Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When your Homeschooler is Shy

When you homeschool, and your kids have a shy moment on the spot, or don't handle direct attention from a strange adult instantly.... it's so easy to feel judgment from people that your kids are the stereotypical "unsocialized" homeschooler. That your child is socially awkward. Here's the thing though: as long as you continue to guide them through social graces in those circumstances and are patient with them, they will learn and find their security and confidence. The more you push or pressure them, to kind of -- on demand "perform" -- you are using them as a reflection of you, instead of respecting your child's pace and growth. Should we work with kids who are shy to come out of their shells? Absolutely. But there are shy public school kids, too. And a child who may be shy or quiet in one environment can be perfectly comfortable and outspoken in another. Quiet observation is not a flaw. Careful, sensitive temperaments can be strengths. They look before they leap. They put thought into what they say and what they share.

Our children are not monkeys who should perform on cue the way we expect them to, because our hearts are prideful. Somehow, as a society, with children, we synchronize "outgoing" with "well-adjusted." Do we treat shy or introverted adults this way? I can’t remember the last time I heard someone think it appropriate to tease an adult if a cat had gotten their tongue if they paused before responding.

I have to remind myself what is MOST important. If I am teaching my children compassion, mercy, service.... and then they fail in a passing moment to speak up when spoken to? Whew.
Sometimes, depending on the person in front of us, I can almost “feel” their unspoken thoughts of, “see? This is why homeschooling is…”
It can be hard to swallow. Luckily, I am not doing a work for the approval of men, but striving to live in obedience to what pleases God.

So, I try to concentrate on how to help them practice better next time, rather than if my pride is dented. My response to my kids in those instances had better be with mercy and compassion, otherwise I am not responding to the child God has given me, but rather to the pressures from the world on what I want my child to be. I am not homeschooling for the esteem of others. Let us not project such burdens on our children. Let us not label or humiliate them. Instead, continue to cultivate authentic relationships with them in various settings. And, be thankful that you have opportunity to help them work through their shyness in securing, nurturing ways. Be intentional, and help them grow.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” –Matthew 5:5

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Homemade Plantain Salve

Goodbye, Neosporin.

It's nothing personal.

I just found something I like better. And I can make it myself, with 3 simple ingredients.

You can, too! Here is the recipe I use for simple, homemade Plantain Salve.

Use it to soothe bee stings, bug bites, minor cuts and scraps... it even helps my mama with her eczema, which has plagued her elbows and ankles for years.

It's a common backyard weed. If you're outside and you get stung, you can use it straight up from the plant- simply pick a plantain leaf, chew it for a second, and rub it on your sting. Instant relief. It will reduce inflammation and help promote healing.

If you would like to harvest some to make an easy ointment, it's super easy.
All you need:

1-2 cups of Fresh Plantain leaves
1-2 cups of Olive Oil
2 ounces shredded Beeswax

Pick your plantain when it is DRY. Brush off the dirt, with a dry paper towel. You don't want any extra moisture, it will shorten the shelf-life of your salve. You want them as clean and dry as possible. Sort out and discard any leaves with noticeable decay or bug debris. Fresh, clean, dry leaves.

Chop up the plantain in a food processor or blender. Remember, don't add water, we want to get rid of moisture, not add it. The plant itself is going to naturally have moisture in it.

Infuse olive oil with the chopped up plantain. You can do this in a few different ways. I just low-low heat, (NOT BOIL) carefully stirring the oil with the leaves in it for about an hour. Some people let the oil sit in the sun with the leaves for several days.

Next, you'll want to use a cheesecloth, or jelly bag with fine-mesh strainer and strain all the plant pieces out of the oil.

Now, shave off a couple ounces of beeswax. A good rule of thumb is to measure 1 ounce of beeswax per cup of infused oil. Finely shred it and slowly, slowly melt it in a saucepan. Do not let this cool, keep it in melted state on low, low heat.

Gently add the plantain oil to the wax.

Next, you'll want to pour this mixture directly into whatever containers you are using, because it solidifies as it cools. It will be really dark when you first pour it, then it lightens as it cools.
Small mason jars work well, and I like to use small plastic bead containers, because they make perfect to-go ointment cases for carrying in your purse or day bag on summer hikes, camping and picnics. And they fit nicely in small first-aid kits. Let it cool completely before lidding it.

This salve will easily last a full year.

Happy healing!

"Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them,
and reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth." -Jeremiah 33:6