Should You Put Them Back In School?

In many areas of the country, school has been ongoing for a few weeks. For homeschoolers and typical schoolers, life has settled down into a somewhat predictable routine. For those who have started homeschooling for the first time this year, generally one of two things have happened. Either the routine is working and you’re loving the homeschooling life or things are way harder than you expected and you’re having some doubts. If you’re in this second category, this post is for you.

You feel that you’re in over your head. Perhaps the toddler dropped an entire roll of toilet paper in the toilet during math yesterday and the baby just won’t stop crying. The laundry is piled so high you can’t even see the washer, and you ate the kids’ leftover pizza crusts off their plates for your supper last night. You’re wondering if you’re cut out for the homeschooling life and that big yellow school bus rolling down the street at 7 a.m. is extremely tempting.

Should you put the kids back in school before the rest of the class gets so far ahead they won’t catch up?

Are you going to damage their educational success by continuing to try this experiment?

Wouldn’t the whole family be better off if you could get a few things done each day instead of adding ‘educate the kids’ to your daily to-do list?

The answers to these questions are not simple. The decision to homeschool is an extremely complex one and individual to each family. Here are my thoughts.

First, regarding “being behind the rest of the class;” If your child is younger than the fifth grade, I wouldn’t worry too much about this one. A few weeks or months of slow but steady learning will not hurt your child.If you don’t get to history, science, or art for pretty much the whole year, your child will not be damaged in any way. The key is to keep trying and make a diligent effort every day to do *some* math, *some* English, and *some* reading, at least for the first month or two. If you don’t get to do a full lesson each day, just do what you can. Put in a reasonable amount of effort and let the rest go. The key is to start getting the whole family into a learning routine. As you go, you and the kids will get a bit better at time and family management.

Second, are you going to damage your kids learning like this? As long as your kids are learning and progressing, they’ll be fine. Slow for the first few weeks is okay. Just be diligent.

Third, the doubts about whether this is working are much more difficult to assess. I’m not one of those people who believe that homeschooling is for everyone. Each family is different. However, I would encourage you to give it three or four weeks of diligent effort before you throw in the towel. You can discern then whether or not it’s going to work out long term.

If you feel constantly overwhelmed with the chaos of juggling littles and teaching lessons, perhaps you should put this undertaking off for a year or two. It’s okay to admit that this is not the season for homeschooling for your family.

However, if you really want to make it work, figure out some strategies for making it doable.

If household chores are making you crazy, learn a solid housekeeping routine and get the whole family on board. Be realistic though and understand that your kids won’t like that very much and you will have to tell them again and again to do their chores. You could hire a maid or just do all of your cleaning and laundry on the weekends. After all, you are working when you are teaching your kids, so treat your household work like other working moms do.

If littles are an ongoing struggle, try to figure out a way to address it. Perhaps there’s a homeschooled teen living nearby who would love to earn some money playing with your toddler for a few hours each week. Maybe you could put your toddler tornado into mother’s day out once or twice a week. Use nap time as a good time to study. Or, just study with your kids while your little guy takes a bubble bath, plays in the sink (the floor needs mopping anyway), or sorts Fruit Loops. Your kids can also have a rotating assignment of entertaining the toddler as a part of their school.

If the kids are struggling to adjust to mom teaching them and taking their turns with her, brainstorm ways of making school work better for the family. Everyone should take turns and be fair. Maybe the kids can figure out better ways of juggling mom and the baby. I promise that they’ll be more invested in working a plan if they have a hand in creating a solution to the problem.

In the end if you do decide to put the kids back in school, know that it’s okay. You didn’t fail. You tried something and it didn’t work out the way that you planned. Maybe next year. Let go of the guilt and enjoy your kids while they are home in the afternoons and evenings.




Can it be that summer is almost at an end?


It’s never long enough.

This summer has been busy but not quite in the way I expected.

On a side note: Is my life ever the way I expected it? Each time I make a plan it falls to pieces. And yet, the most important things get done.

I never did get my big vegetable garden. I still have to write about 4 scripts for my drama class, which begins in about 2 weeks. I haven’t planned anything for school. (Was hoping to start next week)


It’ll be okay. Remember what I said about planning? Have I really given up on it?


I’m just procrastinating and not wanting this summer to end.

What I did get done:

Re-did my house’s landscaping.

Wrote quite a bit. (not on this blog, but on some others)

Painted all the exterior doors on the house.

Organized the garage.

Spent time with my baby brother who will be moving to Turkey soon.

Next week is our Estimated Start Date.

And if the schoolbooks don’t come. It’s okay. We’ll get started when they arrive.




Homeschooling Myth: Homeschooled Kids Don’t Have Activities

This homeschooled kid myth makes me chuckle. In fact, on the right day, I might just laugh out loud. This homeschooling myth is totally out of date. In many areas, there are limited homeschooling opportunities. But for many other places, the homeschooling community is vibrant, interesting, and exciting.

Homeschooling parents usually don’t wait on the community to offer fun homeschooling activities. To wait on someone else means that it won’t get done. So all over the nation, homeschooling parents band together to make memories for their kids.

Through my daughter’s school career she participated in the following:

Handbell Choir

Drama Club

Monthly Homeschooling Enrichment Days

Homeschool 4H Club

Homeschool Game Night

Writer’s Club

Homeschool Prom

Homeschool Graduation

These are the activities that she did that were open only to homeschoolers. Other activities that she did were not merely limited to homeschoolers. The 4H Club for our county included her in many of their activities when the homeschool club no longer met. She also volunteers at a community food pantry where low income people come for food assistance. She’s done youth group at our church and gone to church camps.

Even if the homeschooling community is limited in your area, your kids don’t have to sit at home, bored and lonely. And, you don’t have to just limit your kids’ social interactions to other homeschoolers. Many public schools allow homeschoolers to participate in the extra curricular activities in the school for which they are zoned. So, things like sports, clubs, band, and other activities may be a possibility for your kid.

There are so many homeschooling activities available in our area, sometimes I despair of getting our schoolwork done!

Job 26:6-14

Job is not my favorite book of the Bible. Poor Job. He’s got a lousy set of know it all friends, a rotten wife, and one tragedy after another hits him. The book can be a little depressing. I’ve always felt sorry for him because he probably didn’t know why he was tormented.

However, in the book there are some lovely scriptures. This one is one of my favorites.

Job 26:6-14

Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering.

He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.

He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them.

He covers the face of the full moon and spreads over it his cloud.

He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astounded at his rebuke.

By his power he stilled the sea; by his understanding he shattered Rahab. By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?”


I love the last verse; it reminds me that all of the beauty and glory that we see on this Earth are a tiny fraction of the power of God. And despite his amazing, unimaginable power, wisdom, and majesty God still wants to love us and have a relationship with us.

It truly is amazing.


Musical Monday: Danny Gokey

I just love this song and I LOVE the music video. I mean, who puts a boxer and a ballerina in the same music video?

I discovered Danny Gokey about a year ago, and I think he sounds a lot like Phil Collins.

At any rate, this song means a lot to me, and it’s rare that I hear it without tearing up.

Musical Monday: The Star Wars Cantina Song

Oh, this is so much fun. Last month, my drama group presented Nerd Night. This was one of the songs we included.

What makes a good Mommy?

It is interesting to see how people define what makes a good mom.

A good mom cooks three meals from scratch each day.

A good mom breastfeeds each infant until they self-wean.

A good mom co-sleeps with her babies and never lets them cry.

A good mom homeschools all of her kids all the way through high school and gives them ALL a stellar education.

A good mom does crafts with her children, creating lovely works of art with them.

A good mom stays slim, exercises an hour a day, (with baby in a backpack) and does it cheerfully.

A good mom…..

Fill in the blank.

We all have these ideas in our heads about what it takes to be a good mom. We put so much pressure on ourselves to perform at ridiculous levels.

We worry that our children will be overweight if we don’t cook them a tasty, nutritious dinner each night and have them in 2 sports every season.

We worry that our kids will flunk out of college and live in our basements for the rest of their lives if we don’t kill ourselves teaching them algebra in the fifth grade.

We worry that our colicky babies will grow up damaged if we gently set them in a crib alone for 5 minutes so we can go to the bathroom and get a grip on our emotions.

Where do these expectations come from?

It seems that moms are really hard on themselves these days. Perhaps it’s the Pinterest/Facebook generation. But for whatever reason, we feel that we have to prove to ourselves, to our kids, to the world that we are good moms.

Here’s the truth of it. Here’s how to be a good mom.

Do the best you can.

Love your kids.

Listen to them.

Don’t let idealogy and parenting experts run your home.

Do what’s best for your kids and your family.

And most of all.

Pray. Read the Word. And trust Him “who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24)

Don’t let unrealistic expectations rob you of the joy of motherhood. Parenting is easier than you think.


Musical Monday: Super Mario Brothers

Ah yes. This is fun.

Musical Monday: Tetris

This looks like it would have been a fun concert to attend. And, yes, I could play Tetris for hours.

How Do You Do It All?

I stay busy. I like to. We farm. I homeschool. I love to cook. I write as a freelancer and work at my church. I teach a weekly drama class and we put on two productions per year.

People ask me how I do it all.

Honestly, I don’t do it all.

I don’t create my own homeschool curriculum. I buy premade stuff and we do the next thing.

My high schoolers use the virtual school.

I don’t get caught up in “growing everything we eat, making 100% of our food from scratch with all organic ingredients.” I do the best I can to fill empty tummies with good wholesome food, but I don’t stress about it.

Our yard’s not pristine and weeds grow in my flowerbeds.

My house is livably clean but quite disorganized and sometimes messy.

I sew but only specialty items that are expensive and hard to find…which means a prom dress or two per year. Maybe a baby quilt for a gift.

So how do I do it all?

Well, I don’t do it all.

Nobody does.

No one can homeschool with nothing but a library card, raise all their own food, teach their kids three languages, sew their own clothing, teach at the local co-op, run a homeschooling group, cook from scratch, and run a part time business from home while keeping a sparkling clean, Martha Stewart home.

It’s impossible.

As an experienced homeschool mom, I’d advise anyone who feels inadequate to evaluate their own family and their own priorities. Focus on the two or three things that are most important to you and your kids, and let the rest go. Take into account the ages of your kids and don’t stress about it.

You don’t have to do it all, and neither do I.

Forget about Pinterest-perfect, and Facebook-flawless and just live your life to the best of your ability.

It’ll be okay.



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