Monday, August 31, 2009


Kelly wrote:

"This is my second year in homeschooling and I have a 6 year old, 3 1/2 year old she is already reading and a 20 month old. I get frustrated while trying to teach my oldest and having the chaos of the other two. My husband is ready to put her in school because he feels that she is not getting what she needs at home. I am just plain frustrated at this point and just am wondering is this the way things are as a homeschooler? Example: I am using the workbox system by Sue Patrick and instead of having this wonderful experience. I have the 6 year old who is spacing out looking outside another asking me what do I do next? and the baby tearing the boxes and velcro off the shelves and wanting to sit in everybodys seat! Ahhhh!!!"

Warning: Mature content shared. Not suitable for all ages.

Hello Kelly!

You know, I want to give you a big hug! Absolutely everyone feels overwhelmed at times. I get overwhelmed. Caring for and educating our little ones may feel like a looming task at times~ too big and scary for us. In those times, I remind myself that Peter found when his eyes were on Christ, he could walk on water. It is a true saying that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Phil. 4:13). And truly, any sacrifice we offer now, I trust will be seen as a minor thing when we look back on this time. : )

It may be that even the best systems need to be put on hold, modified, or even stored in a different way until you are in a season with older children. It’s okay to say that something isn’t working right now. That’s not failure dear one~ it’s learning.

I want to give you some practical ideas that might help, but first I want to talk about the false idea that it would be somehow better to place our children in the government’s schools. While it may not be possible for all families to school at home, we need to know the truth and have our eyes wide open on this issue before we consider handing over these precious souls.

LIE- Our kids would learn more in the government school system.

TRUTH- Our government schools are among the world’s worst. Statistics show that when our schools are pitted against those in the world, we are failing miserably.

Area Rank (out of 41)
Math 28
Reading 18
Science 22
Problem Solving 29

Which means, for example, that in a total of 41 countries our students rank 28th in math. In other words, there are 27 countries ranking ahead of us (Finland, Korea, Canada, Hong Kong – China, Netherlands, Macao-China, Liechtenstein, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Iceland, New Zealand, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Slovak Republic, Norway, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain~ and more).

There is no “good school” that does better. Our method fails.


And that doesn’t even address the more serious issue of moral failure we are seeing nationwide. You aren’t giving your children any advantage by placing them in the hands of a godless government structure. Some, in fact, make the case that it is actually poor stewardship for Christians to place their children into the government school system.

The daily wearing and beating down that godless, unsupervised interactions have on the very fiber of these young, precious souls is not measured by statistics. However:

“The headlines speak for themselves. Student-teacher sex scandals, student-student sex, immodesty, foul language, drugs, alcohol, radical homosexual agendas, teachers taking students for abortions, “sexting” leading to suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, brutal beatings, and school shootings. These are just some of the headlines that have become the norm. And that does not include things like cheating, disrespect for authority, impropriety towards the opposite sex, and other moral behaviors children learn regularly and repeatedly in school.”
Voddie Bauchan, Top Five Reasons Not to Send Your Kids Back to Gov’t. School

We must keep our eyes on the long term effects of our decisions and be real about what is at stake here.


I know you are struggling Kelly. And I don’t know you personally, so please hear this in the most loving tone you can~ could it be that your husband is considering government school to make you happy?

There is the old adage: “If Mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

And conversely, if Mama is happy and content, everyone is happy and content.

I would kindly suggest that it would be better for you to study small Bible lessons, a workbook page in math and some phonics or a short reading lesson and play with the little ones, let them help you cook (while parking baby in a high chair near by) rather than be stressed out.

Baby steps are okay. Your students are not being lost in classrooms of 30 or hammered down by the world. The little bits of progress you make will add up. Keep your eyes on that goal and trust the Lord for the rest. He is able. : )

For the practical stuff:


Many homeschoolers find that a morning gathering of everyone helps to start the day out right. Some call it Morning Meeting, some people call it Circle Time, others Family Devotion time. In summary, it’s the time when everyone gathers together to:

  • Read God’s Word~ keep it short and applicable. A devotion like Our 24 Family Ways or Pictures from Proverbs might work
  • Sing Worship Songs~ Utilizing the Wee Sing Bible Songs CD might fit this spot
  • Cover a small amount of Memory Work (Bible verse, catechism, etc.). I will share our new system soon. Again, little bits add up. Isaiah 28:10 says: “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”
  • Flash card Memory Work (You can use Phonogram Cards, Presidential cards, Math Cards, Art cards, History Cards etc. Maybe just one type of card a day.)
  • Calendar/ Weather (Saxon Math includes this and flash cards with their curriculum)

Not all families cover this much material each day or in First Grade. Keep it simple, short and interactive in this season. You have short attention spans to work with. Think of the Library lady~ She sings a song, maybe uses a puppet with the song, reads three books and she’s done. Just a sweet, fun time. : )

If the 20 month old tends to run off and get into things, this might be a good time to train your little one to be in a high chair or booster seat next to you. Short times of containment can be a good thing if you are near. Chubby hands can color a paper taped to the high chair tray, eat cheerios, look at small cardboard books or play play-doh etc.

You may decide to do math, a reading lesson or read aloud during the nap time of the little ones. You will find, with prayer, what fits your family. And every homeschooling family is different, because every family is different.


Try to think of simple rewards for your memory work or other things you want to accomplish! It will give everyone something positive to look forward to. A sticker, a candy bar to eat on family night, an ice cream cone or Popsicle with daddy. You get the idea.

Are you still reading this long e-mail? If so, know that I am praying for you dear one. You truly can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Phil. 4:13).

Many blessings,


Photo: Hailey at 16 months~ her sweet, busy ways make her a blur in photos. Love it. : )


  1. I can totally relate! I have an almost 4 year old, 20 month old, and a 3 month old.

    Trying to teach the 4 year old with the 20 month old can be very trying. This morning, he was climbing on the table, squeezing glue, eating crayons, and running off when I was trying to read to them. That was all in the first three minutes!

    I dont have the challenges of teaching a 6 year old yet, but I have found that just picking a "topic" and working on that by itself is less overwhelming. We are doing the zoo - which entails, an animal for each letter, where that animal lives, eats etc.. coloring a picture, making noises (the most fun part), writing our letter, reading tons of books about that animal for the week, and then we cap it off with a visit to the zoo to see the animal. To tie it all together we are making it a Woodland Park Animal Alphabet book.

    My tiny brain says we are just learning about animals at the zoo, but in reality it leads us to letters, counting, colors, geography, writing, and reading! But dont tell my brain, it will get overwhelmed!

  2. What a wonderful post, Rebecca! :) I just know you will have blessed many - Kelly included - with this one. All so true. I would add to Kelly- just relax!! It can indeed be overwhelming but remember that ALL of life is education. We need to continue to live whilst homeschooling our children- it cannot be all-consuming or we will fall in a heap! Find ways that work for YOU and don't compare yourself to anyone else. I began homeschooling this year and already have learnt and changed things so much. We now keep things very simple, I have learnt what works and what doesn't, how to meet the needs of my other 2 little boys, what my girl is passionate about, etc. etc. She is so good at directing her own learning (and she is only 6). It is working and we are content. BUT!! It may not look like much to someone on the outside. I know that my children are learning so so much, and are content and happy and with me, and that is what I am aiming for. :) ALl the best Kelly! xo

  3. One of the best posts I have read in a long time. Thank you for sharing, every Mother of young children should read this.

  4. Wonderful post!!!! I am just starting my 2nd year homeschooling and (3rd and K with a 2 1/2 and 1 year old in the mix). It is grueling on the mind. What if I mess them up so badly... reality is we need posts like this to bring us back to our focus. I took my kids for a walk today and as the worry crept in I said partly aloud, "It is better for them to be loved than to be smart, right?!" LOL!! I NEED NEED NEED this as much as the person you wrote this post for... Thank you! Maybe I will come back and read it daily... really!!! :)

  5. I can relate! When I started my homeschool journey I had 4 children, 5 and under! Rebecca is offering you some very sound and valuable advice. As a mom "on the other side" of babies and toddlers I can see the wisdom in relaxing and changing your program to meet your children's needs. ALL your children's needs.

  6. Great helpful insight and always, God is providing in great ways for many families through your experience. Thank you for sharing. I definitely have to pass this on to my friends who struggle to live up to the government school standards when homeschooling. Thank you.

  7. Thank you so much for your comments ladies.

    schwarkmom~ You made me laugh with that. Sounds like a fantastic project. Love it.

    Thank you Saminda~ really great thoughts.

    Thank you Melissa. You are very kind.

    Hey Shannon! My grandma used to say:

    If you pray, why worry and if you worry, why pray? She was a "smartie skirt," wasn't she? : )

    Hang in there sweetie~

    "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever." ~Eph. 3:20-21

    HE is able. : )

    Thanks Frazzled Mama and Perkfamily. You bless.


  8. That is a very encouraging post! Our kids are only 2 years old and 9 months ( Lord willing their be more in the future)But do plan to homeschool.

    I'll have to remember your advice when the time comes :-)


  9. I want to encourage Kelly and applaud you for your thoughtful, wise response. Our attitudes as mothers has SO much to do with our family harmony and how our husband's respond to us. Bravo for a great response!

    I also want to recommend to Kelly and other moms of little ones - books on tape!! I know we all want to read, read, read - but sometimes life gets in the way. In addition to what was suggested - a book on tape can be a joy for the whole family. Our tiny library had a bunch and they are great for getting the great reads in when Mom is tired or little ones are distracting.

  10. Hi , Its Kelly Thanks everybody it's nice to know we are on the river together and some of us in the same boat. This is some of the best Godly advice I have been given and am very grateful to Him whom all blessings flow.

  11. Oh, thank you for the wonderful post! It was such a blessing and encouragement to me!:)

  12. Keep up the wonderful, encouraging posts, Rebecca. What a wonderful ministry you are having to moms. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family as you reach out to others and lead by your example. We love you all!


  13. As always Rebecca, wise words! So timely too, as I am homeschooling my 4th and 1st grader this year with a tempermental, busy two-year-old and a 4 1/2 month old baby! Challenges for sure at times.

    You have once again encouraged me to re-center and think again "why" we are doing this :-)

    Lots of love,

  14. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement! I have just discovered your blog and I am about to start my homeschooling journey with my almost-5-year-old son. I also have three more little boys aged 3, 19 months, and 7 weeks. I'm nervous! But it's blogs like yours that make me feel like I can do it, and which also point me to Jesus for the strength I will need - thank you! I have also figured that I will need to work on training the little ones more before I start, from things you've mentioned here in various posts! I so appreciate your writings! I am in the UK and there is not so much homeschooling going on here as over there, so any helpful sources are great for me!

    Thank you!

  15. Absolutely invaluable wisdom here! Thank-you Rebecca. If you don't mind, I may just print this and keep it handy in my daybook...


  16. Thanking God for you! Wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement!

  17. Outstanding wisdom... Thank you for sharing your heart, ideas, and experience Rebeccah!

  18. Very kind ladies, thank you.

    Renee~ Thanks so much for saying hello! Love hearing about moms who desire to homeschool!

    Welcome~ Thanks for this suggestion. Let us know if you have any favorites. Some of our friends are enjoying the Jonathan Park CD's (Vision Forum). We've had some sweet ones in the past by a company that may be out of business. They were audio tapes, then CD's~ Happy Helpers, God's Mathematics, Aurie's Wooden Leg. Liz, can you still find these?

    Kelly~ Thanks so much for chiming in. I really appreciated your e-mail. Thank you. You are a real blessing. Please keep in touch.

    Crystal~ God is good. Thank you for sharing that.

    Hi Lisa~ Thanks my friend.

    Sommer~ That's right, you're adding cute little Rowan to the mix! Sweet times.

    Hi Alice~ How wonderful! What an encouragement. Thank you.

    Amanda~ I'd be honored.

    Hi Cathy! Thank you my friend.

    Hi Sheri~ Thank you. You're very kind. : )

  19. Wonderful post! So encouraging.

    We are currently homeschooling 3rd grade, 1st grade and have a 3 year old also. Today, I was asking the older ones who first discovered the Americas...they hesitated and the 3 year old excitedly said "Christopher Columbus"!! My older kids were on the floor laughing and telling him how smart his is!

    He knew this b/c he is with us as we read aloud and do our history projects.

    It may be hard at times to have busy little ones, but the rewards for them are so great too!

    A suggestion for books on tape. Anything from They have a huge variety of stories on tape. (fables, classic stories, Bible stories and Historical figures) We love to listen to them in the car, at quiet time at home and sometimes at night when they are not quite ready to fall asleep, but I am ready for them to stay in bed!

    Thank you for your wonderful is a ministry to me and many others!

    Jennifer in TX

  20. I just found your blog by "accident" and it has already been such a source of encouragement to me. This post your wrote about feeling overwhelmed has ministered to me tremendously. I have a 4 yr old and a 21 month old, two very, very busy boys that keep me going all day. I plan on homeschooling them, but have been very concerned as to if I can handle this. I bookmarked this post and plan on reading it often to encouragme me. Thanks you so much for taking the time to do this blog, it truly is more than a blog, it is a ministry of encouragment. Looking forward to getting to know you :)


  21. Hey Rebecca! I was just reading this post again to remind myself not to get anxious! Praying Praying Praying for this school year.
    I will be praying for your school year as well! ;-)
    Kelly K

  22. I was looking for a way to contact you for help and encouragement. I feel as though we are a house of chaos in every way. I realize that today seems much worse because I am sick, we are remodeling, and to top it off we are an angry family. I so want our lives to be different. It is hard to know where to start.

  23. Hello Mom of 8,

    Please feel free to contact me directly at:

  24. Thank you! We are outside listening to the 8yo read right now. The 6yo, 4yo, and 18mo are swinging as they listen.