Over the past few months, I have been collecting the biggest questions from my homeschooling readers.
You asked, and I listened!!
Here are your biggest homeschool questions answered:
How do you have a kingdom perspective and impact through homeschooling?
This is key as a homeschooling Christian family.
It is more about life and less about school.
As a homeschooling family, my kids see the day in and day out of running a household. And they get to help in a lot of these chores.
My kids are expected and taught how to do outdoor chores (for the boys) and indoor chores (for both, but mainly for my daughter.)
Things do not just happen, but instead, require work.
What does this look like in your home?
In our home, we place a high value on character training.
Each month, we focus on a new character value or trait to train and teach our children.
January: Loyalty, Service, and Dependability
April: Unselfishness and Sensitivity
May: Kindness, Friendliness, and Humor
July: Justice and Mercy
September: Peaceability and Happiness
October: Self-Reliance and Potential
November: Self-Discipline and Moderation
December: Fidelity, Commitment, and Faith
For each month, I just head to Pinterest and find ideas to use with my family.
For example, in February, I used these ideas for my kids.
Be sure to follow me on Pinterest as I always pin more character traits as the months go by.
As a homeschooling family, kids are able to see the role of a mother and father in action.
This goes right along with character training. Homeschooling allows you to include your kids in chores and activities.
In today’s culture when it can be hard for kids to figure out their role or identity, homeschooling allows us to solidify these roles with Christian values.
At first glance, this may not seem to have a big kingdom perspective, but I think it does. Kids need to be kids. They need to explore, roam, run, and play whenever possible.
Homeschooling allows for lots of outside play and free play. I love the aspect that my kids are being raised without the constraint of a lot of desk work. They are being kids while they are kids!
Homeschooling places a lot of the influence on parents. Instead of turning to friends or the media, our kids are able to turn to parents first.
Homeschooling also allows for parents to watch diligently what their children watch, see, and even who they hang out with. As they get older, I know that setting this foundation will help them to move forward with independence and make wise choices.
Our Kingdom influence becomes even greater when we are able to include our children in community events and new experiences together.
Stop Bad Attitudes and Habits
When your kids are with you more, you are able to stop bad attitudes and habits.
I have found that this makes parenting so much more of a joy. If I see one of my children complaining, I am able to stop them right then and there. We can go to the Bible and see what it has to say. We can have a heart-to-heart about what is going on.
Bad attitudes and habits become easier to stop when they are caught early on.
It takes a little more time in the beginning, but I am still reaping the benefits of it every day.
What are the joys and challenges you face with homeschooling?
While I certainly believe that the joys of homeschooling outweigh the challenges, but let’s explore this question a little further.
Lots of Time with Your Children
This is both a joy and a challenge.
When you homeschool, it is important to set boundaries.
This is a great way to include your husband. Decide when you two will find time to do things just the two of you. Homeschooling can be demanding on marriage so be sure that you set aside time even if it is just a quiet night in at home.
One of the best ways I have set boundaries is to have “school hours”. This fluctuates from time to time, but it keeps the kids and me on track. I try to allow 5 hours each day for school. At the end of the time, we clean up the mess, put the books away, and let learning jus happen naturally!!
By setting a “school hour” boundary, it is keeping our house also our home. It is showing my husband that we can also relax and enjoy our home, and it is not always about school.
Another boundary that I set is making my time with Jesus a priority. My morning quiet time happens every single morning. Even if I do not get up before the kids, even if we are traveling, my morning time happens.
Watching Them Master a Skill
It is such a joy teaching our kids to read, learning algebra, or seeing them finally master a new concept.
But the road getting there can be bumpy.
There are times when I have wanted to give up right along with my kids. It is in these moments that I have to keep my eye on the prize.
My goal is to raise kids who search after Jesus with all of their heart, who know their worth comes from Jesus and to have them to spend eternity in heaven.
This lofty goal makes the earthly challenges of homeschooling look so small.
But when you are in the middle of a crisis, they seem so big.
When one of my children is truly struggling with a subject or concept, it is the perfect time to take a break and then come back to it from a different angle or approach.
Reading has been a difficult subject to teach my boys. They just are not interested!!
I tried everything. Finally, I listened to a friend’s advice to let them listen to the book on Audible while following in the real book.
And now they are readers! They are getting through books every week and loving it.
By stopping, listening to my kids, and checking for advice, we were able to move forward together!!
You Make Your Own Schedule and Time Line
This is such a joy, and one of the greatest things about homeschooling!!!
However, it can be the biggest challenge.
In order to homeschool, you have to stay home!! It is important to learn to say no to a lot of outside commitments, especially when feeling overwhelmed.
There are so many ways to plan to make your homeschool successful. It is a popular topic!! I go through all of the ins and outs of planning in a lot of detail in my course Homeschooling That Works.
I also have adopted the idea of Sabbath Schooling. We have loved working hard for 6 weeks and taking a whole week off. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel!
You Can Get A Lot Done at Home
One of the biggest joys of homeschooling is that you are home a lot so you can finish home tasks more effectively.
However, this is a big challenge because your house will be a mess!!
I am constantly trying new organization tactics and ideas to keep everything contained!!
I have captured most of these ideas in this post: The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Organization.
There are also a lot of ideas with videos in my course Homeschooling That Works.
In order to keep me from losing my mind while being at home a lot, I am constantly purging items, and I keep an ongoing brain dump for things I need to do or things I do not want to forget!
If you need more help with organization, I have a popular post on HOW I PLAN FOR THE WEEK AHEAD.
What are things you wish you knew about homeschooling?
Do Not Stress Over Curriculum
If only I would have known this from the beginning.
I thought curriculum was everything. In fact, it is only a small piece of the puzzle!!
No curriculum is going to make your homeschool perfect or make your kids learn faster. Instead, it is all about the mom teaching the material. Your heart, mom, is what matters!!
This is my foolproof plan for curriculum: I do my research. I prayerfully make a decision. I try the curriculum. I use it as a guide and do not follow every single thing. Finally, if I find it is not a good fit, I scrap it and try something that is a good fit.
I am not going to suffer through a whole year with a curriculum that is just not clicking for my child. I have done that before, and I will never do it again. It was miserable!!
There are a few curriculum choices that are my favorites for all ages:
- Rod and Staff. My kids have loved all of the Rod and Staff curriculum we have used. I have seen a huge increase in their reading comprehension skills with Rod and Staff reading programs. It is completely Christian and biblical-based. I love that the stories are character building and inspiring for all ages.
- McGuffey Readers. I use McGuffey Readers to teach reading to all of my kids. I start with the Primer and move on through all the books. By the time my kids finish elementary homeschool and are moving into middle homeschool, they will have read all the McGuffey Readers. These stories also build character and have been around since
- Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. This my friends is FREE and ONLINE. We have used it for several years, and I love it!!! Plus, you can teach science and history to your kids at the same time using this curriculum. CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW TO TEACH SCIENCE AND HISTORY TO MULTIPLE AGES AT THE SAME TIME FOR FREE
- Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. These lessons are short, and they keep the attention of my children (especially my boys!!). I have used this for grammar, and I have been shocked at how much my kids have retained using this book. I also use this book for our memory work. I love using one book for two things!! CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW WE USE MEMORY WORK IN OUR HOMESCHOOL.
I always encourage moms to start with the core subjects and then add as you see fit for your family.
Have a Detailed Plan
I know. I know. You are probably homeschooling for the flexibility (me too!!)
However, this detailed plan is for you mama. It is going to keep you moving forward when you feel burned out, tired, or just do not want to do school!!
Personally, I plan our entire school year out in advance. I organize all the year’s work in a crate and plan week by week as the school year goes by. This keeps me finishing our year and working hard throughout the year even when we are dragging our feet in the dead of winter.
If you want more information on planning the year in advance, I walk through it with videos in Homeschooling That Works.
Do Not Be Afraid of the Criticism
When you choose to homeschool or if you are homeschooling, the criticism will come.
You are going against the grain when choosing to keep your kids at home.
The most common criticism I have received over and over again is that my kids will be unsocialized and weird.
It bothered me at first.
However, I started to do some research to have a response to this common criticism.
First of all, kids do not learn social skills by being in a group of kids that are their exact same age.
Think about the workplace, the church, the world. You are rarely in a group of people that are all the same age after school.
When people criticize that my kids will be unsocial, I calmly tell them that I give my kids plenty of opportunities to socialize in real-world situations that I think will benefit them in the long run. I also keep my kids around people who will lead them closer to Christ. For me, it is a win-win!!
And when people tell me they will be weird, I tell them that if weird means different than the world, then I am all in!
I do not live for the world. I live for the King.
Whatever criticism you face, do not get mad or angry. Instead, learn about that subject. Do your research and calmly have an answer to give your critics.
At the end of the day, they are your children and you should feel peace in your heart about your decisions and not let other people make them for you.
What advice would you give to homeschooling moms?
My biggest advice to homeschooling moms would be to just start.
If you have the desire in your heart to homeschool, give it a try.
You will not have all the answers before starting. You will not have all of the answers no matter when you start this journey so just start.
Researching and praying are healthy and good ways to get started, but it is also important to take steps to start homeschooling.
Make a plan and start teaching your kids.
Your homeschooling journey will be one that will define the lives of your children.