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Encouragement

The Power of Gifts

Imagine a beautifully-wrapped box lovingly set in front of you. Carefully pick up and examine this mysterious gift. Here are the clues: Your name is on the label; the person who has given it loves you deeply; whoever wrapped it did such a marvelous job that you are certain that the gift contained inside must be even more spectacular. Now, wait. Stop and consider the kind of anticipation this would create inside of you. Would it bring a warm rush of delight, an awe of being the recipient of not only a gift but of the love that motivated it in the first place? Are you with me?

What if the Art Teacher Taught Math?

My thirteen-year-old daughter Ellie was participating in a mock trial event, so we took a field trip, along with several moms and teenagers, to visit a courthouse and watch a real trial. As we waited for the trial to begin, the sheriff talked with the students. He was very enthusiastic about the justice system and was happy to answer any questions we asked. At one point, however, he turned to the moms and asked us if we had been teachers before we started homeschooling our children. (This did not feel like small talk anymore.

A Letter to Me—Circa 2009

I’ve been homeschooling since 2009 when my oldest daughter was in the second grade, my middle daughter was three years old, and I was pregnant with my third daughter. I wish I had known then what I know now. If I could go back to 2009, here’s what I’d tell myself.

Hey there, you. So you are thinking about homeschooling, huh? Well before you make such a huge decision, you need to know the truth about homeschooling.

Why Homeschool?

Why would anybody in their right mind homeschool their children? Why would a person with a good education not work at a job that pays? Why would an adult do without the nice things that money can buy: the fun vacation, the in style clothes, the better automobile? Why would a mom stay home all day (and night) preparing, teaching, grading, planning, studying, recording, etc., instead of visiting, calling and enjoying friends? Why would a person devote all of her life to teaching her own children instead of letting someone who is trained do it?

The Freedom of Simplicity

Each year I look forward to attending NCHE’s homeschool conference in Winston-Salem. From all over the state we steadily roll in, building like a rising tide. For three days, we homeschoolers descend upon the city by the thousands, pushing strollers, pulling totes, packing sessions and perusing vendor booths. If I'm not careful, I can find myself drifting aimlessly over the sea of curricula, drowning in the waves of possibility. Look at the shiny new science book I've always wanted to try!

Upon a Life I Have Not Lived

Upon a life I have not lived,
Upon a death I did not die,
Another’s life, Another’s death,
I stake my whole eternity.

God’s Plan for My Homeschooling Journey

We started this journey eighteen years ago. Through a series of circumstances, we found ourselves in a situation we never could have predicted. The system had failed us, and we had pulled our oldest son out of public school.

The ensuing years have been bumpy and blessed. Some of the bumps have been more like huge mountains, seemingly insurmountable. Some days have been too short and others too long. But the blessings have been more than anything I could have imagined.

I am officially ready to confess the following:

Persevering Perspective

You are facing extraordinary challenges, regardless of how easily your kids are learning. Parenting itself is more demanding, more fraught with difficulties, than ever before, and homeschooling adds layers of complexity, stress and labor beyond that. Don’t believe for a moment that this is easy for others and difficult for only you!

So, having acknowledged that it’s hard, what do we do? I suppose the answer depends on your goal, your desired end result, your vision.

My Homeschooling Deadly Ds

I don’t know about you, but I find myself beginning every school year with goals paralleling my mental image of a homeschooling Cleaver family. June wakes up cheerfully at least an hour before the rest of her family. She spends time with the Lord, starts one of her many loads of laundry and completes her daily exercise routine with a smile on her face. She quickly showers and gets ready for the day before she cooks a hot breakfast for her happy family while wearing a dress, heels and a pearl necklace.

Weary? Rejuvenate Your School with a Day of Activities That You Love!

The first day of school has come and gone, and your routine is well underway. Fall can be a time of waning excitement, and perhaps disappointment and discouragement have started to set in. You had a good start, but are realizing that you are only halfway to Christmas break, and there are many long days ahead before you reach the end of your school year. Thinking about it, you may feel like your head is barely staying above water. This can be an overwhelming time for teachers and for students. It’s time for some coping strategies!

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