Ten Things a Homeschooling Dad Needs to Consider at this Time of the Year

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August is a significant month in the life of a homeschooling family.  It is the month where, if you haven’t already, you need to nail down several things related to homeschooling.  Here are ten things to consider.

1. Talk.  With your spouse.  Make it a date but with the specific purpose of discussing her ideas, struggles and goals for the upcoming year.  You need to make this happen and can use this list as a guide.

2. Curriculum.  A great place to start this discussion with your wife.  Help her with the research or discuss the research that she has already done.  Talk to other homeschooling families, use the internet, interact with the curriculum developers, but don’t lose sight of the importance of a product saturated with a Biblical worldview – not just a Bible verse or two tacked on to the end of a lesson.  What about developing academic excellence and critical thinking in your child?  Does the product cover all subjects necessary for a well-rounded education?  How do the various subjects interact with each other?  Who are the authors and what are their backgrounds and qualifications?  Even if your spouse takes the lead in this, make sure you have skin in the game by asking questions and understanding the options before you make a buying decision.

3. Should you teach a class?  Most dads are at the office or factory for 40-50+ hours per week – plus your commute.  It’s difficult to find a lot of time to teach a class.  I’m not talking about assisting your wife and child(ren) on a project, field trip or their homework – I mean teaching the class from A to Z.  I taught both of my boys a personal finance class over the course of two years.  I chose the excellent Larry Burkett/Crown Financial materials because I was familiar with and taught it several times to adults at our local church.  If you are talented in a certain area, have experience or just plain love a subject (like history or math), suggest to your wife that you teach that particular class and schedule it around your regular work hours.

History Fair - Foley as the Swamp Fox!

History Fair – Foley as the Swamp Fox!

4. Should you teach a Bible class?  I regret not having done a better job in this area.  Obviously as Christian parents, in addition to being invested in our local church body, we desire to weave biblical precepts into all of our discussions with our children, including their education.  This is why I strongly support using curriculum from an educational resource company that has a STRONG biblical worldview.  If I as a parent have a choice of reading a secular book on parenting or a biblical book on parenting, which should I choose?  Easy answer.  The same goes for your kids’ curriculum.  I digress.  I wish I had been more involved in actually teaching through solid Bible materials.  I would encourage fathers to seriously consider this—it can become part of your family worship, devotions, dinner time routine, etc.

5. Setting expectations with your kids. Now might be a good time to pull your family together to have a chat about some basic expectations for the upcoming school year.  Address any problems or issues from the previous year and how they will be rectified moving forward.  Maybe use this time to plan some incentive activities based on academic and attitudinal performance each month, semester, or for the whole year.  Talk about potential field trips, science & history fairs and projects to get the juices flowing.  Use this time to pray for the upcoming academic year.

6. Extracurricular activities. Opportunities abound here. Do not discount the importance of leading your kiddos to participate in local sports, music lessons and even things like horsemanship.  We encouraged all of our kids at an early age to try something musical—this included singing in the Patch the Pirate Club at church and taking piano lessons.  Although none of them ended up pursuing piano after a few years, I view none of it as a waste of time or money. They learned a good deal about life (anything done well takes a lot of work) and were exposed to things they may not have otherwise taken notice of.  On the other hand, each of our kids jumped into sports and ended up playing them all the way through high school; now two of them are playing sports in college and reaping the positive financial benefits!   For others maybe it is Boy Scouts, or soap-box derby cars or the local little theater, ballet or the Civil Air Patrol. Talk with your kids, pick something that seems appropriate, check it out, and make sure they understand that if they commit there is no backing out for a set period of time (teaching another great life lesson on commitment); then dive in and enjoy watching your kids learn and flourish.

7. Outlet for mom. Guys, for the most part we interact with other adults (or at least people that are adult aged!) all day long at work.  Mom is at home with the kids doing the heavy lifting of teaching day in and day out.  Make sure you—as the leader of the home—provide her with regular outlets to connect with other women.  I’m not just referring to church (although that is hugely important) or talking to her mom or sister on the phone every few days.  Encourage her to network with other homeschoolers at church or your neck of the woods.  For us, finding and joining a homeschool co-op when our kids hit the middle grades was not only one of the most positive and substantive things we did, but I believe it provided the fiber we needed to continue to homeschool into the high school years and ultimately to finish the task!

8. Special events & projects.  My wife relied on me to assist with these and, looking back, I relished the opportunity to participate in a real and direct way with my kids on projects and field trips.  Both my boys participated several times either in science or history at a local college that held excellent fairs in both those subjects.  We spent dozens of hours getting ready for these and my boys and I were immersed in the subject matter that we helped them pick.  It was usually something they were interested in but wanted to learn more about.  Field trips was something else I tackled with gusto – whether it be an outing to the local fire department or a faraway place – there was ALWAYS a way to pull academic learning into the equation with a little prep work on the front end.  Work with your wife to use these times to reinforce what she is doing in the classroom.  What great memories! So dad, consider jumping in here if you have not done so in the past.

Country Rec League baseball and softball

Country Rec League baseball and softball

9. Discipline. This goes along with #4 but let me take it a bit further.  I have in jest said to folks who ask us about homeschooling that my wife is the teacher and I am the principal and business manager!  You need to support your wife in this incredible endeavor and one of the primary ways you can show it is by taking the lead in being the disciplinarian with your children.  One morning, when the oldest of our three was about eight or nine, my wife called me at the office (35-40 minutes from home) with some desperation in her voice saying that our son (she may have said “your” son) was acting up.  Now understand—my wife had no problem being a disciplinarian when she needed to be, but somehow on this particular morning after perhaps several days of disobedience, she was reaching out because she was struggling with him.  At that moment, I realized saying “It will be all right, sweetheart, we’ll talk about it when I get home tonight – and by the way, he’s only eight so I’m sure you can take care of it,” was not going to work and would not be fair to her or my son.  I said, “Don’t say anything to him, I’ll be home in 40 minutes,” and I jumped in my car and drove home.  I had time to pray and think about my response on the way – which was good.  When I walked in the door my son was clearly surprised, and without me saying a thing, by the look on his face I could see that he knew why I was home.  It was one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I could have made.  Those 30 minutes with my son allowed him to adjust his thinking for the rest of that school year (and beyond) and it demonstrated in a very real way to my wife that I had her back.  I wish I could say that I handled every discipline issue in the same calm, cool and collected manner, but that would be untrue.

10. Budget. Do not forget this!  Homeschooling requires a ton of sacrifice and a large chunk of that is financial.  Make sure you assist your wife in setting up and working through a homeschooling budget. I don’t understand husbands who expect their wives to homeschool with nothing.  That isn’t right.  Scrimp and save, cut coupons, reuse and recycle, whatever you choose to do—even if it means selling the bass boat or golf clubs or downsizing your vehicle or eating out less—make sure she has both the funds and your blessing to get what she needs to get the job done right: namely curriculum, school supplies, technology, and participating in other homeschool related events.

I could certainly add more to this list, but I’ll stop there.  Remember, dads, regardless of how much or how little you are actually involved in the homeschooling of your children, you are ultimately responsible for this incredible calling.

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So who determines what makes a word a ‘bad’ word?

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This was a question one of my sons asked me this past weekend while we spent a few days at the Carolina coast (aka ‘the beach’).  It also happened to be biker week, which we kind of came to that conclusion the closer we got to Myrtle Beach.  We finished a great seafood dinner, loaded up our Yukon XL to head back to the condo, popped the sunroof and rolled down the windows to enjoy the warm salty rumbly air and as we passed another restaurant (nightclub would probably be a better description) at a crawl surrounded by Harleys, someone was on the PA-system and in the seven seconds we were within sound range we heard several vulgar words spoken.

Hence the question?  My immediate answer was God and society.  Was I right?  The question has been rolling around in my head with the left over exhaust fumes since then.

I reminded my boys that one of God’s ten commandments has to do with words.  Actually at least one more deals with words (the one about bearing false witness against a neighbor) but I was referring to not taking the name of the Lord God in vain.

What does that verse mean?  When we say ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ it should never be in a flippant trivial way.  It should only be in the context of speaking in an honorable and reverent way to or about God or Jesus.

A mentor recently out of the blue shared with me that I periodically use “gosh” or “golly” in my speech. I knew this but never gave it much thought – something I just picked up along the way.  He asked me what those words mean?  I didn’t quite know how to answer him, starting to feel a little defensive but also intrigued . . . did I know the definition of those words?  I had to admit that I did not and then did the next sensible thing – Googled them.  You know what?  They are substitutes for the word ‘God’.  I was taken aback and appropriately so.  Same would go for the word ‘geez’ or the phrase ‘dad gum’.  After thinking about it for a few days trying to convince myself how hard it would be to banish those seemingly ‘harmless’ words from my vocabulary – I decided that God and his son Jesus Christ are too important for me to even unintentionally trivialize their names or even substitutes for their names.  So I asked God to help me in banishing even those words from my vocabulary and I’m working at it.

So God makes it clear that we are not to use his name inappropriately.

What about other words?  Who decides if d**n, s**t, h**l, g*y and other words that I won’t list but you know what I’m referring to are okay to be used?  Some folks I know use them regularly in their speech. Others use them only when they are mad, pushed into a corner or when they hit their proverbial thumb with a hammer.  Are these words to be part of our everyday vocabulary – especially as professing Christ followers?

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NGU at Erskine – 2013

Of course there isn’t a verse in scripture that provides a list of words (in Greek or Hebrew of course) and says “Don’t use these words!”.  Believe me, I tried to find it and it is not in the Christian Bible.  So what does the Bible say about words and communication?

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”  Psalm 141:3

“Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips.  All the words of my mouth are righteous; and there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.”  Proverbs 8:6-8

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Ephesians 4:29

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”  Luke 6:45

John Piper wrote a great little article on this very subject and I love what he says – “In the end the battle for purity in the mouth is fought in the heart, because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If you don’t like what comes out of your mouth, listen carefully this morning, because the apostle Paul is at pains in this text to clean up your mouth from the inside out.

So if a person takes the name of God in vain, or trivializes the realities of hell and holiness, or turns sexuality into vulgarity, or makes words into weapons of one-upmanship and meanness, then we can say for sure, “There is a rottenness inside the tree as well as outside.” If the fruit is bad, the root is bad.

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Woodruff High School pre-game huddle – 2013

If we see this, we won’t be as surprised with what comes next in the text. It is not what you might expect. We might expect Paul to admonish us to clean up our language. We might expect him to talk about words that are not vulgar or rotten or corrupt, but are pure and wholesome and creative and clear. But Paul doesn’t do what we expect.

Instead of proposing clean language, he proposes a whole new way of thinking about language. Instead of saying, “You don’t need dirty language to communicate your intention,” he says, “The root issue is whether your intention is love.” In other words the issue for Paul is not really language at all; the issue is love. The issue is not whether our mouth can avoid gross language; the issue is whether our mouth is a means of grace. You see he shifts from the external fruit to the internal root. He shifts from what we say to why we say it. That’s the issue.”

I would encourage you to read his article that goes into much more detail and provides a strong scriptural basis on these thoughts at http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/make-your-mouth-a-means-of-grace

So am I going overboard with all of this?  I don’t think so because I don’t think Christ would think so.  What I say and the words I use matter – and I’m giving you permission to hold me accountable to my choice of words.

Book Review – Thunder in the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War 1920-21

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untitledReading a recent copy of a NRA Rifleman magazine I came across an intriguing article about a “battle” that was fought in West Virginia between coal miners that were trying to unionize and the coal mine owners / operators, WV State Police, local county police and volunteer civilians.  And what was even more surprising is that by some estimates there were over 13,000 armed men that fought in a pitched battle that lasted several days in 1921 with a million rounds of ammunition fired, the use of automatic weapons on both sides, the commandeering of trains and Model T’s to move the “troops” to the front, and the use of three bi-planes to drop homemade bombs on the ‘Miner Army’.

I set about doing some research and found that there are two books written on the subject and obtained both as used copies through eBay.  This title is written by Lon Savage and was published in 1990 (195 pages) by The University of Pittsburgh Press.

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Armed coal miners

The book reinforced my belief that, although most union activity today is politically charged and virtually an organ of the Democratic Party and seems to be more about trying to figure out how not to work employees and how to put companies out of business, unions did serve useful and appropriate purposes at certain periods in our nations history.

Why do unions form?  It is primarily because employers (stockholders, owners and management) do not treat their employees with respect, honesty and appropriateness.  When employers take advantage of their employees, and in some cases like the example of the West Virginian coal miners and treat them worse than animals, unions have formed to provide a voice for the average worker.  In the south where I live, most states have right-to-work laws that for the most part have created a good environment for employers and employees alike – working together to build great products and grow opportunities for employees and local communities.  Look no further than the booming non-unionized BMW manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County and the new Boeing plant in Charleston.

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Old miner from the Battle of Blair Mountain – 1921

The forward was written by a John Sayles and I especially liked his statement that “when a colonized people learn they can fight back together, life can never again be so comfortable for their exploiters”.

Without a doubt there were crimes committed on both sides but it seems the ongoing provocations that were heaped in multitudes on the coal miners, especially by the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency that was employed by the mine operators to enforce their own brand of lawlessness, led to a group in society that finally said “enough!”.

The three West Virginian counties that were in open rebellion against the local authorities were finally quelled by the peaceful intervention of federal troops including General Billy Mitchell’s squadron of Martin bombers (used for reconnaissance).  Most accounts indicate the up to several dozen men were killed during the battle with the miner’s bearing the brunt of the deaths.

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Battlefield Site – Blair Mountain, West Virginia

Although hundreds of the miners and their leaders were jailed, very few were convicted and even those had their sentences commuted after only a few years – the local population was understandably heavily sympathetic to their plight.  It would not be until the 1930’s under President Roosevelt when the mines along the Kanawha River in the wilds of southwest West Virginia were finally unionized.

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Miners being disarmed by U.S. soldiers

It seems we have a new war on coal taking place – this time waged by the extreme environmentalists, the EPA and our federal government verses corporations, citizens that need employment and states.

The story is interesting as much as it is compelling . . . could this happen again today in these United States?

One Fewer of the Greatest American Generation

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“They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. They succeeded on every front … As they now reach the twilight

James “Bob” Alexander Hammons – February 8, 1922 – April 27, 2014

of their adventurous and productive lives, they remain, for the most part, exceptionally modest … In a deep sense they didn’t think that what they were doing was that special, because everyone else was doing it too.”

— Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation

World War Two veterans are dying now at the rate of over 600 per day with less than 9 percent of those that served still alive today.  One of these great men, James “Bob” Hammons, crossed the dark river on April 27th, 2014.

His obituary in the Winston-Salem Journal reads

Mr. James “Bob” Alexander Hammons, 92, passed away Sunday, April 27, 2014 at the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home. He was born February 8, 1922 in Forsyth County to the late Pierce and Amanda Hunter Hammons. Mr. Hammons was a veteran of the U.S. Army serving during WWII and fought at the Battle at the Bulge receiving the Bronze Star. He was a fireman with the Winston-Salem Fire Department for 15 years and later joined the Winston-Salem Police Department as Officer Friendly now known as the D.A.R.E Program. Mr. Hammons enjoyed watching the Atlanta Braves. He was involved with the youth for Christ and he coached Pop Warner Football for many years. Mr. Hammons was a former longtime member of Calvary Baptist Church and a current member of Center Grove Baptist Church. Throughout his life he was a humble man maintaining a sweet and simple demeanor that won the trust and hearts of many, who even now are being changed by his witness of constant nurturing, love and faith. His signature gift of joy shown through his constant smiling, are the love of his country, family, faith, and friends will never be forgotten.

Attending my college graduation, May 1987

I first met Bob when a Freshman at Wake Forest University. My parents had joined a new church in Winston-Salem and Bob, with his wife Helen, also had recently joined and they became good family friends. Bob and Helen never had any children so I think he took a shine to the four George kids. After I transferred to Bob Jones University we continued our friendship as I would visit home and attend church periodically on the weekends (my real motivation was primarily to see my future bride) as well as get-togethers and meals with them during the summers. They attended my college graduation along with my parents, maternal grandparents, siblings and fiancé. We continued to see each other periodically for several years after graduation but with the busyness of life: working 50+ hours a week, having three children and living several hours away, to my own discredit, I somehow lost contact with him. My younger brother Jeremy became a fireman in Winston-Salem so Bob remained a mentor and friend to him to the very end.

Mr. Hammons visiting me while at college with some of my other family members

What I remember most about Bob was his kindness, gentle spirit, soft spoken words and his fierce protection of Helen. He also loved the Lord Jesus Christ and was a faithful example to anyone that ever met him through the testimony of his life. One summer while home from college, living with my parents and working for tuition money – I found a stray dog. It was a small terrier mix that was well trained and with a sweet disposition which promptly took up residence in my bedroom (and on my bed) for several weeks as we diligently tried to find his rightful owner. Several weeks later the Hammons visited for a meal and as a result were introduced to this little dog who promptly became their “child” for many years. I remember visiting their home several months later thinking that this pooch absolutely had it made living with Bob and Helen!

3″ Anti-Tank Gun similar to Bob’s weapon.

My other fascination with Bob was his service in the American Army during the Second World War. He was a Sergeant in the 825th Tank Destroyer Battalion (towed) and was stationed in the cold and snowy Ardennes Forest along the German – Belgian border on December 16, 1944 and ended up at the ‘tip of the spear’ when the Germans launched their last ditch effort to end the war during what is now commonly known as “the Battle of the Bulge”.

Bob wrote a short story of this event, including his short time as a POW during the German attack –

A Night in the Potato Bin
Sgt James A. HAMMONS, A Company, 825th TDB

Location of Stavelot where the 825th Tank Destroyer Battalion was defending the bridge across the Ambleve River. Americans defensive positions in blue and the German attack in red.

In December, 1944, we were singing Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” thinking the war was just about over. But December 16th it was a different tune as we were moving under cover of darkness over mountainous terrain to plug a hole in the line at Stavelot, Belgium. We arrived there at 0400 hours and suddenly, hearing tanks being revved-up on the other side of the hill, Lieutenant Jack Doherty, our platoon commander, ordered two units to proceed across a bridge, up a hill to investigate. Sergeant Armstrong’s unit was first up the hill and we followed, with Sergeant Jonas Whaley in charge. We paused momentarily to check a soldier in a jeep that had been shot but he was dead and we continued up the hill.

Ambleve River Bridge at Stavelot in 1944.

Ambleve River Bridge at Stavelot, Belgium in 1944.

In just a few minutes as we reached the top, a flare went up from a trip wire and the Germans opened up with fire power. Our town troops back across the river began to shoot and we were caught in the cross-fire. We tried to retreat but the Germans had pulled a tank or an ’88 in a curve and began to shoot, hitting Sergeant Armstrong’s unit, setting it on fire. We were behind them and trapped so we had to leave our unit for cover. I was handed a 30 caliber M.G. from the pedestal mount and four of us took shelter inside a tin shed. Momentarily, the German infantry came in droves and we ran into a house and upstairs by a window. The only weapon we had was the machine gun and a carbine with the barrel filled with mud. Naturally, we had to hold our fire as we were out-numbered by the Germans. We watched as they used a burp gun to kill Sergeant Armstrong and part of his crew, trying to get out of the burning unit.

The 825th TDB was a towed unit so more than likely M3 Halftracks were the prime movers that pulled their anti-tank guns

Realizing there was nothing we could do, we retreated to the basement where there was a potato bin and got inside. Later a German soldier came down and took a position just outside the open potato bin, and we waited for him to toss in a hand grenade or shoot us with his burp gun but evidently they wanted to interrogate us. All day long we waited while our own outfit, the 825th Tank Destroyer Battalion, knocked out several Tiger tanks and one Royal. Lieutenant Doherty’s jeep was hit at that time hit at that time and he and his driver Earl Shugart were blown out, but Lieutenant Doherty continued to direct fire against the oncoming German army. In the evening at about 2000 hours, after it had gotten dark, the German soldier went upstairs to eat, I guess, and we took advantage of his absence to escape. We ran down a hill, silhouetted by a burning building, when the Germans opened up with machine gun fire. We managed to get to the river as three mortar rounds landed on the other side of the cold, swift river we tried to cross. We crawled several miles to a dam and skimmed across, finally making it to the 119th Infantry Regiment of the 30th Infantry Division where we were shot at but were quickly identified as GI’s and were taken in and given warm clothing and “K’s.”

American soldiers of th3 289th Infantry Regiment during the Battle of the Bulge

American soldiers of the 289th Infantry Regiment moving to plug the gaps during the Battle of the Bulge

Next morning the four of us, Willie Banes, Leonard Walsh, Ike Echorn and myself, were taking two German prisoners back to the C.P. when we met Lieutenant Doherty and Sergeant Wester Lowe looking for us. We were so elated when we saw them, we let the prisoners go, jumped into the jeep and were taken to Malmedy where we were attacked the next morning by the Germans at a road block using captured American vehicles. There were no prisoners taken because we had already heard about the massacre of Americans just outside of Malmedy toward Stavelot.   While in Malmedy we were bombed three days straight by our own planes whose pilots were told the Germans held Malmedy – but they didn’t. Fortunately, we escaped with only vehicles destroyed and no loss of life, but much shaken by that experience.

Captured American soldiers massacred on December 17, 1944 at Malmedy, Belgium

Captured American soldiers massacred on December 17, 1944 at Malmedy, Belgium

[Very little has been said about the battles in Stavelot and Malmedy because there was no news media there; however, Company “A” 825th Tank Destroyer Battalion under the leadership of Lieutenant Doherty and Sergeant Lowe, and other army units, delayed and repelled the Germans and a major breakthrough was halted until reinforcements could come. As I look back now, I don’t see how we survived the onslaught and the bitter cold, icy and snowy weather we had to contend with during those historical days of December, 1944. Maybe it was because we were well trained, disciplined and proud young men.]

Now a days we throw the word “hero” around way to much and it is usually misapplied in describing most individuals.  Bob Hammons was the real thing.

All photos public domain unless otherwise noted.

The REAL superstar of homeschool graduation ceremonies

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Steph and Cooper

Steph & Cooper – 1996

At 4:00 PM this afternoon, May 10th, 2014, our second son Cooper received his homeschool diploma along with 21 other homeschool graduates from the Upstate area of South Carolina. The ceremony was all about these 21 students, and rightly so—their hard work and discipline these last 13 years of schooling; their accomplishments in academics, music, sports, community service, leadership and other extra-curricular activities; and those bright future plans that are no longer on the distant horizon but are about to materialize.

There were testimonies and remembrances of co-op teachers, grandparents, siblings, youth pastors, parents and other friends and mentors. It was a great time of recognition and celebration—that’s what you do to put the capstone on this portion of a wall you’ve labored on for all these years. A similar scene will be played out at hundreds of other locations across the country over the next few weeks—homeschool co-ops, Christian schools, private and public high schools. Graduates will take front and center stage for good reason. But as I’ve worked through my own emotions these last few weeks one thing keeps crowding out the other thoughts in my mind: what about mom?

Science Class – Cooper with pet chicken Jonah – 2001

Any mom has an incredible load on her hands with just one kiddo—the ‘basic’ stuff like birthing, diapers, laundry, meals, cleaning, shopping, projects, homework, discipline and ongoing conversations, play time, naps, errands, taxi service, the list goes on and on (this is where I begin to feel exhausted). But on top of this the homeschool mom—along with her husband, hopefully—has made the decision to teach her child(ren) academically, committing to the immense effort required for just one year of schooling (multiplied by however many kids in the family). All those subjects—math, reading, literature, history, Bible, spelling, phonics, science, English, Spanish, economics, government, and Latin (phew!)—can be daunting, and have been for many. But when I look back over the last 13 years at a mom who has done this for the entire duration of her child’s education, I feel like Job—and stand in awe.

South Carolina requires 180 school days each year. If you count half that number for kindergarten and then add up first through twelfth grade you end up with 2,220 days of schooling to reach high school graduation. My wife taught Cooper for 2,220 days over the last 13 years, in addition to her other ‘normal’ responsibilities. What a mom does to fulfill her calling is extraordinary by any measure, and I certainly want to recognize and congratulate all moms who see a son or daughter cross that stage wearing that cap and gown this year; but there is something immensely special about the homeschool mom. In closing, all I can do is echo with thanksgiving the words written by King Lemuel found in the book of Proverbs of the Christian Bible:

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

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History Field Trip – Notre-Dame Cathedral – Paris – 2005

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.

She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.

She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.

She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.

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Physical Education Class – Sugar Mountain, NC – 2008

She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

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Steph & Cooper’s big day – May 10, 2014 with Foley and Payton

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

                               ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”

                                                                                  – Proverbs 31:15-31 (ESV)

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Cooper – 2014

Congratulations are in order, Cooper, but let’s both recognize your mom as the REAL superstar of your graduation today!

 

Cooper plans to attend Bob Jones University this fall as an Exercise Science major and has signed a letter of commitment to play Basketball with the BJU Bruins.

Why blog?

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So why start blogging?

The real catalyst has been the new role I took on in October 2012 with a sister company of Genesis, where I currently serve as President. Precept Marketing Group is a rep group that sells education products to the Christian K-12 and home school market.

The home school division is called HomeWorks and the heart and soul of that business unit is the 200 consultants who blanket the country (and parts of Canada) to support new and existing home school families. These consultants are primarily moms (and a few dads!) at various stages in their personal home schooling journey and who for the most part have extensive hands-on experience with our primary product line—BJU Press. BJU Press (www.bjupresshomeschool.com) has an incredibly comprehensive and proven curriculum that covers the entire educational experience for children and young adults. It has a solid biblical worldview, stresses academic excellence, promotes critical thinking, is adaptable to different learning styles and utilizes an academically sound philosophy of education—with the teacher (parent) as the key.

The home school community for the most part thrives on the internet—gaining and sharing a lot of information. HomeWorks needs to be more proactive in using technology to connect with our current customers and reach the thousands of new families that are joining the home school ranks every year. Over the last year I have worked to educate myself and my team about websites, analytics, email marketing, blogging, social media and all the seemingly gazillion details about how all these work together. While digging in, I’ve discovered that we have some pretty talented people on our team in addition to the outside specialist assisting us on this journey. It has been said that the best way to learn a foreign language is to immerse yourself in that country and culture. I believe the same holds true with technology; so in order to better understand what we need to do and what our customers would like to see from us I decided to jump in and start doing it myself. That is largely why I am here writing this blog.

But I do have other areas of interest! The list is long and varied. I want to engage with others on subjects such as:

  • Christian theology, evangelism, missions and discipleship;
  • auto mechanics and automobiles;
  • marriage, family and parenting;
  • church life;
  • animal husbandry and hobby farming;
  • small business and management;
  • marketing and sales;
  • leadership and servant-hood;
  • Christian publishing, product and retailing;
  • bat-turning;
  • the 2nd Amendment and politics;
  • current events;
  • travel;
  • personal finance;
  • organization and time management;
  • fitness and bicycling;
  • photography;
  • my kid’s athletic endeavors
  • and my personal walk with Jesus Christ.

Rafting the Chattooga River

So join me on this journey—it’s a Pilgrims Journey with many twists and turns, triumphs and disappointments. Jesus told us that he came to the world that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10b). That’s the life I want through him.

David George