Homeschool Balancing Act: When Personal and National Collide

Homeschool Balancing Act: When Personal and National Collide

When the News Is Personal

A major news story this past week hit close to home. A woman in Texas desired to abort her unborn baby after learning the child had trisomy 18 or Edwards syndrome. I remember the fear we experienced when we learned Verity, our youngest child, might have this condition. Since we have walked this journey ourselves, a number of people reached out to us this week.

"Have you heard?"
"Do you know about this?"
"What do you think??"

I have so many thoughts swirling around in my brain. So many feelings bubbling about in my heart. It's hard to capture them all in words, but here's a feeble attempt about a few of them.

First, regarding the situation at large: 
My heart feels the weight of a devastating diagnosis all over again. I ache for Kate Cox and her family. I wish I had the chance to take her out for coffee and share our story. I wish I could encourage her that even though this seems so incredibly difficult, there is hope, beauty, even joy in this journey. I shared a few other thoughts in a brief video here. And I will probably share more points through our ministry channels (you can subscribe here if you don't already follow Verity's Village).

Second, regarding how a story with national interest affects us on a personal level:
It's easy for me to get caught up in these emotional aspects. I feel things deeply, and I truly desire to help others on a similar journey. And yet I'm not only Verity's mama and the founder of a non-profit that she inspired. I'm also mom and homeschool teacher to other kids (and teens and young adults) who still need me! I had to set aside my phone and laptop, pick up the school books, and snuggle with my kids. The world outside can get along without us. We chose to continue our journey through Genesis, memorize our next verse in Psalm 24, study a people group in Africa, practice locating central African countries on a map, and so on. 

Yes, there's a world outside our doors that is hurting. But there's also a world inside my home, young hearts and minds I am responsible for shepherding. 

Homeschool Focus & God-Given Passions

One thing I've learned over my many years of homeschooling is that life doesn't slow down! And I'm still learning how to manage the various hats I wear in my different roles. God has given me the beautiful privilege of being Verity's mama, her voice in a world that doesn't typically value what she represents. I cherish that role, and I have a deep passion for speaking on behalf of the community we minister to. 

But I also have a deep passion for homeschooling my kids and helping them make sense of what is happening in the world around us through the lens of truth. As we talked through the current events this last week, we were able to do more than check off the boxes for our regularly scheduled schoolwork. We dug more deeply into God's truths with love and compassion. I pray my children will develop their God-given passions so they too can be a voice of truth in a hurting world. For us, homeschooling gives us unique opportunities to fuel those passions.

Christian moms must fuel their passion for homeschooling

Mama, what passions has God laid on YOUR heart? 
What passions do you see Him developing in your children?
How are you incorporating that into your homeschool?

My Be Rooted program addresses these deeper, spiritual aspects of homeschooling. We spend a whole module digging into our God-given passions. If you haven't really thought of this before, I encourage you to pray about it. And consider reaching out to me for a quick phone call to discuss it! I'd love to help you be intentional in this area!
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After roughly 10 weeks of being deactivated from a major social media platform for no discernible reason, I got my account back! It would not have happened if a friend hadn't connected me with someone who works for that company. Even so, it took a lot of time, repeat emails, and simply waiting. I'm thankful to be reconnected. It's a great way to keep in touch with family and friends and allows a further reach for ministry.

Yet I'm still feeling a little disoriented. All the good things about unplugging--I don't want to lose that! How exactly SHOULD I spend my time on social media? How much is too much? When does my desire to be/feel connected become unhealthy? The pull to "just check my notifications" can turn into such a time waster! 

As a homeschool mom, it's alarming to me how often I feel I'm doing just that: wasting time and "death scrolling." It's frustrating that my brain seems to have been rewired simply by using technology for the last couple of decades. And I realize that if I, a mom who didn't even have access to the internet until I was in college, struggle with these things, how much more difficult is it for our children who don't know a world without smart phones and search engines?

Technology is a tool, and like any other tool, we can use it for God's purposes or selfish ones. 

And there are technology tools to help us control (or at least navigate) our technology use!

One reason I'm pondering these things is that I'm 2/3 of the way through John Crist's book Delete That (and Other Failed Attempts to Look Good Online). I'll hold off on giving a review right now since I'm not yet finished, but I will say that I appreciate his willingness to share some vulnerable thoughts that many people have but don't feel comfortable admitting. And again, as a homeschool mom, I'm tucking away some nuggets and pondering parenting strategies in light of Crist's experiences growing up in a large Christian homeschool family himself. 

If you've read the book, what are your thoughts?

If you've had similar struggles with technology use, how have you overcome them (or what are you doing to help)?
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What Would You Have Done During the Holocaust?

What Would You Have Done During the Holocaust?
If you had lived in Germany during Hitler's rise, would you have spoken up against the atrocities inflicted on the Jews?

If you had lived in the early days of America, would you have spoken up to end slavery?

If you had been caught up in the crowd yelling at Pilate to crucify Jesus, would you have spoken up to defend His innocence?

I'd like to think that yes, I would have spoken up. I'd like to think many of us would have done so.

But the reality is, people who should have known better during those historical times did NOT speak up. 

And the reality is, I know my own weaknesses and fears. While I would love to say with confidence that YES, I would have taken a stand against evil in any form, no matter what the consequences...inside I can't help but wonder if I would have been any different from those who turned a blind eye to bloodthirsty hatred or even justified it.

Evil triumphs for a long while because it squashes those who voice opposition. It rules with fear and terror on its side, not only for those whom it specifically targets, but also for those who would dare stand in its way...whether with words or weapons.

Father God...
May we never falter in these times of trouble. Give us strength and courage to rescue those being led away to death, to hold back those staggering toward slaughter. We know the evil of these times. May we never be complicit with it because of outward pressures or inward fears. You know all things. You alone are the righteous Judge. May we be faithful to serve you and others as long as you give us life here on earth. In Jesus's name, amen.

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Ode to the Library

Ode to the Library
Ode to the Library
by Beverly Jacobson, Homeschool Mom & Chauffeur  

Would you rather read than cook?
Would you read a library book?
Yes, I'd read a library book!
Yes, I would, oh, take a look!
I would read while in the van. 
I would read as much as I can.
I would read in a coffee shop.
I would read until I drop.
I would read and sip a shake.
I would read each book I take.
I would not notice others' looks.
Oh, I do so love to read my books!

Thank you! *Takes a bow* 😂

Do your kids love the library like mine do?! 
Do you have a certain day of the week you go? 
Do your kids have their own shelves for hold items waiting to be picked up?
Is it a travesty when they close the library for a "staff training day?"
Is it an emergency when the kids are "out" of library books (meaning they've read all the ones they checked out 2 days ago)?!

Do tell!

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Identity Deactivated...?

Identity Deactivated...?
When I wrote my last blog post about "Navigating the Rapids," I had no idea that just a few days later I'd be navigating my own unexpected rapids!

On August 10, without warning, without explanation, my personal Facebook account was deactivated.

I truly have no idea why this happened. I do wonder if somehow the account was hacked.

I've tried a number of things to get it reinstated, which I won't go into here, because frankly it's exhausting and not really the point of this post. 

A few gut-wrenching realizations:
1. First and foremost, every single piece of content I ever posted ANYWHERE on Facebook is gone. Videos of teaching and testimonies, files shared with homeschool and pregnant moms, typed out encouragement and educational resources, photos...everything...GONE. Talk about an identity crisis!

2. The abrupt shutdown of my account was personally devastating. Losing the Facebook Memories access plus all my photos, videos, and commentary on our daily life has been like watching 15 years of scrapbooks go up in flames.

3. Not only that, but the loss of the account has also greatly hindered my ability to do ministry within the Verity's Village community and my own homeschool support groups, all of which I set up personally. I can't even get into my own homeschool support groups! Thankfully the Verity's Village page is a way I can still post in our ministry support groups...but it's awkward, since it's a page and not a personal profile. I am unable to access any of the thousands of messages I've sent to other people, although people can technically still see the messages they've exchanged with me if they look for me in Messenger. Strangely, though, my profile photo is gone and my "name" is now "Beverly Copyright Infringement." What in the world?! It's so disheartening! This is NOT who Beverly Jacobson is!

And yet...despite the injustice...I know God is in control. The shutdown of my account may simply be a strange technological error, the result of the work of hackers. Or it may be more nefarious. I am a follower of Jesus, not ashamed to stand on truth, as well as an advocate for the rights of the unborn. If I knew my beliefs were the reason behind the deactivation, I'd wear that as a badge of honor! But regardless of the WHY behind it all, there have been some beautiful realizations as well.

1. First was a difficult look at what I already knew was true: Facebook had become an addictive escape, a good way to waste time while trying to feel connected and/or productive. An instantaneous shutdown meant I had to learn to live without a part of my life that admittedly had gotten far more time and attention than I ever intended to give. I never WANTED to make Facebook my identity, but the truth is, somehow it became difficult to disentangle the real Beverly from my online presence.

2. God has graciously answered the longings in my heart to "be better," to "do better." Because of #1 above, I was shorting myself and my kids of the precious moments that were simply part of our family life waaaaay back in the days before social media and smart phones. For all of my good intentions, I couldn't seem to get control over this consuming desire to check messages, respond to comments, post something funny, important, poignant, whatever. Now, I find myself having more and longer conversations with my kids. Reading books for fun again. Sitting outside and just watching, listening, being.

3. For years I've tried to create healthy boundaries around my social media use. Well...guess what?! Now my Facebook usage is extremely limited, since I can only post within the bounds of the Verity's Village page. Thus, I have extremely limited "office hours" (more like minutes!) during which I quickly to VV-related tasks and communications. 

4. Related to the above point (THIS IS SO IMPORTANT): I must "work myself out of a job" in order for Verity's Village to grow beyond my little home office. It is VITAL that other people with a passion for our ministry take up the mantle. I've been forced to speed up the process of connecting with and equipping others to do this important work. Yes, I hope and pray to stay involved, BUT...I cannot do all the work myself, nor should I. 

At this time, I feel complete peace about NOT trying to set up another account. I'm leaning into the present moments, praying over the future, and trusting God will keep me connected to those whom He wants me to be in touch with. My identity is in Christ, not my Facebook profile! 

I pray the same is true for you, no matter what your preferred social media platform! If any of this has resonated with you, reach out an Instagram account remains unscathed (for now!) but doesn't have the same addictive pull for me that Facebook used to have, so I do plan to stay active over there. Find me here!
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