Of Schooling, Religious Freedom, & Other Various Ramblings

Oh, today was so good for Keith, Nate & me!! Gave Keith a little break & Nate & me perspective again. (Thanks, Mom, for loving the two littles for me while we were gone!!) It was good to be reminded of what goes on in a typical school day. Keith’s in a very good school, but I am so glad our kids get to be home together this year. There are days when I get to thinking Nate might get more in a brick & mortar school. We take each year & child as it comes as to what would be best for them in the schooling department. But you know how the doubts can creep in. Am I covering grammar well enough? Maybe I should be making him read more. Is he using his time as wisely as he should? Sometimes he misses his school friends. Nate went in happily with us today & by ten thirty was asking if I could take him home & I drive back again alone. He wanted to play in the snow with his siblings. We got most of his week’s worth of schooling done yesterday & can finish up the week tomorrow morning after Saturday chores. Yes, we ARE getting enough in. One-on-one is so much more effective! He is catching all he needs & has extra time to listen to Odyssey or play in the snow with his brother & sister. What a precious use of his time! Any past doubts have vanished, and I am thoroughly thankful for this year having the kids together at home.

And I got to see Keith’s schedule first-hand. SO much easier than self-contained!! Middle school is about half the work of elementary (unless you’re teaching something crazy like BAND or something). This year he teaches one lesson four times & then has one reading class & one “extra” class where he can do the fun stuff you can’t normally get done with students due to lack of time (like make podcasts or have speakers in on whatever or do a big project together or take them out geocaching). The “fun” class he just has for one quarter, then repeats four times in the year with four different groups of kids, so the prep is basically in the first quarter only. PLUS he gets a prep period & the only duty he has is watching the kids come in the building for ten minutes & playing kick ball with them for ten minutes after lunch. He loves it! All those things make a HUGE difference in the stress level & prep time at home. God knew exactly what Keith needed to provide the time for his doctoral work. But, we are both grateful he has the years of experience behind him that he does. He will need all of that on his vita & it has made him the teacher he is today – an excellent one!

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Teaching about Hanukkah reminded me again of just how relevant that story is. We need to share it with our children today. I teach Hanukkah to my kids every year, yet really forgot in the long year how relevant it is. If you ever get a chance to see the Nest Entertainment version of it, take the time! It clearly gives the story – shows the culture war that was taking place & the various reactions to it in those days, not unlike the culture wars we face today.

If you aren’t familiar, the Greeks were trying to get everyone to be the same – Greek. They worshiped many gods & they wanted all the Jews to as well. Many Jews gave in & wore the Greek clothing, etc. They didn’t see the big deal in looking
like a Greek. But that blending in made it that much easier to take the next step – go ahead & worship the way they do, too. Soon the Greeks were putting statues in the Jewish temples! It’s like the proverbial frog in the kettle. Many Jews just went along with it each step of the way, not thinking about where it would lead. Step by step the Greeks were wiping out the Jews by erasing their faith. (Sound familiar?) Judah Maccabee & his brothers refused to follow suite, though. He lead the fight against assimilating into Greek culture. God gave them the victory & showed His presence among them when the temple oil that was supposed to only last one day instead lasted eight. The temple was restored & God’s people were again able to worship.

Come to think about it, the people in this story remind me of the Pilgrims in that they didn’t just sit around & melt into the culture around them. They both did drastic things – whatever was necessary – to make sure their families were able to worship the One True God. True heroes.


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