The Top Ten Reasons I Homeschool

How our experience with public school affected our decision to homeschool


I know that “Reasons Why I Homeschool” posts are a dime a dozen, but this particular list will refer specifically to how our experience with public school affected this decision. I could probably list more than ten reasons, but for the sake of time I’m going to limit myself.


1. My children can learn about what interests them, and God is never a taboo subject at home.

When Arianna was in 2nd grade, her teacher asked the children for examples of authority figures. One child answered ”God” and was told that since not everyone believes in God, she couldn’t include Him as an authority figure.

What kind of a message is that to children being raised in Christian homes? At home they’re taught about the sovereignty of God, and at school they’re taught (often by teachers that they assume know everything) that God has no position of authority.

2. We don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn and rush around to get ten children dressed and ready for school.

I know what you’re thinking…get everything ready the night before! In theory, this sounds wonderful, but in practice, it’s laughable. Have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law- if anything can go wrong, it will? Yeah, well, my house is a prime example to the validity of that. I could have all the clothes, shoes, and backpacks neatly lined up and ready, and without fail, something would still be missing when it was time to leave!

3. We don’t have to walk to and from school in inclement weather.

We’re a one-car family, so every morning I would have to bundle up a baby and two toddlers to walk the other children to school in all kinds of weather- heavy rain, snow, freezing temperatures…you name it.

4. I don’t have to report to anyone when one (or all) of my children is sick.

I understand the concept behind this…I really do, but when I’ve got eight kids throwing up, the last thing I’m thinking of is calling the attendance office.

5. I don’t have to worry about unexcused absences.

When Caollin was in kindergarten, I was pregnant with Ireland. At the end of my pregnancy, I had to go in for non-stress tests 2-3 times a week. I would often take her with me and then drop her off at afternoon kindergarten. The one day, the doctor was concerned and had me stay on the monitor longer because the baby wasn’t very reactive. I called the school to tell them that Caollin wouldn’t be at school that day. I explained the situation and the fact that Caollin was with me, and I couldn’t leave. The secretary then proceeded to tell me this would be an unexcused absence because it wasn’t Caollin’s appointment!

6. There is no crazy time when the kids all arrive home.

I love my kids to death, but I used to dread when they would all come home from school because they would act completely nuts! There would be screaming, fighting, backpacks and jackets thrown everywhere, papers strewn all over the place…it was bad.

7. There is no homework.

I know that technically, everything in homeschool, even play, is considered home work, but this is different. The kids used to all approach me for homework help at the same – and it was frustrating because I would have no idea what they had learned all day. Algebra homework was the worst with my daughter because, I swear, the school must have bought the cheapest textbooks available because her book had no explanation of how to do anything! The teacher didn’t help matters, either, because she would only check to see if the students did their homework (they probably could have written anything); she never went over anything!

8. There are no unexpected, um, friends visiting our house.

I’m not referring to human friends; I’m referring to those little friends that are too small to see. Colds, the flu, viruses, and the absolute worst- lice- used to make unexpected appearances in our home. To make matters worse, the school’s lice policy was terrible. They wouldn’t even inform the parents when a classmate was found to have lice because, and I quote, ”It’s not a health issue; it’s a social issue.” Yeah. Try telling that to the mom who has to treat a dozen people and rewash everything in the house. I’m guessing you can tell this is a sore spot with me.

9. I don’t have a million papers being thrust at me every day.

Fundraisers, school pictures, permission slips, PTA notices…oh my word. There were days I honestly used to feel like I was going to have a panic attack. If you think I’m exaggerating, think about it. Take a look at all the papers accumulated for one child multiplied by 10!

10. We can follow our own schedule.

It just makes more sense for our family to learn year-round. A 12 week break can’t be very good for retention. Beyond that, my children need the structure. Even though we have started unschooling, we still have a basic schedule that we follow, and it’s a lifesaver!

We are so blessed to live in a country where we have the opportunity to homeschool our kids. Reasons for this decision may vary, but never forget to take advantage of the freedom that accompanies homeschooling.

Do you homeschool? What were your deciding factors?




Five Random Things from Our Homeschool This Week

Five random things

I’m linking up with Random 5 on Friday over at The Pebble Pond today. Enjoy!


My kids have been teaching themselves how to sew because I can’t sew a lick!


We made a really cool fake lung, thanks to Dot-to-Dot Connections.


My kids made an underwater mural. They all love to draw.


Dillon just finished Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and has now started Cryptid Hunters, which he bought at the library bookstore. It’s actually really good; I read it while he was at his grandma’s.


I’m teaching Devin how to cook…sort of. Hey, you have to start somewhere!

What are five random things you’ve been up to?


Weekend Review- Kenzie Is Mobile!!

Kenzie is crawling!

     It has been an exciting week here at the Sangrey house! Kenzie is crawling!


This is a bittersweet moment for me. Sweet because she’s much happier and less clingy now that she has some freedom, but bitter in that she’ll be my last baby, and I’ll never get to witness this process in my own children again. Anyway, on to our week.
     On Monday, Devin, Dillon, and Arianna walked to the library and borrowed the Disney ”Little House on the Prairie” miniseries, so we watched the whole thing in one day. This is the second time we’ve borrowed it, but the first time we watched it, we were still reading Little House in the Big Woods. Now that we’re actually reading Little House on the Prairie, it’s neat to see the stories come to life. It’s also a great way to see how much the kids have been paying attention by noting any discrepancies. Dillon and Arianna went to a pond near our house and were busy experimenting with sound waves by throwing different size rocks on the ice. They have also kept themselves busy with their new blogs and Caollin and London have been sewing, which, unfortunately, I can’t help them with because, well, I don’t know how to sew.


     Tuesday it snowed, so Devin’s flash animation class was canceled, but we had a fun day indoors. (The wind chill was -15, so we were not going to go outside.) We did a neat activity from Brave Writer in which the kids were supposed to write captions on sticky notes for the pictures on our walls. Since it’s always either all or nothing with this crew they went all out and captioned a lot more than pictures!



     On Wednesday we repeated an experiment that we tried the other week, which worked but would have worked better with a smaller egg. So I bought some, and we tried it again. The object is to demonstrate how a flame in a bottle can create a vacuum strong enough to suck an egg into a bottle.
It worked much better this time. The rest of the day was spent running errands- picking up Caollin’s new glasses, an appointment, and grocery shopping. Afterwards, our day looked like this






     Thursday was actually a really productive day. I’ve been slacking off a bit in the laundry department, so I did a lot of catch up work there.


Then, I corrected math work, which I’ve also been neglecting the past couple of days.


We also made a really cool fake lung, thanks to Dot-to-Dot Connections. This is definitely worth checking out.


Dillon is quite the character, isn’t he?

Devin helped make dinner today.


Boxed fried chicken, instant mashed potatoes, and canned vegetables. Stop laughing. This is the same girl who asked me a few months ago how to turn the oven on. This is progress.


This picture has nothing to do with what I’ve been writing about, but Luke is as elusive as Bigfoot, so if I can get a picture of him, I’m posting it!

     Our plans for Friday include a plate tectonics activity using Graham crackers and whipped cream. (I guess you’ve realized why my kids want to do this.) Beyond that, we’ll just go with the flow. Happy weekend!

What are some highlights of your week?


Linking up with
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

A Mama’s Story



Lessons from an 8-Month-Old- An Illustration of Natural Learning

This is how God wired them to learn- naturally.

My youngest child, Kenzie, is learning to crawl.

I sat for a while watching her, joyful, but also a little sad, when I started to think about her journey up until this point. Sitting. Rolling over. Laughing. Crawling. My point? She did all this on her own. I didn’t teach her how to do these things. I didn’t hold classes, ringing a little school bell saying, “Kenzie! Time for crawling lessons! Put your blocks away! It’s time for school!”

Absurd, right? But isn’t that what happens to kids everyday? They’re pulled away from enjoyable, often educational, activities to learn something they would have eventually learned on their own.

Now I know what some of you may be thinking. Some babies don’t do this on their own. Some have to have therapists come in and help them. I know. Three of my children had physical therapy because they were delayed because of low muscle tone. Did you catch that word? Delayed. Meaning, they’re not following a neat little chart stating what children should do when. I realize that some children truly do need this help, and I’m grateful it’s available to them. But the vast majority, including my children, would have eventually accomplished this themselves in their own time.

This is what happens in so many schools. Children are learning at a different time-table than what is expected, so they’re labeled as ”special needs, ” a label which often stigmatizes them, when there really is no problem. I can’t read the mind of God, but I’m pretty sure He created us as individuals- not as mindless robots programmed to all progress at the same speed in every area of life.

Children are individuals. They need to be given the opportunity to learn what they want/need to know when they need to learn it.


Another example of this theory is language. In her travels around the floor, Kenzie found the TV remote. I told her sister to take it from her before she put it in her mouth. Kenzie heard me say this. She looked at me, dropped the remote, and started to cry. She understood me!

She understood me without flash cards, and workbooks, and Mango Languages for Babies. She learned herself by being exposed to language all the time. This is how children learn best! This is how God wired them to learn- naturally.

Am I saying you should never expose children to new things they would otherwise have never known about? Absolutely not. We should provide a stimulating environment in which they should be able to learn, explore, and be the little scientists they are!

So the next time you’re ready to make your kids put their playdough away to ”do school,” reconsider. They’re already learning everyday.








An Intimate Glimpse into Life with Ten Kids

Come join us for the day!

     Have you ever wondered what other people’s lives are actually like? Not the public, edited image, but everything- the good, the bad, and the ugly.
     Today I’m giving you the opportunity to witness my hectic life. Last Thursday, January 16, 2014, I chronicled my entire day, hour by hour for the world to see. I began at midnight and continued through the entire day until bedtime. So here we go, if you’re brave enough!

I’m starting with a list of family members for easy reference since there are so many of us.

Shawn- the Dad
Me (Shelly)- the Mom
Kenzie(8 months)

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s begin.

12am– I’m still awake. I just got done writing a post, so I’m a little wired. Kenzie, who’s teething, has just woken up and is very cranky. She falls back to sleep after a few minutes. I lie down on the sofa- we’re sleeping downstairs tonight, so Shawn can get some sleep before work.

12:45am- I start dozing off.

1am- Kenzie is awake again. After a few minutes of crankiness, she falls back asleep. I lie down again.

2am- Kenzie is not the culprit this time. I’ve woken up from a strange dream. (Something about me finding a gray hair and panicking. Don’t ask.)

3am- Kenzie’s awake again…

4:20- and again…

5:45- and again. I notice that Shawn has left for work. I’m already getting discouraged about what the day will bring after my lack of sleep. After Kenzie falls back asleep, I do, too.

7am- Ireland is awake at the crack of dawn, as usual, followed by a slew of early risers.


Yes, that’s Ireland in boy pajamas- a hand-me-down from Luke.


That’s Bailey with our kitten, Violet.


Summer makes herself comfortable anywhere.


That’s Arianna darting back upstairs after seeing Mom armed with a camera.

7:30- I give up on the notion of sleep and start checking emails, start a load of laundry, and proofread Dillon’s latest blog post. (He’s recently started a blog and posts 2-3 times a day.)

8am- By this point, everyone, except Devin, is awake. I make get breakfast out of the kitchen and bring it to the dining room.


Nutritious, right???



9am- Time for chores!


London vacuuming the living room

This may make it look like chores go off without a hitch, but today some of the kids, who shall remain nameless, do their share of complaining until loss of tablet privileges is mentioned.
     By this point Kenzie is still crabby and won’t nap, Ireland is crying because she wants a box like Bailey’s (he’s making it into a boat), and I am in desperate need of some coffee!


Bailey making his boat


Luke playing cars

     After filling up, I sweep the floor and vacuum again, which is dirty again already.

10:10- Kenzie is finally asleep, and I’m still in my pajamas.

10:30- I finally get dressed, start having the kids take turns showering/bathing, and do some more laundry.


We’ve actually run out of laundry detergent, and since I can’t afford to skip a day of washing clothes, I use baking soda.

10:45- Kenzie is already awake. Sigh.

11:00- Snacktime! Just a few crackers to hold them over until lunch, while I put laundry away, proofread another of Dillon’s posts, and give everyone their own clothes to put away.


Ireland with her clothes


Caollin, my free spirit, carrying her clothes upstairs with pants on her head

     By this time, I’m noticing that my ankle is really hurting, even though I don’t remember hurting it. Sigh. The curse of approaching 40. Yuck.

11:30- Everything has calmed down enough for me to do my personal devotions. Oswald Chambers Devotional Bible, if anyone is interested.

12pm- We have lunchmeat sandwiches for lunch. Afterwards, Arianna, London, and I do some Mad Libs. Dillon and Caollin are on their tablets, Bailey and Summer are on Leap Pads, and the other little ones are doing a puzzle.


Dillon on his tablet


Ireland playing a matching game

12:30- I check more emails and comment on other blog posts.

1pm- Devin has risen and graced us with her presence.


Time for family read-aloud. We’ve been reading Little House on the Prairie. The kids and I really enjoy it.


1:30- Devin starts her Swedish lessons using Mango Languages, while Dillon, Arianna, Caollin, and I pull out the atlas to plot countries from which people have read our blog posts. (Arianna blogs, too.)

1:45- Today is Ireland’s 4th birthday, so Arianna bakes her a cake. In the meantime, Dillon and I work on his Smithsonian volcano Kit, until we give up because the string is all tangled.




     Devin starts her schoolwork now, while the other kids play the game, Operation.


Devin hates algebra.

3pm- Shawn arrives home, Arianna decorates the cake, and we sing Happy Birthday to Ireland.



4pm- Chore time, again, and I start dinner- spaghetti.
     Afterwards we all pose for a family photo for Dillon’s blog. Then, Dillon, Arianna, and Caollin do their math.

5pm- We eat dinner and start to wind down. From this point until their bedtimes, nothing major happens. Just lots of puzzles, games, TV, and, of course, electronics.

8pm- Bailey, Luke, Ireland, and Summer go up to bed and listen to the Bible and their bedtime stories.


What we’re reading.

After they’re in bed- at least, before they come down five more times- I read the Message New Testament Bible to Devin, Dillon, Arianna, Caollin, and London. Then, I help Devin with some algebra she didn’t understand.

9pm- Caollin and London go to bed. Okay, they’re in their bedroom, but I doubt they’re sleeping. I correct any schoolwork that was done and write in the daily logs I have to keep for Devin, Dillon, Arianna, and Caollin. I truly despise this.

10pm- Kenzie is asleep for the night (I hope), and within the hour, I’m down for the count.

What’s your day like?

Linking up with

Hip Homeschool Hop



Upside Down Homeschooling

Five Things I Learned from My Kids Yesterday

What have you learned from your kids today?

Sometimes I think know that I learn as much from my kids as they learn from me. This is my list of five things I learned just yesterday!

1. I’m pretty terrible at
     play dough creations. My kids
     are all artists. Believe me,
      they don’t get it from me.


This is my, um, zebra.

This is my son’s. See the difference?

2. It’s okay to go with the flow.
     I’ve always been a rigid follower
     of schedules. I used to have
     charts of all kinds taped
      everywhere throughout the
      house. It drove my husband
      crazy. The schedules have since
       come down, but this is what
       goes through my head:
       Breakfast- 8, Chores- 9, Get
        Dressed- 9:30, etc. Yesterday
        my adult son stopped by
        unexpectedly, and while my
        other kids were having a
         blast with him, all I kept
         thinking was, We should be
         reading Little House on the
         Prairie right now. We never
         plotted those countries in the
         atlas. Chores should have
         started already. After
         watching them for a while,
         though, it finally hit me that
         these things are not that
         important, and I was at

3. Exercise can be fun. This is
     something I’ve forgotten, but
     it’s actually pretty pathetic
     because I used to be a dance
     teacher. Listening to my kids
     outside yesterday playing Simon
     Says, Sharks and Minnows, and
     soccer reminded me of that.

4. Minecraft and Ruzzle are not
     the only electronic games of
     value. I discreetly rolled my
      eyes when my son told me he
      downloaded yet another game,
      until he started asking me
      questions about sea creatures,
      dinosaurs, and the
      government. I asked him what
      he needed this for; it was his
      new game.

5. Take time to play. My kids are
     so active, and they’re always
     playing, playing, playing. I took
     their cue yesterday and played
     play dough, Memory, and
     Apples to Apples; I had a blast!
     While it is important to get
     things done, especially with
     such a large family, it’s equally
     important to have fun and live

What have you learned from your kids today?

Linking up with:

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers


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