Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 10- Following Your Own Schedule

Image courtesy of Baitong333 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear so far in this series that I don’t miss a single thing about our public school days. Not one. Today’s topic will uncover one of my biggest pet peeves about those days- having to follow their schedule.

I realize that to most people this isn’t a big deal, and they pretty much accept that this is the way it’s supposed to be. However, adjusting a crew of kids as large as mine to the school schedule was more trouble than it was worth.

There are two aspects to the school schedule that just didn’t work for us- the set-up of the school year and the hours required to be there.

Deciding the Homeschool Year Based on Your Needs

When we began homeschooling, I had no idea what I was doing, so our school year mimicked the public school calendar. I soon discovered that it just wasn’t working for us. It was difficult to go for long periods of structured school without a break, and when the breaks finally came, they were often too long and ended up setting us back.

Around this time was when I discovered homeschool blogs and found one, in particular, that talked about the six-weeks on, one-week off homeschool year. I thought it was positively brilliant and immediately decided that that was the schedule for us. And, indeed, it has been a blessing. We all get a break every few weeks and our Christmas and summer breaks are long enough to count as “vacation time” but short enough that we don’t forget everything we did.

As my older kids have, well, gotten older, however, they began to express displeasure at the fact that their breaks didn’t completely coincide with their public schooled friends. Since they work primarily on their own, I agreed to let them follow a school year that more closely resembles that of our school district’s.

As of this moment, I have three kids who homeschool from August to May, and seven that homeschool year-round. So far it’s worked out amazingly well for us. The older kids are able to make more plans with their friends, while my younger kids have the structure that we all so desperately need. It’s a win-win situation.

Homeschooling allows us the opportunity to decide what is best for our family based on our needs, and our needs alone. No other choice of education can offer this.


Choosing Your Own Homeschool Hours

I positively detested getting up in the morning when my kids were in public school. The kids were cranky- especially the older kids who require more sleep- and the entire morning was a mad rush to get out the door on time. It never failed that no matter how diligent I was about getting everyone’s stuff ready the night before, we would inevitably wake up to missing shoes, missing homework, a missing hairbrush, and missing toothbrushes.

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The house would be a mess from frantically searching for everything we needed, and, shamefully, I walked the kids to school more than a few times feeling completely overwhelmed from an already horrible day and guilt-ridden for all of the shouting I had done.

Looking back, I can’t imagine how my kids must have felt being dropped off at school after a morning like that.

Then, after being in school all day, the kids would be expected to complete hours of homework on top of the seven hours they had spent in school. All too often our after-school time would be a replay of the morning.

Since homeschooling, we haven’t experienced anxiety even close to what we used to feel on our school mornings. Our mornings are laid back. The kids often watch Netflix for a little while in the morning, after which we straighten up together and have a leisurely breakfast. Our homeschool activities don’t start until around 10am (in our pajamas) and rarely last longet than 3-4 hours total for the seven youngest kids.

My teens typically wake up much later, unless it is their week to be my homeschool helper. As long as they’re awake to eat some lunch and help with our after-lunch chore time, I’m okay with that, since their school work is usually completed at night.

This works well for them because my older kids have always been night owls, especially my oldest daughter. When she was still in school, she would often only get about two hours of sleep at night because, try as she might, she could just never fall asleep until around 5am.

Our homeschool hours would probably horrify some parents, but that’s perfectly fine. As with choosing our homeschool calendar year, this aspect of it can also be completely molded to fit the individual family.

Every family is different, and there is no one right way to homeschool. As long as we keep that in mind, we’re bound to discover the homeschool schedule, approach, and routine that is right for us.

And if you ask me, that aspect of it (actually, every aspect) beats traditional schooling every. single. time.


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Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart, by Becky Thompson

As a mother to eleven children I’m here to tell you that motherhood can be hard. More importantly, though, we moms tend to be too hard on ourselves. Whether it’s through comparing ourselves to others, feeling inadequate in our ability to raise our children well, or sometimes just feeling downright lonely, we often tend to put ourselves last in practically everything we do. And while we should certainly always be attentive to the needs of our children and husbands, forgetting ourselves completely in the midst of caring for everyone else can be downright detrimental to the relationships we work so hard towards.

Becky Thompson, author of Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart, eloquently reminds us over and over again in this heartfelt book of one thing- God loves us and is there for us through it all. Although many of us ‘know’ this already, sometimes it can be so hard to remember and truly believe that when we are going through our toughest times.

Becky Thompson doesn’t pull any punches in this book. Each chapter is filled with experiences that have happened to her throughout her life, told in such a genuine manner that it honestly feels as if she’s sitting right there in your living room, speaking to you over a cup of coffee. I so appreciate the openness she shares because, let’s face it, ladies, all too often we’re not too straightforward with each other when it comes to our personal lives. She brilliantly uses each of these narratives to illustrate how certain biblical truths can appear to us in day-to-day situations without us ever realizing it.

I, personally, have two favorite sections that I’ll tell you just a little about. Let me begin by saying that my house will never make it into “Better Homes and Gardens.” Despite my best intentions, my house just can’t stay clean longer than 30 minutes after chores are completed. Although we do chores 2-3 times a day, chances are, if you come to my house unexpectedly, you’re going to see a mess. In fact, just today our oldest son who no longer lives at home stopped by right after chore time and said, “Wow. The house is actually clean.”

This has always bothered me more than it probably should. You know that hospitality thing we’re supposed to exhibit? I’m not very good at it. When my kids’ friends come over, they usually have to stay outside because I don’t want them to see the chaos that is my house each and every day. I can be pretty hard on myself about this and often think that I must be the only woman who can’t keep a clean house, which is why I’ve marked this excerpt in the book to reread whenever I’m feeling this way:

“But truthfully, I am sitting on my couch next to a pile of laundry at nine o’clock at night, with a sink full of dishes and a kids’ bathroom that still has wet bath towels on the floor…

…the kitchen island is covered in syrup and pasta sauce. The bread bag needs to be closed and put away. The pots soaking in my sink from yesterday need to be washed. And something smells in my refrigerator.”

I was so delighted to read that that I read it aloud for my daughter to hear, and she just looked at me like, Yeah, okay, weirdo.

The point of this story? We are not our mess.

“The messy areas of your life do not tell a story of your failures. Those areas tell the story of your humanity, and they are a continual reminder of your need for a Savior.”


The other section I want to share with you has to do with judging and being judged. Full disclosure- I’m an INFJ personality type, and if you’re unfamiliar with what that is, I’ll just say that that ‘J’ stands for “judging.” (Why do I get the feeling that my regular readers are not surprised? *sheepish grin*)

I can be pretty judgmental, and I always feel like I’m being judged, so this next excerpt really hit home with me. Let me set the stage for you: Becky and her husband are out to eat with their newborn son when he has an ‘explosion’ in his diaper and it gets everywhere. Since it’s cold outside, she decides to sit in the cargo area of their vehicle with the baby in order to get him cleaned up. The problem? The back hatch doesn’t open from the inside for them to get out…

“So, I laid Kolton down on the floor of the cargo space, climbed over the seats by myself, went out the door, around to the back, and picked up my newborn.

But as I picked up the baby and closed the back hatch, I realized that about a dozen people had come out of the restaurant just as I was retrieving Kolton.

Their faces said it all! They thought that I had driven to IHOP with my newborn just rolling around in the cargo space.”

Have you ever been in a predicament like this? A time when you may have been seen doing something unusual, but the person wasn’t in on why you were doing it? Did you feel judged? How many times do you think it may have happened that we were the ones doing the judging?

A few years ago, I had organized a Homeschool Presentation Day to be held at my church. It was about 11am a few days before, and the kids and I were busy doing trial runs on all of their experiments they would be performing there. I was still in my bathrobe because I had never taken the time to get dressed, and Caollin and I were busy working on her candy volcano, which was made of jello. We had to use a shot glass that I had borrowed from my in-laws to make the crater in the volcano, and we needed soda to pour over some Mentos in the crater to produce the eruption. At the time, the only soda we had was a six-pack of Stewarts Root Beer.

In the midst of getting everything ready, there was a knock at the door. It was my pastor and a deacon. They had been trying to call me to find out which room in the church I would be using, but I had forgotten to update the church directory with our new phone number, so they just drove on over. So…there I was, answering the door at 11am in my bathrobe holding a shot glass in my hand, a house full of kids, jello all over the table, and what looked suspiciously like a bottle of beer (ever notice how much Stewarts Root Beer bottles look like actual beer?) sitting in the jello mess.

I was so flustered by the day’s events that it didn’t even dawn on me until after they left what that all must have looked like. And, boy, did I feel embarrassed, and, yes, judged, because I could just imagine what they were thinking.


Until reading this book, I never thought to apply that experience to times when I may have seen someone else in a seemingly precarious predicament.

Hope Unfolding is the perfect book for any mother or mother-to-be. It is an encouragement and a beautiful reminder that we may think we’re a mess, but God loves us in the midst of the mess.

(Disclosure- I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.)


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Dear Leftists, You’ve Got It All Wrong!!

Warning: This post may offend you. Read at your own risk.

Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recently I sent an email to our US Representative regarding Obama’s bathroom decree. No, I do not have any children in school, but I do worry about the children who are. Today I received a letter back, and, while it was very courteous, it was a perfect illustration of how the supporters of this presidential edict clearly do not listen to those of us who oppose it.

There were several points in this letter that I’d like to contest, and I figured that rather than sending another email, I’d use my blog as a forum, so here goes:

“It is my sincere opinion that discrimination in any form should be illegal.”

Oh really? Interesting. I won’t even get into all of the discrimination Christians suffer at the hands of the Left. That’s a story for another day. But this is what I would like to point out right now:

Regarding the transgender community, lately every day we hear about the right of these individuals to not be discriminated against. And you’re right, people should not be discriminated against. But requiring people to use the bathroom that “fits their plumbing” is not discrimination. It’s common sense.

Where were the supporters of this bathroom decree when Rachel Dolezal was ripped to shreds for posing as an African-American woman in her work for the NAACP? She did amazing things for them, yet she eventually resigned her position, even though she identified as being black. *I am not for one minute supporting what she did- I’m merely pointing out the double standards of the Left.* If she identified as African-American, why should liberals have a problem with that? It’s all about feelings after all, right?

If my 16-yr-old sincerely feels like he’s an “old soul” and is older than his birth certificate tells us he is, would it be discriminatory for the voter’s registration office to turn down his application for a voter’s registration card?

Where does it end? Since when have the same people who have so tightly embraced “everything science” suddenly become adamantly opposed to it?

-“This decree does not impact any of the privacy afforded you or any other individual who seeks to utilize a public restroom…”

Umm…I beg to differ. Yes, it certainly does. There is no reason that a 10-yr.-old boy should be allowed in a restroom with a 6-yr.-old girl. There is no reason that an 18-yr.-old boy  should be in a locker room full of teenage girls. And there is certainly no reason that a 50-yr.-old man belongs in a store restroom with my 11-yr.-old daughter. Period. Period. I understand that students who are confused in this way may be uncomfortable going into the proper bathroom, but it is my understanding that the nurse’s bathroom and faculty restroom have been open to them for quite some time.

“Pedophilia is not a LGBT issue…”

I never said it was, and the vast majority of people who disagree with this decree agree. Why is it so hard to understand that this edict is not going to benefit only trans people, but also sickos everywhere who are elated at this new chance for them?

Where’s the litmus test? Is someone going to stand outside all restrooms giving a psychological evaluation to each person who enters? Of course not, and predators everywhere recognize this.

Why don’t you?



Your Constituent with Common Sense





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?