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

Finishing Well
Keep Going Mama
Keep going, mama.
Although you may not see success today
in your children's academic ways,
they are listening and learning
as their young hearts are yearning
for less time at school and more at play.

Keep going, mama.
Your work is not for naught.
Their tender hearts will be yours and the Lord's
-- never cheaply bought.

Keep going, mama.
As your school year nears the end
and you feel you'll soon breathe again,
when summer's play begins.

Homeschool Vacations
One of the best things about homeschooling is the flexibility it provides. Take advantage of travel and vacations during the off-season; you might find you have practically an entire national park to yourselves (like we did during an off-season trip to Sequoia National Park -- snow!). It is memories like those that remain, more than the ''classroom'' hours of study.

Extracurricular Activities Count
Our son was able to join the JROTC Magnet Cadet Program at the leading college prep school in our state. No cost to join; uniforms provided at no cost. It ignited his interest in all things military and sparked his interest in the Naval Military Academy. Heard about the program from another homeschooling mom.

Only goes to show that keeping in contact with other homeschool moms is so important. That's how we get the word out about programs and activities -- all the things that enrich our homeschooling experience.

Take Pictures!
Your babies are growing up fast! Take pictures along the way because you will turn around one day and they will be graduating and you wonder how that went so fast.

The days are long, but the years are short. -- Gretchen Rubin

Finishing Well
My Last Year is Here
I began homeschooling in 2004. My youngest has his senior year ahead of him. This will be our last year! I'm sad and happy at the same time. It is hard to believe that when I'm done, it will have been 16 years of homeschooling. Wow! How did that happen? I want to go back. There is so much I wish I could have done different. I'm writing this to encourage you on your journey. I wasted alot of time worrying about paying the bills and getting items checked off the school work list. Stop, enjoy, laugh, rest, play! You are building a foundation and it isn't all about academics. Make God the center of your day. Bring Him into your conversations daily. Take time to build your marriage. Love your husband in front of the kids. Talk respectully about him to them. The time comes quick when the kids will be gone and it's just the two of you! Go on dates, don't nag him, accept him.

Enjoy family time. Make family time a priority! Talk with your kids. Listen to them. Let them make decisions. Go on fieldtrips, lots of them! Homeschooling is a huge blessing every day! I am so thankful I got to embark on this journey and continue through the years. May you be thankful and feel God's blessings too!

Organization/time management
What's Really Important to You?
What habits do you want your kids to have when they're grown up? When we first started homeschooling, I had a list of things I wanted to do, but many fell by the wayside to make time for academics. For instance, they used to write letters to grandparents every week. I wish I had continued that habit. They're grown now, and in hindsight, some of the ''little things'' were the most important things.

These Days Will End
I'm finished homeschooling my boys and I am grieving. I miss the time with them...the living out life together with them. The learning together, the meals together, the sweet fellowship. I just wanted to encourage my sweet homeschool moms to make many happy memories with your kiddos, take pictures, keep a journal and video some things. Believe it or not, these days will come to an end. Journal and document because hopefully one day they will want to talk and walk down memory lane with you. You need proof that this adventure really did happen. Hopefully one day they will ask.

If We Could Do It Over Again...
...we would start dual enrollment sooner and begin studying for the SAT sooner. I'm talking starting in the 9th grade of high school! Here we are in the final semester, counting the days until graduation, and there is too much pressure to complete subjects, study for all the proctored tests for dual enrollment courses, and there is nothing left over to take the SAT once again in order to boost the score and get bumped up to the highest scholarship, which is $1000 more per year!

My advice is to begin everything a year or two earlier so you can take it slower and learn better, and make sure the last semester of high school is low stress and fun! Preparing for the prom and graduation is time-consuming, and the lower the stress the more enjoyable it will for both parent and student! Cherish the last semester! It goes by lightning fast!

Lang arts: readers/literature
Using Auditory Tools in Learning
For writing, speaking and interpreting information from others, it is important to practice a variety of auditory experiences.

One of the many challenges when students get to college is being able to dissect important information that is being directed towards them through lectures, and to be able to interpret social intent of dialog with others from different backgrounds and cultures. The auditory system is a key component of our abilities to organize information and needs to be developed to be able to function efficiently in the face of diverse inflection, accents, and emotional content. Using auditory-only tools is important for effective listening skills and communication development.

Bible & Spiritual growth
Spiritual Fruit
''To see spiritual fruit in your life, don't focus primarily on the fruits. Focus on Jesus' acceptance of you, given to you as a gift.''

''The gospel is not just the diving board off of which we jump into the pool of Christianity; it is the pool itself.''

J.D. Grear

We're Done!
We've graduated our youngest! Yippeeee! Hooray!!!

...but it will take another 12 years to sell all this curriculum listing only seven items at a time! Haha! Thank you homeschoolclassifieds.com for being a free resource for listing items (And, I don't have to deal with Facebook or eBay!)

Bible & Spiritual growth
Encouragement From a Veteran
I have been homeschooling since 2003, and want to encourage any of you to keep on going! Everyone feels inadequate (even classroom school teachers), but God is your captain and commander in chief, and HE will help you through. Just take one year at a time, and be blessed in HIS grace.

Homeschool Helps
When It's All Over
Today, it may seem like an overwhelming task, being wife, mother, and teacher. It might feel like you haven't a minute to breathe. I probably feels like the road ahead is long and hard, and you don't think you'll reach the end.

Let me assure, the end will come. It really sneaks up on you. I don't know how. You spend years counting the days, logging the lessons, then out of the blue, so it seems, your youngest child is finished. School days are truly done.

For years I had ideas of what I would do with all the free time I would have after schooling was through. The irony is that, at least for me, homeschooling my children was my life. Everything revolved around it. Now that my days are free from lesson planning, checking school work, doing my daily logs, etc, I have to work at not aimlessly puttering through my days.

When we began to homeschool in kindergarten, we joined a co-op. It was not a good fit for us, so the next year, we stayed home.

The third year, we joined a different co-op. We LOVE this group. We have been in it for 10 years now and will attend again next year when my daughter will be a senior.

We live in the country. Seeing her friends each week at co-op has been such a blessing for my daughter. The ''Mom Support'' for me has been invaluable. The more experienced moms share advice with the ''newbies.'' We share resources, too -- curriculum, information about teacher discounts, field trip ideas, & more. We even have a ''free table'' where we share used clothes, school supplies, & household items.

My advice is: If you have tried a co-op and it didn't work for you, try another. When you find the right one, you'll wonder how you lived without this wonderful group of friends!

Art & music
Why Have Balance in Their Studies?
STEM has been a buzz word for a few years, and yes, those fields are very important to study but so is art, so is music, so is literature. My children study math, science, and history but they also study Shakespeare, Pope, DuBussy, David, Homer, and other masters of the arts.

Why? I don't want them to be like Darwin. He lost himself in science and was no longer able to enjoy poetry or art. Life would be so empty without the beauty of art. How much more peaceful could our lives be by adding a little beauty to it by taking time to view art or listen to beautiful music?

Seeking the Perfect Gift?
Do you remember what Christmas gifts you got last year? Not really? Me neither. So as you roam the stores and websites in search of that PERFECT gift, well Bucko, I've got news for you. There's only one perfect Gift, and it's already been delivered. A couple of millenia ago. So why do we continue to do this to ourselves, desperately searching and straining the limits of our time, sanity, and credit to find the present that no one will ever forget? I think its significance, connection.

Gift-giving really boils down to our mad desire to be loved and understood, and to tell the recipient that they matter to us. And God understood this perfectly (which is kind of what youd expect from God). So what did He do? He became incarnate, God With Us. Got inside our skin to say, Yes, Ive wept and laughed and been hungry and broken, just like you. And I know you and love you just the way you are, right now. And if were His, our mission is the same.

As we prepare to celebrate His coming, lets consider how we can better connect with the people around us. How many folks have never gotten a simple letter expressing appreciation for their faithfulness behind the scenes at work, at home, or in ministry? Who would love the luxury of a leisurely phone call without the jab of a quick, Well, gotta go! Is there an awkward someone nearby whos never the one sought out for a cup of coffee, one-on-one? Sparkly, store-bought gifts have their place, but they rarely meet our need for affirmation and connection. Let the One who brought the Perfect Gift guide your giving this season. You wont be sorry.

Mastering Math
Math Choices
Sometimes I feel the kids don't get enough higher math. A former math teacher told me not to worry about them having calculus. They suggested it is better to do another year of advanced math so they get strong in those concepts (and there is a little calculus at the end).

Now What? College & Vocation
Not the Last, But the First!
Don't let high school slip by without having a firm exit strategy for your homeschooler.

By making grades 9 - 12 the FIRST four years of their college or career plan, not just the LAST four of homeschooling, you will launch them successfully and they will feel equipped in their chosen endeavor.

Bible & Spiritual growth
Reminders From a Hurricane
1. God is good!
2. God still answers prayers!
3. God, family, and salvation are your survival ropes before/during/after tragedy.
4. It rains on the just and unjust.
5. Things that were important no longer are.
6. Put your personal differences aside and help each other.
7. God wants our attention. Let us repent, and turn away from our evil ways.

Beyond Homeschooling Years
I am now on the other side of homeschooling. It's bittersweet and as I enjoy meeting all the people interested in my materials and learning about their experiences, I wish my grown men were still boys some days.

Don't rush through your homeschooling years. Enjoy even the days that you don't think you've done your best or feel like they learned nothing. Encourage them to think on their own. Learn WITH them! Take the adventures, big or small! Don't deprive yourself of this brief time and may God richly bless, strengthen and give you courage as you raise up warriors to serve Him!

And NEVER doubt His ability to provide! He never failed us! We made modifications, sure, but He NEVER failed us!

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.

''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!

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.

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, Im 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 Im 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.

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