Greetings Peoria area homeschoolers. As we approach the final stretch of the school year, I want to encourage you to persevere to the end and finish well. I also hope your school year has been productive and successful. Perhaps this has been a rough school year with lots of struggles and maybe you feel like you bagged a few failures. Even so, how you measure matters. More importantly, we have a God that works all things for our good. Is it really even possible to fail when you walk will the Almighty God whose reigns in sovereignty? Let me address the ideas of perseverance and perspective together with you.
Scripture is full of stories of people who did not finish well, but we are given several good examples of those who did. Daniel, Joseph, and Elijah are a few of those who finished well. I believe one of the keys to their walking faithfully is perseverance. They each faced exceedingly difficult times, sometimes stretching into years or even decades. How did they do it? I believe they trusted in a sovereign God and they chose to believe the promises made to their fathers. Holding onto His promises keeps hope alive in our hearts. What promises do we have to hold on to? Psalm 63:8 seems like a good place to start: “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Or perhaps Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Wow, with promises like these, it’s no wonder Paul could say that God “causes all things to work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes” (Romans 8:28). Or to quote a more modern theologian, “Help is on the way; round the corner; help is on the way; comin’ for ya.” Ok, so maybe calling TobyMac a theologian is a bit of a stretch, but his words still ring true. Bottom line is this: Perseverance is possible through hope which comes from trusting in God’s promises. Keep pushing through to the end and finish well. God has you covered. Trust in Him.
Now what can I say about perspective? That last bit has hopefully readjusted your perspective towards true north. Let’s talk about measuring success. How do you measure whether your school year has been successful, especially when you’ve had a particularly difficult one? How about starting with remembering what really matters… relationship. Relationship with God, relationship with you spouse, relationship with each of your children. Have all of these grown over this past year? Has God used your difficulties to grow you and strengthen your faith? Remember that God’s plan for you is to sanctify you to prepare you for His presence. Has your patience been stretched? Your salvation challenged? Your sanity questioned? Your math skills exposed? Remember that God has given you that husband or wife as a gift to help you. Your children are also gifts from God to help sanctify you and to fill your life with joy and blessing. James reminds us that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17). Have you thanked God for all these good gifts lately? If your school year included teaching your children about their Heavenly Father who holds them and has their best in mind, then I would say you have had a successful school year. Living a life with mediocre math skills or without understanding Shakespeare is much more doable than living a life without knowing Christ.
As always, the PAACH board desires to help and support you. We pray that your family learns together, grows together with others in community, and glorifies Christ in everything you do.
This month our PAACH family spotlight is the Unsicker family. Marie and Gary Unsicker have 7 children, and have been homeschooling since 1998... here's their story.
If you're interested in being featured as a spotlight family, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greetings Peoria Area Homeschoolers. I’m sure you have heard by now that APACHE is no more and PAACH has been born. What better time for an organization to have new life breathed into it and be reborn than in the Spring. I hope you all experienced joy and hope growing your faith as you celebrated Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Our family enjoyed a Passover meal and some encouraging fellowship with another family from our church. Our Holy Week experience is different every year and this year was the most encouraging we have ever had. This month I want to encourage you to look for new ways to encourage your kids’ individual gifts through your family experiences.
For those of you who missed the conference, PAACH is returning to our roots by refocusing on family discipleship. However, we are also looking for fresh new ways to serve the homeschool community towards family discipleship. Sometimes we get used to an idea and because of our familiarity, we end up putting that idea in a box that limits our effectiveness. Too often we limit and even stifle our creativity and get caught up in routine which create “ruts” in our lives. I believe we have a creative God that takes joy in watching us be creative. I believe this because of my own experiences of joy while watching my kids be creative, especially my 5-year-old with her extremely active imagination. I’ve heard it said that we all have a creative muscle with the potential to grow the more we use it. Randy Stinson, in his book Trained in the Fear of God, points out that King Solomon modeled a pattern for all good teachers in the book of Proverbs. Solomon not only obeyed the words of God, but he also reformulated the teaching of these words in new and memorable ways while illustrating the joys of obedience and the anguish that results from disobedience. We would also be wise to follow this pattern of teaching. Take a few minutes and ask yourself how you might apply a little more creativity to teaching and training of your children. Have a discussion or brainstorming with your spouse and even your kids (that’s right, tap into their young creative minds too). Keep in mind that you will need to adapt as your kids grow up.
The most important and rewarding benefit of homeschooling is spending time building relationships with each of your children. I hope you have begun to demolish the idea of “cookie-cutter kids” in your minds; and instead you are tailoring each child’s learning towards encouraging the unique gifts that God has given them. We get to teach them from a Christian worldview without the many negative worldly influences that saturate the public schools. The best part is that throughout the process we have the privilege of introducing our children to Christ. Remember, your job as their parents goes beyond academics. You are preparing them for the life God has for them. This means they need to know how to handle in a Godly way the adversities they will face, the failures that they will experience, and the successes they will enjoy. Much of this they will learn by watching you walk out your Christian faith. I know, I know… the very idea of this can make the hairs on the back of your neck bristle. Don’t worry, we have help. God has given us community in the church and with other believing homeschoolers. More importantly, God has given us the promise that His Holy Spirit will be our helper and given us the wisdom and patience we need whenever we ask.
PAACH is here to do our part by providing a safe and encouraging community to help you along your journey. One of the ways we are doing that is by posting a short Facebook live video each week called “The Tiller.” Like a tiller tosses the soil to stir up nutrients, we are hoping to stir up ideas and start helpful discussions where we can share some of our creativity with each other…and maybe even stir up some excitement within your heart as you love and train your children up into a relationship with Jesus Christ. We pray God’s blessings on your homes and in your families.
This month our PAACH family spotlight is the Amborski family. Steve and Cher have five kids and have been homeschooling for fifteen years. Here's a look at their experience.
Encourage one another and build one another up.
I Thessalonians 5:11
Our board has spent the last year refocusing on how we can better serve the needs of our local homeschooling community. As an organization, we want to be more than just a Christian academic resource library. The name APACHE does accurately represent who we are or what we are doing. Our new name, PAACH (pronounced patch), paints a picture of growth: a place where seeds are planted and fruit is produced. We are growing into a Christian community that desires to walk with you as you learn how to practice family discipleship. This is what we want to be about and so this is how we want to serve you – helping to "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
Our new logo features a house resting on top of a cross. Our homes need to be built on the foundation of Christ. "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." Psalm 127:1 That is the image PAACH wants to portray. That is why we homeschool, because as Christians we believe that the best way to disciple our children is through homeschooling.
PAACH desires to be a place where we learn together as families, grow together as a community, and glorify Christ together in the process. We want to follow Paul's instruction to "encourage one another and build one another up." I Thessalonians 5:11 Our goal is to encourage you and your families toward discipleship and building Godly character.
This month our APACHE family spotlight is the Buchanan family. Joe and Tara have been homeschooling their four children since beginning. Their oldest is 20 and their youngest is 10. Joe is the current station manager for WCIC FM in Peoria, IL.
Interested in fellowshipping with other homeschool fathers? APACHE is looking to organize some events, both virtual and in person, centered around homeschool dads. If you're interested in participating or have any ideas of what you'd like to do, please email email@example.com. And be sure to stay tuned for further announcements!
Greetings Peoria area homeschoolers. Everything is changing… and it’s happening at what seems to be break-neck speed. I keep looking around thinking, “Hey, can we stop for a second? I need to breathe and process and catch up.” Alas, the world continues barreling onward, uncaring that I just cannot keep up. At times, I grow frustrated and overwhelmed as I watch division infiltrating the church just as quickly. Personal convictions have become more important than relationships. Brothers and sisters in Christ who used to carry one another’s burdens are now accusing one another and pushing them away. Many have lost focus on who we represent and what we are supposed to be doing in His name. Even so, God is in control and I can have confidence in His work and trust that He is always drawing me closer. I may not understand what He is doing, but I know He works all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28) I want to approach the topics of division and change, and I will try to do so lovingly and respectfully.
Let me start with the division I see happening within the church and the homeschool community. To our shame, masks have become “the great divider” amongst us. People on both sides of this chasm have become so convinced of their personal conviction that we assume anyone on the other side must be wrong and therefore in sin. Paul spends a whole chapter in Romans guiding us on how we should be handling situations just like this. Perhaps right now the Holy Spirit is urging you to take a moment to refresh yourself by reading chapter 14. Paul lays out the path before us this way: Welcome the one who is weaker in the faith but don’t quarrel over opinions (v.1) - Don’t pass judgement on your brother (v.4) - Be fully convinced in your own mind of what God is telling YOU to do (v.5) - Live out your conviction in honor of the Lord (v.6) - Trust in God’s sovereignty (v.8), Don’t pass judgement on your brother (v.10) - Be accountable to God for yourself (v.12) - Decide never to put a stumbling block in your brother’s path (v.13) - Focus on the kingdom of God (v. 17) - Pursue making peace with and building up your brother (v. 19) - Keep your conviction between you and God (v. 22). Peter communicates this path a little more succinctly in 1 Peter 1:22, Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.
Jesus knew unity would be a struggle for us. In John 17, His high priestly prayer, He prayed for all those who would believe in Him, that they may all be one… so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (v.20-21) Jesus clearly states that everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35) This is why Paul urged the churches to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:3) Our divisions soil the name of Christ because they testify against Him. Brothers and sisters, we are called to carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:2) You know the law don’t you? Love one another, even as I have loved you. (John 13:34) As the church, I feel we are not doing a good job loving one another. As homeschoolers, we must remember that our children learn the most by our example. Allow me to toss out a few questions for you to challenge yourself on how well you are doing. Have I searched scripture and become fully convinced of my convictions and am I living them out consistently and gracefully? How do I treat those who disagree with me? Do I judge them and put a stumbling block in their path, or do I look for ways to encourage and build them up in their faith? Am I really putting others before myself or am I deceiving myself? Am I trusting in God’s sovereignty or am I walking in fear?
Now, let me say a few words about change while attempting to lighten your mood and maybe even give you something to get excited about. FACT: Most people don’t like change. FACT: Change is always happening. FACT: People know change is always happening and they still don’t like it. FACT: I am one of those people. Chuckle and chill for a minute. Most of the changes happening are completely out of our control and we need constant reminding that God is still in control. We can also be encouraged that God uses change in our lives to help us let go of the past and keep us moving forward. I believe change is a constant that God uses to draw us toward Him and help us to rely on Him. Sometimes God even directly instructs us to make changes. We can be sure that when God directs the change, that change is inevitable. And sometimes, God may simply tell us to bury the hatchet.
See you at convention!
APACHE subscribers, registration for 2021 APACHE achievement testing is now open. Cost is $40 per child. Make sure you're logged in to the APACHE website, then go to Events to select your dates. Hurry... space is limited!
Are you a new homeschooler or considering home education? Join us the night before Convention for a FREE New to Homeschooling Night hosted by Kirk Smith, Executive Director for Illinois Christian Home Educators (ICHE). Learn what home education is all about, get encouragement, meet seasoned homeschoolers, talk to vendors and curriculum reps, and more!
For questions regarding newsletter submissions, the Homeschool Convention or home education in general, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A Board member will respond as soon as possible.
Mailing Address: PAACH | P.O. Box 5203 | Peoria, IL 61601