Delight-Directed Learning {A New Series}

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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Have you ever heard of delight-directed learning? Basically, it is a way to help your kids learn without realizing they are doing the hard work of learning. It means running with a topic that truly interests them and diving deep into it. Over our years of homeschooling we have used delight-directed learning mostly in the form of unit studies. It was during these times that my boys came alive and were eager to learn more. While there will always be subjects my boys struggle with {like math}, delight-directed learning can help keep them curious about the world and retain that love of learning.

My friend, Marcy, over at Ben and Me is doing a month-long series on how to use direct-delighted learning in July. You can hop over here to see what each day's topic will be. Marcy will have several contributors to these posts {including myself} so you will get to hear from different homeschooling moms and how they incorporate unit studies, rabbit trails, and "delightful" learning into their days with their kids. There will be posts on using curriculum as a jumping off point, gaps in learning, the book basket technique and so much more!

If you are interested, Marcy has also created a planner for this type of learning. Last month I had a chance to go through it and review all the great pages and information she provides. If you are interested in purchasing Delightful Planning, just click here!

I can't wait to read all the posts in this series! How about you? Are you interested in incorporating a bit of delightful learning this coming school year?

Five Verses to Deal with Disappointment

Monday, June 29, 2015

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We all feel it at some time or another...the ache of not getting what we want. Our hopes dashed. These past few years I have been learning that life doesn't always turn out the way you hoped it would. Dreams die with no way to recover what is lost. The only option is to move forward on a different path...a path that requires trust...

When disappointment comes how do you handle it? Me? I tend to pout {even if it is internally} and push forward with my original hope even when it isn't wise. God has been teaching me through my Word of the Year {HOPE} that I need to not place my hope in my dreams, other people, or my personal plans. Hope should land in only one God Himself. When our dreams don't turn out as hoped we should put our trust in the One with the perfect plan.

Here are a few "Verses of Hope" I have been camping on lately to help me deal with life's disappointments.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11  I know this verse is used over and over again in Christian circles, but it is a great reminder that when our dreams and plans don't pan out God is still in control. Even if what is happening to us looks like harm, God can use it for a greater purpose.

Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you have planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5  I have camped out on this verse time and again. When it comes right down to it He has a plan for our lives. There have been times when I fought His plan only to come to find out years later that it was exactly what I needed.

These were all commended for their faith, yet not of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40 What a comfort to know that the great men and women in the Hall of Faith faced disappointment. They were even promised certain things which they never were able to experience this side of heaven. God's plan for our lives is bigger than we could ever imagine and may stretch beyond our time here on earth.

For I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. Philippians 1:19 This verse has been an anchor for me since 2013 {a year filled with disappointment}. I have learned to lean in to Christ and trust that whatever goes down can have God's fingerprints all over it. He can take the disappointment and make it a divine appointment in our lives.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18  Gratitude won't change our circumstances, but it can change our heart about our circumstances. A few years back I started giving thanks even for the grief and ache I was experiencing. The giving of thanks never did change what happened, but it changed me. I could accept the disappointment and not let it ruin my heart.

Earlier this year I went through this devotional on waiting on God which is really all about where we put our hope. Hope in our plans will only disappoint us. Hope in God never does. You can find  Wait Only Upon God: 40 Days of Praying the Scriptures in the Waiting in hard copy form here or you can download it here. If you are dealing with disappointment this is an excellent way to refocus on where to put your hope.

Need more hope that won't disappoint?  See my Verses of Hope.

Praying for Those That Hurt You

Monday, June 22, 2015

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28

It started with a fight: first among people and then within my heart. I didn't want to do what He was asking of me. It was too much to require. There was too much pain to even attempt it, but in a moment of weakened reluctance I said a short prayer. It wasn't much, but it was all that I could muster at the time. I had begun the journey of praying for my "enemies", the ones who had rejected and hurt me

Growing up in church, I always wondered why God called us to pray for our enemies. It sounds like a strange idea from the beginning. Who is really going to be motivated to bless those who oppose, hate, and despise? What kind of crazy person would do such a thing? I never understood it until the day I felt compelled to actually do it...

Please join me over at His Mercy is New today as I talk about praying for those that hurt us and provide you with verses to pray over them.

Know You are Loved

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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Like little children, we need reassurance. When life beats us down or when we fail miserably, we tend to doubt that we are loved. We begin to wonder if God really cares. If the heartache is great enough we may have to fight our way back to believing He loves us. If you have been around The Architect and the Artist lately you know I have struggled with whether I am loved. I have worked long and hard to find His love, to seek out the evidence of how He cares for me. So since it has been a reoccurring theme over the past few months I thought I would put all the posts about His love for us in one place...

Journaling God's love...every time I find a verse about how He loves me I highlight it and journal about it. You can use any Bible for this activity. I love these highlighter pencils and pens to record what I find in His Word about how He cares for me.

Verses on how God is always on our side... A big thank you to Candace of His Mercy is New for providing a free printable of the verses!

Ever felt like an outcast? Here are Psalms that tell a different story.

A great Bible study to do!

You are the apple of His eye!

Dealing with will never be rejected by God.

He LONGS to be gracious to you.

How about ten ways He loves you?

Maybe if you are struggling with your story it is time to rewrite it by writing your own Psalm 136.

When you get unfriended, then it is time to find a new Friend.

And finally, two great books if you are in need of "heart healing".

I pray you find His love everywhere you turn. May He show you how truly precious you are!

Jealousy and Forgiveness

Monday, June 15, 2015

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As I grow in my relationship with Christ I have become more convinced that Bible study is all about relationships. Our relationship to God. Our relationships to others. Those two facets of life is what God is most concerned about when He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." {Matthew 22:36-39} 

I really loved Shawn Lantz's studies when I did them in 2012. One of them is on jealousy and the other on forgiveness. Both of these issues have been major "actors" in the drama of my life. I have battled to forgive some hard events in life for years and can attest to how freeing it is to let go of the offender and hand them over to Christ. Jealousy also has played a part in my saga. Yes, I have been jealous before, but it isn't a major struggle of mine. {I have other struggles.}  Jealousy has been the whole reason why I have needed to forgive. It destroyed some of my relationships. I feel that in understanding what jealousy really is and how it hurts people will give me compassion for those that struggle with it. When jealousy reigns there is a huge need for forgiveness.

So this July after I finish reading The Bible in 90 Days I am planning on revisiting these Bible studies: Encountering the Healing Power of Forgiveness and Exposing the Many Faces of Jealousy. Shawn's forgiveness study focuses on Joseph and his brothers. Joseph is my all-time favorite example of how to do forgiveness. If there was anyone that had the "right" to not forgive it would be Joseph...sold into slavery by his brothers, wrongly accused by his employer's wife, and forgotten in prison were just a few of the offenses he had to deal with. Shawn talks about what forgiveness is and what it is not. She also spends time on what reconciliation requires. The jealousy study revolves around Saul's life. Saul was known for his extreme dislike of David. Shawn spends time in this study discussing the core issues of jealousy and the antidotes for it.

In the past couple of years, God has allowed tremendous healing in my life from the jealousy that destroyed several of my relationships. He has helped me work through the anger and bitterness to reach forgiveness. Now, after having these experiences, I feel this is a great time to go back and look at these two issues all over again with very different eyes. Your perspective changes as you live through heartache. You gain a deeper understanding of God, others and yourself. I went through both of these studies a year before I had to deal with the concepts of jealousy and forgiveness in depth. This time I will be looking at them with a different heart.

Do you struggle with jealousy? Or maybe you are struggling with being able to forgive? I can't recommend these studies enough. They are deep and rich with insight and will help you navigate those hard emotions and concepts. It is my prayer that you won't allow jealousy or unforgiveness to eat away at your heart.

Delightful Planning: A Unit Study Planner

Thursday, June 11, 2015

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When my boys were younger we did unit studies for most of their learning. I truly think unit studies are the best way to go. Even in my home-based business of teaching Spanish to elementary kids I create three to four unit studies to do in Spanish with them each year. We have studied pumpkins, insects, polar animals and so much more all in Spanish. Marcy over at Ben and Me uses unit studies and delight-directed learning to homeschool her son and has recently created a planner to help other homeschool moms create unit studies for their kids.

What is delight-directed learning? It is allowing your child to learn about a topic that interests him or her. It is a time to dive deep into what ignites their imagination and minds. It creates excitement for learning instead of drudgery.

Delightful Planning includes several pages of explanation on the following topics:

  • What is delight-directed learning?
  • How do I set up a unit study?
  • How can I plan field trips that fit my unit study?
  • Can I use the concept of delight-directed learning with multiple children?
  • How can I use unit studies in high school?
  • What is the "Fun School Jar" method of schooling and how do I do it?
The e-book also has several planning pages for you to use in order to set up your unit studies:
  • Brainstorming pages 
  • Monthly and Weekly calendars
  • Supply list
  • Reading log
  • Book report pages
  • Learning journal pages
  • Field trip idea pages
  • "Rabbit Trail" study page
  • Fun School Jar idea pages
There is a TON of resources packed into this book! The introductory price for Delightful Learning is only $5.95!  I am planning on using it to help me set up my Spanish unit studies and a few delight-directed units with my youngest son this school year. Such an awesome resource if you are wanting to do unit studies with your kids!

When Once is Not Enough

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

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The more I live the more I become convinced that it is the only way to forgive. To not forgive is to grow bitter and ugly. It allows anger to eat away at your soul. But forgiveness is never easy and comes with a price. It costs much more than I ever imagined and takes more effort than I realized. Take the "70 x 7 rule", for example...

In Matthew 18, when Peter asks how many times he should forgive his brother and offers the "generous" number of seven, Christ comes back with an even bigger number: seventy times seven. I used to think that Christ was saying if your brother or sister offends you 490 times (and then some) forgive each of those times. I still think that is what Christ is saying. However, I have learned a deeper lesson about forgiveness through the numbers He gave. Sometimes forgiveness is not a one time event. Sometimes forgiveness has to be given over and over again for the same offense. As I have worked through the past few years of hurt that was never really dealt with by those that offended, I have learned that while my choice always has been to forgive my emotions have not always followed that path...

I was walking along one day, and she showed up. We ran into each other. I hadn't seen her in ages, but I knew what she had done. She had changed the whole course of my life with her judgments and critical words. I had forgiven her a long time ago, but the sight of her stirred up the pain. I have learned in these circumstances that I must once again reaffirm my decision to forgive. To let go of what she did. To realize that God will use it for our good and His glory. To give grace. So for the next few hours I worked on forgiving again. I had done this before. Who knows how many times. I had lost count. The actual number whether it was 49 or 490 didn't seem to matter. I needed to forgive. I needed to stand firm in my decision to not let bitterness creep in.

And so it goes...every time I hear of her, see her, think of her, I forgive her. Each time it gets easier. Each time the ugly feelings flee faster. When you practice anything you become better at it, but when you practice forgiveness you become better for it. It doesn't mean the relationship is healed. {That is reconciliation which is a totally different action.} It does mean that I can live in peace with what she did. I can look at the offense and see the good that came out of it. I can wish her well. I can pray for her without malice. I can live free of what was done to me.

Is there someone you need to practice 70 x 7 with? Do they continue to offend? Or maybe what they did was so grievous that you need to reaffirm you decision to forgive? Choose to forgive over and over again if you have to. Choose to leave them with God. Choose to not let their action dictate your life.

Need some help in forgiving? Check out these resources and posts:

Encountering the Healing Power of Forgiveness
Wounded by God's People: Discovering How God's Love Heals Our Hearts
Total Forgiveness
Overcoming Bitterness