Be a Blessing!

Previously posted on May 21, 2015

Last year, I was invited to speak in a homeschooling conference on the topic of “Conquering Homeschool Fatigue.” As I was about to wrap up my preparation, God was quick to remind me of something very valuable. I was reminded of this verse in Proverbs 11:15, “He who refreshes others will themselves be refreshed.”

It may seem quite ironic but truly the Word is true in this promise. Homeschooling will be tiring and draining if the direction is always inward. If all you’re in for is how to raise wonderful, smart and happy children, it is going to get tiring at some point.

As Christ’s followers, we desire to be part of the circle blessing not merely as recipients but also as givers. So, we find opportunities in our homeschooling to bless others. As early as toddlers and preschoolers, we can teach the virtues of humility, compassion and generosity. We can encourage ways on how they can bring comfort and joy to others no matter how young our students are.

And as they say, “Charity begins at home.” We then seek to extend the blessing to the one nearest: a sibling, a parent, a grandparent, a neighbor, a person in the hospital, a helper? Who do you think needs encouragement? Who do you think can you bless?

Blessings come in various forms such a commitment to pray for a sick friend, writing a get well soon card for someone in the hospital, visiting a grandparent, or even just giving some cookies to a new neighbor.

We can incorporate this in our daily/weekly schedules. If you pray together as you begin homeschooling, then have a short time discussing those who may need your prayers as a family. Write it down, if you have a homeschooling prayer list. Is anyone’s birthday coming up? Pray for that person.

As part of Language/ Creative Writing, you may challenge your students to write to their grandparents or some cousin who lives abroad. For a coming birthday of someone you’d like to bless, allot some time for Art to create cards.

In summary, here are some simple and doable examples:

  1. Card making – Make it your ART activity for the day to make their own cards.
Card Making – One of our favorite Art activities
Tita Chel so happy with Marco’s DIY birthday card.
Card with buttons and cloth
“Thank you, Raya!”
For Lola LIssa and Lola Emma
“Turn Art to bless a HEART.”
Jesus is Born by Gino.
  1. Making Gifts

If you have budding artists, you can encourage DIY gifts for Grandparents, Dads, or other loved ones. Raya loves to sew and paint:) So for many years now, she has been giving handmade stuff and it has been really wonderful seeing the smiles as they unwrap their gifts. Gilbert and I have been recipients as well of this, from aprons to cross-stitched frames, to flower arrangements:)

My homeschooled niece Kaila has an amazing gift of paper folding (origami). She created a frame for Lola Emma using this amazing talent!
Raya’s secret Christmas gift to her parents.
  1. Flower Arrangement – Just google YouTube videos on flower arranging for whatever flower you would like to do.

My parents are both in their 80s. It has been a difficult time health wise, and we have found ourselves in and out of the hospital for the past 2 or so years. Dad doesn’t engage much and prefers to sleep and lie down most of the time. This is heartbreaking for Mom, his wife of 59 years! So, we all try to do our part to “cushion” the blow and yes, homeschooling is a great avenue to include your children in this endeavor. For all their 59 years, we have witnessed, rain or shine, in good times and bad times, a bouquet of flowers from Dad for Mom’s birthday, their wedding anniversary and Valentines. 🙂 For their 58th Wedding Anniversary and Valentine’s Day (7 weeks apart), our homesCool decided to help Dad continue on with this lifetime promise — and included flower arranging in our Art/HELE activity. Oh, it was pure joy. We sourced the flowers from Dangwa/ Alabang Market to save on cost. Imagine for Mom’s 80th birthday, the entire clan attempted to give her 1000 roses (somewhere in other forms like origami, paintings, printed on a dress or bag.)

Even the boys helped cut flowers and arrange in vases
Raya learned how to make a bouquet for Lola Emma and Lolo Dony’s 58th Wedding Anniversary.
“We have to help Lolo fulfill his promise to Lola!”
  1. Going the extra mile for others

For her 80th birthday, Language Arts session was turned into Poetry Making for Lola Emma. They read the poem during her birthday celebration.

Take a break from Homeschool and visit an elderly relative. Here, I think, we also interviewed Owa about the Japanese War and how her family was spared from the rough times up north in Ilocos. We miss Owa, a constant source of stories who passed away last year.

The only Great Grandmother, Owa, my children had a chance to know and bond with. Miss you, Owa.
  1. Responding to people in need –

There will always be people in need around us. And we can always find ways to help. The Bible in Ephesians 2;10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” During the typhoon Ondoy in 2009 when many areas in NCR and Central Luzon were flooded, we could not homeschool in a business-as-usual fashion. We knew of many evacuation centers near our home with Filipinos who will surely be blessed with warm, home cooked meals. 

What started as a one family and one kitchen effort became a community movement as more homes sent food and volunteers for repacking of warm meals wrapped in banana leaves.
The kids took their spots in the assembly line of making “binalot” with adobo and boiled egg with rice. On other days, it was lumpiang shanghai.
We just thought that maybe after days of probably “instant noodles”, we could “refresh” others with this warm, home cooked meal wrapped in banana leaves.
Kids packed, counted and labelled.
The “Binalot Movement” was so contagious, cousins and neighbors quickly came to help feed hundreds in evacuation centers.

Typhoons will continue to come so we try to do our part whenever we can.

Relief Goods
Rallied kids and other children to make cards for the children of Ormoc for Christmas after Yolanda struck in 2013.
Inspirational books for the children of Ormoc.
Kids helped wrap as well

God wants His children to love, bless and encourage one another. Homeschooling can provide many ways to teach this very fundamental foundational truth in life. So, as you teach, there are days when there will be a tug in your heart to do something for someone or for a family. Include your children in the process as you respond to this tug in your heart. A time will come, you will be surprised when God will move your children’s hearts to bless someone.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Luke 6: 31

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