A Thousand Moms Talk Homeschooling
Timeless Tips and Encouragement for the Journey
from Homeschool Classifieds

Bible & Spiritual growth
What is the Greatest Gift of Homeschooling?
I believe the greatest gift of homeschooling is that Christian parents bring their children before the Lord, share the Gospel, help them grow in Christ's image by staying daily in the Word, teach them how to share the Gospel, show them the difference between cultural and biblical Christianity, and to teach them how to defend their faith.

This is the greatest gift we can give to our kids, and to Christ.

Choosing Curriculum
New to Homeschooling
When I began homeschooling my two youngest children, the elder of the two had been in Christian school for several years. Having never homeschooled before, I thought that it would be best to keep her in the same curriculum which the school had used. It was a good curriculum, and I thought it would ease the transition. It turned out to be a big mistake. We needed to make a clean break from what she considered ''school.'' I believe it would have made our days more enjoyable and helped her learn more easily.

''I'm Homeskooled''
When my daughter was in grade school, we were on a fieldtrip when she decided to write in the dirt on the window of our van. She wrote, ''I'm homeskooled.'' Needless to say, I added a spelling word to her list that week!

8th Grade Mom
My husband and I were settling on the couch to watch our favorite DVR'd news program after the kids were sent to bed...our usual evening routine.

I casually reminded him, ''We only have 5 more years of homeschooling (our son).'' My husband sucked in his breath quickly -- caught off guard by the realization that we were on the ''back end'' of our our journey as a homeschooling family.

''Wow,'' he replied, ''Can we fail them a few years and keep them with us a little longer?'' We both laughed heartily. ''No! I am pretty sure they would not agree to that,'' I told him.

I switched on the remote and we continued our routine with sighs of thanksgiving, and bittersweet resolution in our hearts...confident that with God's help we can finish this to which He has called us.

God is faithful.

Homeschool Helps
Life is Real; School is Artificial
There is a sweet homeschool Mom at my church; a mother of many, who seems to have more clarity than most when it comes to homeschooling and raising up children. When possible I try to chat with her and glean just a few tidbits of advice from her.

What a blessing and encouragement to have those folks in your life who are willing to share because they have traveled the road you are on and understand some of your worries and concerns. Their confidence and clarity helps you to have confidence as well. Sometimes I receive more from her than I would from attending any homeschool conference.

The Bible reminds us women folk to do this very thing -- to pass on and teach those good things. We are to be models of godliness, of women who love their families and who are confident that God is working in the lives of their families. I must confess, I’m not always the best example of godly confidence, but I do know that God is faithful and He can be trusted with our lives and the lives of our precious children.

Last Sunday this dear Mom spoke just the words I needed to hear. She said that ''Life is real, but school is artificial.'' She reminded me that school does not prepare one for actual living. School does not prepare one to care for a family; to love babies and grandparents. School does not prepare one to walk through a devastating illness or other crisis. School does not prepare one to seek the Lord on a daily basis, to forgive and repent, to practice hospitality. School does not prepare one to be helpful and handy around the home. It does not prepare one to shop wisely and keep to a budget. School does not prepare our daughters to be keepers at home, or our sons to be spiritual leaders for their families. She reminded me that homeschooling is learning about real life.

I felt better just hearing those words because our homeschooling journey reflected more of this idea than the ideas in a scope and sequence chart from a homeschool catalog. Our journey was less academic and more practical. Trying to strike a balance between following a structured academic program and allowing for normal family living, we fell somewhere in the middle. We ended up skipping the Latin program, but tore out the carpet instead. We took a year off around Junior high to work on life skills and growing up. Although I was always second guessing myself, I went with my instinct to practice moderation. I think it worked out okay. Homeschooling is indeed about real life, and I’m so glad.

Homeschool Helps
How I Used Some Textbooks
I often purchased the Teacher's Edition only. I used that as a ''spine'' and then fleshed out the content with some of the ''extra'' projects that those books suggested! Some teacher's books have a list of several projects for each unit, of various lengths and difficulties, so it was easy to find one to fit our time-frame, abilities and interests.

I would also use some of the suggested reading ''for further learning'' listed in some teacher guides to start finding good information that wasn't overly simplified.

Homeschool Helps
Teach the Love of Learning
Teach the love of learning. Your children have a lifetime of learning ahead. The most important thing you can teach them now is how to LOVE learning. Teach your children how to learn, not just the book knowledge.

Laughter Makes it Better
Laughter is a must in life for it truly is the best medicine. Laughter is the best energizer, the best sedative, the best beautifier...it is the best for a long list of many things in many areas--and home schooling is at the top of that list. Like love and hugs, laughter is a staple ingredient. Make sure that you generate laughter in your home, your conversations, your lessons. If you don't have much laughter or you have none at all in your home school, pray for it quickly, daily; and do whatever it takes to start laughing with your children. Laughter gives life to life and makes it better.

Bible & Spiritual growth
Is God Enough?
After several days of a heavy trial, a dear friend came over to assist me. She simply blessed me in many ways with few words. Before she left she said, ''Your journey will look different than mine. But at the end of the day, if nothing ever changes, is God still enough?''

I imagined abandoning my husband and children through death, which would have been the end if nothing changed. After she left, for she expected no answer, I finally acquiesced...yes, God is enough. He does not have to do any thing for me. He does not owe me any proof of His love. That was settled on Calvary. Yes, God is enough. I can cease striving for anything else.

Then I began to mend on the inside...and the outside. I remember this truth when overloaded in daily needs, financial shortcomings, physical pain, and uncooperative homeschoolers...GOD IS ENOUGH.

Special Needs & Special Opportunities
Therapeutic listening chips on HC?
Homeschool Classifieds needs advice. Should we allow the resale of ''therapeutic listening chips?'' Why or why not? Let us know your opinion by emailing info@homeschoolclassifieds.com Thanks, HC.

Homeschool Helps
Encouragement--Child Training
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

A very familiar verse. We took this as a promise when we were parenting young children. We did what it took to be sure we trained our children in God's ways. But then as we matured, we began to see results in families we admired that caused us to wonder about the promise. Do you know what I mean? Have you seen children from godly homes depart from the faith? We have. And the easy answer -- ''Must have been something missing in that home. Parents must have failed to train them properly.''--just didn't satisfy. We were missing something!

What is the benefit of training up a child in the way he should go? Proverbs is about God's wisdom. Contrary to the idea that we train a child according to his bent, we must train according to God's wisdom -- train the child's palate for the ''taste'' of God. It is God-centered training, rather than child-centered training. Then when God is the center, we can expect that God will keep the
training going even into adulthood. So it is not about the child leaving the training or our success or failure as parents. It is about God continuing the training as He keeps His own.

Homeschool Helps
If you are not able to communicate your expectations to your children with a smile, then you need to adjust your expectations! Realizing that everything in our homeschool needed to pass my ''smile test'' made our homeschooling experience so much more joyful. =)

Choosing Curriculum
Classical Education
The year is 1947, the place is Oxford, and the woman is a Miss Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1967), a scholar and expert on the middle ages and a member of a literary group which included C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien. The essay is The Lost Tools of Learning. The premise: modern education is failing in its most crucial object, teaching children how to learn. The classical concept of education is reborn.

Cross the Atlantic and fast forward sixty years; all over the our country today are private schools, Christian schools, home schools, and even public charter schools all waving the banner of Classical. But what does it mean, why is it so popular and how does it differ from modern public-school education?

The classical model of education seeks not to fill a child’s mind with information, not to propagandize, but to kindle a love of learning, a curiosity of the world, and to provide tools to create a life-long learner. The classical educator recognizes that children’s minds go through stages where they excel through different kinds of teaching. Classical educators identify three main stages, referred to as the trivium, and labeled in order: the grammar, dialectic and rhetoric stages.

Choosing Curriculum
Be Yourself Without Pressure
Peer pressure is present in all ages and all areas of our life. It's
especially true when the situation involves our own children, and our
choice to homeschool.

''What curriculum do you use?''
''Do you school year-round?''
'' How many extra-curricular activities are your children involved in?''

These questions can bond homeschoolers together, or cause hard
feelings. They don't have to, though.

Each family knows their own situation, and needs to make their
decisions based on that. Seasons change, and so do seasons of life. No
one can tell you what's best for you (though you may ask for advice),
and no one should make you feel bad for making the choices you did.

That doesn't mean no one will ever raise their eyebrows or criticize
you. They will. That just means you'll need to review why you chose
what you did, and move on. Be assured that you have chosen what's
right for your family for this time of your life.

Organization/time management
Post-holiday Storage Tips
Now that the relatives have packed up and Junior has headed back to college, it's time to take down the tree and trimmings. With a little extra effort now, you can save yourself time, money, and headaches next Christmas. Here's how.

As you pull out the storage boxes for your decorations, take a look at the items that never made it out of the box this year. Will they be used next year? Not likely. Discard broken or unusable items and donate the rest. Now it's time to move on to this year's decorations.

First, take pictures of any decorations you want to recreate next year. Grab some index cards, or start a new computer document. Number your storage boxes, and number an index card to match each. As you take down and put away each item, note on the cards/document which numbered box it goes in. Also note quantities of Christmas cards and wrapping paper you have left and where they're stored. Remove batteries from candles, etc. and put a pack of new ones in their box. You may also want to record what gifts were given to extended family and who received your cards in the mail.

When next holiday season starts, simply pull out your index cards or document to know where everything is and what will need to be filled in or added to. Happy organized New Year!

History, Geography & Social Studies
New Uses for Old Encyclopedias
Do not throw away those volumes of encyclopedias! Did your Aunt offer you a set from 1986? Say ''Yes!'' and graciously accept them them. You can use the pictures/illustrations in them for your history timelines.

Can you download and print the same pictures? Yes, but the ones in the encyclopedia are often just the right size and in color and a terrific representation of the topic. Often there are maps and charts, too. Do not be squeamish about cutting out pictures from these books; never pass up an opportunity to save on printer ink!

We use a spiral-bound blank timeline and double-sided tape. My goal is for them to be able to take the timeline with them when they graduate. It is definitely a multi-year project. The VERY FIRST PICTURE in the timeline is their baby picture on the appropriate date -- it is important that they see themselves IN history.

A Salute to the Handy Ones
''If you work with your hands,
you’re a laborer.
If you work with your hands and your mind,
you’re a craftsman.
If you work with your hands and your mind and your heart,
you’re an artist.”

—Saint Francis of Assisi

Bible & Spiritual growth
Read the Bible with Your Children
Deut. 6 says, ''These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up...''

Doesn't sound like setting your child in front of a program and letting them self-teach, does it? Just what does it mean to ''teach diligently''? To me that means it must be my number one priority.

When I share this idea, there seems to be a general glazing over of the eyes of some listeners. It is critical that your eyes remain wide open about this. The enemy of your children's soul is waiting for you to be just a little off-guard so he can get a toe-hold, then a foot-hold, then an all out strong-hold on your children.

Here's a very simple plan. This method uses the couch, a Bible, hot-drinks on cold days/cold drinks on hot days, your love for your children and your love for the Word of God.

Intentionally schedule a time. I recomment first or second thing in the morning. Sit together on the couch. Read a chapter or more each day, starting with Genesis. As you read, things might come to your mind that happened recently that perfectly illustrates the principle in the text you are reading. Stop and discuss it. Ask questions. See what your kids are thinking. Address the issues of life that come up. This is heart-time. This is when you get to reach them. You build relationship. You train them up in the way they should go.

Go straight through the Bible. Don't avoid those major or minor prophets. Don't be afraid of what you do not know. You can learn along with! It may take a number of years to get through the Bible all the way; that's ok. It is too valuable to miss. Provide specific quiet activities that can be done by wigglers like coloring.

The foundation of Truth that is sown into those lives will bear fruit. God promises His Word will never fail to be effective.

I think everyone should include speech and debate training in their homeschooling....at least one year and it must include one competitive event. Here's why.

This past weekend my youngest was home from college and squeezed in a bit of time to work on a paper. As we chatted about the topic, it occurred to me that we had succeeded in teaching him how to learn. Writing was always our weakest subject. Competitive speaking came to the rescue. What he learned by preparing and presenting filled in the holes in his education in many subjects, but most dramatically in his writing skills.

One of the most significant results of good composition training is the discipline of the mind--learning how to communicate in an orderly manner. Speech writing does that, too. He has used skills from that experience repeatedly as he writes in college. He recognizes non-topical ideas when they creep in or weak ideas that need strengthening. And when preparing for a competition, he learned about hard deadlines, presentation preparation, memorization, audience, blocking a speech, planning, responsibility and winsomeness.

Yes. The most significant academic thing we did in our home educating was competitive speech and debate.

Check it out for your home education program. Here are links to two homeschool leagues. You may also be able to find a club near you. If not, learn all about it and start your own. You can do it.


A Homeschool Cheer
We are Homeschooled, YES WE ARE!
We learn phonics in the CAR!

Science, Math and HISTORY...
After LUNCH we're usually FREE!

Mom's the Teacher, Dad works HARD,
We've NEVER seen a REPORT CARD!?

WE are Homeschooled, YES WE ARE...
We learn phonics in the CAR!

Home-School, HOME, school, home SCHOOL!

Organization/time management
Preempting the Pantry Poachers
If your family is like ours, you might have trouble with ''pantry poachers.'' These are the (human) pests that sneak treats from the pantry despite your careful planning and shopping. We're using a new system that has helped to eliminate that frustration -- for the planner and for the hungry hordes.

Instead of keeping the snacks in the pantry and distributing them myself, I give the family a list of ''approved'' (reasonable and affordable) snack items. Each member chooses the treats they like and how many days of the month they want that particular treat. After shopping for the whole month's worth of snacks, I give each person what they have requested. It is then their responsibility to choose a daily treat from their collection, and also to exercise enough self-control to make the treats last to the end of the month. If they run out of snacks, there are no more until the next month.

So far, it's working. I enjoy not being ''pantry police,'' and they enjoy choosing treats each day. We're staying within the budget, and self-control is happening...most of the time (our youngest is in middle school, so I can't say if this method would work with younger kids). For our family, it's been a step in the right direction.

Mastering Math
Removing the Block
Math is important. It's the language of science. As adults our children will use arithmetic and mathematics in varying degrees throughout their lives. This can make a homeschool mom rather tense about accomplishing every single lesson on-time and with mastery.

But some children struggle.

My oldest student got stuck at long division. We spent more than a week on one lesson and pushed so hard that it became an emotional problem. Crying and gnashing of teeth became closely associated with doing math each day. It became emotional for me, too. I felt panic. If I could not teach my child this, how would we be able to call our homeschooling a success? We needed a win, badly!

Luckily, I came upon an idea that removed the block. The topic of the next chapter was something simple, like time. I knew we could do well at that. So I made a change. We moved on to the next chapter and after a few days of doing well, I added ONE long division problem to the assignment for the day.
The emotion was removed. Confidence returned. By the end of the next chapter, we had finished the long division chapter.

Take courage. Observe. Adjust. Be Creative! Remove the emotion. Go for the win. You and your child will be successful!

Homeschool Helps
Encouragement for the Journey
Some days are just hard! The temptation to quit--to load your kids up on that yellow bus--can be overwhelmingly attractive. Take a break, if you must, but do not quit.

I just recently became a former homeschool mom because my last child graduated from our home educating academy. It is a strange feeling. I'm rather giddy with the prospect of a new adventure, relieved that my educational responsibility is over, and thrilled that the job is done. But I am also a little sad. I miss stories on the couch and hugs all around. I miss snow days when we could play while the snow was good and thick and then have hot cocoa while we did math for the day. I miss the daily shepherding of my little ones. I miss the deep questions we got to explore together. They are all adults now--big, opinionated and no longer needing my attention. I'm not sad about that, just noticing the change. This is good. It is the lauch we were working toward.

Now I am launched, too. There is a bright new adventure before me. It is bright today because I stayed the course and finished the job to which God called me.

I encourage you now. Stay. Find a way or make a way. Do not give up on your original dream for educating your children. Give yourself and your children loads of grace. Revel in the joy of being with your children, in their development and in your own pleasure as you create a life of deep, rich relationships with the most important people in your life.

Circumventing Paypal Fees is Dishonest
I've noticed a trend this past week, as I've been buying and selling items via this website. In three transactions a person has either used, or asked me to use the ''Friends & Family'' option to circumvent paying Paypal fees.

This morning a seller emailed that she only accepts nonfee Paypal payments! I kindly emailed back I would be happy to pay extra to cover the Paypal fees as I was uncomfortable circumventing them.

Today I added to my page a note that I include the cost of Paypal fees in my ppd price, since I understand I'm paying for the convenient services available, both instantaneous money transfers and online shipping transactions.

As a Christian I feel extremely uncomfortable with this trend. It is dishonest, a form of theft and sullies the reputation of this site and its users. Agreeing to use Paypal's services is also an agreement to pay their fees in order to benefit and make use of their services. Paypal is NOT a nonprofit organization; it's a business with employees!

I realize it is my responsibility to discuss this with potential buyers and sellers, and that the owners of this site cannot control transactions agreed upon by users of the site. However I felt compelled to post about this trend, since I had not experienced it prior to this summer.

Let's uphold the excellent reputation of this site and NOT circumvent Paypal fees. Include the fees in your ppd price. Expect that is part of what you are covering when you purchase via Paypal!

Homeschool Classifieds is invaluable to the homeschool community. Let's keep it honest!

A Lesson from the Garden
Kids are like vines. At the beginning, it seems like forever before they'll take root and start to grow. Will they EVER get anywhere? You had such great visions of what they could be... Then, when you're not looking, the shoots start zipping along the fence, tiny tendrils hanging on tenaciously as they climb. In the blink of an eye, they've moved far beyond the neat little fence you made for them. And then you think, ''WAIT!! WHERE ARE YOU GOING SO FAST?!?!?'' We moms are such conflicted creatures.

Homeschool Helps
Don't Bury Those Books in Your Yard!
Has God blessed you this past year? Were you able to see God's hand at work in your life and in your family?

Then stop hoarding your used curriculum -- stop thinking of it as an investment -- your children are the investment, not the books!

Please get rid of your unnecessary curriculum as cheaply as you can! And when someone offers you a lower price—take it! Do not pass up the opportunity be a blessing to others...

Be happy about it! Think of all of the ways He has answered your prayers this past school year. God is faithful, He has already met your needs -- and He loves a cheerful giver!

HC: Longer-lasting Listings!
Site administrator: After years of requests, we have changed how our system handles older sale listings. Instead of being deleted after ~60 days, listings will now become inactive (grayed out to the seller, invisible to buyers) after 60 days, and be irretrievably deleted after 120 days. If you have sufficient credits you can of course renew them by clicking the ''Renew older listings'' link on your ''For sale'' tab. Let us know how this is working.

Old Yeller
Here's what Papa says to Travis in the end: ''It's not a thing you forget. I don't guess it's a thing that you ought to forget. What I mean is, things like that happen. They may seem mighty cruel and unfair, but that's how life is part of the time. But that isn't the only way life is. A part of the time, it's mighty good. And a man can't afford to waste all the good part, worrying about all the bad parts. That makes it all bad...You understand?''

Bible & Spiritual growth
What do you See?
The Law? That's seeing yourself in the magnifying mirror. The Gospel? That's seeing yourself in the eyes of the one who loves you jealously and unceasingly. To see clearly who we are in Christ, we need to integrate both perspectives.

Homeschool Helps
Who is Rich?
I love this quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin:
''Who is rich? He who is content.''
May we be content in this special season of homeschooling. It is easy to feel that we are not doing enough, that the house is a mess, that we are missing out. But the truth remains, if God called us He will equip and strengthen us for this challenging and rewarding task.

Conditions of use   ©1997-2017 HomeschoolClassifieds.com, Knoxville, TN