Homeschool – Back to School

“Back to School” Being a Homeschool Mom | By Christina Lopez

When you hear “back to school” you may associate it with funny pictures of moms posing gleefully in front of their kids who are wearing their new school outfits and tired faces, but “back to school” is different for me. I am a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher. I don’t get the “Yes!” Feeling of relief knowing that my kids will be out of the house Monday – Friday and I get some much needed “me time”. School is everyday for me and “back to school” only means back to a more formatted schedule. (Although, I do admit, we do still partake in the fun of “back to school” shopping.) That feeling of relief that most moms experience at the beginning of every school year only comes at the end of mine, with “Yes!” We made it though another year, and “Yes!” I know that my kids are graduating grade levels. And let’s be honest I am definitely not one of those mom’s that just gives an A+ on every assignment to make life easier. My kids have to earn their grades and I definitely make them live up to their potential, so making it to the end of the year is sometimes a struggle in itself.

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While my kids do have a unique educational structure I certainly can’t take credit for it. They are enrolled in a public charter school called The Classical Academies where teachers format lessons to fit the learning style of each of my kids. My daughter, Rebekah, is an independent learner and takes online high school classes. She only goes to school once every four weeks to meet with her teachers and the rest of the time her progress is being monitored online. It is up to me to make sure she’s understanding the material and completing her assignments on time. This is great for a teenager because she loves being able to work at her own pace and even has the opportunity to get ahead in class so she has more time to spend with family and friends. My son, Nathan, only goes to school two days out of the week as he enjoys being more social and loves group activities and teamwork. The other three days he’s home with me as his teacher to make sure he is learning and comprehending his lessons. Although a little atypical, they  do have the same core classes like any school (math, science, history), and have to meet the same state requirements, but there’s obviously a lot more focus catered to their specific needs. What’s great as well is the electives offered to them are far more extensive than what you’d find at a traditional school. My son, as a sixth grader, loves to take computer programming as an elective and has for three years! Some might say they have a “different” school life, and it’s definitely not for everyone, but it fits for our family and I love being such a big part of their continued growth.

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I chose this path for my kids to be more involved in what is being instilled in their lives as I want it to be God centered, and I truly feel like I’ve found the best of both worlds. The Classical Academies has a strong community across their multiple campuses. The teachers are always there to lend a helping hand and you always have support and encouragement from other parents, especially when faced with struggles of homeschooling because, let’s face it, as much as I love it, it can be very hard! The school does a wonderful job of keeping a balance between public school life and homeschool life and they off an array of extracurricular activities for the kids to participate in. Both of my kids have been involved in school through ASB, Musical Theater, Yearbook, and Karate among others. Some of my favorite memories are our family prayers in the car as I’m taking them to school or dropping them off at school functions. We are a huge family of prayer and always pray on the way to our outings. More often than not our prayers are centered around living in God’s light. I want my kids to know how beautiful God’s love is so that they can spread it to others.

One of my favorite parts about homeschooling is the flexibility! We love to travel and Unknowncantake our lessons with us anywhere. What is normally the kitchen counter spread with laptops and workbooks, or in my daughter’s case, the comfort of her room, turns into airplanes, trains and automobiles. Our world has so much to offer and there are many life lessons and opportunities that our kids get to experience early on.

Rebekah loves to bake and one of our favorite traditions is to stop in at local bakeries wherever we’re traveling to taste their special desserts and pastries. Nathan, on the Unknown-1other hand, loves archaeology and we were able to visit Seattle to see the traveling King Tut Exhibit when it passed through. (I love being able to pour into my children by investing in each of their interests.) Our favorite trip thus far, and I think we’d all agree, was our Disney Cruise to the Mexican Riviera. My husband, Mike, and I especially enjoyed it because the kids were able to see first-hand the culture of our ancestors. We loved that the kids were able to experience the language and got to enjoy traditional Mexican dishes among locals. Kids aside all of this amazing flexibility also allows Mike and I to grow closer and take vacations without them. It’s wonderful knowing we don’t have to feel guilty about having to pull our kids out of school because we can always leave them with a relative. This allows Mike and I to take time for ourselves. The freedom we have with homeschooling has brought our family closer together and we are able to enjoy life a little bit more.

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I feel so blessed to be able to spend so much quality time with my family because I know not everyone can. My hope is that I was able to shed some light on what “back to school” as a homeschool mom means to me, as well as many other moms in our TFH family. Although my experience is unique to me, I hope to encourage you to find out each of your children’s learning style, and explore places that cater to their interests. Nothing is better than being able to see your child’s light shine in an area that they enjoy. Our beautiful city has so much life to offer and it’s always better when experienced with close friends and family.


FullSizeRenderChristina Lopez and her husband, Mike, have been married for 18 years and have two children together, Rebekah, 15 and Nathan, 11. Christina is a stay-at-home mom and has homeschooled her children though The Classical Academies for eight years. As a family they enjoy traveling to places old and new and love spending time with family and friends. They have been attending The Father’s House for three years and serve in Children’s Ministries, Worship and Life Groups.

 

 

 

Back to School; College Perspective!

Back to School; College Perspective | By Lila Smith

“There is no growth in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growth zone.” -Anonymous

As we all know, life is a constant cycle of change. It’s exciting. Overwhelming. Scary. Hard. Emotional. Every time a new school year comes around, I tend to be all too familiar with these emotions, at a higher level than usual.

In just a few days, I will be loading everything up and getting ready to enter into my sophomore year of college at GCU. My experience in college so far has been full of fun experiences, awesome friendships, insightful classes, and a deeper growth with my Savior, everyday. But in the midst of all of these great things, there has also been anxiety, discomfort, heartbreak, and homesickness. As a result, I am learning to daily rely on Jesus alone. To lay my struggles and worries at the cross, instead of trying to deal with or solve them on my own.

Messages Image(1924536944)My freshman year the Lord really planted a desire in my heart. The desire to build relationships with others, and to be someone who is there for listening and understanding them. I felt very called to apply for the position as life leader at my school. From my perspective, this is the dream – to get to share the Gospel with the girls God placed on my floor, and to be a safe place for them to bring their worries, insecurities, and struggles. This opportunity I am about to take is both exciting and exhilarating. But it is also terrifying. I do not feel qualified enough for this job, and I have to constantly remind myself again and again everyday to not compare myself to others and to their talents and abilities.

As nerve-racking as it may seem in my head, I am welcoming in this new season of change with open arms. I am jumping in head first to this position which God has called me. And, I am trusting Him to supply all my needs.

My freshman year alone, I left a changed person. The experiences I had, the people I met, the relationships that deepened, the classes I took; all shaped me in ways I never could have seen or imagined before going to GCU. Here are some of the things the Lord taught me, which I find to be helpful wherever you are in life right now:

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  1. Make time EVERYDAY for YOU and JESUS; Make HIM your BEST friend

Bible studies, chapel, worship nights, and even church just won’t cut it. Relationships grow from one-on-one moments. Make him your number one, all other friends and family can come next. We look like the friends we hang out with, so why wouldn’t we want to hang out with Jesus?

  1. Be INTENTIONAL

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Go out of your way to show people you care about them and want to get to know them and/or spend time with them. Make plans. Stick to the plans.

  1. IRON sharpens IRON (Proverbs 27:17)

The people you spend time with influence you, and vice versa. Make sure your peers are lifting you up, not pushing you down. Healthy relationships make a healthy, happy you.

  1. Get INVOLVED

Whether it’s ministries, church groups, adventures, just get involved! Community is a great thing that God gave us, and we need to use it to our advantage.

 


Lila Smith is a college student at Gr and Canyon University in Phoenix…Lila Smith is a college student at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a Sophomore majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Christian Studies. She currently spends her time hanging out with friends, being a life leader on her floor, studying, going on adventures, and doing ministries on her campus. She plans to work in the church and/or be a counselor later on after her college years are over.