Monday, January 3, 2011

My Education on Anger.

What makes you angry?

I mean, outside of the big ones
like criminals getting away with crime;
abuse of the innocent, especially children;
being falsely accused or misunderstood and then unforgiven for something you didn't do;
or the raging woes of government politics.

There are little things in my life that tend to make me angry.
One recently took all my energy away,
consumed me,
left me fighting, raging, furious,

until I finally gave up,
prayed for forgiveness for my childish temper tantrums
and just let it go.

 It was this guy, right here.
No, not Benjamin Franklin
or the Pilgrim,
or the Viking in the ship.

It was this book.


I went to college for the sole purpose of learning how to teach,
so I would feel ready to teach my own children,
and so that I had a profession if I ever needed or wanted to enter the working world.

Fast-forward about a dozen years after I was handed that teaching degree,
and I'm looking at curriculum and preparing to do what all that time and money had prepared me to do.

 After discussions with my knowledgeable mother and sister
who both have seemed to have tried or looked over every curriculum imaginable,
and asking friends what they are using and why,
I finally settled on a hodge-podge of what I thought would work best,
not just for Violet, but for Levi as well,
as he seems to be the one who is more easily distracted.

Here they are: the books we use.
I really love school this year.
I feel like it is exactly what Violet needed,
covers a good amount of important information,
and takes a reasonable amount of time but not too overwhelming.

"Horizons" math is colorful and utilizes a lot of variety and practice in each front/back page lesson.
Violet struggles with math, but she is able to do this in about a half hour to an hour,
depending on how motivated she is.

For spelling, phonics, music, poetry, and Bible we use "Rod and Staff."

I love what we're doing for Bible.
It is perfect for both Violet and Levi.


I read them one of these stories or one from a couple other books like it several times a week,
often during breakfast or lunch.

Even on days when we don't do school, Violet asks me to read one.
This book has a verse and story to go with each letter of the alphabet.

This one is
"Rejoice with them that do rejoice." Romans 12:15,
teaching the simple lesson through the use of a short story
of being happy for somebody else when good comes their way, instead of being jealous.

We do memory work several times each week,
learning different Psalms using these fun coloring books,
as well as the verses that came with the main curriculum,
"My Father's World,"
(the one whose book I had the anger issue at).

This is the inside of the Psalm memory books.
Violet enjoys coloring in a page each day,
although she leaves the pictures and just colors the letters.

Levi has learned some of them just from listening to us.

I appreciate the poetry book
Lessons from the Clock.

Violet and I aren't always in the best of moods when we start out the schooling.
But reciting the above poem always does the trick.

The book has 54 poems in its 76 illustrated pictures,
simple poems,
but full of meaning and good reminders that can be carried throughout their lives.

I remember learning Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Hiawatha's Childhood" when I was a kid,

"By the shores of Gitche Gumee
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis..."

Yes, I still remember parts of it.
I impress the pigs in the barn with it sometimes.

I know classics are important and I'm not knocking them,
but I know how short childhood is,
and I'd rather use our memory time to instill things that will help my kids make wise decisions.
No offense,
Mr. Longfellow.
(If they find an interest, I'm sure they'll grow to love you in college.
And when they do have to memorize your work,
the poem that they learned with me about smiling will help them through).

For history, reading, supplemental Bible, and science,
we use "My Father's World."
I liked this curriculum because eventually when I'm homeschooling 2 of the kids,
I can teach them the same subject matter for these,
and they will have worksheets/books in their own level to go along.

There are optional, fun supplemental projects:
hands-on and book variety appeal to Violet.

The Bible lessons they provide for this year are based on the many names of Jesus.
We've been learning verses about how He is the light, the bread, etc.

One of the first days of school, they suggested an activity of writing a letter to your child about the meaning of their name, why you chose it, why it is special; and then they could make a name bracelet or key chain.

 Violet really enjoyed doing this and I could hear her reading the letter over several times.
She was very proud to show her dad the bracelet when he got home.

All of the information on what to teach
and when
and all the supplemental projects are in here...

and two weeks ago,
this book disappeared.

I had read through what needed to be done that first week,
and the following week (the week after Christmas)
we were taking off,
so I didn't think about it too much at first.

I figured it would show up, since I NEVER allowed myself to take it ANYWHERE other than the kitchen or living room.

You see, I am incredibly ditzy, and the more children I've had, the more it has compounded;
so I have to make rules like this for myself in order to prevent outrageous frustration which could lead to possible insanity.

And what stinks is that everyone who knows me,
knows I'm terrible at being organized.

So I never get any sympathy.
Poor me.

This alone kept me from mentioning the missing book to my husband.
I didn't want to hear his frustration of how forgetful I am.
True, yes.
  I agree whole-heartedly.
  Find me a cure and I will gladly undergo treatments;
but reminding me of my ditziness never does any good to remedy my brain.

After the initial week faded and Christmas passed and the knot in my stomach was starting to grow and I'd said about a million prayers for the blessed pages of truth to turn up,

I admitted to my husband the situation at hand
and heard the expected diagnosis of the problem from him.
He joined the search and rummaged through several trash bags,

as much as I wanted it to,
it didn't make the book turn up.

I was really beginning to panic now.

I knew school was to start again soon.
The ONLY thing I could remember is seeing it and thinking,
"Now that's a dumb place for that to be.  I better put that back or I'll probably never remember where it is."

That's it.
That's all my brain would do for me.

So I began the ransacking in great effect:
nothing was off limits:
couches were moved,
all shelving was cleaned, sorted, checked behind,
every cupboard in the kitchen rummaged through,
under every piece of furniture thoroughly examined
(Oh, the many lost and molding things I did find - SCARY!)


I even adventured up to the attic and began rooting through all the empty Christmas boxes, and storage bins.
Anything that had been taken up there in the last month was dug out.


Then the tears came,
not that they helped any.

I checked the price list of the book:
nearly $100.

Now I felt like I'd be physically sick.

$100 is a lot of money for me,
especially when I know the book is lurking

I decided that maybe it had gotten into one of the boxes I took to the charity store, so I headed over there and looked in their curriculum sections.  I saw my other old books there, but not the one I was hoping for.

I don't need to mention that amidst all this searching,
I was getting more and more angry.

Why am I so stupid?

Who can I blame for this humongous waste of time besides just me?

Yes, me, because I'm so ditzy,
but certainly I can take out my anger on someone else for a moment while I search the shed.

I wanted to blame the way I was brought up.
Isn't it great the way we blame somebody else, anybody else,
even our parents,
as if we are perfect?
Funny, especially since my mom is the "Queen of Clean"
and my father keeps one pencil in his lonely desk drawer.

Will Violet blame me
and her daughters blame her?

I realized quickly if I was going to do that,
I may as well just skip all the extras and head straight back to Eve.
After all, she must have messed up with her daughters
which spread on down to me.

This was clearly a case of futility wrapped in pride.

So I looked up to the ceiling.

"God, why have you made me so stupid?"

Hot tears spilled from my angry eyes.
I just wanted to lie on the ground and kick and scream until I was too exhausted to do anymore.

"And then what?" I thought.
No book was going to drop out of the sky.

Only silence.

And then I realized that's what was wanted.
"Okay, God.  I give up.  If you want me to try to figure out what to do with the lessons from here on out, I can do it.  It will take time, but I know this will pass.
I know my attitude stinks
and has so for the last week or so, every time I call myself names and get angry...
I'm basically grumbling at You.

I'm really sorry and I'm just going to clean up this mess and see what can logically be done."

I began putting the pieces back together.

Things were getting cleaned up and sorted and tossed.
Good was coming out of this chaos.

I remembered how I was supposed to be thankful for 1000 things.
Wow, I sure had forgotten about that in all this upheaval.

#11 Thank you, Father, for organization:
for puzzles in a nice pile,
colorful papers in a stack,
dog treats in a tin.

#12.  Thank you for toys that are put away...

#13 Thank you for toys that are well used.

 #14 Thank you, God, for baskets up high that hold fun things for our use...

 #15 and baskets on the floor which hold fun things for Your use.

 #16. Thank you, even when I don't want to be thankful, for baskets that have been accidentally broken.
 17. Thank you for a husband who shows me he loves me by trying to fix the things that get accidentally broken.

 #18 Thank you for sparkly nail polishes to start our first day back to school with fun.

 #19 Thank You for the privilege of teaching such a sparkly, fun student.

#20  Thank you for allowing me to clean out the Playdough box...

 which held the lost book under many containers of Playdough.

Luke 15:8-10
"...what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece,
doth not light a candle,
and sweep the house,
and seek diligently till she find it?
And when she hath found it,
she calleth her friends and her neighbors together,
'Rejoice with me;
for I have found the piece which I had lost.'
Likewise, I say unto you,
there is joy in the presence of the angels of God
over one sinner that repenteth."


  1. Tonya, I loved this post! I know exactly what you're going through,, my brain is losing it too! God is so good isn't He!?! So many little lessons to learn to trust in Him. SO glad you found the book AND got to organize while you were at it :)
    Love you!!!

  2. What a wonderful post about letting go and humbly awaiting the Lord's will to manifest itself.

    Loved it.


  3. It's so nice that you open a window into your life that we all can see through. Yet, there seems to be a reflection when I look through your windows. So glad you found your book. You are such a good mom and teacher. You killed two birds with one stone:)

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart today. I have so much admiration for mothers who give so unselfishly of themselves to teach their children. The letter to your daughter about her name really touched me, and It will be a treasure for life. May the lord continue to bless you as you travel on this journey called life. Your children will rise and call you blessed!!

    I am so appreciative of your beautiful gift that I received, thank you so much. I thank you for taking the time to follow my blog, I treasure all my new friends so much.

  5. I got way more than I expected from my visit; thank you for pointing me. Yes, thank the Lord for the gifts He has given us in our husbands, our children, our opportunities to educate them--to be an enormous part of their lives for as long as we're given.

    Beautiful post.
    What seemed like a curse turned into a blessing.

  6. I came over from OMSH post on Pioneer Woman.
    I have adult children now but read some young mother blogs here and there.
    You are soooo creative, sensitive and kind.
    Please try not to be so HARD on yourself.
    I am married to an ultra organized engineer and comparatively I'm pretty ditzy, too. But quite honestly that is OK. My children may not have gotten an always organized house etc from me but got that special sensitivity and awareness from me that I now realize they all appreciate.
    Again cut yourself some slack & love who you are... That will go miles & miles with your kids.
    Hugs as I've been there right with ya, dear!!

  7. Hi, I stopped by from the Hip Homeschool Hop. What a wonderful post about finding blessings in everything.

  8. Thank you so much for stopping by! I seriously am tearing up from the letter to Violet. It is so beautiful! :)


  9. Thank you for such a "bearing your soul post". I have always found posts like this to me the most helpful in my homeschooling life. Posts that remind us that no one's homeschool is perfect and we are all flawed while being saved by Grace.
    Bless you sweetie, you and your homeschool.
    Came by from Hip Homeschool Hop to say hi.

  10. Rejoicing with your lost piece of silver found- glad you called us all together to celebrate. Loved your post, have lived your post, giggling and patting you on the the back with a hug all at the same time. :)

    Hip HomeSchool Hop - And thanks for stopping by this morning!

  11. A wonderful ending!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful story and testimony!

    Thanks for joining in on the Hip Homeschool Hop!

  12. Thank you everyone for your comments. They mean alot to me. Blogging helps me put things into perspective and try to see the big picture. It's hard to always see that way when I'm in the "hunt" because of the brain lapse. I know I'm just a work in progress. Thank you for joining me in the works! :)

  13. Thank you for sharing your wonderful choice of books and relating your lesson learned. Everyone who reads this can benefit from your experiences. I'm so glad you chose to share with us on Spiritual Sundays.

  14. I am especially bad at losing my car key. One time I lost it and found it under my bed pillow. How it got there, I can only say it must have been God. Another time I found it behind a door I never closed. I lost it again just a month ago and it has not shown up after an extensive search. So I went and bought TWO duplicates. God is letting me sweat out the loss of the last one but I am ever grateful he knows me and my mind and still offers me grace.I am glad to hear I am not the only one that has a mind that sometimes feels like it is losing the battle. Thank you for this wonderful post.

  15. THIS is an amazing post! It could have been me! It IS me. We lost a book that I needed to complete the end of the year course descriptions. We looked everywhere, I asked my son, I just knew it was under his bed. But alas, no, it was never found. As a matter of fact we just moved last summer, and it still was not found (makes me wonder what really happened to it). But in the end I was able to write out my OWN course descriptions. It became a fun challenge to go to the internet, look up High School courses and take some info and making it my own. Oh it was nerve wracking, but we made it! And my son finished his three year curriculum and got his diploma! YAY!!! And I remember using so many of the books you listed. I LOVED Rod and Staff. We used their spelling workbooks and many of their readers. Thanks for sharing. Your transparency was very refreshing. Have a great rest of the year.


    (If you go to my blog, you can learn some things about Snowflakes)

  16. Absolutely delightful post! I love the letter you wrote to Violet. I know that it's something that she will treasure always.

  17. I enjoyed reading all of the thing your
    thank-ful for,they put a smile on my face. Thank-you for sharing this on Spiritual Sunday.

  18. Hi. Came over from Spiritual Sunday....great post. I think you're a teacher and mom.

  19. Hi Tonya,

    Thank you for sharing your heart and family. The pictures and the letter to Violet are heartwarming.

    I cringed everytime I read, "Why am I so stupid?" or "I'm so ditzy." -- but I told myself you were expressing the frustration you felt at that moment.

    It's difficult to separate what I do from who I am, but I've come to realize that it's not the same as. I may do something silly, or stupid, but those words cannot define who I am. As a man, I know I will disappoint and frustrate myself and others at times, but I cannot allow myself to accept the belief that one word encapsulates my identity in its totality.

    Like you, I tend to be forgetful (a lot), and I try to help myself by establishing repetitive patterns. I remind myself to always put my car keys in the same place. In doing so, I've discovered that when I don't follow this pattern, I'm able to re-trace my last memory of holding the keys in my hand.

    I know that doesn't help you with your book but as you indicate, good did result from the chaos. For that, I rejoice with you.

    Blessings and peace.


  20. Hooray! I am SO glad God enabled you to find it! :) And for the great lessons you learned AND shared - both with us AND with your children, both about praying for EVERYTHING big and small, AND for the fact that God answers prayers with YES, with NO, AND with WAIT - something our family is working through as well. It's not always an easy lesson, but so worthwhile and so important for your children (not to mention down the road with your grandchildren). :) And what a delightful way to share all this - I really enjoyed reading about your curriculum as well. :) Have a blessed Spiritual Sunday!

  21. A great revelation--that when we get angry for what we are like, we are really getting angry at God.
    And you found the answer--to seek the Lord's forgiveness and let go, resting in Him.
    His love and faithfulness are boundless.


  22. A great expression of a human experience. Such a small daily occurence that can really mess up our day, but you persevered and God met you at the book. Your thankful heart is a testimony to all of us who encounter these daily frustrations. Thanks for sharing, God bless, Dr. Bobbi

  23. That was a great post. Glad you finally found the book and your life sure matches that verse.

  24. Great post. Truly spoken from the heart and something we can all relate to. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Did you ever find the book? I am always amazed by women who homeschool, I give you a lot of credit. The book will show up eventually. I enjoyed the story.

  26. Thank you Tanya. Was in a sad mood today and both Mary and I had a laugh over the reciting to the pigs.

  27. I have stumbled across this post almost a year after you wrote it, and it is something I needed to ready TODAY! i thank God that He directed me here today that I might learn through your experience what He is teaching to us ALL! Many thanks for your willingness to share your lessons. Good Job!


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