Wednesday, May 30, 2012

He Moves Us

When you chose to homeschool, you did something out of the box. Out of the ordinary. Probably out of your comfort zone, and it's likely that some people though you were out of your mind. But for the sake of your children and their destiny, you shook all of that off and decided to get all radical - gasp! -- in order to invest more deeply in your kids, because they're worth it.

As we learn, we grow, and we become vulnerable to God showing us things we could never have expected to learn about. He moves us unexpectedly, and He did that for our family a couple of years ago.

We had four kids. Two boy, two girls...we had a boy and girl that looked like my husband and a boy and girl that looked like me. Perfect. Well-balanced, even...but not complete.

From early in our marriage, God called us to adoption.  For a long time, it was just an idea to us - something for someday, later, when the kids were older, maybe...honestly, we were not very serious about it.  It was a dreamy idea that sounded nice for someday in the future...until we learned of the real situation. And the real situation is that adoption isn't nice or dreamy at all - it is an urgent necessity because there are anywhere from 140 to 200 million orphans in the world.

They are hungry, sick, unloved, and unvalued. They are without families, without hope, and without a good future...and while we sat in our comfortable home with our perfectly balanced, picturesque family, many of them were dying.  So we decided to do something out of the box.  Out of the ordinary, and certainly out of our comfort zone.  And, yes, some people thought we were out of our mind...but since we're homeschoolers, we've gotten good at ignoring those kind of people.  We kept on moving to what we were called to do, because out of our comfort zone is where the magic happens.

We began the process of adopting two children, Andrey and Reagan. They're not babies, they're both six years old, and they're not siblings...yet. They have lived their entire lives in orphanages.  Through a long, difficult, and emotion-wringing process we have gotten to the point where we will finally bring them home in a few months.  They have little idea, if any, of what this will mean for them. To be perfectly honest, we have little idea, if any, of what bringing them home will mean for us. We have questions and speculations and few answers. Let me share one of the biggest ones with you.

I have to admit that as a homeschooling mom, I really struggled with how adoption would impact the education I was already trying to provide for our biological kids. Would I be able to continue teaching our other four as well as we have been? Or will we be consumed with special needs? We don't know how long it will take to teach Andrey and Reagan English, much less how long it will take to teach them how to read.  How will they behave? How will our biological kids behave once we are all together? How long will it take for this to all shake out? I was really spinning for a while.

But time and prayer can solve a lot of hard questions, and I realized this: bold compassion is the great education. No education we can provide any of our kids is worth a puff of hot air if we are simultaneously teaching our kids cowardice and selfishness.  How much more will these four biological children of mine be able to accomplish in life as they grow up with an understanding of compassion and meeting the needs around them?  This reality will be the pivotal point of their education.

We also realized that as a homeschooling family, we are uniquely qualified to give adoptive children an atmosphere of healing, joy, and hope. We are home. We are together. We are already tailoring our children's education to fit their needs and interests, instead of having them shuffled through a cookie-cutter regime of someone else's idea of learning in an artificial environment. We invest in them deeply, because they are worth it.

This is the crux that flips everything else on its head.  This compassion and value for each life moves our education from mere academics to passionate ministry that changes the world.  This is why we learn, this is why we pursue a deeper education...because the more we learn, the more we can do about this.

Going out of the ordinary to achieve the extraordinary is familiar terrain for us. For the sake of our children - all of them - and their great destiny, we pursue what He has for us out of our comfort zone, because that's where He moves us.

Shannon is an Alaskan homeschooling mom who blogs about life at Copperlight Wood and Baruch's Lullaby


Monday, May 21, 2012

Interview With Shannon of Baruch's Lullaby

Neckwarmer, Earwarmer, Headwrap

Tell Us A Little About Yourself:         I am a happy homeschooling, Jesus-loving, Alaskan mama. I have four kiddos, and my husband and I are in the process of adopting two more children from Eastern Europe. We read lots of books, do mounds of laundry, shovel tons of snow, and laugh a lot...usually at each other.

How Did You Begin Working In You Craft And How Did That Work Develope Into A Business:    I learned briefly to knit when I was little, and re-taught myself as an adult (because we homeschoolers are stubbornly self-sufficient like that). I eventually started making my own designs and patterns, and after encouragement from friends, I started thinking I could really sell my items...which would be immensely helpful in justifying a growing yarn addiction. *grin* I started selling at craft fairs and briefly entertained consignment and wholesale venues, and then started selling directly through Etsy and personal contacts.

Crazy Love Knit Scarf

What Is One Of Your Favorite Homeschool Memories Thus Far:  We probably have favorite homeschool memories every week, but just yesterday our five-year-old blew us away with his knowledge of Tchaikovsky, President Washington, and the Bible in a ten minute span of dinner conversation. We were amazed! Some days it seems like we'll never get past teaching the kids how to tie their shoes, but then they surprise you with how much they really are paying attention.

Pumpkin Baby Mittens

What Advise Would You Give To Other Homeschool Families Who Are Also Trying To Run A Homebusiness Right Now:  My advice would be to remember what comes first - and in our home, what comes first is raising world-changers in a happy, loving, enchanting environment. If I'm on the computer marketing all the time, I can't facilitate that, so I get that type of work done when the kids are playing or in bed. With Baruch's Lullaby, I'm able to blend a lot of business and homeschool together (I can knit while reading to the kids!) and that ability to multi-task is really the only way I can do this. But I really think that homeschooling and family businesses go together so well, because it is a constant education. The kids see me learning or researching pretty often, and they understand the immediate practical need for it. They have a better understanding of economics and other practical business matters that they may not get if they were either public-schooled and/or in a family without a home there are great benefits, if the kids are not sacrificed on the altar of materialism in the first place.

Crocheted Headband With Vintage Buttons

Where Do You Find Inspiration For You Pieces:   What inspires me? Copious amounts of caffeine, I think! Also, having kids while living in extreme weather conditions helps inspire a lot of new and necessary designs for keeping warm throughout the year.

What Are Some Of Your Specific Goals Both For Your Business And For Your Homeschool:  Business-wise, I would love to get my patterns all typed out. They are all scribbled in a notebook (and in my head) and they would not make sense to very many people if they were ever to be found, and it would be nice to have them somewhere legibly organized in case I ever want to be serious about selling patterns. Homeschooling-wise, I just want to keep loving what we're doing and doing it well. Our joy is a real efficient barometer of how we are doing, and when it dives, we know we need to do some tweaking. On a specific note, I'm excited to start reading Dickens' works with my oldest son this year, and to introduce my oldest daughter to Anne of Green Gables (sigh!).

Coconut White Itty Bitty Kitty Cap

Where Else Can We Find You Online:

On Facebook
On Etsy
On Our Blog

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Team Treasuries

As continued inspiration to us all, I have captured some images of relatively recent team treasuries.

The beautiful array of colors and items show the lovely items Schooling at Home Etsyians have to offer.  Click on any of the images to see the rest of these treasuries or to shop for any of the items.

Special thanks to Heidi from The Blissful Stitcher, Erin from Bartley Dannan Designs, and H. Gray from Cake in the Morn for curating these treasuries.