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Book Review: Be Fruitful and Multiply

Be Fruitful and Multiply

by, Nancy Campbell

Image result for be fruitful and multiply nancy campbellphoto credit

At the time of finishing this book I am due in 4 days with our 6th baby. My husband and I came to the conviction about two years into our marriage that we wanted to give God back the control over when to bring us children. I say give back the control because He should have always had the control in the first place but we tried to take the control into our hands by going on “birth control” to plan when would be most convenient for us to “start a family”. I started thinking that He could bring us a child even while we were on birth control if He really wanted. I started wondering when would be the best time to start having children. After I graduated? After I had a job lined up and we were more financially stable? After Adam made it with golf and was on tour? Etc.? Etc.? Well, I am so thankful the Lord did not allow me to stay in that place for long and that He also prepared my husband’s heart to be on the same page. We decided in December of 2007 to go off birth control and just allow God the complete stage to do what He wanted to do for our family. That exact moment we threw away the pills and decided together I felt this weight come off my shoulder that I didn’t even know I was carrying. I felt freedom and peace and joy; the kind you feel when you finally surrender an area of disobedience over to God and choose to walk down the narrow path He has called His believers to. We told a few close friends and most everyone’s response was “Oh you’ll get pregnant right away”. Well, another full year passed, all of 2008 and we were not pregnant. I began to wonder if we’d even have children. Was infertility in His plan for our life? Everyone said we’d get pregnant right away and it’s been 12 cycles of not getting pregnant. I wasn’t too stressed out since we were still young and busy starting careers but it was on the back of my mind. Finally after one year we got pregnant with our first child. It was such a joy to be surprised, that it wasn’t something we “planned” and this child would be born when we thought was the right time. It truly felt like a gift from God, a blessing. We have no control over the gender of our children and that is a fun surprise. For us it was another fun surprise to have no control over the timing of when we’d have our children. We are now 6 children in and each child has come about the same way… a complete surprise and accompanied with a feeling that we have received a surprise gift from God. His timing is perfect, He knows what we need and is ready to supply it for us. I am challenged as each pregnancy gets harder and more uncomfortable and the demands at home grow greater to remember God’s promises and His heart. I still want Him in control of our family because that’s what He knows is best. I don’t want to get to a place where I say “enough is enough, thank you for the blessings God but I don’t want any more gifts from you, I will take the control back from here.” My prayer lands here to continue trusting Him.

I really enjoyed this book and was thankful that I chose to read it at this time of my life. It helped remind me of God’s heart and what a blessing children truly are. I would recommend reading this book alongside Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, whether you homeschool or not. It is one of the best books out there for mothering in general to remind you of the blessings your children are to you and not inconveniences. 

“Instead of becoming more and mightier, we are becoming less and less. Christians are having as few children as the world. Instead of obeying the Word of God, we have followed the trends of the world. There was a time when Christians believed God and equated children with blessings. But the world, which did not know God, found children a nuisance and hindrance to their lifestyle… the church forgot God’s plan for mankind and gradually succumbed to this humanistic trend.” p. 38

“Psalm 127:5 says, ‘Happy is the man who has his quiver full of children.’ It doesn’t say he’ll be ashamed. It doesn’t say he’ll be miserable. It says he will be happy! Does God lie?” p.71

“… every other ‘thing’ we strive after in this life is fleeting and will pass away. It is only our children that are lasting gifts that we will keep forever. We can take them into eternity with us. Everything else will be left behind.” p. 71

“Satan… knows that if he can limit the arrows from the Christian parents, he can limit the light that will expose his darkness. He can limit the truth that will expose his deceptions. He can limit the arrows that will destroy his works! Yes, the enemy is scared of the godly seed. He is out to destroy it by any means he can.” p. 80

“Although we may feel that ‘our way’ is best for us now, it is not always the best in the long run. Obedience to God’s ways, even when we feel they don’t suit us and it is contrary to everything we want to do, will always lead us to the ultimate blessing. Proverbs 28:26 says, ‘He that trusts in His own heart is a fool’…” p. 117

Philippians 4:19 “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

“The birth control movement was heralded and made public by Margaret Sanger… who… promoted blatant sexual promiscuity… the elimination of inferior races… Contraception, sterilization, and abortion were the perfect methods for getting rid of these ‘human weeds.'” p. 151 (Planned Parenthood was also founded by Sanger)

“Margaret Sanger says, ‘Birth control appeals to the advanced radical because it is calculated to undermine the authority of the Christian churches. I look forward to seeing humanity free someday of the tyranny of Christianity…'” p. 153

“As Christians, we have tried to separate contraception and sterilization from the issue of abortion. But they all have the same purpose. In fact, abortion is a back-up plan to eliminate life if contraception and sterilization are not successful. It is interesting that Satan, who comes with his three-pronged attack to ‘steal, kill, and destroy,’ exposes his ‘elimination life program’ with another threesome of ‘contraception, sterilization, and abortion.'” p. 154

“Dear precious mother, don’t despise the gift that God has given you. You have been ordained to nurture and bring forth life. You are a life-giver. This is the most awesome privilege in the whole of the world.” p. 165

“The progestin in the Combination Pill, and the solely progestin in the Mini-pill, cause the lining of the womb to become thin and shriveled, so when a newly conceived baby tries to implant in the womb, it cannot because the endometrium is shriveled up.” p. 172

“… the primary action of the IUD is to prevent implantation of the week-old new human life in its embryo stage or development…” p. 174

“If we are honest, we must confess that we do not allow God to have control over our reproduction, Even though He is the one who designed and created the womb, we do not want Him to have any control over it.” p.181

Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

101 Reasons Why Mother’s Love Having Children (my favorites from the list):

  • I am honored for the Lord to use my womb again
  • I love to see the faces of my children as they see a new brother or sister for the first time
  • Babies teach the older children so much about caring for little ones, being kind, protective, and unselfish
  • I become a better mother with each child I have
  • Children teach me patience
  • More children give us the opportunity to have our faith increased as we see God meet our daily needs
  • The more children we have, the more impact we have upon the world
  • We want to establish a godly dynasty that will continue down the generations to come
  • Having children helps to develop in us the godly character of servanthood
  • My children help me surrender the selfish desires of my flesh
  • Children help me see my daily dependence on God for His wisdom and strength
  • I want to yield my womb as a living sacrifice to God
  • Our children have taught me the value of relationships and the shallowness of the world’s value system
  • I trust God in all other areas of my life and I want to trust Him in the area of having children, too
  • Children teach me to become a servant, and that’s what Jesus wants us to be. Jesus Himself said He came to serve rather than to be served
  • To be convicted of sin and the need for repentance as I observe my sinful nature in my children’s sinful natures
  • Having children causes us to depend upon God moment by moment!

 

Benjamin Dedication Photo

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Halfway Review of Bigger Hearts: 2018

There is a time and a season for everything. One of the beauties of homeschooling is change. I am seeing that different seasons in our lives require different looks to our homeschool days. I was well advised through some wonderful blogs in my early homeschool journey that if something is not working then change it. Don’t get caught up in what you already had planned or spent or were recommended to do. Pray over your curriculum choices and continuing praying as the homeschool year goes on. Be open to the Spirit’s guidance and what God knows is best for your family. This is something not available in traditional school. If something is not working for your child it is extremely difficult to get the help they need and changing curriculum is not going to be an option.

I have been sensing from God that our time with Heart of Dakota may be drawing to an end. At least for moving forward with their manuals. I may still be using the previous manuals for my littles and something different for my olders. When people ask me how our first semester went this year my initial response is it felt like we were just dragging along. Each day I was trying to get the “important” things done and out of the way and it would usually be full of nagging and we’d be so exhausted once it was done I lost motivation and the kids were too distracted to want to do any of the “activities”. Then we were experiencing frustration with many activities just not turning out the way we wanted them to which aided in the lack of desire to complete them in the first place.

I began praying for God to show me what I was trying to keep in our days that were not helpful or necessary and what were the more important things to keep and what was I missing. Every day I highlighted on our to-do checklist what didn’t get done and it was always the same topics: science, history, alternating activity and read aloud. What needed improvement in these areas for our homeschool day? I tried changing them to different time blocks and orders and still found myself with the same struggle.

I thought about adding back in FIAR for my 4 and 6 year old and my 8 year old really enjoyed tagging along in addition to her Bigger Hearts work. We tried it for about 2 weeks but again it wasn’t the right addition. It was too much extra work for me to plan and frustrated our schedule even more as now my 8 year old was adding extra work and we still weren’t getting done what was on her checklist for school each day.

So here’s what I started doing. I started swapping some things out to things that looked more interesting to us.

  • Apologia Science Young Explorer’s Series: we were not enjoying the One Small Square science reading and activities and I have heard a lot about Apologia and came across these young explorer’s series. We splurged on black friday when they had a sale and bought the Anatomy & Physiology books.
  • The Mystery of History Vol I: I have not purchased this yet but have done a lot of research on it and love the way it looks to be set up. History is another area that I am finding we are bored of from Bigger Hearts. The activities don’t always turn out well for us and the readings seem to bounce all over the place I have a hard time organizing them in my mind as to what is happening when. I love the thought of teaching biblical history alongside world history instead of as two separate entities. I also love that this history is set up as a complete curriculum with activities and additional reading options.
  • Discover 4 Yourself (Precepts Ministry) Bible Study: We often skipped the bible study/verse memorization section of Bigger Hearts because of our commitment to Awana. We spent a lot of time reading through the Awana books and completing extra assignments and verse memorization each day. The bible study through Bigger was good the first couple of weeks but then Amelia got a hang of it and it seemed like it covered the same things each week and she started to get bored. I still wanted her to begin the practice of actual bible study. I just completed my first Precepts Inductive Bible Study by Kay Arthur and had noticed her bible study resources for kids and really wanted my 8 year old to check it out. So we got online and I let her pick out whichever study sounded most interesting to her. She picked out the study on Daniel. This we have already started and I absolutely love it! I am learning a lot alongside her too. I love these because they are perfect for her age but could also go a lot deeper for an older kid as well.
  • Logic of English: HOD has you pick out your own phonics program and we have loved Logic of English. It combines spelling, grammar, phonics and learning to read all in one and I have learned so much about English that I never knew.
  • Singapore Math: HOD uses Singapore math and I have had no complaints. We will stick with this.
  • I also like the Cheerful Cursive handwriting book they use although we also practice cursive with Logic of English and I do like the Rod & Staff Grammar books.
  • The other thing I really like about HOD is their Drawn Into the Heart of Reading program and the book list they have in the back of the manual for the different genres as well as the prompting questions and activities to fill out as you and your student read.

So after evaluating all of this and replacing most of the stuff in the manual I began to realize I really wasn’t going to be following the manual for much. I have not piecemealed a curriculum since the Preschool ABC days and here’s where the seasons come into play that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I had the time and energy and excitement to piecemeal the ABC curriculum but as we moved and had more babies I needed to spend less time putting things together and needed an already put together curriculum that I could just follow and go. That’s when I found Heart of Dakota. It really helped me get an idea of what to fit in each day and how much time to spend on different subjects and what not to leave out. It has been the perfect fit for this past season of our lives. I think we are heading into a new season where now that I’ve got a few years of homeschooling under my belt and am starting to grasp what works for our family I think I can put these different curriculums together to make what really goes well for us.

I don’t know yet when we are going to implement this. We are going to have a baby in 5 days so definitely not right now and not in the next couple of months I would assume. We may start once I feel up to full school days again or maybe we’ll wait through the summer and start in Fall. Another beauty of homeschool… we’ll be doing something but we get to decide what and when as long as we’re ensuring our kiddos are learning and having fun!

 

Beyond Little Hearts and FIAR 2016-2017 School Year

Every year when I plan for the upcoming homeschool year I get a little more excited. I think as my children grow older and we get more into some of the meat of homeschooling and away from the colors and shapes I find more excitement in their progress and in myself dappling in different subjects with them. I am putting together this post to help myself make sure I’ve got all my i’s dotted and t’s crossed before we make 3 road trips and are gone for all of August and start school within days of returning so I’ve got to get everything ready before those trips. Here is the rundown of ages for this year:

Now this is my first year where I really feel like I am homeschooling multiple ages. I know a lot of moms don’t do any “official” school with their 3 and 4 year olds but I have persistent children who want to be at the table with their older siblings and want to have their own “workbooks” and also want to have a little bit of mommy time to teach them. I want them to be included and not get the continual “just go find something quietly to do” phrase. A few years back I extensively planned out our first ABC themed preschool curriculum using free online resources and since all the planning is done I’ve just signed that up for Lydia this year.

I also want to mention that I would have done Little Hearts for His Glory for Joshua this year as that is the age range he falls under (5) but he sat through the last 2 years of the manual alongside Amelia. While a lot of the reading and workbooks he did not do I wanted to give him a year break from it and do FIAR this year and next year when he is 6 we will re-do the manual so he can grasp better the history/science ideas and follow along with the workbooks.

I saw this great schedule idea on Pinterest and copied it to our schoolroom wall and will also share a few of the other schedules I have printed out to try to keep everyone straight (well, me straight and the kids with the least amount of distractions as we all know what a child’s attention span holds!).

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Here is the Pinterest calendar idea… a good way to teach time! (I would link to it from Pinterest but it is just a photo link)

I have decided this year to print out all my planning sheets and schedules and have them spiral bound. This is a big step for me as our life is always in transition and I’ve been nervous about doing this since it seems so permanent but when I was using my clipboard all my papers kept flying all over the place and I’d try to keep a few weeks at a time and file the rest but sometimes would want to look at the future and I just decided to try this and see how I like it! The first page is an Excel schedule… this was based off many lovely homeschool blogs and how they schedule out for multiple kiddos.

This is just more of a summary schedule… these I made more just to help my brain really grasp what I was trying to accomplish in the color coded time blocks of the Excel sheet.

My 4 months at a time calendar to map out our actual school days and time off for holidays/baby, etc.

This is a checklist for me and Joshua with FIAR. This helps me add in the additional curriculum he will be doing and also describes in detail what we will do during his block time of the Excel schedule.

This is the detailed FIAR planning sheet to go with each book. This way I know each day of the week which activity we will be doing and what supplies/books I need to gather.

And here is the BLHFHG planning sheet. I used this sheet I created on Word last year and it was awesome! It takes the boxes in the manual and turns them into a checklist for my list personality and then there’s room for her other extracurricular activities as well as notes on what craft supplies I need for that week.

For Amelia and Joshua’s supplementals we are doing the Logic of English for our phonics program and I am going to incorporate Play and Learn Spanish as well as some possible online Spanish programs like Salsa through the Georgia Public Broadcast system (we do not live in Georgia, it is for anyone) as well as Little Pim Spanish where our library carries all the DVDs for the program. We are also going to work through some Piano Adventures lessons.

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Here is a new Ikea bookshelf I scored at a garage sale with brand new bins for $20 and a globe we got at our church rummage sale : )

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I made this bible verse display to put the weekly verses so we can always be looking at them.

 

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I also scored these mailbox holders at Bed Bath & Beyond on sale for $6 each! And the wicker bins at a garage sale for free! I plan to put the kiddos loose papers in the mailboxes at the end of the day to file at the end of the week and the wicker boxes hold all the BLHFHG books in one, Logic of Enlgish (LOE) books in another and FIAR in another

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Here is my trusty file box from Wal-Mart I’ve used for a few years now… I have big dividers into months and then color coded loose papers for each kiddos lessons for that month (Units 1-3, 3 FIAR books, 3 ABC letter sheets, etc.)

Well I think that about sums it up. I absolutely cannot wait to start! We won’t start until the first week of September due to our travels but once we do we’ll be head hard into it!

Blessings on everyone’s 2016-2017 school year!

Creating & Maintaining a Weekly Schedule

Ask anyone who knew me decently well in college (and even high school and maybe even my close friends today) and any of them will tell you that I become giddy thinking about creating and planning a schedule! I have always loved planners but have always struggled with some limitations. In college my freshman year our Campus Crusade leaders challenged everyone to make an Excel schedule for the week. This was to include our class schedule and any other requirements such as those to Crusade or any club or group we belonged to. The point was to compartmentalize your time and see on paper how much time is spent doing various activities. Then we could see where to cut out or where was appropriate to add in our quiet time and other important ways of spending our time pursuing the Lord. I have been using these Excel files ever since! I loved signing up for classes for each semester because it meant I could plan my Excel file finally!!! Of course my life nowadays is quite different. I abandoned Excel my entire nursing career (any nurses will know why)… my work schedule every week it seemed was different and of course now the challenge arises from having little kiddos. BUT… I have come back to Excel and it works perfectly for my Type A brain and keeps me on track.

I have a few tips I have learned about creating a schedule over the years:

  • set ATTAINABLE goals – I used to have myself studying all sorts of hours in the afternoon and late into the night and then getting up early for my quiet time and get going… NOT REALISTIC. I knew it at the time but it was what I wanted my schedule to look like. It was a goal but not an attainable one. When using a schedule to keep track of your goals you need to be realistic or you will constantly feel like a failure and quit quickly. If you’re wanting to start working out then your goal and schedule should not be 5-7 days/week… that’s hard for anyone to maintain let alone someone just starting out… start with 3 days/week. This is a goal but it is an attainable one. Once you attain it then increase the days.
  • factor in down time and travel time – If something starts at 9 AM, don’t start your block at 9 AM… start it at 8:30 AM. That will allow for travel time and packing for kiddos or anything else that may come up. It is important and falls align with setting attainable goals that you schedule in down time. If you need a nap a couple days a week then schedule that in. Schedule 3 days a week with a nap included and the other 4 days schedule whatever you need to get done during that time. This way you know on Mondays I get my nap!!! And it will be okay because Tuesdays and Wednesdays are set aside to accomplish my other tasks. This way too if you’re not very tired on Monday you can accomplish your Tuesday tasks and then on Tuesday fit in a nap because your tasks are already accomplished!
  • don’t forget to schedule meal times and showering! – Ever since having kiddos (wait… I’ll confess… ever since college!) I have struggled to shower every day. Depending on the age of my kiddos I stick to an every other day plan or 5 days/week. Am I really admitting to this? Of course if I sweat or stink or am covered in baby spit-up that might change. But let’s face it… it can be a challenge to shower when the kids are safely entertained and take the time to get ready on a daily basis! So for me it is important to look at my week and pick days I can skip a shower : ) For example, Wednesdays is zoo day for us which is a long day and takes a lot of preparation. I plan to skip my shower on Wednesday which means it’s vital for me to take one on Tuesday. Tuesday is my women’s bible study in the morning which means I have to plan this shower time in early in the morning to be ready and prepared. It is also important to plan in meal preparation, meal eating and meal clean-up time. Is 15 mins. realistic? Or is it 1 hr? Only you know and every meal, every day and every family is different. On average we spend about 1 hr in the mornings with breakfast prep, eating and clean-up… maybe the same or closer to 1 1/2 hrs in the evening. I need to plan this time in so our mornings aren’t a hectic rush to move on and so at dinner time we’re not sitting down super late for dinner.

So here it is! This is what one week looks like. The top line are the days of the week and the left column are the hours and half hours in the day. I color code based on activity. This I did in college and color coded what was for school, what was for work, etc. For example, the yellow spaces are meal times; the dark blue spaces are church/quiet time/bible study, the red spaces are Amelia’s learning time, etc. Notice all the white spaces : ) those are free times for me! What do I do every afternoon when the kiddos wake up from their naps? Whatever we want/need to do. If we had to run unexpected errands or had dr. appts in the morning and couldn’t do learning time then we can fit it in here. If I’m wanting to create a culinary masterpiece then I have the time to do so here. If we want a special movie night then we can do so here! It is so important to have white spaces so you don’t feel like every single second has to be planned… there’s leniancy.

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Here’s a close-up of my Mondays. I have picked Monday to be laundry day and Friday to be cleaning day. Picking one day a week helps me because if on Thursday I see something needing cleaning attention but my Thursday is already so busy I don’t have to stress wondering how to fit it in… I know that Friday is cleaning day and I will take care of it then.

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Now, while this does look all nice and neat it is just a guideline to run by. Most of these things (except schedule events like church and bible study) happen around this time frame but the days still flow smoother having the guidlines. I want to emphasize something… schedules are great in the moment but require great flexibility. My schedule is only through April because at the end of April we will be welcoming another infant : ) : ) and we will be moving (again!) and we have no idea where or to what type of job so I have no clue what a schedule might look like in May. BUT I wanteId to make the most of every opportunity and instead of just waiting until things seem settled and normal in my life before I make a schedule I wanted to make one for the here and now… no matter how short it may be. This helps all of us stay on track and stay accomplished and focused and productive. I know when I don’t have an idea of how my week and days look then it’s so hard for me to exercise or wake up for my quiet time or whatever it may be. I’ll think that the time will just magically appear at some point and I’ll know what to do in it… but that’s how 5:00 rolls around and I’m still in my PJ’s and we’ve accomplished nothing and I haven’t a clue what to make for dinner and I find myself all of sudden battling a depressed and frustrated attitude.

I have also tried a weekly schedule that is a little less structured such as this one. It actually worked great at the time and I’m sure at some point I will go back to this just depending on what is going on in my life. I fit in our meal schedule for the week and also what we were going to do for learning time that week. I liked having the kiddos nap time schedule in with which days I wanted to accomplish what. This prevented the same feeling of I should research this or that and instead of wondering when it would get done and where to fit it in I had a research period set aside during one nap time day each week so I knew come that day I could sit down and research stuff. I wouldn’t feel guilty like I had something else to do and I didn’t feel overwhelmed at all I wanted to accomplish.

For the Week of:

Weekly Schedule

 

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

                                                                                       *laundry*          *cleaning*

Breakfast:               
Amelia Learning Time (8A – 10A):              
During Joshua Morning Nap (10A – 12P):            
Lunch:                
During Kiddos Afternoon Nap (2P – 5P): Blog Spanish Finances Piano Read Research Spanish Planning Piano
Dinner:                

 And I have also just tried a list format like this one mentioned on this post here. This is still the general flow of my schedule but since living in the city with being at a church that holds a bible study and going to the zoo etc. I needed a little more planning for the entire day.

Good luck with your scheduling!