Welcome to my world!
I hope you’ll stay.
Since Father’s love changed me
I have something to say.
The One who loves me,
See, He also loves you
The things He’s done for me
He will do for you, too.
So come with me
As I follow the Lamb
Wherever He goes.
My life’s in His hand.
I trust Him and follow Him
No matter the cost.
Without His great love for me
I would be lost.
The words that you find here
I hope will breathe life.
In each day and moment
You’ll find His delight.
For surely His love for you
Is greater than you know.
Come with me now
To His presence we’ll go.
York, Pennsylvania 2011
Katy, Texas 2012
Mary Jo Peckham Park
Katy, TX 2013 Mary Jo Peckham Park
Katy, TX Honey Farm, 2014
Hi, I’m Penney Douglas. I have been married to my precious husband for 26 years. We have been exceedingly and abundantly blessed with 10 children. They all belong to me and my husband. And to think that I was afraid I would never get married! I got a late start, but I guess late bloomers can blossom profusely once they get started.
I blog for several reasons. I like to keep a record of what we’re doing in our homeschooling and share ideas for other homeschoolers or moms who like to work and play with their kids. I try to encourage families to keep Christ first in their homes so they can be all that they were made to be. I want to help others to draw closer to God. I hope to glorify God and give Him praise for all that He does for us.
I am constantly learning, changing and growing. Sometimes I feel like a beginner even though I’ve been a Christian since I was 4 years old and I’ve been homeschooling for about 19 years. And I’ve been living for __ years (long enough!).
But the Lord has been faithful to keep me and my family on an upward climb drawing nearer to Him in spite of our weaknesses and mistakes.
He has led us on a crooked path across the United States and back and then some. (From Ohio to Kansas City to Arizona to Colorado, back to Kansas City to Illinois to Pennsylvania and now to Texas!) We are still looking for that place to call home. We hope to find it before the oldest chicks are ready to fly from the nest! But our desire is that they land somewhere near us even when that time comes.
We are believing God for miracles of provision. We have already seen many. We suffered the loss of our home almost 10 years ago. Now we live in a different state, and my husband is making more money than ever before. But the money is beside the point. What God did in each of our hearts, convincing us of His reality and His love for us, is worth more than all of the houses or money in the world. But now He has enabled us to help others in need, and we are grateful for the opportunity to bless others.
Our children are truly gifts from God. They learn from us and teach us so much. I would never have known even a fraction of how much God loves me if I had never had the opportunity to be a mother to my precious children. They are teaching me even more as they grow in wisdom and understanding and we share together what the Lord is teaching us.
Family was God’s idea. Marriage was His idea. God has good ideas. His ideas work.
He wants our families to be training grounds for children (and adults) to learn His ways and right ways of relating to God and to people. We learn how to die to ourselves when others are dependent on us, and when we have to learn to get along with the people around us in order to experience peace and harmony. The rough edges are rubbed off as we care enough to be honest with each other and humble ourselves to receive correction even from those younger than ourselves.
God created us because He wanted a family. That’s more than a trite saying. He created us in His image so that He could have sons and daughters that would look like Him, act like Him and love Him. He wanted to be a father.
He created you so He could love you. Receive His love for you. Let Him be your Daddy.
The second post on this page tells more about me and why I write this blog. If you’re a homeschooler, please read this post and do whatever you can to preserve our homeschool freedom in this nation.
I would like to challenge new homeschoolers to carry the torch of homeschooling without government interference. Please learn the history of homeschooling in the United States. Find out about what happens in other countries when people desire to teach their children at home so that they can impart their values to their children.
See this story, for example. In most countries, they are persecuted and their children are taken away from them or forcibly taken to public school.
We have the freedom to homeschool in every state in the United States – now. But it didn’t used to be that way. Chris Klicka and the wonderful people at HSLDA helped the early homeschool pioneers to fight to make it legal. Before that, people in the U.S. who felt that God was calling them to teach their children at home were treated just like those people in other countries are treated now. They were persecuted by truant officers. They were even thrown in jail. They had their children taken away from them. They had Children’s Services called on them. They had to hide in their homes and never go out during school hours, or they would get “caught” homeschooling. This was in the 1980’s and ’90’s. It wasn’t that long ago.
There are books that tell some of these stories of the hard-fought battle to make homeschooling legal in America. One of these is Homeschool Heroes by Chris Klicka. There are interviews with early pioneers that tell of the harrowing experiences of being taken to court and threatened with jail time if they continued to educate their children at home. One that I know of is at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/watchtalk/2009/09/01/cultivating-your-childs-potential. This is an interview that Diana Waring did with Zan Tyler, who began homeschooling long before it was cool or accepted. The Lord led her into homeschooling and led her through the fire of legal battles and real threats to her freedom. Her stories are amazing and hard for us to believe in the atmosphere we live in now with the acceptance of homeschooling that we enjoy.
But there are threats to our freedom to homeschool in the way that we feel led of the Lord. Many times there has been legislation brought up to try to regulate homeschooling. This has happened in state governments and even in the federal government. The homeschoolers of my generation knew that we were the beneficiaries of great sacrifice and work by the generation before us. Our local support groups and state organizations made sure that we knew that homeschooling is a privilege to be cherished. They told us to guard that freedom and not to be fooled by any attempts of the establishment to infringe upon our rights or to curtail them in any way.
There have been several attempts to force homeschool parents to get a teaching certificate. Education falls under the auspices of state government, so the rules vary from state to state. Each of us needs to watch our state governments and see what legislation they are considering regarding our right to homeschool freely without any government interference. Each homeschool family should join HSLDA and keep track of legislation and threats to our freedom and cases where freedom is already being challenged by public schools and legislators. We all need to stand together.
Please be vigilant about this precious right that we have and don’t hand anything to your local school district that is not required by the law of your state. Be careful and cherish homeschooling as the gift of God that it is.
I linked this post at the BIG Family Friday Link Up at Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling
Sometimes teaching can be frustrating. Kids can seem to be actively trying not to learn what we are trying to teach them. Handwriting, for instance, is a very frustrating thing for me to teach. I gave up on trying to teach it, because I became such a grumpy bear when I tried. I started buying Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting workbooks, and I tell the kids to follow the directions and make their writing look like what is on the page.
It works out pretty well. All of my older kids write well enough that people can read their writing. And some of them actually have beautiful handwriting. They can if they want to. Some of them don’t care much about it. And that’s ok, too. I always say, “As long as it’s legible, that’s good enough.”
Now another subject that I find difficult to teach is Math. I don’t lose patience as much as I used to when explaining concepts that they have difficulty with, but I kind of do the same thing with Math as I do with Handwriting. I let somebody else teach it. I’ve been using CTC Math for the last year. It is working well for 3 or 4 of my kids. They don’t do it as consistently as they should, so that’s why I’m not sure about the 4th one.
The reason I’m writing about this is that I saw a mom on a Facebook forum who was complaining about her child not understanding “borrowing” in Math. She was extremely frustrated with this child and thinking about sending him/her to public school. I could tell from the language she used that she didn’t really understand the concept of “borrowing” herself. I can see how this would lead to a lot of frustration on her part and on the part of her child.
I think a mother in this situation should learn how to teach this concept by gaining an understanding of the concept of 10’s and 1’s herself. She should learn about manipulatives that she can use in teaching Math. In short, she needs to educate herself.
If you, as a homeschool mom, find a topic that is difficult for your child, and you really don’t understand it yourself or can’t get across to your child the meaning or how to do it, then you should find someone else who can.
Repeating the same words over and over or making the child do the same problem over and over or sit there until they have come up with the right answer is not profitable to either one of you.
Don’t be proud or ashamed or anything else!
Just find some videos online that explain it or ask your husband or friends or look for Math websites. Do something to get a different explanation of how to do it. For the sake of your child and your relationship, try something different.
Math is one of those subjects that has been very difficult for me to find the right curriculum for each child. You may have to try different ones for each child. Really pray about it, check out reviews of curriculum, observe your child and see how they learn easiest and best, and ask other homeschoolers about the curriculum they use.
But, please, whatever you do, don’t let your relationship with your child be destroyed or harmed by the inability of your child to understand a Math concept or to remember a process.
They may not even be able to do it your way. They may have to figure out their own way to do it. Let them do it. This is not a test! This is not public school. It’s not one size fits all.
Keep the main thing the main thing.
Your relationship with your child will always be more important than their Math progress. Or any other academic accomplishment.
The Big Ideas of Spirit-led homeschooling
1. Abiding in Christ (Rees Howells)
There is a book called Rees Howells: Intercessor by Norman Grubb that tells the story of Rees Howells and how God taught him to live as an intercessor.
He first learned to abide in Christ. He never left God’s presence. The Holy Spirit was his constant companion. When I read this book, I was challenged in many ways. It has shaped my spiritual life for the last 10 years. I have learned to pray and find out God’s will for my life each day. I seek Him to find out my assignment from Him each day. At least, that’s my goal. It’s what I know I need to do. I try to keep my connection with Him strong and steady at all times.
I think this is very important in my daily life as a wife, mother, teacher, and my many other roles – (which reminds me of the Amy Grant song, “Hats”).
We homeschool moms really need the strength and grace that only God can give. And He is right there for us if we will only reach out to Him all through the day. Just say, “Hello, Lord” and you will know He is hearing you, and then say something profound, like “HELP!” He will help you. But there is more we can do to strengthen that connection and really get the help we need from the Lord. Spend time with Him. Pour out your heart to Him. Tell Him how much you love Him, thank Him, worship Him, and focus on His greatness. I love doing that! Get re-focused on him when things feel like they’re falling apart. Sometimes we need to get away from everybody and just spend time with Him alone. With small children, I know how difficult that is, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Just make it happen. Just do it. Make it so, Number One! Put worship music on. Listen to a good Bible teacher. Read your Word. Turn on a good Christian radio station. Do whatever it takes to start thinking about Him and get your mind, heart and soul focused on Him. Give your spirit control instead of your mind or flesh, and get in touch with the Holy Spirit, and let Him lead you.
2. Teaching from Rest (Amongst Lovely Things, Read-Aloud Revival)
This is kind of a two-for-one, because this lovely, young lady emphasizes both of these ideas – teaching from rest and reading aloud as a way to build a beautiful family culture.
Sarah Mackenzie has written a book called, Teaching From Rest. You can find her and her book at:
Amongst Lovely Things
I firmly believe that God wants us to be relying on Him, trusting Him to lead us in our homeschooling, and letting Him lead our children along in their studies, especially as they get older. It helps us to be able to teach from rest if we truly turn our homeschooling over to the leading of the Holy Spirit. She addresses the need to find the balance between the two vices that we can fall into – negligence (laziness) or anxiety. We can rest in the Lord without being negligent, not doing anything at all with our children or spending any time with them at all. There is a fine line here. It is very hard not to get so involved with our online stuff to the point that we ignore our kids. This is another area that we need to stay on our knees and keep asking the Lord for help with. I know I need to.
Another important point that she makes is that we need to stop trying to get through so much. We need to take our time and enjoy this time with our children. We all know this time goes so fast when our children are with us. Why rush through it or wish it away? Why do we pile on the work, the activities, the demands so that the days fly by in a blur, and it’s not a very pleasant blur. Everybody is worn to a frazzle and frustrated by the work that didn’t get done and the feeling that we are behind. I got over that one a long time ago, but I know that many homeschool moms still battle the feeling of being behind. I always ask, “Behind whom or what?” Who said you have to learn a certain skill or concept by a certain time? Who really knows? Who has authority to say that when we know that every child is unique?
Anyway, I do see myself doing something she talks about that I need to re-evaluate. I bring home tons of books at a time and am lucky to read each one even once before they’re due back to the library. She says that we should look for books that our children will really love and maybe read them over and over to them. Or take our time getting through them. I have definitely done that many times because life got in the way, and it took quite a while to get through a book. But that has usually worked out for the best because the story and characters had time to marinate and become part of us. I have loved our read-aloud times over the years. But I could probably cut down on how many books I check out. The idea that “less is more” is a really good idea to consider when it comes to homeschooling.
Which leads me to the other part of Sarah’s message – Reading aloud!
She also has a podcast called Read-Aloud Revival, which I love. She interviews authors and other homeschoolers who believe in the power of reading aloud to your family.
Reading aloud to your children, no matter how old they are. Even after they can read to themselves, keep on reading to the whole family together, just to keep the family culture based on good books and good stories.
You can find her podcast at her website. Just look at the very top of the page at the different tabs and click on the one that says podcast. It will take you to a page that shows all of the podcasts that she has done so far. I have enjoyed every one of them.
3. Be accountable to God alone
Not other homeschool moms or bloggers, not curriculum, not neighbors, not public school methods, advocates or schedules, not negative relatives.
After all, who will we stand before on the last day to give an account of how we lived our lives?
Who is the one who cares the most about our children, even more than we do?
4. Let God be responsible for the results.
Going along with number 3, who knows your child the best? Who knows what your child’s destiny and calling is? And who knows what choices your child is going to make?
Only God knows.
5. Think on good things – control your thoughts – get God’s assignment for each day.
We should, ideally, start our day with a quiet time with the Lord. Every day. We should spend time praying, reading His Word and getting our assignment for the day from the Lord. It may not always happen because of circumstances, but we should make it our goal, our target that we shoot for.
There are many good teachings by Dr. Caroline Leaf that you can watch on You Tube or on her website at www.drleaf.com that will help you get your own thinking right so that you can have a good attitude while teaching your children.
Here’s a good one to watch for a brief explanation of emotions and thoughts and how they affect your brain:
And here’s one about controlling your thoughts:
6. Teach your kids the big spiritual ideas.
Our kids need to know the plan of Salvation! That is the central theme of our faith and the whole Bible. So that is something we need to definitely make sure they understand.
We also need to demonstrate the virtues that God wants us to have, such as the most important virtue of love. The 10 Commandments and the fruits of the Spirit are very important for our children to learn.
Make sure to keep in mind that the most important things we teach our kids are the spiritual things. Academics are important, too, but spiritual things and character issues are more important. Building relationships and learning how to be a person that can be trusted and that does everything out of love are more important skills than reading, writing or arithmetic.
Put the Bible first in your homeschooling and live its principles in your daily life. Speak it to them throughout the day in the normal course of daily life.
And remember that values are caught more than they are taught.
7. Find mentors that are Spirit-led (for yourself and for your children). I have had to look online for mentors in my homeschooling. The Spirit led me to Cindy Rushton many years ago. Cindy helped me to understand that I could use notebooking to make homeschooling easy and interesting, that I could have a routine instead of a schedule, and that we should make memories together as a family. She also helped me to realize that Jesus was there for me, and I could take my cares to Him and all of my homeschool concerns. And Robin Sampson (Heart of Wisdom) came into my life around the same time. She helped me realize how important it was to put the Bible first in our homeschooling and the importance of learning about our Hebrew Roots.
In recent years, Diana Waring has been a wonderful inspiration and Sally Clarkson has been a special mentor who challenges me in areas of motherhood and reaching out to other moms.
Most of these women were a few years ahead of me in the homeschool journey, so I felt that I could trust what they were teaching since their fruit was good.
8. Teach your children how to focus on lovely, good, virtuous things.
Teach them that they can control their thoughts. Have them watch some videos by Dr. Caroline Leaf with you! When conflict arises with siblings or other children, help them to work through conflict in a biblical, loving way.
Teach them the importance of taking thoughts captive and casting down imaginations that go against what they know about God and His ways.
Teach them to walk in love.
9. Prepare your children for what God is calling them to do in the future.
Don’t get stuck in a curriculum that follows a school model. Remember that you can do pretty much whatever you want as a homeschooler. And remember that, ultimately, you are responsible to God for the way you raise and educate your children more than you are responsible to the state or anyone else. Ask the Lord to take over the education of your children. Ask Him what He wants you to do with each one of your children. It may involve very little curriculum. Or some children may do very well with workbooks and such and be well prepared for their future career or vocation that the Lord has called them to.
For some help with this line of thinking, you may want to check out Rhea Perry’s website:
Rhea Perry – Educating for Success
She is very excited about teaching and equipping homeschool students and their families to support themselves and possibly a family in the future.
10. Balance between negligence and anxiety.
Sarah Mackenzie from Amongst Lovely Things and Read-Aloud Revival from point #2 above has some good teaching about making sure that you keep a balance between negligence or possibly laziness and anxiety (trying to do too much and stressing about it).
She is correct in her assessment. I agree with her, and I know it is something I have to constantly reassess in my own life. Each day I need to look at this and make adjustments where necessary. I tend to have an ebb and flow in my life. I will do nothing for a while. Then I will wake up and try to do everything under the sun all at one time. Sometimes it is not very balanced, and I know that can be extra hard on certain ones of my children.
So we need to check with the Lord each day for our daily assignment, ask for His help to complete it, and stay in touch with Him all day long so that we are doing it His way.
For more information on these topics you may be interested in reading
books by Sally Clarkson or by Charlotte Mason (or books about her methods) and books by Diana Waring.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist who bases her research, clinical practice and teachings on biblical principles, says that the mind can change the brain. Through scientific research she has found that –
“Thoughts are real things that occupy mental real estate. You are as intelligent as you want to be! As we are thinking, we are choosing and are building thoughts inside our brain.
Learning is a process of building thoughts inside of your brain.”
Applying this to our lives and relationships, she says that:
“The truth of the matter is that you cannot control the events and circumstances of your life, but you can control your reactions to those events and circumstances.”
So we should change our way of thinking and be nice to our brains. And build better brains. When we think incorrectly, we actually do brain damage!
And we make our body sick. Stress causes disease, and thinking wrongly produces stress.
We are wired for love. We have to learn fear.
Instead of letting your mind do these things:
-Shaking your fist at God about your situation
-Being angry at your husband
-Being frustrated at your children
-Being angry at someone for what they said about you or did to you
-Be thankful for what God has done for us
-Think on the Word
-Dwell on God’s promises
-Take our thoughts captive
You choose what to think about. You choose where to direct your attention.
-~- So what do you choose to think about?-~-
~ Do you think about the Word?
~ Do you dwell on negative, hurtful things that have been done to you?
~ Do you think about how bad things are in the world?
Watch this video and hear what Dr. Caroline Leaf has to say about how to rewire your brain by not thinking toxic thoughts. You can even change your genes by thinking correctly!!!
Love is the answer to every problem. Remember – God is love. He is definitely the answer to every problem.
He often uses His people to answer needs that others have.
We are His hands and feet – His agents – in this world.
If you are feeling down, useless, purposeless, then try reaching out to someone with your love. Better yet, pray and ask the Lord to fill you with His love, and then find out what they need. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and lead you to give them what they really need.
One time when we were living in Kansas City after what felt like a major letdown (we had lost our house in Ohio and traveled to Arizona and nothing seemed to work for us), Gary was suffering from major depression. He couldn’t get a job in Kansas City. Not even blue collar jobs like grocery stores, warehouse jobs, etc. would open up for him. He felt useless, worthless and hopeless. I tried to build him up. I prayed for him, with him, over him and told him how the Lord was still with us, in spite of how things looked. But he would not be comforted.
I prayed for him in the Prayer Room at IHOP-KC. I could see in the spirit that the enemy was attacking him like a dragon. I could also see that I was using the Word and my faith to defend him from the enemy. Gary was in no condition or position to defend himself at that moment.
He was sitting at my side. At least he was reaching out to God, trying to get the help he needed.
But it was a very, very dark time for him.
The next day, we were in the Prayer Room again. A young man near me asked what they were talking about, and I told him that they were praying into a revival that was happening right then at Asbury College in Kentucky. We talked some more and really enjoyed talking to each other. We had to leave the Prayer Room, because they really don’t want people to have whole conversations in there. He told me he was from St. Louis and that his parents’ marriage was not very strong. He told me some of their issues and struggles, and that he was concerned about them. I brought Gary over and just gave him a short synopsis of what this young man had told me. Gary talked to him and then started praying for his parents. He prayed a powerful, heartfelt prayer for them. He really showed love and concern for them.
When he got done, the young man looked at him in shock and amazement. He said that he had never heard anyone pray like that before, and he didn’t think anyone had ever prayed for his parents like that before. He was beyond grateful.
And Gary started making a comeback. He came out from under that black cloud of depression. He felt so good about being able to help someone else and being able to speak love and life and hope into someone else’s life that he had a sense of purpose again.
He still struggled some after that, but I believe that was a major turning point for him.
I have seen that happen for him many times. When he is able to minister to others, it ministers to him, too, and takes his eyes off of his own situation.
When we show love to one another, even when we are not doing too great ourselves, there is a double blessing. We get blessed, and so do they!
Like “Oxygen that breathes satisfaction and happiness into our souls”. I like that comparison.
For more wonderful nuggets of wisdom, might I suggest that you read Sally Clarkson’s book, “Own Your Life”. She has many words of wisdom that come from years of experience of walking with the Lord through homeschooling and raising four children and ministering to women for many years. She is well-seasoned.
I highly recommend all of her books. Her blog at SallyClarkson.com is also very good, and she has recently started a podcast that is just wonderful! You can find the podcast on her blog once a week.
And remember to do everything that you do out of love.
Please tell me about a time that God has used you to breathe life into someone who needed to feel God’s love for them.
Did you feel the breath come back into your own soul when you did it?
Inhale God’s love for you, and exhale His love upon someone else.
What a beautiful cycle.
Morgan is now a movie star!
Well, not yet.
But he could be someday.
He went through acting and modeling classes at John Casablancas Modeling and Career Center this spring and summer. He completed 30 weeks of classes. He was a star pupil from what I understand. He came home with tales of how he amazed and entertained his class and teachers every week. They all really seemed to like and admire him. It was a very good experience for him.
At the graduation, they dressed up to the theme of “A Masquerade”. We worked really hard to gather all of the pieces for his costume for the runway and for his monologue.
Here is his walk on the runway in costume:
He dressed up as a magician for his monologue.
He did so great!
Here is his monologue:
And here are some photos of us with him at his graduation:
And here’s one of the pictures from the day of his photo shoot for his portfolio. I took this one before our photographer, Mike Rovak, arrived.
Now Morgan is ready for auditions and ready to get to work. He’s very ready to make some money!