The Perfect Family

This post is for Christians, those who are in Christ.

When I got married, I wanted to be the perfect wife, so I read “the” book. When I had kids, I wanted to be the perfect mom, so I read “the” book. Problem was, those books weren’t THE book. The Bible is the only book we need to guide us. Seeking anything apart from God can be idolatry.

We don’t have to imitate others. They may very well be following the leading of the Spirit for their lives, but God is infinitely creative. He never has to do things the same way twice. Americans are great at making methods, coming up with ways to rely on ourselves instead of on God.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t seek wisdom from those who have gone before. I’m not saying it’s wrong to ask for advice. BUT, do we do that without seeking God first? Are we aware that the wisdom of man is foolishness to God? Are we discerning enough to realize when someone is slapping a Bible verse on their experience and labeling it as the biblical way, instead of pointing us to the Bible and allowing God to speak and move in our experience in a unique and personal way?

I guess this post is brought on by all the prayer requests I see. We’re struggling. We’re supposed to be overcomers! I’m not excluding myself from this. There are times I’ve done this right and have certainly been an overcomer in Christ Jesus. There are times I’ve sought from man instead of God, all the while thinking I was doing what was right and not realizing I was looking for answers in the wrong place.

Please keep posting your prayer requests. Please ask your questions. I want us to keep encouraging and helping one another. But we need to keep our focus. We need to keep our eyes on Christ. We need to seek our guidance and wisdom from Him. We need to point others to Him and never present our way as “the” way.

If you are struggling in your marriage, in your finances, in your or your children’s health, whatever, please search to see if anywhere there might be idolatry. Are you trying to make a perfect family instead of seeking the only Perfect One? We are commanded to be perfect, but it’s not at all in the form of doing what someone else says is the right way to be a wife, mother, worker. We are perfect in Christ Jesus alone. As we die to self day to day and Christ is formed in us day to day, we become all that we were intended to be.

And, of course, this can be applied to everything. What are we seeking after? Who are we seeking it from? Where are we seeking answers? Where are we seeking for what we need? Where are we seeking for what we want?

We are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and our needs will be met. But we need to seek Him in love. I think we too often need God instead of love God. Worship Him. Love Him with your words, with your thoughts, with your obedience.

Jesus opens blind eyes. I pray all our eyes will be opened to where we are seeking anything apart from Him.

 

Some verses about the things I mention, in case you need them: God’s word for our guidance – Psalm 119:105 – 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Keep our eyes on Jesus – Hebrews 12:2, Overcomers – Romans 8:37, Seek wisdom from God – James 1:5, Be perfect – Matthew 5:48, Transformed into the image of Christ – 2 Corinthians 3:18, Seek first – Matthew 6:33, Love God by obeying – John 14:15, Opens blind eyes – Luke 4:18, Idolatry in seeking our “saving” apart from God – Judges 10:14, Idolatry in giving into temptation – 1 Corinthians 10:13-14

 

History Alive Competition

Our History Alive competition is open! You have until February 15th to put together a video. I’m really excited about this. I think it could be a lot of fun.

There are two types of videos you could make. You could do a documentary-like video. For instance, you could use Power Point to make a video presentation. You could also put on a play and video it. It can just be in your living room. It doesn’t have to be fancy. We just need to be able to see and hear you! To do that alone, you could do a monologue. You could give a speech as a character or be several characters!

This is a history competition. You need to have research and bibliography. The more you can use primary sources, the better. Primary sources are straight from the source: photographs, maps, autobiographies, interviews, letters, speeches, etc. Try to show a point, an impact, of whatever history topic you are presenting.

We’ll be giving out cash prizes just like for our other competitions.

I hope this excites some of you! Can’t wait to see what people come up with. I may even be able to use winning videos in the curriculum!

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Life Update

We have a home!

In 2016 my family returned to the States after living overseas for fourteen years. In 2017 I told you that we were going to be getting an ADA compliant home from Habitat for Humanity since we have a son in a wheelchair. In 2018 I told you that it fell through and we weren’t getting a home. Since then we’ve been house hunting. We not only looked at homes for our own family, but we looked at homes to move together with my parents. We found a couple homes we really loved but never felt we could move forward on them. At one point, we made plans with an architect to build onto my parents’ home. In the end, my parents decided to move to a retirement community. It’s something they’ve thought about since long before we started living with them. In fact, they stopped thinking about it when we came back; they liked living together. But with the kids in one bedroom (resulting in the two teen boys sleeping on the couches downstairs) and the clutter of us squeezing into my parents’ 40 years of collections, something had to give.

We are taking over my parents’ house and they have moved just ten minutes away. We’re not really buying their house as much as paying what they needed to move into their new place. This is the only house I know, as they moved in when I was a toddler. My one son was even born here. The house is all paid off, so we are in a debt-free house, which was our hope. We have always lived without debt, so this was a big deal to us.

When my parents took their furniture, we took advantage of the emptiness and had the floors on the first floor redone to be level. Every room had a transition which made it impossible for our youngest son to get around independently. He now can wheel himself around the house and is loving the independence of it.

We’ve moved quickly to settle in, though there is a lot still for my parents to go through to decide what they want before we purge the rest. That year of working Saturdays at the Habitat store paid off and they’ve been giving us discounts on their discounted furniture, resulting in our getting six large pieces of furniture for less than $200.

We’ve got a lot to do in order to feel settled in (still don’t have a couch), but we’re getting there and are thankful that after all this time it happened at the end of the year when EP work is slow, so we’ve been able to pour time into cleaning and organizing as fast as we can, so we can get back to normal as fast as we can.

This was a huge thing for me. We’ve accepted the Lord has us here in the States for now, and are very thankful for our own place. I’ve had to guard my heart against longings for a home for years while we were overseas. I saw my friends getting homes and settling in and as a homebody, it’s what I wanted, but I knew it wasn’t what the Lord had chosen for us. In the first two decades of marriage, we lived in more than a dozen apartments, moving twenty times, with furloughs and such. When we got back to the States, I let myself start dreaming of my own home, but the wait was hard. I know the Lord has worked it out for the best in His placement and timing. We would have been willing to live anywhere in the world, but He’s brought us right back to where it started.

My husband and I just celebrated 22 years of marriage. He’s working for EP now. We work daily on replacing Flash activities and are making changes to some of our high school courses in order to see if it’s possible to get any of them approved by ACE for college credit. That’s a years-long process, so I can’t answer any questions about that. “To see if it’s possible” is where we are at right now, but those are some of the big projects we’re working on together, for you. 🙂

This spring we’re also planning on hosting a leadership experience together. This is for high school students. The first group will start in March. We’re hoping every high schooler will consider taking part in one of the groups at some point. I think it would be amazing for every kid to experience. The cost is just a recommended donation, so that everyone can participate. Any money leftover from things like this, the Spanish classes, and the competitions just goes right back into EP. We’re here to serve this community.

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The Fall Science Fair is Open!

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We’re accepting submissions through November 15th. Students will conduct an experiment and present their findings using a Google Slides presentation. The link to their presentation will go on our site for our audience to enjoy and for our judges to consider.

We’ve got a real rocket scientist looking at your presentations!

Groups can enter. Your kids can work together, or they could work together with a group of friends. And we’d never exclude anyone from participating because they can’t pay the entrance fee, just contact us.

You can find all the directions on our Science Fair page.

Fall Science Fair

Milky Way, Universe, Person, Stars, Looking, Sky, Night

We’re a month away from the opening of our fall science fair. This is our first science fair and our second competition. We had great participation in our short story writing contest in the spring. It’s not too early to get started on your experiment for this fall!

The science fair will be run in a similar format to the writing contest. Our guidelines can be found on the EP Competitions page which has a link to the science fair in particular. Submissions will be done by link. We’re going to try to keep things standard. I’m asking that you submit your project on Google Slides. (Give that Google Slides link a click. It’s my walk-through of the process and gives hints.) It’s all on the Science Fair page.

There is a $25 entrance fee and money awards will be given out to the winners.

Experiments take time. Don’t wait to the last minute. We’d appreciate entries coming in during October and not waiting until the last day to submit.

Entries will be received from October 15th through November 15th (EST). You will fill out your entry form when you are ready to submit your project. All of the science project links will be on display on the site. Our short stories got thousands of views.

While trying to keep all presentations standard with Google slides, we’d also like to ask that you do not include pictures of yourself (unless absolutely necessary for the data), nor include your name and age. The names of the winners will be posted on the site.

 

 

Grace

There is a blog post I wrote on this site called, “The Key.” The key was the grace of God. There’s a page in my prayer journal that has scrawled across it: Everything is Grace. When you are teaching your kids to read and to multiply and to recognize the difference between mitosis and meiosis, don’t forget to teach grace.

You aren’t going to raise perfect children because you are human and they are human. There’s no perfect way you can teach them. There’s no perfect way you can raise them. Teaching them rules and enforcing them may create a nice family picture on the outside, but it will never teach your children grace, and we are saved by grace. Do you want your children to act good or be good, act like a Christian or be a Christian?

The Old Testament is two-thirds of the Bible. Its main point seems to be humans aren’t perfect and can’t be. God is God and we’re not. God is good and we’re not. God is all things wonderful and we’re not.

And it would be a sad story, but for grace.

Grace gives God’s goodness and all things wonderful to us, namely Himself. He gives us the grace to be patient, to love, to understand, to teach, to learn, to live, to laugh, to forgive, to try again, to turn back, to heal, to help, to rejoice when our world and our life is far from perfect. He gives us the sun, and the rain. He provides for our needs and then some.

One of our family expressions is: God provides cake too. For a time, about a decade ago, my husband decided he needed to leave his job. We decided we would live by faith and trust the Lord to provide. One evening right around the time we had made our decision, a Roma man, just an acquaintance of ours, stopped by with all the leftovers from his fruit and vegetable cart that he hadn’t sold that day. It was the only time he ever did that. And on his way over, he had picked up a cake for the kids from the store. We feasted on the fresh fruits and veggies—and the cake. We said to our kids, “God doesn’t just make us eat our vegetables. He gives us cake too.”

So let your kids eat cake, the sweet grace of God. Teach your kids grace, the good God who knows we’re human and can’t do it on our own and so made a way to be there with us always to help us out. Make sure your kids know they will never be “good” apart from Christ in them, but that God sees them perfect in Christ Jesus. And make sure they know that God doesn’t just give us what we need, but cake too, just because He can, just because He loves us. God loves your kids more than you do. Make sure they know it.

Webucator

Webucator users! We have free accounts. We DO NOT get support. Please do not call their support lines. Those are for paying customers. You can scroll down at this link to read their FAQ to get most of your questions answered.

They will have to stop giving us access if we keep costing them money in support time. They said the most common problem is people signing up multiple kids under one email address. Every student needs to have their own account.

Also, please do not contact them for advice. That’s not what they are there for. You can discuss advice in our facebook groups.

Thanks for your help in this. It’s an amazing resource and they give it to us free where others pay hundreds for the same resource. I want us to respect what they’ve done for us.

Webucator is an online resource for computer courses. It’s linked on our high school site on the computer page.

Live Spanish Classes!

UPDATE: Registration is now closed for all Spanish classes. Join the mailing list to keep up to date on other language class offerings in the future. 

Thinking about using EP’s Spanish 1 or Spanish 2 courses this year for your middle or high school student? Consider signing up for our Spanish Live classes to give your student live practice actually using the material he or she is learning in the course.

These classes meet LIVE, in a virtual classroom, one hour per week during the school year. They are an optional supplement to EP’s free online Spanish courses. Students receive structured practice in speaking and understanding Spanish as they interact with each other and with an experienced teacher fluent in Spanish.

The live classes cost $99 per student for the entire school year, and discounts are available for multiple students in the same family.

If you have further questions, please write to David Giles at eplanguagelive@gmail.com. Hope to see you in class!

Liz

Meet your teacher – Liz Fernandez

Growing Pains

I’m sorry that I wasn’t prepared for the surge of new people starting My EP Assignments this week. I’m wet behind the ears with a lot of this stuff. At first we were lumping all reports of problems together, but now we’re starting to sift through them and seeing that the one fix we applied earlier in the week wasn’t covering all of it.

We increased our capacity in one area but realized there’s yet another we need to work on. To that end, we will be moving to another server tonight it looks like. That will help with anyone getting DNS server not found messages.

We won’t have that switched before tonight, so if you can hold off on school until later in the afternoon, it would ease our load. This week it seemed around 11AM people start having trouble with getting that error about a DNS server not being found. It just means traffic is too heavy at that time. That’s what will be fixed tonight.

It shouldn’t be asking you to re-log in, only after you have closed the browser page and come back in fresh, not in the middle of working on the site. Also, you shouldn’t be having a Student 1 appear mysteriously. Those are things you can let us know about if those problems keep persisting. We’re working on solving them.

If you can’t log in and know it’s not because of your email or password, then please email us, allinonehomeschool@gmail.com. We want everyone to have a good experience with this. It’s supposed to make things easier peasier, so we don’t want anyone having trouble.