Homeschooling Day by Day

If you’ve ever wished for a homeschooling manual- or better yet, a mentor- I think you’ll love Homeschooling Day by Day! 

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This ebook is the collaborate work of eleven mothers who, like you, are in the trenches raising and educating their children at home.

{Read the author profiles here}

“If you are considering homeschooling or are a veteran of 20 years, if you’re excited about the upcoming school year or fearful and dreading it, this book will speak to and encourage you!” -Gena Mayo, I Choose Joy!

Throughout the forty chapters of Homeschooling Day by Day, you’ll read about 

homeschooling methods,

learning styles

homeschooling kids with learning disabilities,

homeschooling teenagers, preschoolers, and how to juggle multiple ages, 

dealing with insecurity and criticism as a homeschool mom,

how to handle bad attitudes, expectations,

hands on help for lesson planning, keeping up with housework, meals, and so much more!

{Take a peek at the Table of Contents!}

Homeschooling Day by Day is an outpouring of Godly encouragement that will sustain you on the dry and weary days.”

– Jamerrill Stewart, Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling

If you’re a homeschool mom in need of a little inspiration, or if you’ve ever considered homeschooling but aren’t quite sure you can do it, Homeschooling Day by Day will encourage and empower you!

Purchase Homeschooling Day by Day for your Kindle or home computer for just $4.99!

 

Introducing: Homeschooling Day by Day

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Rose started first grade this week. Two days each week she’ll be attending a Classical Christian school affiliated with our church (where I get to help teach) and the other three days I’ll be homeschooling her and William.

The week has been a busy, stretching one. As I sat down with my sneak-peak copy of Homeschooling Day by Day, the question “Do I really have time to read this right now?” nagged at the back of my mind. 

But as I scrolled through the pages, my head kept bopping up and down. Kristy‘s candid honesty and humble encouragement was just what I needed to begin the year refreshed in spirit and with my heart focused.

Throughout the pages of Homeschooling Day by Day, Kristy (and a band of contributing homeschool mothers) offer inspiration for managing homeschooling and babies, homeschooling children with special needs, choosing the learning style that best suits your family’s needs, homeschooling teenagers, and a host of other important practical considerations.

The book is far more than just a practical field guide though. It seeks to capture the heart of our calling as homeschool mothers and provides big picture encouragement as we plod through the trenches of daily life.

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Kristy Smith envisioned and masterminded the ebook, with contributions from ten other homeschool moms who are at various stages of this exciting and sometimes daunting journey: Bambi MooreJacinda VandenburgKasey NortonAmy MazeJill YorkSara Elizabeth DunnRichele McfarlinStephanie EidsonHeather Bowen & myself. (I’m honored and humbled to be part of a project with some of my very favorite bloggers!)

The goal is to share fresh vision for what homeschooling can be, not just in the glamorous “bigger picture”,  but in the nitty gritty details of everyday life.

 

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 Available August 12th here and on Amazon

Throughout the forty chapters of this ebook, we’ll tackle the topics of

  • homeschooling methods
  • when you’re facing burnout
  • learning styles
  • the most important “R”
  • homeschooling kids with learning disabilities
  • homeschooling teenagers, preschoolers, and how to juggle multiple ages
  • dealing with insecurity and criticism as a homeschool mom
  • how to handle bad attitudes
  • expectations
  • hands on help for lesson planning, keeping up with housework, meals, and so much more!

If you’re a homeschool mom in need of a little inspiration, or if you’ve ever considered homeschooling but aren’t quite sure you can do it, Homeschooling Day by Day seeks to encourage and empower you!  

 Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherWalking RedeemedGraced Simplicity, & Proverbs 31

Review: Phonics Pathways

“Look Mama!” Rose called out in delighted wonder shortly after having learned the alphabet, “My ABCs are everywhere!”

There are few things as delightful as opening up the world of the written word to your child and decoding the infinite number of messages that their ABCs can make. Of all the gifts we can give our children, a firm foundation and love for reading is one of the most important. As the Reformers realized, a population that cannot read would be unable to read the Scriptures for themselves. An illiterate population could easily be swayed by erroneous religious, political, or moral teaching. 

I’ve been looking forward to teaching my children to read since before they were born. That said, our first foray into phonics was fraught with many tears. Maybe Rose was just too young or maybe I was pushing her too hard, but it seemed the program we started with (the highly acclaimed Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons) simply wasn’t working for us. We were both highly frustrated and ended up in tears multiple times. That’s hardly how I wanted to introduce something as delightful as reading! 

Though I wanted to be diligent and not search endlessly for the perfect program, I finally realized that pushing a program that wasn’t working was simply being stubborn.

There are dozens of excellent phonics programs available [I’ve heard numerous success  stories with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons], but if you’re just getting started with phonics or are on the hunt for something different, let me recommend Phonics Pathways

What’s so great about this program?

  • For only $24.45 (even less if you buy a used copy) you get a phonics program that contains all you need to teach your child how to read and spell well.. and enjoy the process.
  • The lessons are incredibly simple to teach. Most days, we just sit down, open up Phonics Pathways, and get started. Except at the very beginning of the program and when a completely new concept is introduced, there is no prep at all required on the parent’s part.
  • Consistency is so important when teaching phonics. The numerous stopping points built in to Phonics Pathways make it easy to get in at least a few minutes of phonics practice every day. Even completing a whole page rarely takes more than fifteen minutes and Rose regularly begs for more. If your child needs extra practice in a particular area (or you want to make school extra fun) there are optional games for extra reinforcement that my children love. Because of the layout, more advanced students can zoom through the pages while younger children can spend a week just covering a couple pages without feeling like they’re falling behind. 
  • Phonics Pathways introduces proper phonetic markings and highly helpful spelling rules from the very beginning. After reading the lesson together, the program encourages you to dictate a few words from the lesson to your student. This not not only helps reinforce the phonetic rules for reading, but encourages good spelling.   
  • Because Phonics Pathways encourages mastery of one phonetic rule before proceeding to another, when Rose transitioned to reading books on her own, she was able to read much more fluently than I expected. Most of the words she didn’t have to pause and think about. Even longer words weren’t a cause for panic, because the program introduced simple, though long, words early and carefully showed the student how to break them down into little parts. 
Will has had so much fun watching over Rose’s shoulder that he wanted to start phonics too. We may be going at a snail’s pace, but he’s loving it.
What have you used to teach your children how to read? Did you love it?

 Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherWalking Redeemed, Our Simple Country Life, & Proverbs 31

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

 

Review or Forget: the Poetry Jar

Teaching scripture and poetry to children is one of the simplest ways to instill truth, expand their minds and vocabulary, and increase their appreciation for the beauty of language.

Children memorize at an almost alarming rate. I want to take advantage of this ability while they’re little.

My goal is to teach them one Scripture passage and one poem a month, followed by a “poetry night” where we make special food and they get to recite for Joshua. [The word “goal” is important here. I think we spent all winter while we fought one sickness after another learning the Apostles’ Creed.]

The problem with memorization is, if you don’t keep reviewing, you’re almost guaranteed to forget. 

After teaching the children a poem until they could recite it flawlessly, only to have them stumbling over the first line a month later, I knew something had to change.

That’s where the poetry jar comes in. After we learn a new passage or poem, the title goes into the poetry mug. Each school day, the children get to pick a slip of paper and recite the passage they picked.

There’s something about the element of suspense that makes them just love our review time. Now we’re not spending time learning new poetry only to have them forget what we already learned.

If you want to start teaching your little ones poetry but don’t know where to start, here are the poems we’ve started with for Rose (5) and Will (3):

The Caterpillar, by Chistina Rossetti
Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost
Poem 56 (The Pedigree of Honey), by Emily Dickinson (I was reading poetry aloud to them and they thought this one was so hilarious–though they certainly didn’t get it— that we simply had to memorize it.)
A Child of Royal Birth, by Anna Johnson (only the first stanza)
A Purple Cow, by Gelett Burgess

My friend Jenn, from The Purposeful Mom, compiled a lovely resource for Scripture Memory, God’s Word in My Heart.

What are your favorite kids’ poems? 

Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherWalking Redeemed, Our Simple Country Life, & Proverbs 31

[Full disclosure: Links to products in this post are my referral links.]

Stop! Don’t Squash! (Encourage Good Bugs to Keep Bad Bugs at Bay)

Rose and I were planting peas last week when she suddenly stopped and said, “Mama look!” Beside her on a tulip sat three scary-looking bugs with spines on their backs.

My first instinct was to squash immediately, but sometimes the scariest-looking bugs are garden heroes. So I resisted the urge, grabbed Good Bug, Bad Bug and flipped quickly through the pages. There on the ladybug page was a picture of the ladybug larva.

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These larva are ferocious… at least if you’re an aphid, mealybug, or other garden pest.

Part of me really likes the sanitariness of pesticides. Just spray and kill all the bugs. Good as well as bad. Then you don’t have to worry whether that bug you see is eating your tomatoes or eating the bugs that want your tomatoes. Then you don’t have to risk seeing a spider busily at work in your garden or risk having a ladybug larva land on your arm.

Doesn’t that sound a bit appealing?

The problem is it would defeat one of my main purposes (and that of most home gardeners) of having a garden: growing fresh healthy food that isn’t covered in pesticide residue. Plus, it completely messes with the beautiful and intricate natural controls that God created to help our gardens.

As I’ve been reading about the bugs that make their homes in our gardens and the beautiful flowers and herbs we can plant to attract the good bugs and scare away the bad, I’ve been struck once again with wonder at God’s amazing creation.

For example, the beneficial hover fly won’t lay eggs on a non-infested plant. If the plant is infested, how many eggs a hover fly lays depends on the pest population. Isn’t that amazing? Beneficial bugs even communicate with one another by leaving a chemical mark on pests that have already been dealt with! (from Good Bug, Bad Bug)

One of my gardening goals is to create an environment that fosters all the beautiful (and ferocious) beneficial bugs.

I still have lots and lots to learn, but here are the steps I’m taking this year.

Learn to distinguish between good and bad bugs: 

If spending an hour playing with bugs wasn’t exactly your idea of fun as a kid (it sure wasn’t mine) then this can be a bit more of a challenge, but it’s proved to be quite exciting. When the kids or I come across a new bug, we’ll look it up in Good Bug, Bad Bug or The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control (two new favorites!) before we decide whether to encourage its presence or squash on sight from now on.

Grow flowers and herbs that attract good and discourage bad bugs: 

Marigolds, of course, are renowned for their ability to deter aphids and other bugs from around your vegetables (plus marigold roots clear the ground of microscopic nematodes that can reek havoc and the good effect lingers for up to three years!)

There are so many other amazing flowers and herbs to plant too, like nasturtium which “trap” bad bugs (and are edible), pungent herbs whose scent both confuses and deters bad bugs, and a vast variety of flowering plants that provide food and shelter for the good bugs if the pest population drops.

Create an environment that fosters good garden creatures: 

Previous owners of our home planted lilirope as a border around the little front gardens. The lilirope filled out into a big bushy mess that I really don’t like. I started clearing it away to replace with a rock border when I noticed beautiful blue-streaked skinks darting into the lilirope for cover. I was clearing away the home of the cute little lizards who feed on snails, slugs, grasshoppers, roaches and even small mice.

Before I clear away the other half of the lilirope, I want to be sure the skinks have another home by planting perennials they can overwinter in and hide from predators.

Many herbicides for treating weeds are toxic to lizards, frogs, and other small garden guests. Avoid using them if possible or seek a child and “pet”-safe natural alternative.

What are your favorite ways to make your garden a haven for good bugs? 

Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherHealthy 2DayFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways,Works for MeWalking RedeemedProverbs 31Natural Living, & Simple Lives

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

“Just” the Bible Is Enough

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This year I wanted to start with Creation and tell the children the stories of the Bible systematically. However, I couldn’t find a Bible story book I really loved.

As you know, I tend to overanalyze things. Sometimes that paralyzes me from ever starting. Plus, I’m really, really, really picky when it comes to Bible story books, especially since this would be our first time to start at the beginning and go through the Bible.

I was getting discouraged.

One collection seemed way too cartoonish. Another skipped important stories, like Abraham and Isaac, but spent chapter after chapter describing the priest’s clothes and provisions. Another portrayed Jesus with blond hair and blue eyes.

My friend Jenn recommended an amazing looking story Bible, but Joshua wanted to take a look at it before I ordered it. We got busy and weeks passed.

At a friend’s excellent suggestion, I started having morning Bible reading time with the children (a wonderful way to immerse yourself in Scripture when you don’t have energy to get up before the kiddos!) Then the realization that parents have been telling stories straight from the Bible to their children for millennia hit me in the head. If parents throughout the ages have done it, I probably can too.

So, we started with the book of Genesis and are working our way through. It has been so exciting exploring God’s story together, with just the Bible and us!

While the children finish their breakfast, I pull out my Bible and read them the story. Some parts I condense, some parts we take extra time to talk about, and some parts I gloss over. But most of the story I just read as it’s written.

Not only am I loving it, the children cannot wait for the next chapter each morning and regularly ask me, “please read the next story!”

Something else that’s really amazed me: even the not-so-nice stories of the Bible are wonderful teaching tools. I was tempted to skip over the story of Noah’s drunkenness. Isn’t that a bit too, um, not nice for my kids? I thought. But I did read it. And we referred to it often in our daily training. When they’re tempted to be silly about sin, we talk about Noah, his wise sons, and his foolish son.

Even though angels stand in awe of His Story, God has made it simple enough for even children to begin to grasp. And love!

Very important clarification: If you have a Bible story that you and your children love, that’s wonderful. The point of this post is not to make you second-guess yourself. (I love what Jenn said about supplementing the reading of God’s Word with Bible stories designed for kids.) But for any moms like me who keep looking, be encouraged! “Just” the Bible is enough to captivate a child.

Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherWalking Redeemed, Our Simple Country Life, & Proverbs 31

Discover the Wonders of Your Own Backyard (& a Backyard Quiche Recipe)

Thanks so much for your prayers and kind encouragement these past weeks/months as our family battled sickness after sickness. I am so grateful for each of you and so grateful to be feeing better again! (Plus I’m so excited to have the time and energy to blog again!)

I love the first spring in a new home. It’s so fun to watch the yard and see what surprises come up: a sunny patch of daffodils, a bush that’s radiant with flowers, or a tree whose unfolding leaves are so beautiful.

This year though, I’ve determined to do more than simply enjoy the beauty. I want to learn about the trees and flowers and even the weeds in our yard. I want to learn about them, and teach my children about them.

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Why?

Learning about the incredible variety of weeds that stubbornly grow beneath our feet, makes the grandeur of Creation come alive before your fingers (or toes). Plus, while you investigate the wonders, you’re soaking up Vitamin D from the sun and breathing in the fresh spring air.

Did you know that the early American settlers brought weeds to plant in the new world? That’s right. Millions of dollars a year are spent trying to eradicate the dandelions and other weeds so prized by the early settlers. (Read why dandelions are so loved here!)

For our neighbor’s sake, I’ll try to keep the dandelions at bay in the front yard, but dandelions, onion grass, plantain, red clover, wood sorrel, and the variety of other edible and medicinal weeds are more than welcome in our fenced-in, pet and pesticide-free backyard.

The children and I have had so much fun finding the weeds native to our yard, marveling at their uniqueness, and learning about them. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many of them are edible and even really good for you. (Always make sure, of course, that there are no inedible or poisonous look-alikes!)

To celebrate the arrival of fresh spring dandelions, we decided to make a “Backyard Spinach Quiche.” It was delicious, though next time I plan to add quite a few more dandelion petals.

Backyard Spinach Quiche

adapted from Better Homes & Garden

Ingredients

  • 9 inch single pie crust (I replace the shortening with real butter and love it!)
  • 8 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen spinach, thawed (or 3 cups fresh spinach or fresh backyard greens!)
  • petals from 2+ dandelions, thoroughly washed
  • 10-20 pieces onion grass, thoroughly washed & finely chopped (or 1/2 cup onion)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup crumbled bacon or diced ham, optional
  • 2/3 cup cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Bake un-pricked pie shell at 450F for 10 minutes, or until dry and set. Reduce oven to 325F.
  2. Stir together remaining ingredients
  3. Pour egg mixture into baked pastry shell. Cover edges with foil, if desired.
  4. Bake at 325F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until knife inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeEncourage One AnotherHealthy 2DayFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways,Works for MeWild Crafting WednesdayWalking RedeemedProverbs 31Natural Living, & Simple Lives

[Full disclosure: Links to products in this post are my referral links.]

“God’s Word in My Heart”: Review & Giveaway

There are few gifts a mother can give her child that are as precious as the gift of Scripture memory. When I was little, my mother spent countless hours teaching my siblings and me verses and whole chapters from the Bible.

As we grew older, she and my dad stressed the blessing of learning Scripture by heart. We sang verses put to music, memorized passages together, and were encouraged to memorize on our own.

Many years later, those passages I learned as a child still run through my mind to encourage me, guide me, and teach me.

Now that I have children of my own, I am so excited to get to teach them the Scriptures.

So when my dear friend Jenn, from the Purposeful Mom, asked if I’d like to review the new ebook she was writing, God’s Word in My Heart, I said “Yes!!!!”

God’s Word in My Heart is a Scripture learning guide. In the first part of the ebook, Jenn shares the importance of teaching Scriptures to our children and then gives some excellent (and fun!) ways to teach verses to our children. She had quite a few great ideas that were new to me and help really enforce the memory work in the hearts and minds of little ones while making it enjoyable.

The second part of the ebook is an ABC collection of specially selected Bible verses and additional verses on sin and justification. I love that Jenn offers three different versions: KJV, NASB, and a “variety-pack”, to meet the needs of different families.

Underneath each verse there are three checkboxes, for, as we all know, being able to recite a verse right after you’ve learned it is great, but if you don’t review it,  you’re likely to not remember it days, months or years down the road.

God’s Word in My Heart is $3.99 but as a special introductory price, you can purchase Jenn’s ebook for only $1.99 through the end of today.

Plus, she’s also offered two of my readers the chance to win a copy! Just enter the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Feminine Adventures

Jenn and I would love to have you join us for our weekly Thrifty Thursday Link Up! Posts about living frugally, thrifty tips and tricks, money-saving DIY projects and gardening, frugal recipes, and encouraging posts on financial stewardship are all welcome. Link up to either of our blogs–your post will be displayed in both places.

We’d be very grateful if you’d share only thrifty-themed posts. (Read full guidelines here.) Grab the button or give us a text link back, so others can join in on the fun!

We’re now sharing some of our favorites each week over on our Thrifty Thursday Pinterest board!



Idea Jar: Redeeming Boredom & Creating Memories

Guest post from my friend Brandy Sexton

These two jars are teaching my children how to think.  Especially the one on the right.  It sounds a bit crazy I know.  But my husband was really excited about it and I think you might be too.

The jar on the left has household chores inside.  These are things that really help me when they get done.  If I hear anyone being fussy about not having anything to do, then they get to pick something out of that jar and they get to be a huge help to their mom!  I make a point to tell them that they really are helping me and that I appreciate it a great deal.  But, this jar has been used only two times because of the jar on the right.

This little pudgy guy has become a favorite of my boys.  They pick a card from it so that they don’t have to pick a card from the slender one.  This pudgy jar is full of ideas for how to spend their time when they don’t know what to do.  Or when they want something to do.  Or when they want to say that they are bored, but think better of it!

But here is the magic that I see in the pudgy jar.  I am telling them what to do when they don’t know what to do.  I am giving them ideas for how to spend their time when they are twiddling their thumbs.  This jar is training them how to think about time.  There are many slips in there that are just fun and games.  But here are some of the clever slips of paper that are tucked in among the “Play with play dough” and “Play a board game” slips.

  • Memorize a Bible verse.
  • Have a spelling contest with brother.
  • Copy a Bible verse in pretty writing and then color all around it.
  • Research a topic and draw a picture.
  • Pray for your cousins.
  • Dance to fun music.
  • Call your grandparents.
  • Write a letter to your aunt and uncle.
  • Just do nothing…and enjoy having time to think about things.
  • Lie down and watch the clouds move.
  • Pray for the persecuted church.
  • Take a bath.
  • Run laps around the outside of the house.
  • Copy a poem and illustrate it.
  • Offer to help your little brother do something.
  • Offer to help your mom or dad do something.
  • Read a whole book of the Bible in one sitting.
  • Write and illustrate a book.
  • Close your eyes and listen (especially outside).
  • Pray and thank God for 50 things.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Pray for your future spouse and children.
  • Do a good deed in secret.
  • Make a treasure hunt…for your brother to do.
  • Use a “How To Draw” book and draw something from it.
  • Do jumping jacks.

The point here is that I want to suggest wise ways for them to spend their time.  Sure there are tons of fun things in the jar that are basically things to entertain that child.  But the ideas I just listed teach them to think of others, think of Scripture, think of service, think of prayer, exercise, be still and rest, or make something beautiful.

As our kids get older we could add things about planning for the future.  They could spend 30 minutes thinking about where they want to be in 10 year and how to get there.  There are worse ways for a 10 year old to spend his time than looking ahead, making a plan, and mapping out a course!

And one more thing.  These jars also bring out attitudes and ideas that need to be dealt with in our children and ourselves.  I usually just let them draw one card and they have to do that one before they can pick another.  What if they draw out a prayer card and say, “Pray?  Oh, I was kind of hoping for something fun.”  Then you get to sit down with them and really talk to them (in a short and to-the-point kind of way) about how that is one of the best ways to spend their time.  Not a lecture.  You get to help them work through their thoughts about things like that while they are still young.  You get to see areas that you might need to beef up in your example before them.  You also get to let them know that sometimes you feel like that too.  And that is when you need to do it the most.

That pudgy jar is a favorite around here.  I bet you could use a little helper like that in your house too.

My Photo

I have been happily married for 14 years to Jeremy and am a mom to 5 fun little boys. I home-school and, although I don’t think it is the only way to get a good education, I totally love it! I use Sonlight, some Classical Conversations memory material, The Well-Trained Mind, a bit of Charlotte Mason, and a hodgepodge of other things. I blog at BrandySexton.blogspot.com

I would love to know what ideas you put in a jar like this.   Please leave a comment and share your ideas.

6 Things I’ve Learned in 6 Months of Homeschool

Motherhood is a refining process. So is teaching. Our homeschool journey is just beginning and already we’ve had our ups and downs. Some days I wonder if there are more lessons for the new homeschool mom than the students.

Six months in to our first year, here are six lessons I’ve learned.

6 Lessons I've Learned as a New Homeschool Mom

Playing in the dirt. Because dirt & sunshine are integral parts of kindergarten (and the rest of life!)

Remember your homeschool priorities

Recently Joshua and I listened to a series on Christian education. This point stood out to me: “God clearly commands parents to teach their children about Him. To tell them His stories. To teach them His way. It doesn’t say parents must be the ones to teach their children phonics or math. Someone else can teach the other things, parents must teach the Scriptures.” (paraphrased loosely) I’m grateful that I get to teach my daughter phonics and my son counting, but that’s not my highest calling as teacher. Teaching them about Christ is. (Though of course parents should be supported in this great calling by church, family, and friends!)

Don’t underestimate young students

One day, as Rose (5) and I were reviewing a poem she had learned, Will (3) asked, “Can I say it now?” I listened dumbfounded as he quoted the poem flawlessly. He had never even seemed to be listening! Children soak up information! Don’t underestimate them.

Make the most of mealtimes

Meals are important. Cultures are shaped around the table. Make the most of meals. For us, this means reading the Bible at the breakfast table. The kids take (much) longer to eat than I do. I’m often tempted to jump up and get a head start on  dishes and laundry. Taking the time to linger at the table and read them a chapter or two from the Bible is much more important. The children love it and so do I. Not only does it ensure that we get to this most important part of our homeschool, starting off our day in the Word makes it much better!

Homeschooling isn't just full of lessons for the kiddos! It teaches us moms important lessons too.

Don’t write off loving a subject, before you’ve tried teaching it

Phonics, writing, literature, history. I’ve eagerly anticipated teaching my children these subjects. Science and math, not so much. But after some wonderful encouragement from an older mom, science is one of my favorite parts of kindergarten. Want to know what she said? Stop stressing about having a perfect plan (at least with your kindergartener!) Take nature walks, explore Creation, look up facts about things that interest you, and read books about God’s world. We have all learned so much… and had lots of fun in the process.

Get the most difficult homeschool subject over with first

 Math is not my strong point. Not by a long shot. If we put it off to the end of our school day, the chances of actually getting to it decrease dramatically. Get the hard stuff done first. You’ll enjoy the rest of your morning much more! {Update: we’ve switched to Life of Fred math. Math is no longer dreaded. Even my three-year-old gets excited when it’s time for Fred.}

If what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s okay to change tactics

 I really wanted to be one of those homeschool moms who researches curricula, finds a good option, and then sticks to it through ups and downs. Rose and I started a highly-recommended phonics program and didn’t have many ups. We both started to dread phonics. Finally I realized I was just being stubborn. It was time to find something that worked for us. We started Phonics Pathways and haven’t looked back. Now we’re both enjoying phonics again. I want to be diligent in what we start, but when you’re grinding your gears day in and day out, it’s time to shift.

As my journey as a homeschool mom begins, I am learning to focus on my priorities, not underestimate little ones, make mealtimes meaningful, be open-minded about new subjects, do the hard subjects first, and give myself grace if we need to change tactics along the way.

Do you homeschool? If so, what have you learned along the way? 

May be linked up at  Mama MomentsGrowing Home, Homemaking LinkupWalking RedeemedHearts 4 HomeProverbs 31 Thursday

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]