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homeschool times

It’s that time of year! You have most likely already enjoyed fresh pencils, colorful notebooks, new textbooks, and set up desks to learn! My soul feels so alive and refreshed when the breeze begins to cool off and the sun is bright against the brilliant blue sky. We have wind chimes on the back patio and we have heard them through the open windows again! Yay!

We homeschool at our house, and this is our fifth year! I can hardly believe it! Even though I was homeschooled for eight years myself, being the teacher responsible for the foundation of education for my own children seemed incredibly overwhelming. Yes, it is a big responsibility but definitely not an impossible task. It has been the sweetest of years and we have truly enjoyed growing in it. Truthfully, not everyday is amazing. In fact, there are many days I just want to put them on the bus the next day, but I know this is our calling for this moment in time, and God gives the endurance to work through the tears and frustration. He sustains us and shows us His goodness everyday…even…through…a…difficult…day!

We are always tweaking and changing aspects of the day to make the days work better. I always enjoy hearing how other people shape their days so I can get ideas for our own homeschool. There are many questions people have about how homeschool works, so I hope to answer some of those questions, on what works for us.

We choose homeschool out of a calling, not to avoid public schools or any other kind of education. There are lots of positives about learning in a classroom setting. Raising a hand to speak and working with other students in a classroom are great disciplines. Thank you to all the hard-working teachers in public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, and Christian schools. You make a difference in the lives of students in a way no one else can. In fact, Brett came to know Jesus because of a public high school computer teacher who cared in a different way nobody else had, did not let him get away with stuff, while God worked on his heart. Thank you teachers!

I mentioned I was homeschooled beginning in third grade. My brother and I laugh to this day because, let us be honest, homeschoolers, especially in the 1990s had a stigma, am I right?! People asked us where we went to school and we looked down at the floor and mumbled, “I am homeschooled,” as if we were weirdos. Thankfully, it has become more common and people have gained a greater understanding of what it actually means! We went to our first homeschool conference this year and it was encouraging to see so many others working hard too. Brett said, even though we have homeschooled for several years, he never really understood it completely until this year at the conference.

It was also great to hear encouragement from Kirk Cameron! I had no idea he had six children and that they homeschooled! This year, we have a fourth grader, third grader, and first grader in school, and a four-year old, two-year old, and eight-month old. Boring is a word that does not exist here!


I love that we have FREEDOM. We get to choose curriculum. We can choose our schedule. We can take breaks for extracurriculars, service projects, library trips, and park days. We can also take trips out of state to go see history and the world instead of staying in a desk in a classroom with pictures. Our learning continues when we measure ingredients and make caramel apples in the fall or make meals to deliver to people. We can take art projects outside, go on the nature hunt outside to look for the flowers in the science book, review spelling words in the sunshine, and read on the patio.

I love that I get more TIME. I get to grow with my children each day as they gain knowledge and grow in maturity. I see them struggle through subjects and then finally “get it” as their self-esteem soars. We have created traditions that we can make happen each year because of the time we get at home. We have Baking Day every Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I take each of them separately to shop for birthday party decorations during the day. Sometimes we have lunch at Chick-fil-A just to celebrate the end of a long week or the 100th day of school. Even though I see them often, time still passes quickly. We get to take time to climb trees in the afternoons.

I love that I get to teach RESPONSIBILITY in a unique way. All the girls can make their own beds each morning. Even two-year old Deacon can fold his blanket at the end of his bed to “make it up.” I get to teach them HOW to learn. If they have questions, we take out the text book and look up key words and check out the first sentence of each paragraph to find the answers. With our curriculum, each one, including the first grader, is responsible for watching the instruction on their laptops. Each subject is checked off at completion. They write down and keep track of any seat work they have. If they have questions about something, they are learning to find the answer or find me to help them find the answer. They learn to follow instructions and complete directions given.

This year, as they get older, the fourth grader and third grader each have a monthly calendar for the school year I printed off and stapled tougher. They look at their dashboard school calendar and write down any tests, quizzes, or projects they have coming up so they can look ahead and prepare. This will definitely help when college time comes!

We keep files on the wall with their names on labels where they turn on all completed work for me to look over and grade. They learn to help each other (with a joyful heart) and show gratitude when they receive help. Sometimes we have to work on it, but it is a work in progress.

I love the ability to SOCIALIZE! One of the biggest concerns about potential homeschool families is that kids will sit at home and get sad and weird while they see nobody in a day. It does not have to be isolating if you do not want it that way. Now there are opportunities for in-person classes, tutorials, and co-ops! For this year, it works well for us to do instruction at home, but as they get older, we can change and shift from year to year as needed. We also go to the library on Wednesday mornings, and participate in ballet during the day too. Some teenage homeschoolers are assistants and work in my girls’ ballet classes during the day! We go to the library and know the librarians, and meet friends there. They see people outside of their age group too, as we serve people in the community, even during the day. We learn to budget and pick up groceries. We measure, pour and cook food in a day. They see the concepts they learn in school in practical ways doing everyday real life. They also learn how to share time, as not everyone can be helped at the same time. They also learn to support each other as siblings experience success and accomplishments. A win for one of us is a win for all of us, and they can be proud of their family members when they succeed. Here is a van ride to deliver a blanket!


I probably set more stucture than a lot of homeschool families. Routine just works especially well with multiple homeschool students and with children who are not in school yet. As we go, it might work well to not stay as structured, especially if all of them are school age. For this year, we need the routine. The school girls are up at 7 a.m., get dressed, make beds, eat breakfast, and start school at 7:30 a.m. While they are independently completing these tasks and beginning their school, I am getting up the other three and getting them dressed and fed.

Since 2020 when people began working from home, Brett works from home, so I run to the gym for an hour class four mornings a week. It is a time I do not have to plan, I attend the class, work hard, and run back home for the rest of the morning. While the others are working, I can get some laundry done, take the younger ones outside, or whatever else needs to happen. I can answer any questions or work with the older ones too. Yes, it can get crazy if Krew is especially fussy or when Raegan irritates Deacon by bossing him around, but we work through it. Since we begin early, it allows school instruction is through by lunch time. They can complete seat work before lunch or they can take a break and complete that work during “rest time” after lunch. We take a morning trip to the library on Wednesdays and two have ballet class, so they finish after lunch on those days. For the most part, play happens after lunch because nobody wants to do school after that!

The picture above with all three girls at the table only last about a day. After that, it was too small, too distracting, and too many fights broke out, not to mention, people minding everyone else's business. We have since gotten individual school desks which have helped.


Raegan (4), Deacon (2), and Krew (8 months) can get squirrely in the morning, no doubt! They watch a little tv or play while I get everyone where they need to be, teeth brushed, kitchen cleaned up, and all those random things that come up. They play upstairs together while I change some laundry or whatever my main chore of the day is. We also go outside to play everyday we have a chance. I go to the gym first thing for classes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, then we have the rest of the morning to play outside, pick up groceries, or make hot chocolate in the kitchen. They like it when I froth the milk for them! The school girls often come to me and need me to give them a test or quiz. They might have questions. Sometimes we get the fruit loops out and sit at the kitchen table and go through addition and subtraction. If I am outside, I stop pushing the swing for a few minutes to review science. Sometimes I give Krew a bottle while the little ones swing, and I review for a test with Ella Kate. The best part is our goal as a family is to be through with school instruction by lunch.


There are so many great curriculums out there that people love. I was already familiar with Abeka since I used it as a homeschooler myself. As a student, I love the colorful texts, the ability to review to maintain skills, and the Biblical perspective found throughout each subject. It was just FUN!

Until last year, I had been the primary teacher for Linley and Ella Kate, so last year when we added a third homeschooler, we decided to try the Abeka Academy online streaming program. It has changed our world in the best of ways! Each girl has a calendar and a dashboard with each lesson in it. They click on their lesson number for that day and for each subject they complete, they receive a check mark showing they have finished. They play the games, work in whatever papers are needed in that classroom instruction. When their instruction is finished for the day, they can choose to take a break and finish seat work and reading after lunch during quiet time or they can go ahead and finish it before lunch.

They come to me to get their tests and quizzes. I am aware of what they have coming up and I know if they have mastered what they need to or not. At the end of the grading period, I put their graded papers in the envelopes provided, check off all the papers they need to send in, and send it on to Abeka Academy. They look over the work and send a report card for each student. It is super easy and accredited!

It is a streaming service, and although it is not live and interactive, the teachers speak to those learning at home, and engage homeschoolers in the games, activities, and teaching as well. They have loved learning about their teachers, playing the games, and engaging in a classroom type setting. I often find someone standing behind their desk chair doing motions or crouching behind their chair, ready to jump up while playing a game! Linley is like me and prefers to simply receive information, do the work, and move on to play. Ella Kate likes to play games and participate activities, so both of them get exactly what they need.

The curriculum can be slowed down if more time is needed for learning a new concept or sped up if a student is thriving. Abeka addresses all learning styles and we have found it easy to carefully curate it to each student’s individual needs! Poems, games, interaction are used while seat work and handwriting is practiced in preparation for higher learning.

The curriculum is academically solid and theologically sound. I love that themes run throughout all subjects. For example, in K5, Noah’s Ark is a theme, which flows through Letters and Sounds, Numbers, and Phonics! Themes run throughout the older grades on a level that is age-appropriate.

I do not desire to search and pick different subjects in different curriculums for different kids. I also want to know for sure that they are learning everything they need to according to their grade. This curriculum has a guide with lesson plans written out for every subject for everyday with every supplemental resource they use in their classrooms, such as charts and games. Each day is perfectly planned out for me! No thinking required on my part! It also lists everything each grade level will have mastered by the end of the year. I love knowing they are exactly where they need to be academically. I gave the older two the Stanford Achievement Test after 2nd grade and 1st grade to make sure I am succeeding in our education and they are keeping up with national rankings. They did great! All subjects were at least average for both of them! Whew!

I hope this helps explain what homeschool really looks like from one family’s perspective. Every day is not a joy. We experience frustration and difficulties, and failures. There are days when I think I would like to stick them on the bus the next day instead of sticking this homeschool thing out. Even through the conflict and difficulties, the end result is most definitely worth the tears. Watching them finally succeed at spelling or getting to teach them to read for the first time is exciting beyond words. We will never trade the memories of making cookies in the kitchen in the fall during the school day, listening to Christmas music throughout the house on the Google Nest, and taking a day out of school to bake for Thanksgiving or decorate Easter eggs. These are the memories we will cherish forever. If you homeschool, keep up the good work! You make a difference!

Because of the Lord's faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!

Lamentations 3:23



Pic(k) of the Week

These are the good old days...complete with messy hair, pajamas, pull up, fixing supper on an ordinary weeknight.

What We Are Loving

The Abeka curriculum is here if you would like to check out what it looks like!


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