I’m A Selfish Sinner…And My Kids Need To Hear It From Me!

My Kids Need To Hear Me Say @mercyisnew.com

I came home from Teach Them Diligently with so many wonderful notes from so many wonderful sessions. {Read those notes here.} But one thing that Todd Friel said has been stuck in my mind ever since. It was a gentle conviction from the Holy Spirit, I have no doubt.

I don’t even have an exact quote to share with you and make all tidy and pretty. I just know what the Lord placed on my heart and I felt prompted to share it.

On a daily basis, my kids get lots of teaching, reminding, instruction, and if I’m honest…nagging, from me. I struggle with a critical spirit and I’m always seeing the negative around me. It’s a battle I fight daily. I work hard to say encouraging words to my children, and some days I fail miserably.

But, one thing that had not crossed my mind to say to my children was that I’m the worst sinner living in this home. It’s not them. 

Y’all. Because I’m constantly working on things with my kids, correcting, disciplining them, it’s always on my brain. But I never EVER want them to think I have this Christian life down pat. Or that it is even possible to have this thing down pat. I never EVER want them to think that they are bigger sinners than I am just because they are younger and I have more years under my belt, so to speak.

I want my kids to know that I’m desperate for Jesus. I need Him just as much {or more} than they do. I fail and sin and fall short daily. I need His grace just as much as they do. I need to get better at preaching the gospel to myself…and to my kids!

And while I’m at it, I mess up daily. I am a wretched sinner. I am desperate for a Savior. But there is good news…I have a Savior! I praise God that He is not finished with me yet and I have a glorious eternity ahead of me!

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

If I want my kids to know these things, I need to be speaking them out loud on a regular basis. 

Won’t you join me? 

Favorite Speakers From Teach Them Diligently

Favorite Sessions from TTD 2014 @mercyisnew.com

It’s conference season!! I was blessed to attend Teach Them Diligently in Nashville, in March! 🙂 I see lots of folks talking about heading to the other conferences that TTD is putting on in Spartanburg, Dallas and Washington D.C. Now, if I were going to Spartanburg this year I would definitely want to hear Angie Smith speak!! You should definitely check it out if you haven’t registered yet!! {If you’re local and can’t travel this year, be sure to check out the brand new conference coming to Pigeon Forge in June!}

Each family is so unique…I hesitate in telling folks YOU SHOULD HEAR XYZ FOR SURE!! Of course, I have my favorites, but my favorites may have spoken to me because of where I’m at in this homeschool journey and won’t be applicable to you or vice versa. So, instead of telling you who you SHOULD hear, I’m going to share some notes from a few favorites and let you decide if they sound good for you! Nearly every single session I heard this year was a “don’t miss” session for me!! You will have your own favorites! And don’t neglect to PRAY about where you should go! God will direct your path!!

Whatever sessions you choose, I encourage you to make every effort to attend a conference somewhere this year! Honestly, I need this motivation and encouragement more than I realize. Each year when I get there I find the motivation and strength to keep going. Homeschooling is not easy and has never been easy for me. I need all the help I can get! Being around like minded friends and hearing these speakers is just what I need to keep on keeping on. I know you will be encouraged and blessed as well!!

Motivating Your Reluctant Learner with Joyce Herzog

  • “I don’t know what to do with this child!!!” Joyce’s advice — ASK GOD!!
  • God did NOT make a mistake in giving you this child!! Sometimes our reluctant learners (or any children with any learning disability or such) are given to us to teach ME and prune ME.
  • Don’t push your child to be grade level when you know they aren’t ready – trust your momma gut!! God gave you this child, NOT the government or schools…don’t let the school dictate when your child should be reading, multiplying, etc.
  • God has equipped you to teach your individual children!
  • What can we do to earn the respect of our children? Respect = TIME
  • At the very time when we begin seeing unique gifts and individuality in our kids the schools begin putting them in a box
  • What is your child doing with their free time?? If legos — he/she is a hands on learner! If reading — don’t complain! Let them read and give them options! If playing — play is the school of children! With some guidance and steering, all of these things can be TOOLS for LEARNING.
  • Make how you teach RELEVANT to their interests!
  • We teach our children not to bow to peer pressure, yet we do it continually as we teach them — “THEY say we should have them reading by age 5…”
  • If you don’t have time to be a blessing to others and SERVE, you’re TOO BUSY. Even if it’s your curriculum keeping you too busy…
  • Meet Joyce Herzog

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Learning Styles & Beyond with Carol Barnier

  • If your child is being taught OUTSIDE of their primary learning style, they are going to end up frustrated and feeling dumb.
  • How do we find their styles? Spend MORE time on the prescription rather than the diagnosis. Try crazy things – try things that would NOT work for you personally, you never know what might work for your child!
  • 3 basic styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic
  • For reluctant readers: magazine subscriptions, kids newsletters online, comic books, letters in the mail, print in the car instead of electronics, silly poetry
  • get the pencil OUT of their hands for every subject except writing and they will soar!
  • Remember, slow does not mean stupid! Give your kids time to answer your questions and do their work. Don’t always be in such a rush!
  • Hearing it once is not enough for most children
  • do not correct everything on writing assignments, work on one skill at a time
  • Meet Carol Barnier 

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How Do I Teach This Highly Distractible Child with Carol Barnier

  • The one consistent thing about distractible children is that they are inconsistent.
  • Tools to limit distractions: tri-fold boards around work areas, auditory blinders – earphones, while you read put something in their hands – silly putty
  • Allow transition times between subjects
  • A failure to learn is a failure to TEACH — as the teacher I should be finding new ways to help my children, not blaming them for not getting it!
  • Quiet movement ideas while learning: movement helps them concentrate, exercise balls to sit on, mindless and repetitive motions, silly putty, salt dough, legos, screws into a board, dried corn with tweezers, battleships (pegs only,) mopping, drawing, paper dolls
  • Active learning ideas: Mother May I with review questions, go to park and each time down slide do math facts, toss small bean bag back and forth as you skip count or recite bible verses
  • Don’t miss the GIFT of this child no matter how different they are!

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The Power of Humility in Parenting with Norm Wakefield

  • Many of the things my kids suffer is a result of my own selfishness as a parent – a lack of humility
  • Philippians helps us model a love for the gospel for our children
  • our children will appreciate us more if we live a humble life
  • Meet Norm Wakefield of Elijah Ministries

7 Characteristics of the Humble

  1. Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel. Philippians 1:27. What is your purpose in this activity or this decision? the answer to that question SHOULD be to MAKE MUCH of Jesus. Our home schools can’t be about us, they must be for Him and to bring glory to Him.
  2. Empty yourself. Philippians 2:3 – do nothing out of selfish ambition. Do I homeschool or make decisions as a parent for my own reputation? The Lord emptied Himself to overcome sin and self. Self is a huge anti-christ. Humility is recognizing that everything comes from God. Admit to your children that you are selfish. The humility of Jesus is what draws us to Him…the same will draw our children to us.
  3. Be concerned for other’s interests over your own. Philippians 2:3-4. Ask your family what is important to them – incorporate that into your agenda for the day/week/year. 
  4. Have a servant attitude. Philippians 2:7-8 – Jesus was a bond-servant. He humbled himself and went to the cross. When people treat you like a servant, how do you react? Pridefully or humbly? Pride reacts, humility bears the cross without complaint.
  5. Willingly bear the burdens of others sins and fleshliness. Philippians 2:8, John 10:17-18. No one can take your life away if you’ve already given it away!! This does not mean we never discipline.
  6. Follow my example. Philippians 3:17. Tell your children to follow you as you fail, tell them that you do fail! Admit it when you’re wrong to your kids! They need to hear us apologize.
  7. Trust God to reveal Himself. Do I want my kids to grow up to be what I want them to be? Or what God wants them to be? Philippians 3:15. It takes a very humble person to not be controlling!! One of the greatest hindrances in the parent/child relationship is a lack of trust in God. We as parents cannot be the holy spirit for our children!! Do I trust the Lord to work in their hearts or not??

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Teaching Science {Though I Don’t Like It Myself} with Kendra Fletcher

  • Science in the early years is exploring creation!! Don’t make it more than that!
  • Teresa Bondora’s site has easy periodic table explanation www.howtoteachscience.com
  • In the older years, think about if they will be going into a science field or not — and if not, there may not be need for upper level hard core science topics. Plan your science courses with your children’s bents in mind. If you have a child that loves science – have them take a class elsewhere to encourage that love in them! Look for options!
  • Think about coaches for folks such as major league baseball players or Tiger Woods. Are these coaches BETTER than their players??  In most instances, NO. Do I have to be smarter than my child to teach him science? No! I can learn right along with him/her!
  • Utilize KHAN academy – all online, free, great resource!
  • Kendra shared a LOT of online sites and practical helps in this session! Look at the picture below to see the links she recommends for Junior High Science — the age I was looking at. 🙂
  • Meet Kendra Fletcher of Preschoolers & Peace and HomeschoolingIRL (these podcasts are GREAT!)


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Anxiety & Anger as Moms with Todd Friel

  • “Home is a school of character.” Martin Luther
  • We all should be able to say “this is hard” because IT IS. We weren’t created to do this on our own!
  • Do you know how I know that we ALL struggle? Because the Bible tells us so. Jesus didn’t have to come for a bunch of perfect people! We are desperate for a Savior!
  • Even a pagan can be a good homeschooler – that is not what God wants from us. He wants our hearts.
  • Children are sinners who desperately need Jesus. Point them to Him!
  • Mom is chief of sinners – make sure your kids hear you say this and admit selfishness and apologize. Don’t act like the children are bigger sinners than you are.
  • If you feel like a failure, you’re forgetting that Jesus is your Savior. You are NOT dependent on yourself to succeed!!
  • What is your worst homeschooling moment? God already knew about that and Jesus STILL came to earth FOR YOU!!
  • Do your failures as a parent lead you to despair? Why? Jesus already finished the work!
  • Jesus never treated Judas any differently – Jesus loves sinners.
  • Do you have a Judas? A trouble child? That is the best thing God could have done for you! That child is a part of your sanctification process!
  • Thank God for your little Judas.
  • God doesn’t give us self-help tips, He gives us HIMSELF.
  • What can we do when we struggle with anxiety and/or anger?? Read the Bible!! This is our MAIN SOURCE of help. God parted the red sea FOR ME. He made a way for me to be rescued. Read those OT stories and place yourself in those moments of salvation when God did the rescuing. The doctrine of sovereignty is an anxiety killer! God is more interested in your sanctification than your safety and your happiness. Pray and pray rightly. Don’t ask God to make it better for you, ask him to make you holy through it. Fellowship. Don’t give up meeting regularly with other believers. We need each other! Those ordinances – baptism, Lord’s Supper, they are each miracles intended to encourage the body! Be heavenly minded. The enemy wars against you pointing your kids to Jesus. Good advice without the gospel becomes legalism. It’s ok to be sad about sad things and grieve. Sadness and anxiety are different things. Remember the gospel. How do you react when someone brings something to your attention that needs to be changed? Your husband will continue to disappoint you. He can’t make you happy. Our fulfillment can only come from Jesus. Remember the gospel daily. Remember the cross daily. You’ve been accepted by the One, True King…don’t let it bog you down or get discouraged because others don’t appreciate you!
  • Don’t change your family — let GOD change you!
  • Meet Todd Friel of Wretched Radio


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Dealing with Doubt ~ Strengthening Your Child’s Faith with Chuck Black

Elements of Effective Family Devotions

  1. be consistent
  2. be purposeful
  3. be applicable
  4. be meaty
  5. be investigative
  6. be innovative
  7. listen to the Spirit
  • are you purposefully discussing doubts your child may be having?
  • the enemy IS placing seeds of doubt, you don’t have to wonder if it’s happening
  • everyone experiences doubt, don’t ignore it in your children
  • ask them questions — have you ever wondered about what is in the Bible? whether it’s true or not? how do you know it’s really true?
  • talk through these questions with your kids and also help them to learn to discuss the answers themselves so they can share with friends in the future
  • Jesus did not give FLUFF answers — be meaty with your kids!!
  • figure out what will be applicable with them, if they aren’t interested, they won’t get much out of the discussion
  • Common areas of doubt: God’s existence, creation, truth of Bible, reality of Jesus and His sacrifice, existence of hell, their salvation, God’s love for us
  • just like adults, our kids need to be reminded (and often) of God’s love for them!
  • Meet Chuck Black 

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Here are some favorite posts from years past: 

More Teach Them Diligently Fun 2014

I was blessed to meet so many blogging friends this year!


Another sweet friend I got to meet is Michele from Preschoolers and Peace!


Keith and Kristyn Getty did an amazing concert for us Friday night!! Such a huge blessing!!


Follow Me From Nashville!

 Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention 2014 Nashville

I am headed to Nashville TODAY for the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Conference!! I could not be more excited to have this little “get away” weekend with a friend and stay in the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Hotel and hear all the encouraging speakers!

Have you registered yet to attend in Spartanburg, Washington DC or Dallas?? You have time to still get registered and make your plans to be INSPIRED and RENEWED!!

I wanted to let you know that you can follow me through Saturday evening as I share quotes and nuggets of truth I am learning on Instagram and Twitter. Follow my personal accounts, but you can also follow these hashtags: #TTDNashville or #HSTTD

Each year I try to come back and share my favorite SESSION NOTES with you!! You can look forward to that in the coming weeks as well!

Here are some favorite posts from years past: 


Why This Introvert Goes to Homeschool Conferences

Why This Introvert Needs to Attend Homeschool Conferences @mercyisnew.com

I’m hoping to write more and more as time goes on about homeschooling as a major introvert…this will be one of those posts. I hope that by sharing my own experience, I can encourage other introverts and highly sensitive folks that are living the homeschooling life. It’s not for the faint of heart, folks!

I have been so blessed to attend various homeschooling conferences over the years and I consider those to be some of the most encouraging and inspiring times as a homeschooling mom. However, it isn’t always easy to be in that sea of people all.day.long several days in a row. So, I’m going to share WHY I continue going and HOW to make it a bit more enjoyable if you are an introvert.

6 Reasons Why Introverts Should Attend Conferences

1. I need the encouragement. Let’s just be honest with ourselves, if I stay holed up in my home all the time, I’m not getting the refreshment and encouragement and inspiration that I need. Yes, I get a lot of those things on the internet – my favorite blogs, Facebook, or even reading my favorite homeschooling books again and again. But, I have to tell you, if you’ve never attended a conference – there is nothing like hearing those speakers in person. I liken it to attending church — if I watch online week after week, I’m missing that REAL PERSON speaking directly to me. I’m missing the fellowship. I’m missing that friend coming over and giving me a hug. Even as an introvert, these things are needed, even if we aren’t energized by it day in and day out. That doesn’t mean we don’t need ANY of it.

2. Homeschool moms need inspiration and motivation. Introverts especially need this, at least this introvert does! As one who over thinks every.single.thing in my life, especially homeschooling decisions, I need the motivation and inspiration that a conference brings to my heart. I need to hear that I’m making GOOD choices even when the world tells me I’m strange. I need to be inspired to keep teaching my children the ways of the Lord. You aren’t going to hear this from a lot of places, and I need to hear it regularly. I always, always come home with a renewed passion and sense of purpose for our homeschool. I need that so badly – every year, even multiple times a year!

3. Hotel rooms are the quiet I need. When I need some QUIET or just a few moments without the noise, a hotel room fits the bill.  I admit, it’s almost like a mini-vacation to attend one of these conferences by myself or with a friend. I’ve taken my children before {And the TTD children’s program is AMAZING.} But, for this introvert, the time in the quiet hotel room is like a dream come true. You can escape to your hotel room anytime you need to, or just arriving at night when the sessions for that day are over is wonderful.  In fact, I’ve known an introvert or two that skips a session just to enjoy some peace and quiet in the hotel room. And you know what, GO FOR IT. I want you to know that you don’t HAVE to attend every session!! It’s not mandatory. {grin} Choose the sessions that will be best for you and your family, and then let the other few hours go…for your sanity! Or for shopping. 

4. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. A lot of folks attend these conferences with their families. I think that is great! But, if you’re like me, an introvert through and through, you might enjoy a few days away from home by yourself!  I know some of you don’t have the option to go alone (or with a friend) because you have a nursing baby or a child with medical needs or no childcare…but, if you’re like me and the opportunity does present itself, I encourage you to give it a try. For me, being away from my children for a few hours or a few days does my heart loads of good. I come back as a better mom. I come back inspired and ready to love them wholeheartedly. I receive the encouragement I need as a mom who struggles with being a mom on a daily basis.

5. Likeminded friends do a heart a ton of good. As introverts, we need to be affirmed that we are making wise choices. I am usually OK with being a rebel and going against the flow of this world, but every once in awhile, I need to be strengthened by like-minded folks. This is exactly what you will find at a homeschool conference. Your methods and curriculum choices do not matter in this. You can be a classical homeschooler or an unschooler, you will still find encouragement from being around others that choose to home educate.

6. Books, books, books. I think for most introverts, curling up with a good book is the epitome of perfection. If I had my dreams come true, I would not need a shopping mall or island vacation, just give me a comfy chair, a warm blanket, a cup of coffee and a good book. Well…the vendor hall will provide you such an amazing assortment of selections!! Don’t let the vendor hall overwhelm you – it can do that! Plan your time accordingly. Give yourself only so much time in the vendor hall before you go get lunch or back to your room. Don’t spend hours and hours agonizing over choices in the vendor hall. It will wear you down! Give yourself 30 minutes here and there. Look at the vendor map and choose the places you want to visit without wandering aimlessly. Unless you like wandering aimlessly, of course! 🙂

In closing this post, I want to share with you an amazing conference that I hope you will take advantage of! These are my affiliate links and I appreciate you registering through them at no extra cost to you!

Teach Them Diligently Conference

I’m attending my 3rd TTD in a few weeks! I cannot wait! I’ve shared lots of my speaker notes here on my blog ~ some of my favorites have been Sally Clarkson, Pam Tebow, Mark Hamby and Deb Bell. These conferences were started by the Nunnery family, I’ve stayed in their home, they are precious and their heart is to bless the homeschool community. They are the real deal. Also, these conferences are NOT just for homeschoolers! These conferences are for any Christian family wishing to disciple their children and raise them to be world changers for Christ. Go here to read more about these conferences and register!

I found inspiration for this post from these blog posts: 8 Tips for a Great Girls’ Weekend at Convention,  5 Ways an Introvert Can Survive a Homeschool Convention

The Getty’s at Nashville Teach Them Diligently

I am so excited I can hardly stand it!! You may have already known that I’m a musician and love worship music. You may not have known that I love the music of Keith and Kristyn Getty.

You may have already known I’m planning to attend the Teach Them Diligently Conferences in Nashville next year. You may not have known the GETTY’S are going to be there doing a FREE concert for all attendees!! I’m SO excited!

Last year, our choir at church did a Celtic inspired Christmas program in December…and we sang several of the Getty’s songs. Their songs are amazing…Christ-centered modern day hymns. Truly a gift to worship through their music.

Getty's at TTD Nashville!

To go to a concert by the Getty’s generally would cost you around $25 per ticket! But when you come to Teach Them Diligently as a family you will ALL get in FREE with your registration!! **You DO NEED A TICKET. You can ADD a ticket to your registration (as you register or after you’ve registered) free of charge. You can also add on the children’s program, the men’s breakfast, etc.

I hope you will consider registering for the Nashville location of Teach Them Diligently, which will take place March 20-22. When you register through my links, my family is blessed tremendously at NO extra cost to you! We appreciate you!

Use code SAVE7THANKS to get $7 off your ticket til 11/30. 

Are you familiar with the Getty’s? Their music is amazing…I will leave you with one of my favorites to enjoy today.