Notes from the Trenches

I have been homeschooling my kindergarten daughter for about 4 months (officially) and I by no means an “expert” but I have learned a few things along the way I wanted to share.  Even if you are not homeschooling, these hopefully will help you with balancing your roles as a wife, mother, missionary, etc.

  • Make sure you’re getting time with God!

I recently read “Shopping for Time” by Carolyn Mahaney (and her daughters) and it was a fantastic read. The main point is to make time for God, then everything will fall into place (or you’ll at least be able to cope). She suggests waking earlier than your husband and children, which I’ve been trying to do. It’s hard, but totally rewarding!


      • Take a break from book-learning and focus on discipline.

      I can easily get caught up in whether my daughter is learning the “right” thing and is staying “on-track” while ignoring her disobedience. I’ve found it helpful at times to put away the school books and spend time working on her relationship with her sister, obedience to me, and just having fun without the pressure of school.

      • Lower your standards for what is a clean house and gourmet meal (especially during your school year).

      I’m kind of a neat freak (and married to a neat freak). But homeschooling has forced me to let some things go. I have learned to make easy, quick meals instead of gourmet delicacies, let the floor get a little dirty instead of mopping every single day (my baby is a human vacuum cleaner anyway), and figure it’s okay to wear an outfit more than once.

      • Trust that God will fill in where you may lack.

      We are not homeschooling because I want my kids to become the next Einstein or Mozart. We are homeschooling because we feel God has called our family to it in this season. I’m not ready to send my babies off quite yet. I know there are some areas like algebra that I will need to “outsource” but thankfully we’re not there yet (the algebra). God’s got my children covered and for now we are working on the basics, including loving each other and honoring God.

      • Take time for yourself.

      My older two kids (6 and 3) don’t really nap anymore but the baby does, so in the afternoons we do “quiet time” for about an hour. This is my rest time too and it makes me a much better mommy to have a portion of the day to read, pray, exercise, or (gasp!) sleep. In addition my husband has been very helpful in letting me have a break now and then to go running or get a cup a coffee.

      Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

      Do any of you other homeschooling moms, new or veteran, have other tips to share that you have found helpful?

      (Post by: Addie)


      2 Responses to “Notes from the Trenches”

      1. 1 Gina February 20, 2011 at 7:29 am

        We’ve been homeschooling about 6 years, and the best advice someone gave me when I first started was, “Be prepared to waste money.” It often happens that you buy a curriculum that everyone else loves, but it doesn’t work for you or your kids. Forcing yourself to finish it only makes for unhappy homeschooling! I always tell myself, “It’s cheaper than international school!”

        I’ve found homeschooling to be one of the things that draws me to God the most. It’s really taught me to go to Him for every detail – whether I see my kids struggling with character issues or academic issues, or I’m debating a new curriculum, I’m learning that He always has the answers. Seems obvious, but I’m amazed at how easy it is to look to other sources first instead of Him.

      2. 2 richelle February 20, 2011 at 10:00 am

        we’ve been home schooling now for 11 years ~ and i can say there is almost nothing i love more – and it can easily become my #1 idol. a few things i’ve had to learn:

        1) my ministry to my husband cannot suffer because home schooling becomes too high of a priority. my children will benefit more from my example of loving God and loving/serving/ministering to my husband than they will from any academics i could teach them;

        2) each child is different and there isn’t a set formula. keep changing and modifying until you find what works with each one. flexibility is crucial;

        3) the discipling relationship is the greatest benefit of home schooling. you have the opportunity to truly study your children and learn about and from there – and let them do the same with you. this can be a great accountability motivation!

        4) at least in the primary grades, the goal is literacy, numeracy, knowing how to and loving learning. it usually doesn’t require nearly as much “formal” school time as we try to schedule;

        5)i’m convinced that home schooling is as much about what God is doing in me, how He’s changing and growing me, as what He is doing in my children through me;

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