9-Step Guide to Managing a Project as a Volunteer Mom

9-Step Guide to Managing a Project as a Volunteer Mom

Are you a homeschool mom whose planning an event as a volunteer project manager or event coordinator and have no clue where to start?  Below is a 9-step guide to managing a project as a volunteer mom.

Some events or projects are fairly simple in nature, but some are more complex depending on the organization’s goals, finances available and staff or volunteers.

This list is a basic template to follow as a guide to help you from start to finish in planning the event, so that you’ll see its success, along with feeling a sense of accomplishment and a job well.

9-Step Guide to Managing A Project As A Volunteer Mom

What is a Project Manager?

A project manager:

  • is in overall charge of the planning and execution of a particular project or event.
  • carries the heart of the person, people or organization who has planned this event to see their goals fulfilled and carried out in the event.
  • communicates to their team.
  • must be organized and be steps ahead of everyone.
  • is decisive and clear about expectations.
  • needs to be available 24-7 as the last few weeks/days of the event approaches and during the event itself.

9-Step Guide to Managing a Project as a Volunteer Mom

STEP 1: Initial Planning Stage (information you’ll receive from the visionary)

You are leading and serving an important event. As the project manager you are carrying the heart of the person, people, organization or visionary to see the desired outcome/goals achieved.

The groundwork for planning is so important, and includes these details:

  1. What event, conference, retreat, gala, activity, etc. are you being asked to be in charge of?
  2. What is the organization’s vision and goals of the event? WHY is it being held?
  3. Is there a title or theme to the event?
  4. What is the event date(s)? Identify what days of the week those dates are?
  5. What are start and end time(s) of the event days?
  6. Where is the event located?
  7. How far away is the event from today’s date?
  8. Find out who your team is that will be available to help. Most often, it’s never just one person organizing AND doing all of the work (unless you’re a mompreneur).

STEP 2: Brain Dump

Organize a team meeting with those who are helping you with the event. In this meeting, you’ll:

  1. Thank everyone for committing to helping in the success of this event.
  2. Share the vision, goals and desired outcome of this event that was given to you.
  3. Get your whiteboard, pen and paper or laptop and ask everyone to share anything and everything on their minds about this event. (You could write this yourself or ask someone to write it for you).

Note: The reason it’s important to involve your team is to have them feel involved, included and own the project with you.

STEP 3: Organize Brain Dump / Create Spreadsheet

Take the notes from your brain dump (which are unorganized, chaotic and without structure) and begin organizing and placing into categories and subcategories, etc. in a spreadsheet that can be shared with others. Google Sheets is great for this.

Set-up your spreadsheet row that include categories and subcategories, such as:

  1. Graphic design (logo, event design)
  2. Marketing, promotions or advertising (social media, posters, handouts, billboards, notebooks, pens, waterbottles, pins, stickers, workbook, etc.)
  3. Entertainment (music, comedy)
  4. Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert)
  5. Special guests of honour (accomodations, food, transportation)
  6. Budget (what is available in each category)
  7. Media team (live videos, stills, etc.)
  8. Volunteers (how many people are needed and in what categories)
  9. Workshops (what is required in each workshop, what does the guest speaker require)
  10. Parking (parking attendants and overflow parking)

Columns are also necessary, such as:

  1. Task Assigned To (make sure everyone has a task and that no task is left out)
  2. Notes
  3. Priority (Low, High)
  4. Start Date
  5. End Date
  6. Budget
  7. Completed (Yes, No)

STEP 4: Team Meeting / Fill-in-the-Blanks

Share the project management spreadsheet with your team and organize a team meeting.

The goal of this meeting is to fill-in-the-blanks. Each category and/or subcategory must have someone assigned to it, the priority is set, the start and end date is noted, the budget is included and whether it’s completed.

Allow your team the ability to add notes to the spreadsheet and whether it’s completed.

STEP 5: Weekly Check-ins

One way to keep on top of the project is to review it weekly along with the WHY and the goals of the event.

As a suggestion, it’s often great to review your project spreadsheet every Friday and then have a team meeting on Mondays, so everyone feels ready to attack their lists again in the week. Be sure to do what works best for you and your team.

Whatever form you’re able to meet with your team (in-person or by video), it’s important to keep on the same page as you strive forward to seeing all the end dates met.

Although you’re managing a project as a volunteer, the end result falls on you as you oversee everything.

STEP 6: Crunch Week

The final week before the event is certainly a crunch week to see all tasks completed.

There is often a last push that takes place which might include late nights, making decisions quickly and creating solutions for any challenges that come up.

STEP 7: The Day Before the Event

Finalize all the details, and try to get some good nourishment through food and sleep; you’ll need the energy!

This is the point where you really can’t do too much that couldn’t already be done. You set the tone with your team, so be sure to communicate having everyone feel on the same page, excited and ready to go.

STEP 8: Event Day(s)! 

SMILE … the event is here!

All that you and your team have planned will come together and culminate in this great event. This certainly deserves a pre-party celebration and cheer (but it’ll usually be a mini one as you keep going).

During the event days, you’ll need to:

  1. Have water and your phone.
  2. Make yourself available at all times and every day.
  3. Answer questions (probably more-so from your team, but could be from the people attending as they recognize that you’re the one that’s always there).
  4. Move from place-to-place finding out how things are going getting a sense from you team.
  5. Be available to put out fires as they come up.
  6. Make on-site decisions and create solutions.

STEP 9: Thank-you’s, Evaluation & Debriefing

The event is over and it’s time to sit down!

As a project manager, you’ll easily magnify any flaws, but you have to remember that nobody will have noticed it as much as you. So instead for the moment, harness your thoughts and your focus towards all that went well! Celebrate the success of the event and your hard work in making it happen.

Thank the person who asked you to project manage

It’s truly an honour to be asked and trusted to manage an event, whether of small or large magnitude. Be sure to thank the people or organization who believed in you.

Thank your team

Be sure to message and speak to your team letting them know how much you appreciated them. A thank-you goes a long way and reiterates their value in seeing the goals met.

Consider having a team night where you come together celebrating the hard work. Include some great food, conversation, games, etc. Make it light and make it fun!

Evaluation & Debriefing  

This is important step as the company or organization gauges the success of the event by how everything went and whether the goals were achieved.

This process can also be hard for you, the project manager, as well. (Some personality traits in project managers show up, such as people-pleasing and perfectionism).

  • Arrange a final team meeting for the purpose of evalution and defriefing.
  • Bring successes/challenges. Ask your team to come prepared. Either you can leave this more general or specific, such as, “Come prepared with your list of successes and challenges” or if you have a set list of questions, you could distribute those before the team meeting. Come prepared with any notes you have about the event, having listed the successes and the challenges.

Evaluation & Debriefing Meeting

  • Begin the meeting positively. Thank your team, reiterate the successes, the testimonies and good feedback. Focus on the WHY and the goal as this was the main objective of putting on this event.
  • Hear from each person. This helps them feel heard and valued. Active listening is important and writing down the details of what was a challenge/success is key for the next event. 
  • Concluding the meeting. Reiterate the success of the event, focusing on the goal and how it was achieved and bring out briefly and gently, that anything that requires attention for the next time will be documented.

Self-care

If you can or are able to, take some time off and fill your cup.

Although serving and giving of yourself to this extent, is VERY rewarding, you’ve also drained, exhausted and depleted yourself of the resources that you need in managing a project as a volunteer.

Set some time aside to rejuvenate and recouperate physically, mentally and emotionally from all your hard work and efforts put in.

Was this 9-step guide helpful for you? If so, would you also like access to a project management spreadsheet template of an event? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll put it together for you if it’s something you’d like to see.

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

30-Day Homeschool Prayer Challenge

30-Day Homeschool Prayer Challenge

Prayer can change the atmosphere or direction of anything, including your homeschool. But most often, it is us who needs to KEEP praying and speaking God’s Word. Join my 30-day Homeschool Prayer Challenge and see what God will do through daily prayer prompts, scripture, prayer, encouragement and support.

The homeschooling lifestyle isn’t easy.

Let’s just look at a list of what a homeschooling mom deals with:

  • Education – hoping that they’ll engage with what’s being taught and the ability to teach so that it’s understood.
  • Household – cooking, cleaning, laundry, finances, yardwork, organization.
  • Driver – activities, homeschool co-op’s, sports, kids/youth groups.
  • Relationships – having a good relationship with your kids, husband, parents, siblings, friends.
  • Ministry/Volunteer – getting plugged into a local church, charity or other volunteer organization.
  • Self-care – where does this fit in?

A homeschooling mom’s plate is full.

Just looking at this list makes me feel overwhelmed, but thankfully, it doesn’t all happen at once.

You can feel joy one minute and a failure to your kids the next. Emotions are everywhere for everyone.

We can do our best to prevent hard homeschooling days, but ultimately we need the help of the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and help us soften our hearts, discern what’s going on, pray into all things and believe that outcomes will change by the power of God.

You can change the direction and atmosphere of your homeschool with prayer. Join my 30-Day Homeschool Prayer Challenge and receive 'My Homeschool Prayer Journal" FREE!

So what does prayer do?

…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)

Prayer intervenes, interposes, intercedes and makes supplication. (Source)

Life isn’t easy; it’s tough. We have an adversary, the devil, walking around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

The goal of the enemy is to have you think that God isn’t good, causing you to question everything about Him, ultimately becoming separated from Him and even to the point of denying Him.

God has given us a free will. Everything about life is a result of choice, but not everything that happens to us is our choice.

Cling to God as if your life depends on it.

There are times when relationships with friends or loved ones are in turmoil, children are making choices that aren’t good for them and they’re not happy with the consequences of their actions, or there’s a lack of finances to pay all that’s due. You could also be experiencing ill-health in your body, mind or emotions or a tough go at homeschooling trying to figure it all out.

Whatever the case, we need to know that although our life experiences are tough that God does allows them and it gives us an opportunity to cling to Him as if our life depends on it. 

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (James 1:13)

Know the difference between God and the enemy.

God is so much greater than to teach us with evil, sickness or lack. These experiences do exist, but they are not from God, they are from Satan, whose purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came so that we would experience life, and life more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Be aware of the enemy’s devices. If we know the difference between God and the enemy, we’ll avoid falling prey to his schemes of doubt and questions.

God’s character. If we know the character of God by reading the Word, we’ll know that anything that we’re experiencing in life that doesn’t line up with who God is only temporary, but a matter of prayer.

Prayer connects our heart to God’s heart.

God is supreme and the final authority, which means if our heart isn’t longing for what God would have happen, it’s us that needs the change, not God.

By you being here on this earth at this very moment in time, is for your heart to connect to God’s heart through prayer impacting earth with the influence of heaven.

If God can make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28), then likely He wants you to reach out to Him, like a child reaches out to their father. God wants you to fervently knock, ask and seek Him, pursuing Him with hope as your anchor to your soul.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)

 

Prayer requires us to stand.

We have to know that prayer is a fight. 

Prayer is not a matter of flesh and blood (physical people), but of power and principalities and rulers of the darkness.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:13-18)

Angels are waiting for your spoken word.

God needs you to agree with His Word and speak it out loud. In fact, the angels are waiting for His Word, so that they can get to work actively accomplishing His will on the earth.

Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
(Psalm 103:20)

Would you like to join my 30-Day Homeschool Prayer Challenge?

Who is the 30-day Homeschool Prayer Challenge for?

This challenge is for someone who:

  • desires to see change in their homeschool environment.
  • craves creative and innovative homeschool ideas to help their children be their best at learning and your ability in teaching them.
  • hungers for other homeschool moms to be encouraged about their homeschooling endeavours.
  • longs for their marriage to grow stronger.
  • yearns for their children to fulfill their life’s purpose, destiny and calling.
  • believes they are blessed to be a blessing helping others in need.
  • desires to see their family’s income increase, so that they are the lender and not the borrower.
  • wants their relationships (family, friendship, etc.) strengthened.
  • believes they can be better and healthier in their body, mind and emotions.

 

What will you get from being involved in the 30-day Homeschool Prayer Challenge?

You’ll receive:

  • My Homeschool Prayer Journal ($6.00 value), absolutely FREE, when you join!
  • Daily prayer prompts will be posted, along with a scripture.
  • 30-day scripture challenges to continue on our journey of prayer
  • Prayer as you submit your prayer requests.
  • Encouragement, support and love from this group that is the praying homeschool moms.

 

Will you join me to see change?

Let's join together in faith, praying and declaring God's Word! See you in the challenge:)

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Picks for 2018-2019

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Picks for 2018-2019

A lot of people don’t choose kindergarten homeschool curriculum because really, you don’t need it. I, however, prefer a little something to guide our efforts.

I’m not looking to do school at home, but I do need help in seeing what’s possible to challenge my little guy with.

With our current routine involving my older, grade 2 child and my younger, kindergarten child, the advantage of all that my kindergartener gets to learn just by nature of being around my older one is a beautiful thing!

My 5-year old son is a kindergartener whose active, is at times strong-willed, and a solution-minded kinda guy. He likes a challenge and loves it when you reward his efforts.

So to have his older sister sit in a desk across from him brings on his eagerness to have something of his own. And why not?!

Get a FREE PreK-K Fall-Themed Printable Pack

FREE PreK-K Fall Printable Pack

I'd love to hear if you include any of these elements in your kindergarten homeschool curriculum. Share in the comments below!

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Second Time Around) + *NEW* FREE PRINTABLES

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Second Time Around) + *NEW* FREE PRINTABLES

We’re using Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons differently the second time around.

My almost 5-year son has been hungry to learn and shows his readiness by what he’s retaining, so we’ve pulled the book out again.

Check out my *NEW* FREE PRINTABLES below!
(includes sticker chart, letter flashcards & word flashcards)

I was so nervous teaching my first child to read.

To me, reading is THE most crucial subject and I didn’t want to mess this up with my daughter. In my mind, to avoid a disaster meant seeking out a highy recommended book to teach reading. Based on my teaching style, I knew I needed a scripted teaching book to help me! So, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons became THE book that was recommended. Here is my detailed review when I used it with my first child.

Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Second Time Around) + FREE sticker chart, letter sound flashcards & word flashcards!

How We’re Using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons:

My son has begun to start reading 1/2 a year earlier than when my daughter started. This has everything to do with where he’s at, his desire to learn and how naturally it’s coming to him. My son took to learning his uppercase and lowercase letters quite quickly, so now that he’s mastered that, I’ve decided to incorporate reading so I don’t hinder his progress.

What I’m doing differently this time with the book

SLOWER PACE

I’ve already decided that the pace we’re going to go at is much slower, and so far it’s working.

This book might be easy in the sense of the format (the layout, the review, the script, how soon your child will read, etc.), but it’s not necessarily easy for the one who’s learning to read.

My desire is for my kids to read AND like it!

That’s said, we’re not doing a lesson a day. In fact, we’re doing a lesson a day sometimes, and mostly doing a lesson over two days. I’m trusting that this will help build confidence and an enjoyment to read my son.

LOTS OF REVIEW

At such a young age, the ability to sit down for more than the 20 minutes as suggested by the book, is just too much for a wiggler.

We write letters on the blackboard and whiteboard, review letter sounds and words using flashcards (see my free printable below), and we talk about letter sounds as we go about our day. I’ll find that my son just starts recognizing the letter sounds by looking at a word and will begin to sound them out loud. I love this because it becomes the connection between learning and living! When this happens, I’m reminded of what amazing benefits to homeschooling there are.

GET YOUR FREE PRINTABLES

Since we bought a used and older copy of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, it didn’t seem to have what I needed. So I created what I needed and I’m offering it FREE for you below when you sign-up to be on my email list. These printables are new and updated since my printables offered here.

Get your *NEW*

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

(includes: sticker chart, letter sound flashcards & word flashcards)

Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Second Time Around) + FREE sticker chart, letter sound flashcards & word flashcards!

Have you taught your child to read successfully using the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons?

If so, what were your strategies? If you’re new to using the book, was this helpful? Please share with me in the comments below.

Let's join together in faith, praying and declaring God's Word! See you in the challenge:)

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

5 Ways To Prevent Hard Homeschooling Days

5 Ways To Prevent Hard Homeschooling Days

We’ve had our share of “off” homeschooling days. Sometimes you just can’t figure out what the issue is, but there are ways to prevent hard homeschooling days by going through a checklist of your child’s general needs and meeting them.

“Happy baby, happy mommy.” Did others say this to you, too?

What list of things would you check to make sure your little one was feeling their best? Were they feed, diaper changed, lots of sleep, tummy clear of gas, and had play time?

Although your children are not babies any longer, they still have needs that are important to be met. When we give what they need, they feel cared for and loved with an ability to operate at their best.

5 ways to prevent hard homeschooling days

5 Ways to Prevent Hard Homeschooling Days

1. Has your child had enough sleep?

Late nights can show up the next morning in anyone. It’s not fun to feel sluggish, tired, lacking energy.

If your child hasn’t had enough sleep, you may find them disengaged and their attention span lost. If you dare to put pressure on your child, you may find that they react with tears or anger. They may also feel withdrawn and want to do something that they feel they can handle.

Review how your child slept the night before. Did they go to bed late? Did they wake up several times throughout the night? And because we get to homeschool, one of the benefits we have is allowing them some space, declaring that it’s nap time or quiet time, and just resetting the day with what your child needs.

2. Has your child had food to eat?

Eating in the morning after you awake sets a good tone for the day. Bodily nourishment reflects in mental and emotional capacity.

It’s important to teach our children that breakfast is a very important meal to start the day with. Eating breakfast helps with clarity of thoughts and the ability to emotionally handle ourselves until the next time we’re hungry. Some children don’t enjoy breakfast, but helping them to realize its importance as fuel for the day is necessary.

3. Has your child wiggled?

If your child is feeling refreshed after a great sleep, has had breakfast and feeling ready for the day, they may feel ready to move.

Allowing your child some freedom to move and wiggle will help when they need to sit down and engage with their lesson.

4. Does your child feel good physically?

Most of the time, we assume that our children feel well. But, there are those occasions when they aren’t quite themselves and something seems off about them. Often it’s our mother’s instincts to start asking our children questions about their health.

When a child has a slight fever, a tummy ache, or feel sore, pushing through to focus on learning is out of the question. One of the ways to prevent hard homeschooling days is to let go of the homeschooling plans and care for your children being sensitive to them.

5. Are you prepared?

There are lots of things to do as a homeschool mom, and being ready for a homeschool lesson or activity might not be the first priority on our list.

But kids can smell it when you’re unprepared and they just might take full advantage of suddenly immersing themselves in another activity.

As you reign in their attention, there’s a hope that there will be no issues coming back, but that’s not always the guarantee when their attitude shows up.

What about when it’s none of these things?

Meeting the needs of your child is a simple checklist to make sure everyone is feeling their best.

That said, if you’ve done everything you know to do and you just don’t know what’s going on, surrender your homeschool to the Lord. When you take your homeschool before the Lord in prayer, you are asking and seeking Him for help and guidance. It’s important to know what’s going on with your children and being sensitive to the Lord and what He’s saying to you is the ultimate way to know what to do.

FREE 5-Day Homeschool Prayer Printable

 

30 Days of Praying for Your Homeschool + FREE Prayer Journal Printables

What are some ways to prevent hard homeschooling days in your household? Share them with me in the comments below.

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

6 Ways To Disciple Your Kids

6 Ways To Disciple Your Kids

What are some ways to disciple your kids? Do you need a curriculum or a program to disciple your kids? Just living life is a powerful discipling tool as you take the opportunities with your kids as they present themselves.

What Is Does It Mean To Disciple My Kids

I believe that as parents, we want to see our children make Jesus the Lord of their life, be passionate about serving Him through others and have a deep personal relationship with Him. So when we hear the term “discipleship”, we can think about what we need to do to disciple our kids.

Disciple defined:

When looking up the word “disciple” in the Bible, you will find it used in the New Testament, mostly in the gospels.

When the Bible speaks about disciples, you’ll notice that it’s used to clarify whose disciples they were. As you read the context, you really begin to see that a disciple is a learner (as the definition indicates). In today’s terminology, you could that a disciple is a student.

Disciple applied

Let’s apply this definition to discipling your children.

To disciple your kids, is to help them be a student of the Word (Jesus), following Him. As your kids stay the course, ideally the steps would continue where they would ask Jesus to be the Lord of their lives, become baptized all the while learning to surrender and trust in Jesus growing in their faith.

Learn 6 Ways to Disciple Your Kids

6 Ways To Disciple Your Kids

1. Natural conversations

There’s nothing like a child asking a question or opening up a conversation about something. THIS becomes the greatest opportunity to talk about the Word of God. An inquisitive child is one who is hungry to learn, be taught and looking to apply it to their life.

2. Rhythms at home (prayer or devotions)

Your family’s natural rhythms of devotional or prayer time are good to talk about WHY your family does what they do through. The last thing we all want to do is create a religious tradition doing something out of obligation and routine, rather than relationship.

We have found that this devotional has been great with our daughter who’s 7. She can sense the peace of God through the loving words that are shared. We also expand on those words by applying them to her life, and asking her questions to dig deeper.

3. Bible study

If you’re doing a Bible study at home, verse memorization, scripture copywriting, etc. it’s a great time to expand on what the scripture means and its application in your child’s life.

4. An experience

One of the benefits of homeschooling your kids is the ability to see and sense all the learning challenges as they come up in your kids. These moments are impactful as we get to immediately get to the root of something in their behaviour and attitude and for us as homeschool moms, rely on the Spirit to lead and guide our conversations.

For more on discipling your kids while homeschooling, check out my guest post over at Outmatched Mama here and make sure you sign-up to get the FREE printable I’m offering – available for a limited time!

Another experience is if your child attends a class or sport outside the home and they feel upset about their ability to do what the teacher asked. As their body language begins to show that something is wrong, we can reassure them and value who they are by giving them a Word from God.

These are such divine moments as a parent to engage the fruit of the Spirit and ask for wisdom and guidance from Holy Spirit. He will show you!

5. Church family

A church family is so important. You cannot raise your children on your own; you need the community of like-minded believers to speak life into your children whether it’s by cheering them on or correcting an inappropriate behaviour.

It’s also encouraging for your children to see the body of Christ their age come together where it’s a safe place to ask questions and talk about what’s on their heart as it relates to their faith. It really does take a village to raise a child.

6. Your example

Being led by the Spirit is key to our Christian lifestyle. As you sense the Spirit of God moving through you to do or say something, include your children in this and talk to them about it. God becomes real in your home when your children are exposed to God through Holy Spirit is revealing to you.

Not only that, but the presence of God can be so tangible that your children will experience God in those moments. We just can’t limit God, putting Him in a box of how things will look in our homes.

There are many ways to disciple your kids, and it doesn’t have to be hard. Which way(s) does your family connect with and lean towards? Let me know in the comments below!

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

“Give Thanks” Banner {FREE PRINTABLE}

“Give Thanks” Banner {FREE PRINTABLE}

I love autumn and the season of thanksgiving, and I’d love to help you celebrate with a”Give Thanks” banner free printable!

We are all sowers and reapers

“The sower sows the word.” Mark 4:14 NKJV

One of THE most important seeds any one of us could ever sow is the Word of God. The Word of God is transformative and powerful in its nature, designed to bring life and love, correction and discipline. Cultivating the soil of your heart is important so that the Word of God can grow out of you, more and more!

“And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” Mark 4:15-20 NKJV

Download your FREE PRINTABLE "Give Thanks" banner to celebrate the season of Thanksgiving!

Your heart condition matters

To a farmer or gardener, soil conditions matter, along with the exposure to all the other elements (air, water and heat). Each of us is a farmer and the same thing applies to us; our heart-soil conditions matter.

Examining your heart is a priority because we are all affected by what goes on around us and to us. The Word of God is a seed which is designed to be deposited in our hearts, mixed with faith. Believing God at His Word and trusting in Him, makes what He says a higher reality than what we are seeing with our natural eyes.

So then, YOU are a farmer, too, planting the Word of God in your heart. As you feed and water your heart with God’s Word protetcing the seed with prayer, and praise and worship, there will be a harvest!

As we rejoice in the season we’re entering into, cultivating a heart of thankfulness to God is important. So I’ve put together a “Give Thanks” banner as a reminder to keep our gaze set on the Lord as we give Him thanks in all things.

“GIVE THANKS” BANNER {FREE PRINTABLE}

I love to share the things I create for our family with you! So I have a FREE “Give Thanks” banner that’s printable and available to download below.

How to print and display your “Give Thanks” Banner

  1. Print the banner single-sided using white cardstock paper.
  2. Cut along the faint grey lines on each paper.
  3. If you prefer a matte finish, the letters are ready for the hole-punch. But, if you prefer a glossy finish or durability, putting the printed sheets through a laminating machine like this using these laminating sheets will do just that!
  4. Take a hand-held hole-punch to create two holes – one at the top left and one at the top right corner of each letter.
  5. Use jute twine pushing it down under at the left top hole and pushing it up and through the right top hole.
  6. String the rest of the letters in this same pattern.
  7. You can choose to have the letters on one long jute string with the leaf in the middle as your spacing (included in the printable), or form it on two lines like I did below.

Get your  “Give Thanks” Banner FREE PRINTABLE

I’d love to hear the ways you give thanks to God during this season. Share with me in the comments below.

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Cultivating a Heart of Thankfulness + FREE 30-Day Thankfulness Challenge

Cultivating a Heart of Thankfulness + FREE 30-Day Thankfulness Challenge

Cultivating a heart of thankfulness and being a thankful person doesn’t come naturally; it’s a learned behaviour.

As a child grows up, a parent teaches basic manners to their baby (through sign language) and/or their toddler even when they can’t fully understand the words yet. A child doesn’t naturally know to show thankfulness; it is taught and learned. And over time, you begin to expect to hear and see thankfulness naturally from your child without having to remind them.

What about in how we treat others as we grow up into adults? Do we show our gratitude? How about in our thankfulness toward God?

Because cultivating a heart of thankfulness is a learned behaviour, it means, this is a lesson we learn over and over again.

Cultivating a Heart of Thankfulness + 30-Day Thankfulness Scripture Challenge Printable

Thankfulness Isn’t Always Easy

A heart of thankfulness to God is certainly easier when things are going well. Such as a new job you’ve been hoping for, or a house or car you’ve been praying about. Perhaps a breakthrough in your health or with a struggling child.

But what about when you’re going through a tough time? Can you still be thankful?

Ephesians 5:20 says, “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

Thankfulness isn’t easy when you’re encountering a hardship.

Hardship is painful.

You can cry out to God in the hardest of times, find something to be thankful about and continue on in pain.

It’s important that when we experience trials in our life, that we keep ourselves looking to the Lord as our hope. No matter what we don’t understand, God does. He’s always with us, never leaves us and makes all things will work together for good. These things in themselves are reasons to be thankful to God even through the pain of a hardship.

Cultivating a Heart of Thankfulness + 30-Day Thankfulness Scripture Challenge Printable

Why Be Thankful to God?

Thankfulness helps us to focus on God, and not ourselves

Ever see others around you and wonder if you’re experiencing all that life has to offer?

Maybe you feel like you’re missing out on a full and exciting life looking at others and what they have, or what you think they have. But, what we don’t know, is that while we’re busy looking at others, comparing what we don’t have to what we think they have, we’re telling the Lord (and ourselves) that what He’s given us and who He is, is not enough.

Thankfulness for who God is helps keep our focus on Him, instead of ourselves or others.

Thankfulness can help replace the spirit of fear

Anxious thoughts and worried feelings can run wild in our minds. While often these thoughts are not reality, they are so powerful that they can create reality. It’s important to know that these thoughts and feelings are not from God.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

One way to combat and replace the spirit of fear is by meditating on God’s promises, trusting in the Lord and cultivating a heart of thankfulness.

Thankfulness reminds us that we are not God

We need God; without Him, we are nothing. In fact, we’re only here on this earth living and breathing because of Him.

Being the god of our lives means we live without involving the Holy Spirit. If we’re not seeking direction from the Lord and increasing our intimacy with Him through prayer, we will live by our own ways and our own strength, instead of the Lord’s ways and His strength.

Thank God for His guidance, love and plan for your life.

Thankfulness energizes us

When you think of being thanked by your toddler, spouse, friend or co-worker, it feels warming to have someone acknowledge what you’ve done to help them. In the same way, the one who’s saying, “Thank you”, shows appreciation and recognition for another person’s involvement.

As we learn again and again to be grateful and thankful to others and to God, it energizes us and is life-giving.

Cultivating a Heart of Thankfulness

Thankfulness to our great God can have many forms of expression – such as prayer, praise and worship, journaling, offerings, and obeying His Word.

To encourage you and cultivate a thankful heart, download this FREE 30-day Thanksgiving Scripture Challenge. Immerse yourself in thanksgiving to God by speaking out these scriptures and declaring life over you and your family.

 

FREE 30-Day Thankfulness Challenge

Also FREE…(for a LIMITED time)

Here is a FREE Gratitude Bible Study for Kids that I’ve put together when I did a guest post over at In All You Do.

What are some ways you like to show thanksgiving to God and to others? Share them with me below!

Let's join together in faith, praying and declaring God's Word! See you in the challenge:)

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Trusting God When He Calls You To Homeschool + FREE Printable Challenge

Trusting God When He Calls You To Homeschool + FREE Printable Challenge

Trusting God when He calls you to homeschool will take every fibre of your being to fix your eyes on Jesus and not yourself!

All of us have different experiences to share when it comes to our homeschooling journey and our faith-walk.

No experience is right or wrong, but be led by the Lord.

Some of us have chosen to homeschool out of a challenge that we experienced. Others have chosen to homeschool based on the academics of our child/ren. Some parents have known from the beginning that they would be homeschooling their children (this is my experience). And others feel thrown into the fire with no options and are trying to keep their head above water.

Whatever your reason(s) to homeschool your children, being led by the Lord in this decision is key. And what comes out of being led to homeschool, is that homeschooling doesn’t just become about your children, but about the work God wants to do in you, too.

Trusting God When He Calls You To Homeschool + FREE Trust in God Scripture Challenge Printable

Just as we involve Holy Spirit in all our daily decisions, He too, wants to be involved in your child’s education, learning and development. Really, He wants to be involved in your entire family’s homeschooling lifestyle.

Trusting God with His call on your life to homeschool means that you’ll be surrendering your will and outcome for His.

We all have ideas and preconceived notions about how homeschooling will look. Whether you’re in your first year, fourth year or tenth year, you might be left wondering if you’re really cut out to teach and lead your children’s lives (not just their education).

Your children’s character ESPECIALLY changes as they grow, and you come across new behaviours that didn’t exist before. Everything in you will want to question God.

It’s so important to keep your why to homeschooling in front of you, especially when homeschooling isn’t looking like you pictured, or you have really hard days.

If you’re like me, I feel unqualified to teach my kids.

I’m not a fun “teacher”. I’ve never felt that I had a gift to teach and never classified myself as a teacher. But here’s the thing – if I was good at it, would I even need God?! Would I rely on Him like I should? So as much as I feel unqualified to homeschool my kids, the Lord often reminds me…

He didn’t call me to homeschool because I’m qualified; He qualifies me which is why He called me to homeschool.

Trusting God When He Calls You To Homeschool + FREE 30 Day Trust Challenge Printable

Often the barrier to “feeling” qualified has to do with our trust in God.

If you’re feeling like you need to find your way again, trusting the Lord with this call to homeschool, I’d suggest downloading the FREE 30-day Trust Challenge Printable below, and renew your trust in the Lord by fixing your eyes on the Word of God.

God has such good plans for you and your family. Sometimes, it’s hard to see when you feel unqualified and ill-equipped to do something like being responsible for not only your children’s education, but their character.

30-Day Trust Challenge + FREE Printable

Trust in the Lord + 30 Day Bible Scripture Trust Challenge FREE Printable

Trusting God when He calls you to homeschool is life changing for everyone. This becomes an opportunity to talk to your children about what trusting God looks like for you and it’s impact on your family whether you chose to trust Him or not.

What have you found a challenge when it comes to trusting God with His call for you to homeschool?

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Our Homeschool Routine (Grade 2 & Kindergarten)

Our Homeschool Routine (Grade 2 & Kindergarten)

Our homeschooling days are amazing so far with our new homeschool routine! I changed a few things up this year, and kept a few things that worked well from last year.

If you’ve been homeschooling, you’ve come to know that there are so many benefits to homeschooling, including flexibility and doing what works best for your family.

Our Homeschool Routine - Grade 2 & Kindergarten

How I determined our homeschool routine

When are my kids most focused?

I determined our homeschool routine by my kids and their mental and emotional capacity to stay focused. And this is what I know:

  1. My kids are more focused in the morning – they are slower and fresher.
  2. The afternoons are a challenge for my kids – they’re a little tired after lunch and need to get their wiggles out.

What subjects when?

The core subjects, such as reading, spelling and math need the most focus, so the morning is necessary to tackle them.

Then in the afternoon, the more easy-going, relaxed subjects are best, like social studies, science, grammar, writing, handwriting, etc.

Our homeschool routine

I wake up earlier (with my husband) to enjoy quiet time doing my devotional with breakfast, and then move on to work on the blog or in the house.

My children are usually awake by 8:00-8:30am. We begin our mornings slow and gentle, and when we’re all fueled up from breakfast, we begin. I try not to base anything we do on particular times and schedules. With my children in the grades that they are, the ages that they are, and where I’m at in this homeschool journey, scheduling times to subjects brings too much pressure for me, and in turn, I tend to pressurize my children and things don’t end up well.

TIP: Embrace what works best for you and your children – homeschooling provides this freedom along with these other benefits.

My Kindergartener has handwriting, reading and math just for his age, otherwise, he participates in everything else that my Grade 2 daughter does. This approach, last year, was amazing to help him advance his learning without any pressure.

Our typical homeschool routine:

  • Breakfast
  • Bible
  • Reading/Spelling (looped)
  • Math
  • Lunch (before or in the middle of the afternoon basket loop)
  • Afternoon Basket Loop
    • Brave Writer Lifestyle Loop (Rebecca from Homeschool On does a great job of explaining it here)
      • Read-alouds
      • Grammar
      • Copywork
      • Poems
      • Art
      • Music
      • Nature journal
    • Social studies
    • Science
  • Clean-up/Free time
  • Dance lessons, piano lessons, swim lessons
  • Supper

We try to aim being done at 3:00pm each day. This leaves room for supper prep, music lessons (which I still teach), and sports activities.

It hardly feels like homeschool with a routine like this for our family.

What has worked best for your family’s homeschool routine? Let me know by sharing in the comments below!

Anchored in Jesus,
Melanie

Need some fresh family conversation ideas?

Download this printable FREE!

Family Conversation Starters FREE Printable

Join my 30-day Homeschool Prayer Challenge! YES! I'm in:) Dismiss