How do I find the time to home school my kids?
This is a question I’ve heard quite a bit recently from some who are considering home schooling – or from several who looked at our home school schedule for this year and felt overwhelmed.
Yikes, I sure didn’t mean to overwhelm anyone. Nor did I mean to make you picture me slaving away beside my children all day. I simply shared my schedule because many requested to see it, and because I personally needed to outline my day for the sake of my own organization.
What you need to know is that while we try to hold to this “ideal routine”, there is lots of wiggle room in there. I schedule in thirty minutes each day to read History/Geography to my two middle boys, but sometimes it only takes ten minutes of my time before they take off on their own to finish the lesson. Sprinkled all throughout our routine is plenty of dish washing, cooking, laundry folding and other household chores. I just school my kids around and during our daily life activities. And guess what? They are home to help me with these chores, which means I can actually accomplish more while we home school than if they were away at school!!! Mwoohaha – their laundry folding ability is the real reason I like having them home with me all day. (Not really.) (Except that it really is nice.)
I truly don’t believe that home schooling has created extra work in my life. Yes, it is work. Yes, I have to put forth the effort and spend dedicated time educating my children.
But I’ve been reading to and teaching my kids since they were newborns, and I didn’t consider that “home schooling”. I considered it parenting.
When our oldest son became a home schooled kindergartner, not much changed in our lives. We continued to read together and squeeze in all varieties of lessons and activities during the days, just like we had done before – working around nap times and meal times and play times and grocery store visits and all life activities.
I do have to schedule home schooling into my days, so that we can be more productive. But what I don’t have to schedule in? Getting my kids up and out the door with matching shoes and combed hair each morning by 8:00 (or earlier). Driving my kids to and from school. Preparing and packing lunches. Figuring out how to be a room mom (especially back when I had napping babies at home). And homework. When I hear my friends talk about how much time they spend helping their kids with homework at the end of each school day, I often think, “Wow – we spend the same amount of time (or less) on our entire school day.”
Because we’re so flexible and laid back about our home school routine – I actually consider my life to be quite “cushy” and easy compared to moms who have to get up at the crack of dawn to get their kids off to school, and stay up late with them finishing the reports and projects have to be turned in. I personally consider my home schooling life to be easier than the alternative, simply because I get to run the day the way I want to run the day.
So yes. I have time to home school, and it’s not because I have more hours in my day or more patience with my kids or more energy than any other mom. I am simply doing what I’ve always done with my kids – except for instead of reading books about shapes and gingerbread men and the little engine that could, we’re now reading about the constitution and the way a marsupial feeds its young.
I love it.
P.S. Did you know that you could fit twenty baby opossums onto a teaspoon? That’s how tiny they are when they are born before they crawl into their mama’s pouch to continue their development. We read about that just today. See how smart I’m getting to be?
This post was written in an effort to dispel some of the many misconceptions or fears people might have about taking on the task of home schooling. As with all my home school posts, my intention is to simply share my thoughts and offer encouragement – not to convince everyone that home schooling is the best and only way to educate your kids. You do what you do, and I’ll do what I’ll do and we’ll all do it to the glory of God!
Mom's Plans says
Thank you for this post. I have considered home schooling my son, but, while he does great at school, he can be difficult at home, often refusing to do things. He is only 7 and can earn up to a dollar a day for doing chores, but often he chooses not to do them and forfeits the dollar. How do you handle a kid like this when homeschooling? I could see myself trying only to run into a wall. Also, what do you do when one of your children needs constant attention when doing work? How do you break that?
I know there is a misconception that all homeschoolers have kids that listen and dutifully do their work, but I am guessing this is not always the case.
Maybe you could charge your son $1 when he doesn’t do his chores?
Or, you could take the money element out of it all together. He has to do chores because he’s a part of the family, and if he doesn’t, then there are negative consequences. Something like that. I don’t know — my oldest is still really young. I’m just drawing from when my mother charged me money for not doing things I was supposed to do :)
One of my son’s in particular needed me to be right in his lap while he did all of his work for several years. Slowly but surely, I’ve worked him into more independence. DEFINITELY not all home schoolers (any home schoolers?!) always listen all the time and dutifully do their work. Many people say to me, “Oh I could never home school – I butt heads with my son (or daughter) all the time.” What like I never butt heads with MY kids?!!? Happens quite often actually. We just work through it!
God bless you as you make your decision!
Kathy McConnell says
My son is not always willing to do his work, whether it be for school or
his chores. If he doesn’t do what he’s suppose to, then I take a privilges
away. This seems to work best for us. I imagine you might have to try
different things to see what works for you. Good luck! : )
Prefer to remain anonymous says
My husband and I just had a huge fight about school. I’d like to home school, he wants the kids around pretty much anyone who isn’t me (mainly because of my religious beliefs). He quit beieving in God and is quite hostile toward Christianity. Laura, you’re so incredibly blessed.
Anyone reading this, boy would I sure appreciate some prayers.
Praying for you. That’s a tough spot to be in.
Prefer to remain anonymous says
I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. We’ve watched some close friends go through something very similar. I’ll be praying for you and your husband.
Prefer to remain anonymous says
I’m praying for you. Thank you for sharing your heart & struggle!
Prefer to remain anonymous says
Thank you very much!
Wow – prayers for you. Can I please suggest that you read “On the Other Side of the Garden” Biblical Womanhood for Today’s World, but Virginia Ruth Fugate and if you’re hubby requests that you don’t read this book keep dwelling on His word from 1 Peter 3:1 “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe they word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, (2) when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” Even with a faithful husband this scripture and this book by Mrs Fugate has given me a greater desire to know and want to be the wife God desires for me. Blessings and prayers!
Prefer to remain anonymous says
Thank you. I just found the book and workbook on Amazon!
My prayers are with you. God bless you.
Prefer to remain anonymous says
Thank you. I do appreciate it.
Laura, I’m needing prayers right now in this very matter. At the request of my husband, I’ve been homeschooling my son since the beginning of july with one week off thrown in there. Well, monday, I received some devastating news, and am still in shock from it. I have had trouble schooling my son tuesday and today, wednesday. Tuesday our power went out and it got up to 79* by 10am, so we went to my brothers house for a few hours. When we got back, we didn’t school. Today, I am fully planning to play “catch up” next tuesday and wednesday, during our week off. But my husband is saying that he is going to enroll our son in public school.. :( please say a prayer that I can change my heart and follow the decisions my husband wants to make for our children.
Praying for you my dear.
I’ll be praying for your family, Blair.
Yes! Thank you so much for this! We just started kindergarten with my 5yo Monday! I love it and so does he. School just flows into our day! We learn all the time! :)
Anonymous, I prayed for you and your husband. If it’s any consolation I stopped believing in God for a while but I came back after He proved Himself faithful over and over, even when I was not.
I was homeschooled through tenth grade…and it was GREAT! We finished our work before the public schools were even THINKING about getting out, and started a good two hours after they did. And guess what? When i went to public school in 10th grade, all the teachers LOVED me because I paid attention, asked questions and actually did the work.
I like the idea of homeschooling but when we have kids I kind of wonder if i’d be up to it. We’re talking about private schools at the moment, but seeing as we don’t have any kids yet that could change ;)
Fabulous stuff! We mostly homeschooled like this too, very loose, very real life. :-)
And for the record, by we, I mean I was was the one being homeschooled. ;-)
My son is two. We’re learning and teaching and reading lots of things together already! We will investigate all the school options when the time comes, but especially in the lower grades, homeschooling sounds like the easiest choice for us and we’re leaning towards it. Thanks for giving your perspective!
I have one that I homeschool and one that goes to a private school. The one that goes away, I feel like I never see during the school year or if she is home, she’s busy doing homework or housework!
It really is true that homeschooling is much more flexible.
As for butting heads, today was our third day of school. After two days of doing well, today was the day to test the limits. I’m so proud of myself for staying calm and firm. I *think* I won, lol.
As I told my husband, if I start out hard, I can gradually go easy, but if I give in right now, I’ll never get it back.
Thanks again Laura for always being so gracious about a subject spiked with controversy! The Lord has really changed my heart and attitude towards homeschooling over the years ( i used to think it only produced “weird” children :( ) I’m now getting excited about the prospect of schooling my two boys ( now 3 and 1) in the upcoming years. I have read so much that shows, and proves i might add, the benefits of young children, especially boys, being in a relaxed setting for their schooling. Children are not robots! Never the less it is a really hard decision for families to decide upon and especially for the Christian family. it’s never easy to stand out but that is our calling! Prayers to all those who are struggling with this.
Interesting fact on the teaspoon!! I plan to look into that! I am praying that the Lord will lead these families to the right decision. Nobody said homeschoolinh was easy!! We are trying to get some structured activities if only for a short time into our day! Thanks for your perspective Laura, I appreciate it!!! Oh, and I cried watxhing Justus’ baptism…welcome brother!!!
Thanks for this great post. I’ve been homeschooling, but was planning to put my kids in public school when we move back to the States next year. Hmmmmmmmm… I’m starting to think twice about that. Thanks for your perspective.
That reminds me of the size of a baby panda, equally tiny compared to its adult size.
I don’t have any children yet, but would love to homeschool down the road if God blesses my husband and I with some kiddos. I know your sons are really involved in sports. Do they feel like they’ve had to deal with all the other boys on the team going to the same school and being sort of clicky because of it? Or feeling out of place because they’re the only one who doesn’t go to a certain school? I guess I could see this being more of an issue with girls than boys but just thought I’d ask. I have really enjoyed your blog. :)
My boys are all involved with community sports and overall, they’ve not felt excluded. I’ve especially watched our 11 year old, Justus, with this because he’s a part of a traveling soccer team in addition to the city league team. He’s the only home schooled boy on the team, and all the other boys go to school together. Every once in a while I notice Justus being left out a little bit, but he doesn’t seem to mind (like you said, maybe the difference between boys and girls for sure!).
Abbigail Gutierrez says
My daughter was not homeschooled but she was from a different school than her soccer team and they left her out quite often. She quit liking soccer after that. :(
Luke Holzmann says
I love this post. Love it! [smile]
Love your post! This is exactly how we homeschool. I often feel a bit guilty when I watch my friends with public school kids. I like my laid back, spend the time with my kids, let school be part of our home lifestyle we are living. It’s like a secret no one tells you. My friends all think it would be sooo much more work. I just smile.
I love how you said, “I’ve been reading to and teaching my kids since they were newborns, and I didn’t consider that “home schooling”. I considered it parenting.” because that’s exactly my perspective! :)
Davene Grace says
Thanks for writing this; you’ve put beautiful words to my feelings! My two oldest sons have been doing two weeks of swimming lessons this summer, and knowing that we have to be out of bed, breakfasted, dressed, towels gathered, sunscreened, flip-flopped, in the minivan, and on our way–all by a certain time each morning–adds just enough stress to the day to tempt me to lose my patience when the younger boys (or the older ones!) are lingering along the way, instead of marching to the beat of my drum. I don’t mind doing it for a couple of weeks in the summer, but I am so grateful that I don’t have to do it every day of the school year!
Thanks so much for sharing your heart through this post! :)
heather g says
SUCH good stuff. Thank you, Laura, for sharing this. You summed it up so well. As a former classroom teacher, I am amazed at how quickly I can get through lessons with just one (or sometimes two, when my four year old participates). I love being home with my kiddos and all the extra time we get together. :)
“But I’ve been reading to and teaching my kids since they were newborns, and I didn’t consider that “home schooling”. I considered it parenting.”
Well said! What a wonderful way to put it. I only have one child so far, 18 months and have just started doing some daily activities from “Slow and Steady Get Me Ready” and have really enjoyed it and he has too. Do you have any other recommendations for activities with toddlers, books or resources? Of course, I’ve downloaded your free e-book and we have done several of those activities (he loves “painting the house). Thanks!
Before Five In A Row is written with ideas for different
activities you can do with your toddler/preschooler. It has
book suggestions and activities you can do that relate to
the book as well. It is also a glimpse at what homeschooling
can be like.
Thanks Michele! I just put it on hold at the library and will buy if we like it!
I can’t help but give a shout out to our Preschool curriculum, Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve, since you brought up the subject. :) https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/heavenly-homemakers-shop (shh, watch for a sale next week!)
Chelsea Seibert says
Thanks for this post! I have been homeschooling my kids for five years and still have a few more up and coming. This is absolutely the way that we want to raise our kids! My frustration comes from the fact that our state requires me to document a certain number of hours of “school time”. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t accept “all day, every day because we are always learning”! I’m getting better about logging the official stuff and figuring out how to officially log some of the rest. I probably need to work on the rebel in me that doesn’t like being told what to do ;)
i think you did a great job of clarifying what home schooling really is–learning life right along with our kids. incorporating school work right into our daily lives. it’s so easy for others to be scared of homeschooling, and to think that they couldn’t possibly make it work. when God calls us to home school, he equips up with the tools we need to do so, just like with anything else he calls us to do.
Last December we moved from getting kids up and out the door to homeschooling. I was STUNNED at how much easier life got. Makes all the difference getting to run your day the way that works best for you and your family. I have more time to bake and to teach my daughters to cook and to go on outings I always wanted to do but never had time for. I had no idea how much the local school district ran our lives until we quit living on their schedule.
This has been the “great debate” in our house for a while. I have four boys, three of which are in the public school system (the last one is too young yet!). I work 3 mornings a week, and my husband thinks that homeschooling would not work for us. My two oldest I believe actually benefit from some of the extra help that they get in school, and that the school can meet those extra needs better than I can right now. However, my 7-year-old has struggled with school, not because he doesn’t understand, but because he is so far ahead of his class he is bored. I would love to keep him home and let him learn at his pace, I am sure he would finish early! Hoping to help my husband see that homeschooling is a viable option for our family soon. Your blog may help me out. I will have him read it today!
Just had to follow up on this. After a year of struggles and meetings with the teachers at school, my husband and I are filling out the required paperwork to homeschool our son! Perhaps the unexpected news of finding out we are going to have another little one in the fall, meaning that I will be staying home, plus the fact that all of my guy’s work was coming home to be completed here anyway convinced my husband that the classroom was not the place for him! I am very excited, and extremely nervous to begin homeschooling this fall!
I totally agree with you, Laura. I am almost the only homeschooler in my circle of friends, so I often hear comments about how patient I must be, or how “amazing” I am to have 6 kids home all day, or how my kids are so good all the time. It drives me batty, because I’m certainly not gifted with patience, or amazing in any way, not are my kids angels all the time! I don’t want people to think that those are prerequisites for homeschooling! I’m just doing what I feel called to do. I enjoy the benefits of homeschooling that you listed, but when I lose sight of those things & start getting “the-grass-is-greener” syndrome about sending them to school, my husband reminds me that I’d just be trading one set of challenges for another. I prefer to deal with the challenges that come with homeschooling rather than institutional school! I feel that what you said about it just being a continuation of parenting is right on…it seems much more natural to me to have my family together than separate all day. We all work together through the day, on chores & school, & we have a lot if freedom because of that. In fact, when I once mentioned charter school as a possibility to my eldest son, he said he’d much rather stay home because he knew almost all his day would be used for school, homework, & chores, leaving no time for his personal interests. Homeschooling for us is truly a lifestyle of freedom, especially when I became confident & relaxed enough to let go of school-at-home (trying to recreate a classroom setting) & embraced learning as a lifestyle!
I’m debating homeschooling. My fiance’s biggest worry is that public school, for all it’s downsides, allows for something homeschooling does not – ample exposure to people who may not look, think, behave, or live like you. In other words, he sees homeschooling as keeping one’s child in a bubble, away from ideas and people who have a lifestyle the parents don’t agree with.
I would love a post/discussion on how true or untrue this perception is. How do homeschooling parents teach their kids to interact with others – other kids, grown-ups, other cultures, other faiths, etc. How do you prepare your child for life in the “real world” where not everyone’s cultures/values/faith/etc. matches what goes on in their own home.
These discussions are so helpful, by the way – I’m gaining great insight!
Ooh, ooh…maybe I should do a post on this subject!! It’s actually one of my favorite parts of home schooling – the fact that my kids are actually exposed MORE to people who aren’t like them because we home school!
Just because we home school doesn’t mean we’re just home with each other all day. On the contrary, our kids are able to join us as we minister and visit with the elderly, blind, others with special needs, people who don’t share our faith, etc. We actually don’t see a classroom setting filled with children who are all the same age preparing our kids for the “real world”. Real world is much more diverse than that and our kids get to experience “real world” all the time with us as we go about our “real life”.
If I can, I’ll write more about this soon. Thanks for asking such a great question (that I know so many others wonder about too!.
Is “on the contrary” the right phrase? I’m re-reading it and it doesn’t look right to me!?!? I think I need a snack. ;)
Amy Clark says
You may certainly eat your snack, but “On the contrary” is correct phrasing! :)
My boys have always been homeschooled. My oldest (16 and a jr) has had friends denounce God, smoke pot and drink around him. And that’s from his youth group. We don’t shelter…at all, and I’m so proud to watch how he’s handled it all. My son has had to be strong. He’s had to make some tough choices and he’s not always made that right choices. But, we’ve always talked with him about what’s going on and so far he’s been very honest. You don’t have to “go to public school” to be exposed to non-Christians. They’re all in the church. God continues to confirm that we’re supposed to homeschool. For us, we are giving our boys a firm, solid foundation so when the world comes to their door, they’ll know where they stand.
Last example. When our kids are learning to walk, don’t we find the safest area for them start walking? We don’t take them to the edge of the stairs and say “You gotta learn this eventually”. That’s what we’re doing. We’re getting them ready so they can get in to the world, deep, dirty and muddy and come out strong!
LOVE the learning to walk example. our sonlight came on tuesday and im antsy with excitement to start kindergarten with our oldest!
A grown up Homeschool Grad says
I have been talking with friends about this very subject a bit lately.
I know that not all families are the same but here are my limited
observations as one who was homeschooled (with many different friends!)
1. My friends who went to public school usually spent significantly
less time with family than I did. Their lives revolved around school.
2. The children who were getting “proper social involvement” were really
only spending time with kids the exact age as themselves. Where is the
role model in this?
3. I can look back and see so many different social spheres I was able
to experiance and realize that being homeschooled is what shaped my
world view. I am certainly glad my world was bigger than a classroom!
4. Don’t get me wrong, peer exposure is SUPER important! BUT having
those younger and older gives a perspective on maturity.
BE SURE TO HAVE A SUPPORT GROUP!!! If you don’t have one where you are
try to make one. It is essential to your child’s self development to
be a part of a group of kids that live similar to themselves (IMO).
5. You can’t expect your child to make good choices unless you have
taught them how and they have seen it lived out in your life.
I truly believe the Lord gives grace for every calling He places on His
children. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not
unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].Eph 5:15-17
Oh, yes! What a great question that I hear from my friends who are contemplating homeschoolling. Our kids have so many opportunities to get out and make friends with so many people. We hardly spend time in the “bubble” of our own home. We do go to a co-op once a week, play soccer at the school team down the street, are in a local kids choir, and my kids are learning to minister to those who are in need. I am very glad that I am steering my children to the socializing experiences that I see fit for them, and that they are NOT being socialized by, say, 30 other 6 yr. olds. That isn’t really the “real world”. The real world is learning how to function in a family, handle responsibility, be a servant to others, contribute to the community in various ways, lend a helping hand to those in need, glorify the Lord with the tasks He’s given us, etc. I went through public schools and college, and now that I graduated, I’ve never found myself in a classroom full of 30 other people my same exact age. The real world is interacting with many different kinds of people, of different ages, backgrounds, etc., who are not in a classroom. That seems more of a “bubble” to me. Hope this helps! Blessings!
Thanks for this perspective on homeschooling. As I have contemplated homeschooling, I have a couple of things I have wondered about that maybe you can let me know your thoughts on. My classes were challenging in my public schools (especially high school), and I always worked very hard in them. I was grateful with how well they prepared me for my undergrad and grad degrees. I really think college would have been a shock if I had not had the essays due or test to prepare for by a specific deadline (and therefore waking up at 4:00 AM to meet the deadline before school started). I really don’t think I could replicate that environment in our home (or would want to), but how will I prepare them for a similar environment in college? Also, I feel like my friends and I who were strong in our Christian faith were able to be good examples to many in our public schools. What happens if more and more Christian families homeschool? Who will be those examples to lead people to Christ and help others find hope in the often hard environment of high school? Thanks for any thoughts you have.
Interesting questions. I was not home schooled, but I had many good friends (a large percentage of my friends, interestingly) in college who had been home schooled. Two of my closest friends, who were both home schooled through high school, had an intense first semester adjusting to college, but who doesn’t. They both graduated in 4 years with excellent GPAs, double majors (Fine Arts + Pre-Physical Therapy, and Special Education + Music Performance…both are intense combinations), and lots of involvement in activities such as being RAs in the dorms and being leaders in the college community. I think they had deadlines as homeschoolers in things like part-time jobs, etc.
With our oldest beginning his freshman year now as a home schooler, I feel like we’re working him in gradually to being ready for college life. Even last year, his eighth grade year, was a very busy year for him as he read an entire shelf of books, many of which were quite complicated. Some of his books this year feel like college level texts already – yowza!
As the kids get older and more mature, their school responsibilities increase. We’ll likely enroll our kids in some college classes their junior years of high school, as they’ll be able to get a hs plus a college credit taken care of at one time! This will also help prepare him for college.
I really don’t have too many fears about getting our kids ready for college (except the the fears ALL parents surely have about this!). I’ve seen so many parents around me home school their kids right up through high school and all of these kids have done very well in college. Thankfully – I can resource them when I have my many questions during the next four years about transcripts and such!! :)
Mel, I noticed that the replies so far have not addressed your concern about fewer Christian kids in schools when more Christian parents choose to homeschool. While I think homeschooling is GREAT and have many friends who are homeschooling or plan to do so, remember that there are many of us that have to work outside the home or choose to, and others who just don’t desire to do it. Of course, I know many of those parents will choose private school as we are going to, but I’m sure there will still be Christian kids who can set a good example in public schools, just less and less as the public schools get more and more god-less (if that is even possible.) I really think a point is coming soon where people will be fed up enough with the school systems to make some sort of overhaul to the entire thing. Until then, hopefully the parents of those kids will help their kids understand they are truly going into a combat zone/mission field each day.
Well said! You put into words what is in my heart! We are entering our 3rd year homeschooling after a year at a private school. The differences continue to astound me! It really is easier than people realize (and I am one of those who thought I would never even consider it until God called me to it after a difficult year at the school). And I love your disclaimer at the end- so true!
My sister & I were homeschooled through highschool … with about 2 years in there where we went to a TEENY Christian school.
I really HATE it when people think that homeschooled kids aren’t exposed to people & end up not able to socialize etc.I was homeschooled during a time when there were very few homeschoolers in my community. Now, homeschoolers are allowed to play sports & participate in other activities with some Christian schools in the area. They’re also able to do duel credit at the community college & I have many friends who’s kids graduated high school with an associates degree because of this.
I think it’s definitely up to the partents! If you don’t want your child to be exposed to other people & cultures & faiths etc, then take them places that will expose them to those things. School is NOT the only place for that to happen … and is probably the worst place for that to happen! If you want your kids to be able to socialize & be “socially normal” … lol for lack of better words, then make them converse with people & teach them how. We were always made to talk to adults & look them in the eye & we had so many friends that weren’t homeschoolers.
School does NOT prepare your child for the “real world.” Public schools here … in Texas … teach your kids how to pass tests. lol No joke. I think it’s parents responsibility to prepare their kids for the real world and that doesn’t involve throwing them into the chaos of public school if that’s not where God wants them.
Having been homeschooled, I graduated a year early, I learned to be very self motivated in life in general … in work, in school, in life. A month after I graudated, I attended a spanish language school in Mexico with my sister (who was 1 year older). I joined the Air Force when I was 19 … can’t think of more of a “real world” scenario than this! lol … & I adjusted just fine! All my life, when people find out my sister & I were homeschooled, they don’t believe it … because of how “social” we are. lol
My daughter is 16 months old & we haven’t decided if we’re hoomeschooling her yet or not. I’d love to but we’re trying to hear God about what’s best for her. We’ll see!
Sorry, this is somewhat of a soapbox for me! lol
I love what you said about school teaching kids how to pass tests. I am a public school teacher and I am sure that you won’t be surprised that we all feel that way too. It’s sad when the people doing the teaching know how to teach but can’t really do it because of the requirements set forth by the government. It’s a very frustrating corner to be backed into! I’ve never thought about that in relation to homeschooling. Interesting-and very compelling-argument!
Wow, thank you so much for this post! My husband and I have been looking at our options for schooling when our oldest starts next fall. I have been torn between sending her to a private christian school or keeping her home and teaching her myself. It’s interesting as I was thinking and praying about this very subject this morning and then found your post later in the day. So thank you so much! I would also appreciate prayers as we make this decision.
Stacy Makes Cents says
Laura, this is a really great post. I like that you just consider it “parenting.” :-) That’s how we see it too.
Having been a classroom teacher for 7 years, I never intended to homeschool. But God’s ways are not our ways! When we adopted our children, God kept putting people in my path that homeschooled and when it was time to start school with my daughter, I just felt homeschooling was the right choice for us. Four years down the road and I don’t miss teaching in a public school at all (just the income lol) Homeschooling is such a great fit for us. I love how excited my children get about learning. They have great attitudes about school and so many kids their age already hate school. How sad! I love the freedom it gives us. If something suddenly comes up, we can take some work with us, or finish it when we get home. I try really hard to be home while we are doing school work, but some days life happens and homeschooling allows us to be flexible. And it really is like a big secret no one tells you about. My life is so much more blessed and relaxed then it was when I worked full time and was constantly running here and there! It’s a true blessing in my life and one I thank God for often:)
Such an encouraging post! My son is two and our second son is due in the next few weeks. Homeschooling honestly sounds like more fun and much easier than trying to keep up with my daily responsibilities while PREGNANT! I’m so looking forward to teaching our kiddos! And it is fun to know that we’ve already begun. :-) Reading, singing, playing, talking…
What I’d be interested is to know how to make healthy lifestyle changes (a la what your blog promotes) while parenting littles and being sick in one way or another throughout all 9 months of pregnancy………!!! Baby steps? Prioritizing the essentials? Did you start making these big changes after you were done having babies? Not sure if you have a post along these lines already…I’m a fairly new reader.
Yes, making healthy lifestyle changes can be overwhelming for sure! Here’s my series of posts sharing our family’s healthy eating journey: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/category/our-healthy-eating-journey. And here’s a series of posts I’ve written sharing Simple Steps Toward Healthy Eating: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/category/simple-steps-toward-healthy-eating. That may answer some of your questions!
Samantha Hendrix says
Laura, I love this post. I have been homeschooling for about two years now and I love the freedom it gives me. Now don’t get me wrong, there are days I want to run screaming to the calgon lady. Then there are days when everything goes right and I know that I know that I know this is what I should be doing with my children. GOD is so good and I do this for his glory and not for mine. Yes it is hard but if it were easy everyone would be doing it. My life is so much more blessed for following GOD’s path for my life. Thanks for your blog. Loving it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love your comment! It gives me courage…and I often find myself calling the calgon lady too! And here I thought I was the only one!
There are a lot of misconceptions about homeschooling. We homeschooled all 3 of our girls and it was wonderful! We actually had more time. My two oldest went to public school thru 4th and 2nd grade because I didn’t know homeschooling was a option. It was so hectic those few years with all fundraisers and different mandantory activities. We were controlled by someome elses schedule and idea of what we should do.
With homeschooling, we could concentrate on our studies and get done for other fun. It took a lot of pressure off our family and we could schedule to fit our family’s needs. We also had so much more opportunity for out of classroom learning experiences and adventures. When we had Dr. appointments it was a time crisis as we took our work with us.
It was wonderful and after we started I could not believe the difference. I still miss those times.
Hi! I’m wondering how you handled the transition for your 2nd & 4th graders to leave public school and be homeschooled? Was it difficult for them and did they protest the idea? My boys are 2nd & 3rd graders this year and I’m almost certain that we will be homeschooling begining next school yr. One of my boys loves the idea and the other doesn’t and has gotten very upset during discussions about it. Any advice on how to handle that? Thank you!
Beth at first they were not happy campers at all. I explained to them why we were doing it and all the things we were going to get ot do. I admit this didn’t change things a lot. There were even times they said they wanted to go back to public school the first few months. About mid-year they began to really enjoy it. After that they were scared a law would be passed that would make them go to public school! I still remember their excitment the each year when our new books would come. They also found out that the studies were interesting and challenging. After the first year we did a 4 day week and used Fridays for science experiments, field trips, hands on fun learning things. Of course I also made sure their friends came over to play and do things with us. That was one of my daughter’s big concerns was not seeing friends.
Be patient and stand firm, they will come around. It is a big change. But so worth it especially the closeness you will develop with your boys. Good luck!
Lindsey @ The Herbangardener says
That is so interesting! Thanks for sharing, because I’d always had that exact question at the back of my mind…”Would it take over my life?” Especially when kids are young.
But it totally makes sense, the way you do it.
No wasted time getting ready, driving, and then of course all the wasted time in the conventional classroom by other kids who are misbehaving!! Not much learning gets done in the actual classroom, as I recall from being a student myself! So you gotta come home and do all your learning at home in the form of homework!
Now THAT is a time waster!!
Thanks for this post!!!
I have enjoyed your website for years, but I think this is the first time I have commented. Yay!
I have two boys under the age of three, so I’m not officially home schooling yet. I am curious about how you budget for your school materials. I have always appreciated your frugal approach to cooking and such, yet I know curriculum sets are expensive. How have you and your husband worked through making these school materials a priority in your budget?
Thanks! I’m always learning from you.
Here’s a post I wrote about our Homeschool Budget: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/homeschool-hubbub-our-budget. That will explain a little bit about how we manage it. Books are expensive and can really add up. Thankfully, since we have four boys, we know that we’ll use all the materials four times, which helps lessen the cost through the years!
Hi Laura! I have a question for you and all other homeschooling moms…please hear me out. My boys just started the 2nd & 3rd grades & I also have a 1 & 3 year old. My husband & I have always loved the idea of homeschooling but I never had the guts to try it. I used to be afraid of what others thought, especially because my mother is the Principal at my kids’ school! I think I’m over that fear, realizing that I am the only person who has to answer to God for how I raise my kids. As I read your post, especially the part about “what you DON’T have to schedule in” I was shouting out in agreement! (Time spent on homework is ridiculous & just this morning, my boys asked when I can come help in their classrooms)! I read all of the post comments, and have shared the same thoughts & fears with many. Can I REALLY do this? Or will it be total chaos & wasted time? But finally, MY QUESTION: If I think I really CAN do this, How do I know that my kids are learning what they need to learn to be prepared for high school/college? Forgive my ignorance, but how do YOU know? Do you use state standards & testing like they do in public schools? My greatest fear is that I will do a disservice to my kids, academically speaking. Thank you for all your wonderful posts, Laura! And comments from all are appreciated!
Beth, I’m not a homeschool mom (yet) but was homeschooled all my life. There are placement/achievement tests your kids can take. In fact some states require it of homeschoolers. Our state was not one of them, yet my mom had a take state (I believe they were achievement) tests just about every year. Every time we (both me & my sister) scored higher than the state average & our current grade in every subject.
Definitely before you start, you’re going to want to check with your state & see what their homeschool requirements are.
Thank you, Abby! I really appreciate that!
I truly believe you would never do your kids a disservice – even if you did fail to teach them every single thing out of every single book on every single subject. This is something I’ve really wrestled with, especially when I hear what other home school moms are teaching their kids or hear what public school kids have been studying.
I’ve learned NOT to pay much attention to what others are studying – they’re doing things we’re not doing and we’re doing things they’re not doing and we’re all learning!
Am I going to leave out some important facts and fail to teach them everything they need to know. Without a doubt. But so is the public school. It’s simply impossible to teach kids everything – and even if you try to teach it, who knows if they’ll retain it.
The key is to teach your kids how to LEARN. How to search for questions to answers they don’t know. How to be excited about their surroundings and learn from the environment they are in. How to care about the world around them.
If they learn how to learn, that’s all they need to know! The rest just falls into place! (Oh and plus, there are millions of resources out there to help home school parents – books are plentiful!)
I am loving this discussion! I had a similar question: What do you do when yuo KNOW you will do a disservice to your kids? What I mean is…I’m an accountant so I’m great with math, logic, statistics. I STINK at science though. So how do you homeschool your child in what you know is an essential subject area – when you, yourself are not skilled in tha area?
I mean, you can buy all the books, and find all the websites but at the ned of the day, if you can’t help your child make sense of what they’re reading, what do you do?
Ah, that’s when you find super resources to help you out!! They are out there all over the place!
There’s no way I can do a good job teaching science, but there are computer programs and excellent books (we really like Apologia Science books for upper levels) – plus this year Asa will be doing a Biology lab with another home school mom who is teaching her daughter biology – she’s a fantastic resource!!
I’m all about asking for help when I don’t know something. I’ve also found that I’m just learning along with my kids and I’m even keeping up with my high schooler (which I wasn’t sure was possible). Really – you can do it!
Hi Jill! I found Tami’s response below quite helpful…of course almost all the comments are helpful, but I think this one related more to what we were concerened about…
Thank you so much for the encouragement, Laura! What you said makes so much sense, it’s like…why didn’t I think of it that way before? I love what you said about teaching kids how to learn! As for Jill’s comment, I can totally relate! Even though I am a college grad, I’ve sadly found myself challenged on one of my 3rd graders homework assignments! (did I just really admit that)? Made me wonder if I could keep up with highschool stuff. But now, thanks to your comments, I see it in a whole new light & will begin looking for more resources! Thanks again!
I am a single mom and homeschooled my kids from k-2nd/3rd. I had to enroll them last year for financial reasons and I worked as a para in their school. By Christmas time we were all ready to come back home. They were miserable. I was miserable. It was everything you say…having to be on their schedule, wasting time in school, the “socialization” problems…. Now we are back to homeschooling and it is motivating to my kids to know that if they give me a hard time there is always the option of going back to school. Before, they were curious about school. Now that they know what it is like, I think it might be a motivator to get their job done at home! I work from home and don’t receive child support, though I may at some point, who knows? We have just added expenses such as braces for my son and dance company for my daughter, so if this is going to happen, it’s ALL because of God!
I am so excited reading this post! We are, for the first time, going to start our homeschooling journey this fall. I have often wondered how it might change our days and my normal home routine. I am so encouraged by your post and to hear that our home life might even be easier! During the school year, I was so bogged down with all the driving and lunch making and teacher needs this or that and 2 hours of homework and watching my kids life dwindle away because they had no time to just be a kid. I hope I can figure out a good schedule for us and feel free to get house work done in between all the homeschooling. Seems tricky when I think about it, but you made it sound not so bad. I have hope!
” I didn’t consider that “home schooling”. I considered it parenting.”
You are so on-point with that statement!
I wish this format were like Facebook in that I could press ‘LIKE’ for bunches of these comments. I was homeschooled up until high school. It worked so well and it was a great fit for our family & I transitioned into the public school system seamlessly.
I always said while it was great in my childhood ‘I’ could NEVER EVER homeschool my kids. Good thing God has a sense of humor and has grown my flexible side because I’m starting homeschool pre-k this fall.
Kathy McConnell says
lol, I’ve often had the same though : )
In response to Mel:
My homeschooled high school son took several classes each year with tutors, including his literature classes and science lab classes. All of his tutors were homeschool moms & dads who were well qualified in their areas. One was a seminary librarian, one was an electrical engineer, another had a master’s degree in chemistry and had taught in public school for 7 years. His classes met weekly for about two hours each, and the tutors provided an assignment schedule for the rest of the week. I monitored tests at home for most of them. He had plenty of experience meeting deadlines given by outside parties. In our area, every homeschooler I know uses at least some of these type classes, and most take dual enrollment college classes for a subject or two during their junior and senior years. I think this version of high school is much more like college than what most high school kids experience. I expect him to be well prepared when he starts college next year.
My oldest son always attended public school, and my second son did until ninth grade. My two daughters, now 12 and 9, never went to school. One of the biggest advantages to homeschooling, in my opinion, is that my daughters are not tired and cranky all the time like my sons used to be. Homework can take HOURS with a child who has been up since six am, gone to school, gone to music class, gone to baseball/soccer practice and now has 20 spelling words to write sentences for and a couple of busy-work worksheets to fill out. It’s crazy. It’s sooooo much easier to deal with a child who sleeps in a little when she’s tired in the morning! I think that is one of the things that makes homeschooling so much easier – it can be done on the child’s own time. Makes for happier kids AND happier parents too.
Thanks for posting this!! I have always wondered if I should homeschool, but find it daunting. You make it seem easier than I expected because you work it into your daily routine. I know there are tough moments, but fitting it into your busy schedule seems to make sense to me rather than sitting down in a room designated for teaching and standing in front of them like a class, etc.
Great post. I have often thought I have kind of a “cushy” thing going on as well.
Julie H says
Another great post! This is exactly how I feel. I love to run my day not have the day run me!
Homeschooling keeps popping up everywhere-and I believe that in time it is what God is calling our family to. We have one in school now (2nd grade) and she is happy and will have the same teacher who next to me, really gets my daughter. My son still has another year before he starts and then 2 more follow behind. So I am considering this for the 2012 school year.
My question-where do you suggest someone unfamiliar with all of this start research to find curriculms and things. And do you find that the costs for supplies is extensive? ON a very tight budget, my husband and I are concerned about the costs of supplies for crafts, activities, etc.
I was thinking I could try homeschool preschool with my 3 year old and see where it goes from there, but I have no idea where to start.
I too was in the same boat when we started homeschooling five years ago. Not much money and not sure where to begin. I found a great preschool curriculum called Little Hands to Heaven put out my a company called Heart of Dakota or something like that. It was $30 and took us through preschool beautifully. I typically don’t recommend one curriculum over another, as it is totally a personal preference, but with limited funds and being brand new to homeschooling, I found it to be a perfect match that got us hooked on learning at home. We’re die hard Sonlight users now, but I’ve since seen online that Hearts of Dakota has curriculum for older grades too.
Well, since you mentioned homeschooling your preschooler, I have to put a plug in for our Preschool Curriculum: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/heavenly-homemakers-shop. :) (Watch for a sale next week!)
Although you can almost home school your preschooler without ANY curriculum, simply by using what you already have around the house to teach the basics.
Regarding finding curriculums and how to get started, when we began home schooling, I asked tons of questions to those around me who were already home schooling. I looked at their books, which was really helpful in deciding which ones we liked (and didn’t like).
Here’s a post I wrote about our home schooling budget, which you might find helpful: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/homeschool-hubbub-our-budget
I am so glad that you posted this today! I started homeschooling my 9-year-old on Monday and it has been somewhat daunting. I had thought about pursuing this avenue possibly next year and had it all set up for my daughter to have fourth grade at the local elementary this year – this was to be the transition year when I planned and learned. We found out on SATURDAY (two days before school was supposed to start) that the state had officially denied us expanding the school to fourth grade. Let me explain that our town has around 400 people including the surrounding areas and we live 65 miles from the nearest city of any size (about 10,000) so our schooling options are extremely limited.
Our local school right now is K-3rd. Last year there were 9 kids in the ENTIRE school for all grades. My daughter has always had the same teacher and the highest school enrollment ever was 12 kids. I feel that my daughter has had such a wonderful and unique education thus far and it is as close to homeschooling as possible. I was very involved with her teacher and the school and it was more like a family than anything else so if the option of sending her there was available now I would jump on it.
Anyway, we are home now and her teacher is helping us tremendously as we work through it all. I have gotten so much encouragement from reading all of these posts and I thank you again for the insight. I feel that this is definitely the best option for our daughter and her teacher agrees with us.
I really enjoy all of your posts and have recommended them to friends. You have been an inspiration to me as a stay-at-home and now homeschooling mom.
Love your last paragraph in the box! Seems like a lot of home schoolers look down on those who send their kids to school, so thank you for encouraging us all to do what God leads us to do. :)
Anonymous Momma says
My husband and I have 4 children, 6, 4, 2, and another on the way! Leading up to our oldest starting Kindergarten we prayerfully considered homeschooling, but had no peace about it. Right now our oldest is in 1st grade at a public school. I do understand all of the benefits of homeschooling, but here is why (at this point) we feel like we can’t:
1. So many of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are staying at home for school. Where is Christ represented to the thousands in Public School? How does this make Christianity (Christ) look to non-believers?
2. The perceived “Holier than Though” persona, given to home-schooled families. A huge stumbling block for many non-believers.
3. Our neighborhood: Everyone in our neighborhood goes to the same school. This is the 1st year our daughter has been at this school, and it has opened so many doors with our neighbors, whom we’ve been living next to for over 3 years. Neighbors who once were stand-offish have opened up and because we are in the same school “community” have even been more open to the gospel. Last year when our daughter went to a Christian Private School, it was VERY different.
4. God’s Mission: I know that our children are supposed to be a huge priority, but not the center of our lives. Even though my child goes to public school, she has heard about Jesus from the time she was in my womb. He is woven into every fabric of our lives. This is displayed through her when she goes to school, even though she’s only 6. My husband and I are to disciple her and always point her to Jesus and we do. But what about all of the lost students, teachers and staff who don’t know Jesus? We make it a point to be involved in PTO and in the teachers and family’s lives. My daughter’s class all have writing journals, where they get a time to write whatever they want every day. The other day, she wrote, “I love Jesus.” I wonder what her teacher thought of that. I’m praying for her teacher, our relationship with her, and a potential relationship with Jesus some day.
I would love to hear any feedback you have on this at all. I am not against homeschool, but obviously I do have a couple questions/concerns about it. Thank you and grace and peace!
Regarding your question on #1 (Where is Christ represented to the thousands in Public School? How does this make Christianity (Christ) look to non-believers?) – there are many, many Christians still attending public schools. I know many Christian teachers at public schools. The home school population is quite small compared to the over-all Christian population. Several of our friends home school, but most of them don’t – maybe it’s different where you are?
Great thoughts you share, and some very valid reasons for putting your children in public school! I’m very glad to hear that your kids are in public school for some very specific reasons, as opposed to, “I could never home school” or “I just want to get rid of my kids for the day” or other things I hear some parents say. It sounds like you and your husband are very intentional about how you are raising your kids and how you plan to be a light to your community and to your school.
We have been a homeschooling family for the past 7 1/2 years. We pulled our children out of public school after a Christmas break. A close church friend introduced me to homeschooling and I began to feel the need to do so, I also felt it was something that the Lord wanted me to do. We have been homeschooling ever since and will continue until our youngest, out of five, graduated. We actually just graduated our oldest daughter and our youngest is only 2 1/2 so we have lots of years of homeschooling ahead of us, although we love it.
There is time to homeschool when you make the time and are dedicated to it.
Lori Rodriguez says
We have 8 children–5 of whom are old enough to be homeschooled. My daughter went to public school for one year and did very well on “the test” that they prepared for all year. But, she had no free time like the other children. She came home and had to do homework until late. I still had to teach her with her homework. She kept catching whatever viruses were going around. Then when I was figuring out what curriculum to order, we realized that she had not progressed to the next level after all. God is good and certainly used the experience for His glory, but just from a secular point of view, homeschooling makes more sense!
Erin @ A Full Heart says
Yes! You summed it up perfectly! This is exactly what I tell people when they ask me, too. I couldn’t imagine trying to get 6 children ready to head out the door at 6:30am and juggling all the school activities and responsibilities! I love homeschooling for so many reasons, and this is definitely one of them :)
I’m not sure why anyone would ask you how you find the time to home school your kids when you don’t work outside the home. Obviously that frees up your day
She does, of course…cook healthy food, from scratch…minister to a soccer team, and write lengthy articles, tutorials, and even curriculum for this blog. :) In addition to mothering, being a wife and homemaker. I’ve always been a stay-at-home mom (with a full, full life) and recently added homeschooling. Believe me, it took me some time to figure out how it would all work. I enjoyed this post, Laura. Thanks!
You have to realize how many hats she wears. She teaches every subject in 4 different grade levels plus electives; she runs her kids to music/sports practice; and on top of that she keeps a household running: grocery shopping, preparing all meals, laundry, housekeeping, a never-ending list of errands…And those are only her family responsibilities. Add to that community and/or church duties and you are left wondering how she does it all.
You can call me Jane says
Loved this. Thank you:-).
Julie Grace says
I think you and your readers may enjoy a great book a friend of mine self-published a few years ago. It’s called Pajama School. She is a lovely, Godly homeschooled girl and the book is so enjoyable and encouraging for homeschoolers and parents of homeschoolers!
Also, I’m enjoying your blog. Thanks for taking the time to share!
Is that York College in Nebraska? I went there for some youth group events when I was in high school. (I’m a grad of Harding University)
Yep, YC in Nebraska – and I know lots of Harding grads too! :)
I was homeschooled from grade 7 on. I would love to homeschool my kids, but I am overwhelmed by it. My first daughter is clearly behind, and it does bother me. We are a bilingual household, so I often think that is why she isn’t doing as well. But it still is hard to know other kids her age that can carry on a full converstation, and some we know can do so in both English and Spanish, and do their ABC perfectly when she cannot. My second offers less worry as she is picking up on both languages beautifully. Because of Graciela’s status, I have considered sending her to public school the first few years to get a little help from people that can guide her where I am a little at a loss. And then see how she does and if I should then pull her back out to be taught at home. Jasmin, on the other hand, I think will do beautifully being taught at home. There are great programs here that are run through the school to teach at home. For those that are a little unsure what to teach, it might be a good best of both worlds alternative.
Whatever anyones choice, there are many misconceptions about homeschooling and the kids that are homeschooled. It really is a great way to teach and often takes less time than traditional schooling. I remember during high school asking occasionally about returning to regular school and my mom would only have to mention the homework and that my friends that went to regular school could be up all night on projects, and I would quickly change my tune. It really would only take about half the time to have my schooling done than for my friends to learn at school and then to come home and have more work to do. The only problem I had was when my mom worked and I was at home doing my own work and being done so quickly, I would get bored. I would either go to my neighbors house and ride her horses or go to my job down the road because I didnt want to stay home with nothing else to do. Once I got enrolled in a homeschool resource center and took a few classes there in addition to my homeschooling, it was a little more interesting. Soon after, I was taking classes there, at the local community college, and still learning at home. No matter which way I look at it, I feel blessed that my parents had the wisdom to pull me out of a system that wasn’t working for me. I did well and learned more than a lot of traditional students. When enrolling in college, the only problem I had on the test was with grammar. The rest, I tested up to snuff. I took one bridge class, and honestly that was probably the best class I took there. It got me to where I needed to be, and the instructor was great. Because of him, I did well throughout the rest of the English classes and went on the work at the English lab. Because of homeschooling, I learned to love reading and history. I also fell in love with the Spanish language and still have a love for learning. All things I would have probably hated if I had staying in traditional schools.
Kristen @ Diapers and Doctrine says
I’m so glad I found your site! We have less than 10 months to make a decision on where our oldest daughter will go to school. Homeschooling is something that’s NEVER been on my radar before. I’ve always said that if God is calling me to homeschool, He will have to speak to me directly…my own personal “burning bush” experience!
Your blog may just play a role in my decision. So thank you! :)
Love this, thank you!
Cool fact about the opossums! Which science curriculum do you use? If it has many interesting facts like that, it may be one to hold my 8yo and 12yo’s interest!
We use the science curriculum that Sonlight recommends and have really enjoyed it through the years!