About Taneil

I am the wife to my wonderful husband Gil who is a handyman. The mother of eight children and I have been homeschooling my children since my oldest was born. However, she official started "school" in 2007 at the age of 5. We use the curriculum Tapestry of Grace for the humanities and then multiple other curriculum for other subjects. I love teaching my children about the greatness of our Lord and Savior.

Trivia Question May 2016 SPICE Newsletter


Can you name this Downtown Grand Junction Spot? This is the trivia question from the May 2016 SPICE Newsletter:

Downtown GJ Photo

Name this Downtown Grand Junction spot.

If you know the answer, please submit the form below for your chance to receive a $5 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery. A name from those who submit the correct answer will be drawn on May 15, 2016. We will post the name of the winner back here on this page.

One entry per household please.

And thanks for reading the Newsletter.

Love the Journey Book Review

Are you new to homeschooling? Have you been homeschooling for years? Do you need encouragement to press on in your homeschooling journey? Do you struggle with how to listen to your husband’s advice when it comes to homeschooling? Then I highly recommend Marcia Somerville’s book called Love the Journey.

Marcia Somerville is the lead author of Tapestry of Grace. She homeschooled her six children and is now watching as her grandchildren begin to use the curriculum she wrote for her own children. Marcia has a very easy way of writing. She is kind and encouraging, but tells it how it is. I have greatly enjoyed reading Love the Journey over the summer and would if I could give it to all the new homeschooling parents I meet as well as those who are struggling in their journey of homeschooling.

Love the Journey is divided up into sections. There are five sections and each is well worth the time reading it. The first section called Your Homeschool is YOUR Homeschool, focuses on helping the reader figure out why they are even on this journey called homeschooling. She brings some simple questions to the table such as why do YOU homeschool?, do you have a guiding star and what is it? After these questions she then encourages the reader to clarify the ends we have in mind for our homeschool and to develop a pedagogy. A what? You may ask…you need to buy the book and find out…ok, I will tell you, it simply means “your approach to education, specifically your teaching philosophies and methods.” This last chapter on pedagogy really helps the reader to sit down and define their philosophy of homeschooling. Once the pedagogy is beginning to form (don’t worry it will change over time) then a family can better evaluate curriculum and other activities to determine if those things will help or hinder their philosophy of homeschooling.

Mountaintop Views is the next sections of Love the Journey. This section is like sitting down at a table and sipping tea with Marcia as she talks about what she has gleaned over the years in her own homeschooling journey. Relax and listen as she unfolds the fact that as teachers we share who we are with our children, therefore we have to stay in God’s Word because “discipleship is at the core of the homeschooling process, whether we realize it or not.” A major one that really hit home with me is that because we are with our kids so much, who we are day to day really matters. Marcia says “Who you are will most impact your children, and keeping your heart passionate for the glory of God in Christ is the surest way to help them become faith-filled, Christian disciples.” The last three chapters in this section are titled Training in Liberty, More Isn’t Always Better, and Who are Your Best Friends? All of which really made me evaluate some things in my life. The section of this book is packed with encouragement, exhortation and practical advice on living our lives for God’s glory and keeping the proper focus in our lives.

What would a book written to homeschooling moms be without a section on Titus 2? The third section is called When You Stay At Home. Marcia in these chapters … “will argue for the value of submitting to one’s husband, and also of scheduling your time in order to bring stability to your and your children’s lives so that you and your family can reap the benefits of regular rhythms of learning, play, rest, nutrition, and recreation as the foundation for successful homeschooling, to the glory of God.” That sums up this section of the book and for me, it was the most helpful section. The four chapters that have really helped me this homeschooling year are called Keeping a Quiet Home, Schedules and Structure, and A Time to Plan.

Section four which is called As You Walk Along the Way, is really the practical tips and “how to’s” of the book. She talks about modalities, broad categories of curricula marketed to homeschoolers, and the importance of trudging. These chapters are painted with a broad brush. Marcia gives many examples of paths of the journey you might like to try as well as places she has visited that she would rather not see again.

The last section, but by no means least is When You Lie Down and When You Rise. In this section she returns to the “big picture” principles and practices. Marcia sums up this section when she says “…this section pulls you back up to the God’s-eye view of life. And reminds us of over arching principles (and practices) that, when used, will refresh you in wilderness times and remind you to glorify God when things are easier.” The titles of the chapters show you what she is going to hit on, they are as follows It’s About Commitment, Love is Patient, Love is Kind, Love Does Not Envy, and Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude. Talk about hitting a grand slam at the end of the book.

I found this book to very helpful as I prepared for this school year. Most chapters and engaging to read. They are short and can be read pretty much in any order. If don’t have a lot of time to read, don’t worry, you can pick up this book and just read a chapter here and there as time permits. This is the book that if I could, I would give to all new to homeschooling families as well as those who are struggling to stay the course. Remember, we are on a Journey and one that God has called us to therefore we need to Love the Journey.

If interested, you can pick up a copy of the book from Lampstand Press

By Taneil Lawton

Gleanings from “Instructing a Child’s Heart”

Personal Gleanings from the book “Instructing a Child’s Heart”

by Taneil Lawton

I have failed as a parent again; instead of keeping my words and tone calm and collected I have yelled at my child. I have used words that were both manipulative and mean. My child yelled back at me, glared, and then I became defensive. All I wanted was for her to acknowledge that I was right and to behave how she should—that being a respectful, honoring way —towards me as their parent!

I am so glad that my children behave in public. So when we are at a homeschool function or at church, people think that I really have it together. My children know how they’d better act, or else! Especially around all those homeschool parents who will judge my whole family by the outward actions of one of my children. Let’s not mention that my son bit another boy during a homeschool event.

Have you had these types of thoughts as a parent? They don’t have to be exactly like the above scenarios, but you know the thoughts, actions and heart attitudes. “I am glad my children aren’t like so and so” or “they better not hang out with so and so because they are a bad influence.” What we fail to acknowledge is that the problem doesn’t lie with someone else, but with our own heart, and with our children’s hearts.

In Tedd and Margy Tripp’s book, titled Instructing a Child’s Heart, they pack a powerful message into 187 pages. What is that message? It boils down to one word: “gospel.” Do you realize that if all we do as parents is behavior training and never address the heart in our discipline, then we are doing ourselves and our children a great disservice? The gospel must be the root of our discipline, because it is the heart that is at the root of our sin. The only way that the heart can be changed is through the gospel. You can change the behavior and even get your children to look good in public, but if it doesn’t reach the heart then there is no lasting change.

There must be formative instruction for the heart to be changed. What is formative instruction? Tripp explains it as instructing our children about what to believe, how to think from the Scriptures, and how to live. The gospel is at the core of this instruction. Our everyday life and home is the classroom. He goes on to say that I, as the parent, must actively teach my children, AND live in a way that shows that God defines my life. I know this in my head, but it takes the power of God working on my heart on a daily basis to allow me to live out what I am trying to teach my children. It also takes TIME and energy to instruct my children in this way. A discipline issue that I choose to address by yelling at my child might take 1 minute of my time. However that same discipline issue may take 5-10 minutes to talk through with them using formative instruction. This is because formative instruction involves asking them probing questions and instructing them in what the Word of God says. No, it doesn’t always have to take that long, but at first as you try to probe your children to try and figure out their heart motives, it does. Other times, and with teens, it may take hours.

I realized, once again, that my own spiritual life is going to greatly affect my training of my children. If I am not disciplined to do the basic disciplines of the Christian life, those of prayer, time in God’s Word, attending church, etc., then I will greatly fail in the formative training of my children.

As parents, we must get to the heart of the behavior. Addressing only the behavior is simply behaviorism and will not make a lasting change. Why do so many “good” homeschooled children change so drastically after graduation and after they leave their parents’ house? I would argue there wasn’t a heart change, just behavior modification as they grew up. Heart change is the only thing that will make a lasting change. The only thing that will allow for that heart change is the gospel.

This book focuses on the centrality of the gospel and how we must point our children to the gospel every time we discipline them. Don’t misread that last statement. There is a place for physical discipline. However, it must always be pointing back to the gospel and be appropriately related to an offense. Doling out a discipline simply to try and make a child understand you are the one in charge will be destructive and will not facilitate a presentation of the gospel. As a parent, I need to take TIME to sit down with my child and find out what they are thinking and feeling, helping them to figure out what their heart attitude was during a situation. Then I can explain that I also sin and struggle just like they do, and that I am here to come along side of them to help them overcome their heart struggles. This is a great way to present the grace found in the gospel, and the forgiveness that is offered in Christ through the gospel. They will still reap the consequence of the action they have sown, but it is now done in a way that gives them hope that they can change and they can, by the power of God, change their heart attitude.

One quote from Instructing a Child’s Heart that really stuck out to me is as follows: “We usually think of good communication skills as the ability to effectively formulate ideas into words. But the finest art of communication is not the ability to express ideas; it is the ability to understand the person with whom one is speaking.”

As I seek to understand my child and help them to understand their heart, then I can communicate the gospel to them. How often do I lecture my child and never give them the TIME to tell me what they are thinking and feeling so we can really get to the core heart problem. If they don’t feel heard by me, I doubt that they will want to hear the gospel from me.

Instructing a Child’s Heart is an excellent book that points the parent back to the gospel. It challenged me to take the TIME I need to instruct my children to live for the glory of God. I was also challenged to examine my own life and make sure I am doing the basic disciplines of the Christian life so I am prepared to face my own sin, so that I can better help my children to recognize and deal with their sin. I highly recommend this book if you are serious about making the beauty of the gospel central in your home.

You can find out more about Tedd Tripp and other resources he offers at Shepherding the Heart.