I say it, and because I’m your mother, and children obey their parents in the Lord because this is right!” Our goals are good, our desires are fine, but when good desires turn to bad demands, we can actually end up working against the Spirit.

To gain our teens’ trust, I believe, a parent needs to focus on two crucial things: 1) trusting God–and thus not giving way to fears that will tempt us to err–and 2) giving our children the dignity of allowing them to form for themselves their own worldview.

Let me hasten to add that I don’t believe in a total “hands off” approach. We need to walk with our teens closely every day of their lives, and set before them an example of a vibrant, growing, authentic (but not perfect!) Christian. What I’m getting at in this post is something deeper than mere biblical instruction: I’m addressing the change in your relationship with your son or daughter during this season from one of benign dictator to one of fellow pilgrim on the road to the Celestial City.

The first of these two is crucial: we simply must grow ever deeper in our trust of God. I believe that the primary reason that most of us moms lose our kids’ love and disrespect them during the teen years is because we fail to trust God moment by moment. We so easily slide from gospel-centered thinking (where we remember that God alone determines who is saved) to believing that our words/actions during parenting primarily determine whether or not our child will be saved.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Notr' ami de France

C'est Romain and his sister Pauline, in France.
He came to stay with us, alone, from July 5- 24. He will be 13 in October.
Our family wanted to make his visit memorable and one that depicted life in Arizona and life with a God-loving family.
We aren't perfect. And he saw us in our every-day situations. Brothers and sisters do fight!

We visited a candy factory in Glendale, Arizona (Jefferson 8, Zachary Morelock 8, and Romain)

My cousin Sharon Stevens with Romain. Her dear husband Gene passed away while Romain was here. It was Sharon and Gene that were the reason Romain's father Frank came to the USA 25 years ago and it was Sharon's idea that he stay with us. We are so glad he did!

We visited the Grand Canyon and went quadding with our friends, stayed in a cabin for 4 days, hoping to escape the heat, but it was actually quite warm for Flagstaff.
The kids even went horseback riding in Flagstaff the weekend before, it was much cooler.

He went to church with us, we had friends and family over and went to friends' houses too. He saw Toy Story 3 with my mother (the boys went to The Sorcerer's Apprentice) and Despicable Me. We have a lot of DVDs at home too. He was very hot and we tried to do a lot inside, but he really loves it outside. We went out to eat a lot, went shopping (video games are much cheaper here) went to a country club in Mund's Park (thanks Harrises). He was a part of our daughter's send off to Africa and part of our family's worship time. He saw how we try to have a garden grow in Az! He experienced our LOVE for storms and rain which he completely didn't understand. They have so little sun in Paris.

Romain swam almost every day, played basketball and soccer (futbol), watched the World Cup and played video games. His father really wanted us to go about our every day routines with Romain here,we don't have much routine in the summer of course, and we had so much fun with him. He was polite and easy to be with. His English was absolument parfait! We hope to go to Paris to see him soon! And yes, I cried when he got on that plane, tout seul, alone.

Adieu notr' ami. À bientôt!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My #1 Son is 15 Today, the 4th of July

Me with my sister Karen, very pregnant in 1995

I had a 2 year old girl, she was soooo easy. Played well alone. Never cried. Loved stories and music. Well-meaning people said, 'wait til you have a boy'. Then came my 'fire-cracker baby'. I had been walking every single morning. Nervous about having gestational diabetes with him, I ate extremely well and exercised. Gained about 15 pounds total. Felt awesome. He came 5 days early. The day after my sister had her 2nd baby. Our deliveries were eerily the same. Even rented the same movie to watch the night before, didn't watch it, didn't know! We even both wanted epiderals and they didn't come in time, but in hindsight,that was the best delivery I ever had.

Charles Dexter Tuten arrived 2 hours after I arrived at the hospital, at 9 pounds 8 ounces.

And he was soooo easy too! He'd sit for hours and look at books during his 'room time'. What a happy baby. I rarely remember him crying. And his big sister took care of him if he did.

At 2, yes 2, because his papa and nana were watching him while I was at the hospital having baby number 3. His papa asked him if he was ever afraid of storms. He thought for a minute and made his own sentence. "yes, storms scare me." To a linguist like my father, this was quite remarkable.
That is my word for you Dexter. Remarkable
And I pray God does remarkable things in your life.... for HIS KINGDOM,
in you and through you.
We love you.Harrison and Dexter (4 years old)With his little brother Jefferson (8). My brown-eyed boys. So handsome.

This year, we sent him for a week with the Mohlers in CA. Here he is with Clayton in Disneyland in 08 I think. I know being with Clayton is the best birthday present ever! Thanks Mohlers!