Monday, August 1, 2011

Back To School

August is here and everyone is talking about all things related to going back to school. Every where there are signs pointing to the best and most current items to send children back to school with. As a homeschooling mom, I try to stay away from the back to school section of the stores. 

Please do not misunderstand me. I love buying crayons, notebooks, and pencils when they are most affordable, but the stress filled faces of parents and their children keep me away. I have no idea what is written on the lists that they carry with them, but from the frustration that I see and hear, it is obvious to me that the stores are out of it and the kids don't want it in that color anyway. 

I understand school frustration all to well. Our home is our school. It is where we live and learn. Sometimes I forget that living and learning go hand in hand. I worry that the boys are not learning enough. I forget that they learn even when I am not actively teaching them, and then I start to feel overwhelmed with the task of educating my children. When that happens I turn into mean teacher lady. I bark orders, sigh loudly, and criticize and critique. Nobody likes mean teacher lady, and I definitely do not want to be her. When I start to feel stressed I remind myself of what is most important to me. I want my children to love to learn new things. I have my own school list. I read this list often through the year.

1. Pray and listen. God has a plan for you and your children. Pray for guidance, and listen to the words He whispers to your heart.

2. Trust. God's plan is the perfect plan for you and your family. Trust yourself. Trust your husband. He is a smart guy. Trust your children. They want to learn.

3. Forgive yourself, your husband, and your children. No one is perfect.

4. Do not be afraid to let go. The schedule, the curriculum, and the meal plan are all great when things move smoothly along. When things do not work out do not let it bother you. Make the changes you need to keep moving forward.

5. Be gentle with everyone. Speak softly and with kindness.

6. Tell your children and your husband that you love them often.

7. Play. Get outside. Go for a walk. Run, jump, and explore.

8. Smile and laugh.

9. Take time for yourself every day. Some days ten minutes will be enough, but on the days you need more take it. Ask your husband or a friend to watch the kids. Do something that you enjoy and do not feel guilty. 

10. Do not hesitate to say no to extra activities. Stick with the ones that are most important and keep the rest of your day open to learn and grow as a family.

When my children leave my home, I want them to have a heart for God and a longing to learn that lasts a lifetime. Learning is more than what happens in a classroom. God gave us a world full of new things to discover, and my boys need time to explore the world around them. Textbooks and timelines can be great learning tools but a real education is full of so much more. My list helps me to stay focused on God, my family, and the educational atmosphere that is best in my home.


  1. This is a terrific post, whether you're a homeschooling parent or not. This is one I'm going to share.

  2. When you describe the familiar frustration involved in back-to-school shopping for parents who send their kids to traditional schools, it makes me wonder why all parents don't just decide to homeschool. We only homeschooled one of our boys, the youngest of the five, and only for grades 3 through 8. Back when our older boys were in their elelmentary school years, we knew NO ONE who homeschooled. My husband and I were very satisfied with the Catholic school they attended...but then it began to subtly change direction, and we studied up on the homeschooling option (which we'd begun to hear more and more about through some of the Catholic publications we were reading), and we took our baby out. I wish now that homeschooling had been on our radar much earlier. You are doing such a great thing for your boys. I applaud you and all the other homeschooling families out there. The list you refer to throughout your school year is beautiful--and shows just how wonderful an experience homeschooling is for the whole family.

    1. Thank you, Laura. Homeschooling has truly been a blessing for my family. I am thankful that I am able to teach my children. It is hard and we have definitely made sacrifices, but homeschooling is worth it.


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