Is Homeschool Your Calling?

5 Ways to Know Homeschool Is Your Calling

I fell to my knees. My hands cupped my face. Tears fell into my palms. And I finally cried.

I wanted to know once and for all, “Is this homeschool thing for me?”

It sure didn’t seem like it.

Yet, He finally had me where He wanted me.

God, that is.

For months I’d suppressed the question, “Is this homeschool thing for me?” I’d wondered if I’d just made this whole “calling” thing up. If this was really what God wanted our family to do.

Each day felt riskier than the last. Three years in and I wondered “What on earth are we actually doing? Are we actually trusting ourselves to prepare our BLACK sons for academic success?”

And because fear begets more fear, I started worrying about other things. Financing resources. Hiccups in the family business. Lack of security without a corporate job. Crazy healthcare costs. Taxes.

The light at the end of the tunnel grew so dim that anxiety was the only darkness I could see.

And I fell to my knees.

“Lord!” I cried. “Show us…Show us that we’re walking on the right path. And if we’re not, give us the courage to walk away.”

Suddenly, I couldn’t cry anymore. It was as if peace had forced its way into my troubled spirit. I kneeled there, hands still cupping my face, and listened.

And then a voice said: “Deep down you know that putting your boys into public school isn’t the answer. Deep down you know you weren’t called to live life like everyone else.”

And that voice was right. I wanted to be “normal.” I wanted our family to be “normal.” But I also knew that “normal” came with its own set of problems. That I’d just be trading my current set of problems in for new ones—trading my current fears for new fears.

No. What I truly wanted was peace. Not to be “normal.” The peace of knowing that whatever happens, God works things out for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

I tried to sleep that night, but I just couldn’t. I was thinking about this blog post. First, the title popped into my mind “Ways to Know Homeschool Is Your Calling.” Then, I went through all the points in my head, as I lay there desperately attempting to enter into rest.

“Get up!” I felt a voice saying. “You said you wanted to know if homeschool is your calling, and now I’m giving you the concise reply you are seeking.”

So, I rolled out of bed at 1am and headed to the office with my notebook. Now, here we are: 5 Ways to Know If Homeschool is Your Calling. I hope this post blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

 

1. You have a vision.

Without a Vision Meme, Quote, Inspiration

Vision is everything. In our case, it’s what my husband and I couldn’t see that made our vision plain. When we started discussing our vision for the future of our son’s education, we couldn’t see him in public school. In fact, we’d initially planned on placing him in a private school once he reached school age.

It wasn’t until I’d stumbled upon a text illustrating the rise of homeschool that a lightbulb went off. I didn’t know anything about homeschool, but it seemed like the perfect fulfillment of our vision.

Homeschool seemed right. But it also seemed far-fetched considering we were in no position to homeschool at the time. Still, we envisioned the places we could travel with our children, the types of subjects we could teach them, the freedom our boys would have to learn at their own pace, and the freedom they’d have to be themselves.

Little did we know, after five years of flirting with the idea of homeschool, we’d finally take that leap of courage. But it started with a vision.

God always provides a vision, even when the calling isn’t meant to be fulfilled until decades later. God gave Abraham a visual reference to His calling on Abraham’s life when He told him his “descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky” (Gen. 26:4). It took twenty-five years for that promise to be fulfilled.

Similarly, as a young man, Joseph had prophetic dreams that someday he’d be in a position of power and reverence. He could envision his family bowing down to him even though it didn’t make perfect sense at the time. More than a decade later, that vision was fulfilled when Joseph became second in command in Egypt.

It all starts with a vision.

 

2. It intimidates you.

If it scares you it might be a good thing to try. Inspiration, Quotes, Memes

I remember the mental struggle I went through right before submitting my Declaration of Intent to homeschool. The year ahead seemed very intimidating. I wasn’t sure if I could teach my son how to read, and I wasn’t even sure if I could teach him anything at all for that matter. I weighed the pros and cons in my mind. The cons scared me greatly and served as the foundation for my many objections.

What if my children don’t learn enough? What if they don’t make any friends? What if they hate it? What if they don’t get accepted into college? To ease my anxieties, I bargained with myself—and God—that I’d be brave enough to “try homeschool” for one full school year and see if it’s truly a fit for our family.

You know who else bargained with God when they received an intimidating calling?

Moses.

You’ll read in Exodus that during the exchange between God and Moses, Moses had objections to leading the Israelites out of Egypt. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He asked (Exodus 3:11). That was his first objection. His second objection doubted the One who sent him. His third objection doubted the people he was called to lead. His fourth objection doubted his qualifications. Finally, Moses just outright denies the calling and asks God to, “Send someone else” (Exodus 4:13).

 

3. You have to make sacrifices.

True Success Requires Sacrifice. Inspiration, Quotes, Memes

Financial sacrifice is among the most popular challenges of the homeschool lifestyle. After all, in a typical homeschool family, one parent must either refrain from working or cut back on work hours.

Our family is no different. The decision to homeschool meant we’d be taking a financial hit. That meant we wouldn’t be able to indulge in the luxuries of life without penalty. Dining out, family vacations, new cars, new gadgets, and other luxuries were few and far between. Instead, we put money toward homeschool resources, enrichment activities, and other necessities.

And that was just the beginning.

Essentially, we sacrificed our comfort zone—the ability to call ourselves a “normal” family. Nothing is “normal” about homeschool. It changed the trajectory of our life. It changed our thought-patterns. It changed the way we saw ourselves. It changed the way we saw the world. It forced us to connect with people who don’t look like us, think like us, or believe like us.

But there is nothing new under the sun, especially when it comes to sacrifices and callings.

In the Bible, Moses had to sacrifice his comfortable lifestyle in the Egyptian palace in order to fulfill his calling to lead the Israelites to freedom. Esther was willing to sacrifice her life and position as Queen of Persia to fulfill her calling to save her people from slaughter. Joseph unknowingly had to sacrifice his freedom to fulfill his calling to become second in command in Egypt, where he’d be in position to save many lives from a severe famine. Catch my drift?

Homeschool may not be as profound as the aforementioned callings, but it does come with its own set of challenges that will force you out of your comfort zone.

 

4. It ignites a passion in you.

Passion Memes, Inspiration, Quotes

Even with all the intimidation, the challenges, and the sacrifices weighing you down, something inside you keeps pushing you forward. I’ve realized that “something” is called passion. Passion is the reason I get right back up after a bad day (or a bad week!) and keep going. Passion is the reason I don’t quit even when I want to.

Passion is the reason I’m writing this blog post and sharing my experience with a hope that you’ll be encouraged to fulfill your calling to homeschool.

 

Think about it. There had to be something that kept Moses going when Pharaoh kept saying “no.” Something that kept Abraham believing even up to the twenty-fifth year after a promise was spoken to him.  Something that kept Paul going in the midst of ongoing persecution. Something that kept Jesus going until it was “finished.”

Passion gives way to unshakeable faith.

But it needs to be renewed daily.

If you find yourself losing the passion to homeschool, simply ask God to rekindle that flame.

 

5. It draws you closer to God.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

When God calls us to do something out of our league, we’re going to need Him! He puts us in this position of total dependency so that He can receive all the glory. So that we can never take credit for what we couldn’t possibly do without Him.

I once thought this homeschool journey was essentially about my children’s education. I was wrong. Everything God calls us to do is always about advancing His Kingdom—about drawing us closer to Him so that we can draw others to Him.

For me, drawing closer to God means that I’m growing in love, character, perseverance, and faith. And I know with certainty that my children have front row seats to my walk with God—That I am teaching them through my actions how to respond to challenges, disappointments, setbacks, fears, blessings, mercy, and favor.

I love Solomon’s plea to the Lord, asking Him for more wisdom and knowledge to govern His people (2 Chron. 1:10). But where did this plea initiate? During his father, David’s, reign, Solomon observed the value of divine wisdom and wanted to lead God’s people as faithfully and successfully as David had.

When I think about this scripture a question comes to mind: Are my children inspired by my walk with God or discouraged by it?  After all, they are the future of God’s kingdom.


I want to end this post by saying all callings have a season. Some of us are called to homeschool for the full eighteen years, while others are meant to homeschool for less than half that time. However long or short your season is, remember that God is with you through it all and He will give you everything you need if you just ask Him.

Obviously, these aren’t the only ways to know if homeschool is your calling. I want to hear from you: What inspired you to homeschool?

 

Want to Homeschool? Three Things It Will Take

Want to Homeschool? 3 Things It Will Take

As the close of our homeschool year approaches, I’ve taken some time to reflect on our successes and failures. In our three years of homeschooling, what components did our good days have in common? What components did our bad days lack? What ultimately led to our success as a homeschool family? These were the questions I asked myself.

During this reflection, I’ve come to realize our success didn’t depend on finishing every curriculum down to the letter. We didn’t. Nor was it defined by my children acing all their assessments. They didn’t. And it certainly didn’t rely on my being the perfect homeschool teacher. I wasn’t.

Instead, our homeschool success depended on maintaining the following elements:

1. Commitment.

I’ve said before that a parent needs neither discipline nor patience to homeschool. What we truly need is the commitment to develop these virtues. A commitment to homeschool to the best of our ability. Why commitment? Because when we’re committed, we do whatever it takes to maintain loyalty to what we’re committed to. Yes, even grow in discipline, patience, and any other virtues we need to homeschool successfully.

I started homeschooling my boys by making a small commitment. About three years ago, I told myself we’ll commit to one year of homeschool and see how it goes. If the year went well, we’d continue to homeschool. If the year went poorly, we’d abort the mission.

During that trial year, there were many times I wanted to give up. But, I was committed to finishing the school year at the very least—no matter how badly I wanted to run to the nearest school and register my kids.

Still, it took more than a commitment to finish the school year. I had to commit to giving it my best shot. Commit to teaching my sons. Commit to growing in patience. Commit to making it work despite the odds against me.

Commitment begets commitment. In order to commit to becoming successful in one area, I had to commit to becoming successful in another.

Commitment Quote, Meme, Inspiration

 

2. Vision.

Our vision is our focus. It defines our goals and carves our path. Whatever causes us to look to the right or left of that pathway will either slow us down or throw us off course. This lack of focus puts us at risk for doubt, comparison, and, ultimately, failure.

I remember when I started homeschooling my first year. I rarely participated in social media and didn’t belong to a homeschool group, so I didn’t know many other homeschoolers. I did my own thing, my ideas were original, and my children had a blast that year. Even better? I stayed in alignment with our homeschool vision, which was to foster a healthy relationship with learning.

Then, I started connecting with other homeschool families. I was so excited to see how big the homeschool community was. Not only were there hundreds of homeschooling families in my area, but there were thousands more on social media sharing their experience and wisdom.

Discovering the homeschool community was a great thing, of course. Until I allowed myself to compare my method with that of others. Slowly, but surely, I began to suck the fun right out of our homeschool by forcing other methods onto my children. In my quest to make them “smarter,” I’d forgotten about our vision.

If it weren’t for defining our vision in the first place, I’d still be forcing unsuccessful methods that made everyone miserable. Although I strayed from it, the vision was what pulled us back on course and inspired us to continue to homeschool in a way that was most authentic to our family.

Without a Vision Meme, Quote, Inspiration

 

3. Perseverance.

Ah, doing something despite how difficult it may be. I bet we can all raise our hand and say that homeschooling is not easy. It will take perseverance to keep us going when we want to give up. Trust me, there’ll be a time you’ll want to give up, if it hasn’t happened already.

One day, I was going through my old tablet notes and came across a familiar post. The title? “I Give Up.” Yep, on March 20th, 2015, I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit homeschool. I just moved to an unfamiliar town, I didn’t know anyone, I had frustrated finances, and I was totally burned-out.

What’s funny? All the reasons I listed for wanting to give up were temporary. I eventually became very familiar with the town I lived in and all the resources it had to offer. I eventually met other homeschool moms and made great connections. Our financial condition eventually changed, and my burn-out didn’t last forever.

I’m so glad I didn’t make a life-changing decision based on temporary circumstances and emotions. I’ve learned part of perseverance is knowing that our current condition is just temporary. If we can just hold on a little longer, we’ll eventually see the progress—and success—we’ve been hoping for.

Perseverance Meme, Quote, Inspiration


I’m so glad you stopped by! Any thoughts on this post? Let us know in the comments!

New to Homeschool? Check out these posts!

10 Things You Should Know Before You Homeschool

30 FREE Homeschool Deals That’ll Help You Save Some Coins

7 Homeschool Must-Haves That Didn’t Make Your List

Homeschool of Shame | 8 Things I No Longer Do

Homeschool | Help Your Child Work Independently

How to Help Your Child Work Independently

You may have read my post last week where I shared what a typical homeschool day-in-the-life looks like for my preschooler. This week, I will discuss how I was able to get my second-grader to work independently to award me more time to work with my four-year-old.

I’m surrounded by homeschool moms often, and I can pretty much gather there’s a common struggle with getting a child to work independently. One mom admitted she waits until her husband comes home to lay down the law, while another mom recently discovered her “independent worker” had been skipping assignments. Still, there are many moms who don’t even know where to begin.

We all fall short somewhere, but there is hope for those of us who struggle to get our children to complete their assignments on their own. This academic year, my goal was to get my second-grader to work independently on reading, spelling, and math at the very least. I can safely say that I’ve reached my goal and it’s taken a huge weight off my shoulders. I want to help you remove some weight, too. So, here goes!


16 Tips That Helped My Son to Work Independently


 

1. Make Daily Reading a Habit.

If you don’t follow any other tips on this post, at least follow this one! Strong reading fluency is the foundation for working independently. Why? Because your child will need strong reading skills to read and understand lessons on their assignments. Only continued practice will develop a fluent reader, so ensure your child reads every single day. My second-grader was required to read for one hour every day last year—including summers. This year, he easily spends an hour reading on assignments alone.

How to Get Your Child to Work Independently

2. Let Your Child Practice Reading Instructions.

Instead of reading the instructions to your child all the time, let him give it a shot. Reading instructions helps your child get familiar with words they may not encounter in everyday language but are common jargon for a subject. For instance, your child may never see the words “addition,” “subtraction,” or “multiplication” in a chapter book, but will need to become familiar with these terms to work independently on their math curriculum.

3. Don’t Skip Reading Comprehension.

When my oldest son was in kindergarten, he was required to complete one reading comprehension activity every morning. Of course, this was once he became a fluent reader. Reading comprehension is not only important for ensuring a child understands what he reads, it’s important because it puts the child into the practice of questioning if he understands what he reads. Therefore, when a child reads on his own, he will naturally look for evidence that the text is understood. This is essential for working independently because some children who lack reading comprehension skills may struggle with understanding lessons that accompany assignments.

Reading Comprehension Practice

4. Baby Steps Build Confidence.

I recommend starting a child off working independently as early as preschool. You can give them simple tasks like circling all the “A’s” on a worksheet and then “slip away” while they complete the task on their own. These baby steps will help the child build the confidence that they can successfully complete tasks in your absence. This tip is new to me, so I didn’t do this early training with my oldest son but have with my youngest. However, when my oldest son was in kindergarten, I would leave the room after a lesson while he completed the seatwork on his own. This practice gave him the confidence he needed to eventually work independently.

5. Read It Thrice Before Asking for Help.

Establishing a habit of reading the directions over three times will help cut down on asking for help prematurely. I don’t know how many times my second-grader came to me in a panic, only for me to ask him to reread the directions and for him to say, “oh, I understand now.” The rule of thumb is if after the third reread you still don’t understand the directions, I’ll be glad to help.

Helping a Child Work Independently

6. Make Consequences Clear and Concise.

Being a mom is hard enough. When your child doesn’t take you seriously, it makes the job even harder. To the mom with no backbone, here’s how to get one: make clear and concise consequences for not completing assignments—and follow through! Consequences reinforce your authority and encourage your children to respect you as such. In our home, there will be no screen-time of any sort if independent assignments are not completed. No exceptions. You get to decide what rules and consequences best fit your family.

7. Develop a Simple and Effective Checklist.

Once your child is ready to work independently, make a simple checklist to help them stay on track. Although you want the checklist to be simple, add necessary details to ensure your child completes all the assignments for a subject. For instance, I must remind my son on the checklist to answer all the questions for his assigned reading. When you give a child a checklist, it eliminates the “what next?” questions. Additionally, research suggests those little checkmarks increase motivation and confidence.

Checklists for Kids

8. Have a System in Place.

Make sure that you have a designated place for all your child’s independent work that is easy to get to. In our home, we’ve adopted the workbox system using a storage cart. In previous years, we’ve used labeled binders that we stored on a tabletop shelf. What I love about our current system is that there are ten drawers, so every subject has a place and we can even store school supplies there. This simple solution eliminates all questions that start with “where is my…?” Plus, having a system encourages my son to practice the good habit of organizing.

9. Create a Conducive Environment for Independent Learning.

You don’t have to get fancy on this one. Most of my mom friends attest that the bed is their child’s favorite place to get work done. Personally, I like to let my son work quietly upstairs in the classroom while his brother and I are downstairs doing lessons.

Homeschool Learning Classroom

10. Eliminate Screen-Time.

Trust me on this, screen-time is a distraction. I’m going to sound very strict, but we do not do screen-time unless it’s the weekend or off-school day. This, of course, is with the exception of videos that accompany a lesson. How do we live? Perhaps I’ll write a future post on it. I must say that when screen-time was an option, my son would rush through his schoolwork just to be done for the day so that he could play video games. This lack of application resulted in careless errors on his assignments. It was then that I decided to limit screen-time to weekends only, and it worked!

11. Explain the Importance of Working Independently.

If your child is like mine they like to know the why behind EVERYTHING. Even if they aren’t as inquisitive, it’s still a good idea to explain the importance of working independently. This explanation may be different for each household. In our home, we explain to our boys that their independent assignments test their responsibility. When they complete their checklists without being told and put in their greatest effort they are indicating to us that they are responsible and can be trusted with more privileges. Of course, there are more benefits we could share with them, but privileges are what motivates them most them at this age.

Helping a Child Work Independently

12. Be Available.

Working independently can be stressful in the beginning. And with good reason, because as parents we are transferring some of the educational responsibility to our children. Don’t be surprised if, during the first week or two, your newly independent worker takes on the role of the “needy” student. My son tested me to the point of annoyance. But I later realized what he was looking for was reassurance that I was “there.” Once I assured him that he was not entirely on his own and that I was always willing to help him, I received fewer unnecessary interruptions.

13. Refrain from Micro-Managing.

I find that many moms, including myself, will constantly ask their independent worker if they’ve completed all their assignments. No, don’t do this. The goal is to help them become independent workers. That means they should already know what’s expected of them and execute the mission without being told. Instead, evaluate their progress at the end of the week and give fair consequences for incomplete assignments. I guarantee their checklist will be one of the first things they’ll get done in the morning after a day or two of not being able to play video games.

Help a Child Work Independently

14. Review All Assignments.

Set a day aside every week to ensure your child is on track and is mastering the material. I’ve heard from many moms who admit to not doing this, but I must say reviewing your child’s work is necessary for their academic success. For example, one week I noticed my second-grader was not “borrowing” correctly on his math assignments. I was able to nip the bad habit in the bud by sitting down and helping him to see where he went wrong. I was also able to administer extra practice on that particular topic. Even more? When a child knows you’ll be reviewing their assignments, they’ll have even more incentive to try their best.

15. Have a Reward System in Place.

It’s always a great idea to reward your child if they’ve had a successful week. I mean, who doesn’t like to be recognized for a job well done? These rewards don’t have to be extravagant. It can be as simple as writing a note that reads “way to go!” Of course, I must mention it’s best to refrain from overpraising as studies suggest it has the opposite effect. But a little praise here and there is a great confidence booster for independent learners. Personally, on the weeks when my son goes above and beyond, I let him have his tablet after his tests on Friday, rather than making him wait until Saturday (we only do tablet time on weekends).

Homeschool Language Arts Independent Work

16. Choose the Right Curriculum.

So, I literally thought of this tip at the very last minute and wanted to include it due to its significance. If your goal is for your child to work independently, make sure to choose a curriculum that caters to independent learning. The only reason my son doesn’t work independently on ALL of his subjects is that I didn’t make the right curriculum choices. His curricula for language arts, geography, and science all require my instruction and supplementation. While I enjoy these curricula, next year I will make choices that better fit our homeschool agenda.


That concludes my list of tips that helped me develop an independent learner. The key term here is develop, as there’s an advancement and maturity process to working independently. It takes time! Of course, I can’t end this post without saying every child is different and will work independently at different ages. If you have an independent learner, let us know your tips in the comments below!

 

Day in the Life of homeschool Preschool and Kindergarten

A Homeschool Day-in-the-Life of My 4-Year-Old | Teaching Preschool

One of the common challenges in homeschool families is finding the time to teach younger children when so much time is dedicated to helping their older siblings with assignments.

I have a four-year-old and a second-grader and, let me tell you, it’s tough! Even tougher for my friends with four children or more. Preschoolers often like to fight for your attention when they see you giving so much of it to their siblings. I’m here to tell you, that’s not such a bad thing and you can use this attention-seeking to your advantage.

When your preschooler sees that learning seems to get and keep your attention, they’re more likely to want to be included in whatever learning their older siblings have going on. At least this was the case for me. I know it’s tempting to let younger children go off and do their own thing, but try adding small assignments to their routine that help them feel like a “big kid.” You may find you have a little more peace during your homeschool hours.

So, here is my day in the life of my four-year-old on any given homeschool day. This glimpse into our world illustrates how I manage to balance time between my two boys. As a side note, you may notice on my blog that I refer to my four-year-old as a preschooler and kindergartner interchangeably. That’s because according to his age he is technically in preschool, but he’s acquiring many skills that meet kindergarten requirements in our state.


A Homeschool Day-in-the-Life of My 4-Year-Old


8:30 am: Devotional

Let’s start with devotional. We’re currently using Our Daily Bread for kids, which we love. The daily devotionals are short, sweet, and to the point. They also are a great inspiration to delve into the Word of God. Both kids enjoy me reading aloud and will sit quietly and attentively while I do so. In previous years, I made activities for my boys to do while I read the Bible aloud. Some days, my preschooler is just not into sitting still so he goes off and plays with his toys, which is totally allowed.  That leads us to…

Tip One: Let your little ones have off days. We all have days when we’re just not feeling something. Allowing them to choose something else to do instead shows that you understand and respect their feelings. It also reduces the likelihood of your little one making a scene which can cause disruption and set the tone for the rest of the day, making it difficult for you to maintain the patience needed to work with your older children.

Our Daily Bread Devotional for Children
My children love Our Daily Bread Devotional for Kids.

9:00 am: Basic Skills Fluency Practice

This is my second-grader’s designated reading time. Since I have him read aloud to me, I need this time to be pretty quiet. This is when I break out my preschooler’s favorite activities. We use the Hooked-on Phonics Fundamentals workbook, which is full of educational cut and paste activities that keep my preschooler busy and happy. During this time, my little one practices fluency with basic skills like letters, phonics, numbers, counting, shapes, and more. He is also engaging those fine motor skills necessary for handwriting. So…

Tip Two: Have independent activities on hand. Give your little ones activities you know they can do on their own to help build confidence, independence, and fluency while you take time to work with older children.

Preschool and kindergarten basic skills fluency practice.
Preschool and kindergarten basic skills fluency practice.

9:30 am: Reading Fluency Practice

My preschooler and I practice reading fluency while my second-grader works independently on to his spelling curriculum. We are using the Hooked-on Phonics curriculum and are supplementing with Bob Books. Hooked on Phonics has its own set of starter books, but he seems to like the Bob Books more. We borrowed our Bob Books from the local library and are allowed to have them for 6 weeks at a time. We spend no more than 15 minutes practicing reading. Another 15 minutes is dedicated to storybook read-alouds.

Tip Three: Schedule one-on-one learning time with your little one when older kids have independent work. 

Hooked on Phonics Reading Curriculum for Preschool
Hooked on Phonics is our curriculum of choice for preschool and kindergarten.

10:00 am: Handwriting Practice 

My preschooler practices handwriting while my second-grader and I delve into his language arts lesson.  I love dry-erase books for handwriting practice because children can practice as much as they’d like without accumulating paper waste. The books we love for handwriting practice are the Kindergarten dry-erase workbook and the Sight Word workbook. I taught my preschooler how to follow the arrows, and to always write from left to right to ensure he’s writing letters, numbers, and words properly. Now, he can pretty much work on his own. Therefore…

Tip Four: Train your little one to work independently during homeschool off-hours. On weekends or when all your older children have completed their homeschool assignments, take just a little time to train your younger children to work more independently on key skills. This may take time and patience but is well worth the investment when you find yourself running from kid to kid during busy homeschool hours.

Handwriting Practice for preschool and kindergarten.
Independent handwriting practice for preschool and kindergarten.

10:30 am:  Everyone takes a snack break at this point.

11:00 am: Geography

My boys do geography together. We use a curriculum base called Beginning Geography and supplement with YouTube videos, library books, hands-on-learning, and kinesthetic activities. This is a great time of day because my preschooler really looks forward to it. He may not understand everything we learn about, but he enjoys doing the corresponding activities.

If you’re wondering how I teach two grade-levels one subject, here’s an example:

This week we’re learning about reading directions on a map using a compass rose. My main objective is for my preschooler to understand that north is up, south is down, east is to his right and west is to his left. Aside from looking at real maps I had on hand, we watched a Youtube video that explained what compasses were used for and how to use them.  To challenge my oldest son, he watched a documentary on the history of the compass rose. Later, we made our own compasses using supplies I had on hand. Then we played a kinesthetic activity where the boys had to jump toward the direction I shouted out. It was so much fun and something both grade-levels could enjoy.

Tip Five: Don’t be afraid to include your little ones in on the lessons. This is especially true if the age gap isn’t that wide between older siblings. In my case, I can use a curriculum base designed for grades k-2 and it’ll work for both of my boys. Last year, we used a science curriculum designed for first and second graders and my preschooler was able to do all of the lessons and experiments with us. Children are sponges at this age. You’ll be surprised by what they pick up on.

Geography for preschool and early elementary
A kinesthetic game for learning directions: Jump to your North, South, East, and West.

12:00 pm: Science

Both my boys also learn science together. This year, we are really loving interactive science notebooks. This is actually my preschooler’s favorite part of the day because he loves cut-and-paste activities. Whenever we finish a lesson, he often asks if we can do another one. I use the same supplemental method for science that I do for geography. We read books, do fun activities, and include hands-on learning and experiments whenever possible. That points us to…

Tip Six: Interactive notebooks are a win for everybody. You can find free or low-cost interactive notebook lessons just about anywhere, for any grade, and any subject! This works especially if you have children with larger age gaps. Everyone can sit around the table with all their supplies and work on their interactive notebooks. Works for us!

Interactive science notebooks for preschool and kindergarten.
Interactive science notebooks are great for preschool and kindergarten.

1:00 pm: Lunch and Recess

2:00 pm: Math

I save math for the end of the day because it’s my boys’ strongest subject. Plus, it’s also a subject that my second-grader can do on his own unless he’s learning a new concept. I like to work one-on-one with my preschooler on the days when my second-grader isn’t learning a new concept. We use math link cubes to practice addition and subtraction. We also practice number sequencing and counting to 20, 30, and beyond. Every now and then we’ll go over basic and 3-dimensional shapes, but he pretty much has that information stored in his brain.

Additionally, I try a variety of hands-on activities that I just make up myself. Matching number quantity to the numerical value is one of the activities we do often, and we can use just about anything we have on hand to do it. I also make use of our addition and subtraction flashcards and have my preschooler use cubes to determine the sum or difference. So…

Tip Seven: Save your little one’s strongest subject for the end of the school day to cut down on frustration. If you happen to need to sneak away to teach your older children new concepts, you can start the younger ones off and they can hold their own until you return.

Math practice ideas for preschool and kindergarten.
Math practice ideas for preschool and kindergarten.

 

Our school day typically ends around three in the afternoon. This is not an everyday schedule as we have fieldtrip days, co-op days, and playdate days pretty regularly. This is, however, the schedule we fall back on to keep us on track.

I’d like to end this post by saying there will be a day when none of this advice works. Take heart, it happens to the best of us. I will say that each semester gets easier. Before our winter break, it was much harder to keep my preschooler engaged and occupied. After winter break, things seemed more manageable. Your family will live if you do away with curricula for a moment to meet the physical, educational, emotional and social needs of your younger children. A break from monotony is always a great idea!

Now it’s your turn: How do you balance homeschool with your children? Give us some ideas that have worked for your family in the comments below!


Need more ideas for preschool? Check out these posts:

Toddler Genius | YouTube Channels That Made My Toddler Smarter

Tot-School Tuesdays | Preschool Addition Facts

Tot-School Tuesdays | Number Matching & Sequencing

Tot-School Tuesdays | “I Can Count” Busy Box

Free Resources for Preschool

15 Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Reader

How to Encourage Your Reluctant Reader  | 15 Solutions

“My kid hates reading.” I hear that phrase all the time.

I have two readers. A four-year-old who’s emerging and a second-grader who reads fluently. Let me just say they’ve both had their reluctant moments. I won’t even begin to discuss the reluctant readers I encountered during my tutoring days. Trying to find a formula that works for reluctant readers can be frustrating, especially since every child is different. Here me out when I say it’s never the fault of the reluctant reader. It’s our job as their teacher to help them discover what method works best for them—help them soar! Below, are some of the strategies that helped me find a winning formula for each child. I hope you find these tips useful in helping to develop a winning formula for your reluctant reader.


 

15 Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Reader

1. Wait.

Before I discuss my next few points, I want to mention this: If you have a reluctant reader under the age of seven, try waiting. Children learn to read at their own pace. My oldest son didn’t start reading until age six. It took four months for him to read fluently. It was a quick process because he was ready. I did not push early learning, but I did encourage pre-reading skills. Nothing formal. My youngest son, who is four, started learning to read at age three because he wanted to. He was eager at first but later regressed for months. We paused our curriculum and waited until he was ready to continue. You can find several scholarly articles making a compelling case for waiting until age seven to begin formal reading lessons. I say, it depends on the child. When a child is ready, there’s no stopping them. When they aren’t ready, early reading can prove counterproductive.

 

2. Be realistic.

15 Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Reader
Setting Realistic Expectations WIll Help Reluctant Readers

Listen carefully: your child may not be a reader. I know It’s scary. The terror of realizing your child hates practicing such a vital skill. But guess what? It’s going to be alright. Trust me when I say you just haven’t found what motivates him yet. In the meantime, set realistic expectations. Your child may not pick up a book for leisure, but he will read when it serves his interest.  Which leads me to my next point…

 

3. Discover what excites them.

Those “boring” chapter books that accompany their reading curriculum may be a snooze. Why make your child read something boring? After all, you yourself typically enjoy reading what fascinates you. Discover what excites your little reader. For instance, my son loves informational texts. He’ll freely read up on anything from coding to architecture “how-to” books. Reading is reading.  Hey, even comic books count. If your child practices often, it shouldn’t matter what their text of choice is.

 

4. Make lessons short.

15 Ways to Encourage Reluctant Readers
Keep Lessons Short For Reluctant Readers

If reading is frustrating for your child, make the lessons super short. I’m talking 10 minutes or less. I made the mistake of pushing my oldest son to complete full lessons and boy was it frustrating for both of us. Thankfully, he enjoyed reading once he got the hang of it. After much research and prayer, I learned to take it easy with my second son. He is less reluctant because our reading lessons are so short. Even better? He’s improving with each lesson. Remember, quality over quantity is best. You can gently increase the lesson time as your child masters the material.

 

5. Be repetitive.

Don’t be afraid to let your child read the same book, chapter, or passage repeatedly. At three-years-old, my youngest son mastered reading a primer titled “Cat.” That’s all he wanted to practice reading for weeks. Similarly, my oldest son reread Frog and Toad books countless times when he was first introduced to chapter books. Instead of following the recommended reading for their curriculum, I let them read these books. It helped build their reading comprehension, fluency, and confidence.

 

6. Offer incentives.

Last year, my oldest son exchanged an hour of reading for an hour of video games. There was hardly a day that went by that he didn’t cash in on this offer. This year, since we no longer allow video games during the week, he reads an extra hour in exchange for a later bedtime. You’ll read more about extending bedtime in my tip about establishing a reading hour. For my four-year-old, stickers and snacks do the job. I purposely scheduled his snack time after reading lessons to give him something to look forward to.

 

7. Establish a reading hour.

15 Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Reader
Designated Reading Hours For The Family Can Encourage Reluctant Readers To Read More

Establish an hour every day when the house is quiet and everyone is expected to read. Guess what the best time to do this at my house is? If you said “bedtime” you’ve guessed correctly! My kids will do anything to stay up—that includes reading books. I give them permission stay up an extra hour if they read. It works! They sort of feel like they’re getting away with something.

 

8. Get competitive.

If your child is competitive in nature use it to their advantage by timing their reading speed. We like using an egg timer because the ticking sound encourages my son to focus. The goal is to see how much they’ve read in ten minutes, twenty minutes, or whatever time you’ve decided on. When the timer sounds, record the time and see if they can beat their own record the next time they read. A game I like to play with my youngest is sounding a loud noisemaker each time he reads a word correctly. My noisemaker of choice is a squeaker and, let me tell you, he thinks this game is absolutely hilarious. Admittedly, the squeaker is annoying, but it works and my four-year-old’s giggle is just adorable.

 

9. Visit the library or bookstore.

Sometimes being in an environment where other people are reading will offer encouragement to a reluctant reader. Not to mention the seemingly endless book selections available to suit their inquiring minds. When we take trips to the library, I let my kids pick out anything that interests them. I help them look up subjects, they take the books to the tables and read through them eagerly. No, they don’t read every single word. But listen, I’m just happy they’re excited about a book. We arrive home with 30-40 new books after each library visit, sometimes more! Which leads me to my next point.

 

10. Establish a diverse home library.

15 Ways To Encourage A Reluctant Reader
Diverse Book Selections Keep Reluctant Readers Interested

You don’t have to buy a bunch of books. I know I don’t. What I do is check out up to 50 books from the library every few weeks and keep our home library resources in rotation. This ensures there’s always something my kids will be interested in reading. We have award winning story books, books about computer programming, health, animals, black history, and more! These selections change every few weeks. And yes, my kids will actually read them—or at least look through them. If we really like a book, we consider purchasing it and making it part of our permanent library.

 

11. Get moving.

Sometimes it’s not the reading that kids dislike, but the sitting still part. If you’ve been trekking with me, you know my boys are kinesthetic learners. They love to move! Reading while pacing is a great antidote for little movers. It may drive you crazy to watch it, but trust that these movements are all a part of helping them concentrate and retain information as they read. If they don’t like pacing, try a stress reliever ball that they can squeeze when they feel the urge to move.

 

12. Let them listen to fluent readers.

Sometimes it may be that your reluctant reader hasn’t had enough examples of what fluent reading sounds like. Be sure to read aloud to them often so they can develop an ear for it. Let them follow along with you as you read so they can see how you pause after each comma, sentence, paragraph, etcetera. Audio-books are also great for this, but make sure it includes the physical copy of the book so that your child can follow along.

 

13. Be an example.

15 Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Reader
Being An Example Is A Great Way To Inspire Reluctant Readers

Does your child ever see you read for leisure? It’s no secret that children learn more from the things we do than the things we say. A great way to encourage a reluctant reader is to simply get lost in a book yourself. You’ll convey the message that reading is fun and interesting. I typically read in bed after the kids are asleep, so I have to make a conscious effort to let them see me read every now and then.

 

14. Join a reading club.

Most libraries and bookstores will offer seasonal reading camps to help encourage a love for reading and motivate children to read more books. We always take advantage of these camps. It’s a great way for reluctant readers to challenge themselves, meet new friends, and be publicly rewarded for their achievements. If you’re a homeschooler, consider reading clubs or classes at your local co-op or homeschool group. This year, my oldest son has been taking a reading class that focuses on group reading. He loves this class so much that he signed up for it again this semester. It’s been a fun way for him to practice reading among his peers.

 

15. Remind them that they’re not alone.

15 Ways to Inspire Reluctant Readers
Sometimes Knowing They’re Not Alone Is All The Encouragement Reluctant Readers Need

Learning to read the English language is challenging. There are so many rules and “exceptions to the rules” that can frustrate an emergent reader. I like to remind my boys they’re accomplishing something that’s challenging for many people, but with regular practice they will master the art of reading. When my oldest was an emergent reader, it was like the weight was taken off his shoulder when I gave him a list of people he admired that had trouble reading at first but have now mastered the skill. Similarly, my four-year-old has witnessed the reading journey of his older brother and looks to him for inspiration. Sometimes knowing they aren’t the only one is comforting and motivating.


Your Turn: I want to hear from you. What are some strategies you’ve used to help your reluctant reader? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Lessons My Boys Taught Me

20 Lessons My Boys Taught Me

I’m a mother to two wonderful boys, ages four and seven. As a mom, I never stop learning. I’ve made mistakes and had some triumphs. I’ve had days that I’ve felt clueless, and days I’ve felt like a pro. I write blog posts not because I think I’m an expert, but because I enjoy sharing the journey of motherhood. A journey that’s rewarding, yet challenging. So I’m sharing this post with all of you! Twenty invaluable lessons my boys have taught me so far. Here goes! 

1.    They need their dad. The older my boys get, the more I see how much they look to their father for guidance. Whether they’re learning to properly groom themselves, or how to make a woman feel appreciated, they’re watching my husband and taking notes. When my husband brushes his hair, I notice my boys want to brush their hair the same way. When my husband thanks me for cooking dinner, my boys mimic him and also express their appreciation.  They pay me nice compliments, help carry grocery bags into the house, they do all the wonderful things their father does. They are truly blessed to have such a great example to model after. 

2.    It’s okay to have a messy house. Let’s not confuse the term mess with sanitation. Sanitation is a must! But I know I’m not the only mom who can sometimes get so busy that tidying up goes by the wayside. I love a tidy home just like the next person but, honestly, some days it’s either load the dishwasher at 1am or go to sleep. I choose sleep! Sometimes, I send my kids to bed and forget to have them put away their toys. Sometimes the laundry piles up in the washroom. These are the situations that once stressed this neat-freak out. But I’ve realized that my children still think I’m a wonderful mommy even when the dishes are piled up in the sink. 

3.    Dressing boys can be fun! There’s so much talk about how fun it is to dress little girls. And rightfully so, the girls’ department is full of cute options. But as a mom of two boys, I must say I’ve had so much fun dressing them.  No, they don’t get to wear ballet dresses and pink bows. But, once I learned where to shop, I’ve found that clothing for boys can be just as adorable. 

4.    Our family is complete. Some families don’t feel complete unless they have at least one child of each sex. For this reason, some people often ask if I’ll try for a girl. But my boys have shown me that our family is perfect the way it is. My boys bring me so much joy. They have my heart totally and completely. I’m so proud of who they are and am excited about their bright future. No, I don’t have gender disappointment. No, I don’t want any more children. I’m getting more rest and able to be more productive now that my boys are older. I won’t start over for the sake of having a girl. My husband and I are content with the healthy children God blessed us with. 

5.    I’m beautiful. My eldest son always tells me I’m beautiful, even on the days when I’ve put zero effort into my looks. This led me to eventually ask him what he thought was beautiful about me. His reply? I’m beautiful because I fix him snacks and hang out with him. My son taught me a valuable lesson that day: Beauty is love. It is often reflected in the things we do for others, not in the effort we put forth to look a certain way. To my son, I’m beautiful because I love and take care of him. And I’m constantly reminded not to let my outer appearance take precedence over the beauty within. 

6.    I’m not better than other moms. Not that I thought I ever was, per se. But sometimes there were moments when I’ve judged another mom for something her kids did, and then found myself in the very same predicament. How humbling! It took my boys a time or two to have a public tantrum before I realized, no, that other mom’s kids weren’t misbehaving because she never taught them good manners. Perhaps they were misbehaving because that’s what kids do sometimes—test their boundaries. Let’s face it, every kid has had their moment. And if your kid hasn’t, then I’m gonna need for you to write a book about how you managed to raise such perfect children so I can buy it!  

7.    My words speak volumes. When speaking to my boys, I have to be careful of what I say and how I say it. At their impressionable age, what I say has the potential to become their identity when they’re older. If I say they’re ungrateful, they’ll believe they’re ungrateful. If I say they don’t know how to follow instructions, they’ll believe that to be true. One day I asked my eldest son why he didn’t put his toys away like I’d asked. His reply was, “I guess I just don’t know how to follow instructions.” What a wakeup call! Since then, I’ve learned to refer to the child’s behavior, rather than the child’s character when correcting them. 

8.    My actions speak even greater volumes. There are times when my words hold significance, and then there are times when my actions hold greater significance. I’ve learned not to punish my child for acting just like me. If I tell one child not to yell at another, yet I myself have a yelling problem, I’m teaching my children that being hypocritical is okay. Instead, I work on myself, and let my children know that I’m working on myself. That way, they serve as my accountability and we can grow in character together.

9.    Being transparent strengthens relationships. I’m very transparent with my kids, especially with my eldest. They know about my mistakes, my shortcomings, my faith, my victories, and much more. I don’t bombard them with every detail, as some things should be shared when they’re older, but I do let my kids know that I’m not perfect and still learning. I also apologize if I’ve wronged them.  Whenever I have these kinds of talks with my 7-year-old, I find we grow closer. In turn, he feels safe to share his feelings with me. It’s my hope that I develop this kind of relationship with my youngest son as well.

10.    They’re wiser than I think. I can’t keep up with how many times my kids have surprised me with their wisdom. Sometimes, I even think my boys are wiser than me. One day, my eldest son refused to eat a snack I gave him. When I asked him why, he replied, “There’s too much sugar in this. This isn’t going to help my kidneys. I need vegetables instead.” Likewise, my youngest son constantly asks me to draw shapes I’ve never heard of. Like seriously, what’s a dodecahedron? Ask my 4-year-old, he’ll tell you. 

11.    They’re different people. Just when I thought I was an expert mom, my youngest son comes into the world and sends me desperately reaching for more parenting books. He’s not a textbook child. I love that about him. When my children were babies, my eldest son took to the cry-it-out method like a pro. But, after two failed CIO attempts, it was clear that my youngest son felt the most secure sleeping with mommy and daddy. To this day, they require different approaches when it comes to parenting. I’ve learned that one approach is never better than the other, just more effective for a different type of child, for different reasons. 

12.    I can’t control them. My kids are their own person. They are who they are and they like what they like—even if I don’t like it. Either I can try and control them by not allowing them to be themselves, or I can accept that they don’t have to be exactly like me or fit the mold of who I think they should be. They are very strong-willed individuals. I’ve decided to focus on how to help them exercise this trait in a healthy manner, rather than trying to minimize it. 

13.    All kids learn at different paces. Having more than one child, I know this to be true. My youngest son walked, talked, and potty-trained much earlier than my eldest. Likewise, my eldest son’s fine motor skills were more advanced than my preschooler’s. It doesn’t matter how long it takes them to reach a milestone, they’ll eventually get there. Their achievements are not indicators of how intelligent they’ll be. When my eldest was a toddler, some were concerned about his speech delay. Now, you can’t shut the boy up! And his vocabulary is excellent. 

14.    I’ll never understand their bond. Sometimes I intervene when my boys are fighting, just to discover they’re both actually having a good time. Their arguments turn into laughter, and their laughter turns into arguments. Their hugs turn into body-slams, and their body-slams turn into hugs.  Most days, I can’t tell if they love each other or hate each other. But what I do understand is that they have a special brotherhood, and this is all a necessary part of the bonding process. 

15.    I need to take care of myself. As a mom, naturally I put my children’s needs before my own. But then I remembered what people are instructed to do in the event of lost cabin pressure on an airplane—place the oxygen mask on yourself first before you assist others. Of course, as a mom, this is easier said than done. But I find that when I put this philosophy into practice, I’m a better mom because of it. If I’m not eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, or releasing negative energy, I won’t be able to manage my household to the best of my ability. Instead, I’d be nutrient deficient, tired, and weighed down. A recipe for a disaster!

16.    I had a vision before I met them.  Some call it dreams, goals, aspirations. Whatever it is, I had it—before I met my kids. I’ve learned that being a mother does not mean you have to throw away your dreams. In fact, being a mother should give you the inspiration to pursue those dreams more fervently. I mean, what I do with my time now will impact their future, right? But before I packed my bags to travel the world, I had to learn my next lesson…

17.    There’s a season for everything.  Yes! Everything under the sun. As a young woman, I lived a pretty adventurous life. I spent a lot of my time on an airplane, and I got to visit many places both overseas and in-country. By the time I completed undergrad, I was tired of flying! I was ready to settle down and be a wife and mom. However, as my kids grew older and more independent, I noticed that I was still stuck in the season of being a new mom.  Now that I was getting adequate rest at night, it was time for me to enter a new season and start investing more time into my aspirations. Not all at once! Season by season. 

18.   I have a personality they should know about. You see, there are things about me that my boys should just know. My talents. Hobbies. Interests. I’ve met some people who don’t really know or understand what their parents do for a living—or even what their parents’ favorite color is. They have no idea that their mom can sing sweet tunes, or that their dad can tear up the dance floor. Sometimes, we can make our lives so separate from our children that we run the risk of them not really knowing who we truly are. So, yea, my boys are hip to many things about me. Especially the fact that I like to make a song out of EVERYTHING!

19.  They have a purpose. How great is it to know that we all have a purpose here on this earth! Before my children were born, I prayed constantly to know what wonderful things God would do through them. I understand that they are not here just to please me. Nor are they here to serve as my report card for parenting—to brag about every little thing they’ve accomplished due to my “awesomely perfect” parenting skills. While my husband and I enjoy being their parents, we understand that our boys are here for a reason and we raise them accordingly. 

20.  Live in the moment. Every night, I walk into my boy’s room and kiss them goodnight. I linger there for a few minutes and watch them sleep. I whisper a little prayer. There, in their room, I let go of all their offenses. The arguing. The yelling. The mess. The pee on the bathroom floor. The disobedience. The stubbornness. The tantrums. All of that and more. I do this because they’ve taught me how quickly time escapes us. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was doing this exact thing as each of them slept peacefully in their crib.  And, now, each night their legs seem to grow longer as they stretch across their beds. I like to remember them just like this, taking in every detail of their tiny faces every night. I know sometimes life can feel chaotic, but in these moments I remember to just live. Just breathe. Just enjoy it. Because I can’t ever get this time back. 


Now, it’s your turn! What invaluable lessons have your kids taught you? Let us know down below!

Dear Homeschool Mom | You’re Doing Better Than You Think

I looked my fellow homeschool mom in the eye. In the midst of ongoing side conversations, the words she’d just spoken suddenly quieted the room enough for me to reflect on them.

“You’re doing better than you think you are.”

It was her response to my first verbal confession of the doubt that consumed me. Like most homeschool parents, at times I’d wondered if I was doing enough—if I was doing a good job teaching my children. I glanced around the room at all the smiling parents attending the first homeschool meeting of the school year and wondered if their smiles masked similar insecurities. Or were they like me, attending this homeschool meeting hoping that what they learn will make them “better”—more adequate to take on the full responsibility of their child’s education.

“You’re doing better than you think you are.”

The comforting words of my peer followed me all the way home. I pondered on them, letting them marinate, hoping that one day I could receive confirmation that they were true. And then something happened…


“It was at this moment that I already felt like a failure.”


The following morning, my alarm clock rang like it always did. Rather than jumping out of bed I hit the snooze button and lay there. After thanking God for allowing me to see another day, I prayed for strength. I knew by the way that I was feeling that I would need it. It was at this moment that I already felt like a failure. Why didn’t I just jump out of bed with a Mary Poppins attitude and greet the day singing gleefully about my favorite things?

The morning was rather jumbled and I remember stressing out because we didn’t start our first homeschool class on time. After our morning devotional, I found myself trying to read The Tale of Jolly Robin to my children while scarfing down scrambled eggs and lukewarm coffee.

When it was time for my first grader to work on his writing journal, my three-year-old begged me to pull out all of his Ninja Turtle puzzles. Feeling defeated, I walked to the closet and pulled out all seven puzzles from the top shelf before running downstairs to rewarm my coffee. When I saw that both children were occupied, I gave myself a minute to sit down with my cup of coffee and regroup. “Today will be a good day,” I told myself.

I returned to the classroom and my three-year-old begged me to help him put his puzzles together. Still feeling defeated, I sat at the table and began helping him. My first grader saw all the fun we were having and tried to join us. Still freaking out about being behind schedule, I told him he could join us after he finished his journal. He did just that.

The next thing I knew, an hour came and went. My boys and I were so busy enjoying each other’s company that we hadn’t noticed the time. I was tempted to demand that we all get back to work, but my heart told me to “just be.” It was then that I decided to relax.

When we completed our very last puzzle, I relished in the delightful way my boys clapped their little hands and shouted “yay!” I loved how we’d all worked together, the patience they exhibited with one another as they took turns, and the way in which my eldest son taught his little brother how to work the perimeter of the puzzle first.

And then my first grader said this: “Mommy, you’re the best mommy that daddy ever chose. He could’ve chosen any mommy, but he chose you. I’m so glad.”  His sentiments most certainly confirmed for me that I was doing better than I thought I was.


“Simply hanging out with my children—without an agenda—made me the best mommy ever in their eyes.”


You see, my boys didn’t care that I awakened on the wrong side of the bed that morning. They didn’t care that school didn’t start on time. They didn’t care that we fell behind schedule. And they certainly didn’t care that I wasn’t living up to my expectations of the perfect homeschool mom. Simply hanging out with my children—without an agenda—made me the best mommy ever in their eyes.

It became very clear to me that day that I was “doing better than I thought I was” because my children don’t hold me to the same standards that I hold myself to. That day, my boys learned lessons they won’t find in textbooks; lessons like how important it is to balance work and play, the joy of spending quality time with family, and that schedules are great but it’s okay to be spontaneous.

Of course, we carried on with our curriculum for the remainder of the day, but the atmosphere had shifted. Since I had given my children my undivided attention, they didn’t hesitate to give me theirs. The day was full of laughter and silliness, but also loads of learning. I was then reminded of something else; my goal was to encourage my children to love learning and I was doing just that. Regardless of how they “ranked” next to their peers or how I ranked next to mine, my goal was reached each time my boys exhibited how much fun they were having.

“I was doing better than I thought was.”

I want to pay it forward and pass on the encouragement that my fellow homeschool mom blessed me with—you’re doing better than you think you are. It’s easy to compare ourselves to our ideal mom, but to your children you’re irreplaceable. Rest in that!

What’s the greatest encouragement you’ve ever received? Let us know down below!