Category Archives: homeschooling

31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: When Burnout Happens

This week we have taken Kara’s advice to Step Out & honestly, it was just the thing we needed. We stopped being slaves to our schedule and traipsed through the woods.





Typically we have our “Holy Monday” and then Tuesday through Friday our time is divided up with lessons, school work & classes. I made a choice to scale back and eliminate what I could.
I’ve found that after 15 yrs homeschooling & worrying about high school round 2 & 3 looming, I have burned myself out especially with all the extras. I teach in our co-op, lead a Jr high group weekly, teach out of our home, run kids to lessons & swimming…
I let it become all too much. Therefore, I’m beginning the downsizing process. If I can’t slow time I can at least enjoy the time we have together. I’ve dropped the kids swimming for now adding hikes, bike trails, dog walks, things we can do together instead. I’m finishing off the group in the spring & I’m trying fervently to add read aloud back into our days. Small steps over several months that I hope will renew me.



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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Guest Post

Today I have a visitor! I’ve opened my blog up to Kara of If Mama Ain’t Happy to share how she loves to get the creative juices flowing and I have to say she is a girl after my own creative heart! May her words inspire you:

Every now and then in my domain of homeschool land I find myself driving my kids to just get their to-do list done. Sometimes it’s just inevitable. I mean, stuff just has to get done. I’m in my twelfth year of homeschooling and if I have learned one thing it’s that my kids need to be creative to be productive. If school work has become drudgery, or brings on tears in under 30 seconds, I know it’s time to get the creative juices flowing.

Some days that’s easier said than done. First off, getting creative means something different to everyone. Second, sometimes the fear of not doing something right will hold us back from trying something new.

When we’re stuck in a rut and can’t get out I have a few go-to sure-fire ways to get my people excited:

Step out.


Sometimes that means a quick walk around the block, other times it means a hike in the woods. It all depends on how long we’ve been cooped up in the house and what the weather is doing. When I was in college taking child development classes I observed in a pre-school. The teacher insisted that, rain or shine, the children spend at least two twenty minute sessions outside every day. That has stuck with me all these years later. Everyone benefits when you get outside to get some fresh air, and seeing the colors of Creation, taking time to notice minutia can be enough to loosen up the stagnant rivers in the kids’ brains. The kids may grumble when I announce it’s time to go out but I notice on the way back inside they’re all (mostly) smiling.


Doodle. Color. Paint. Whatever tickles your fancy. It's super important to give kids options and time to just create. This year I decided to buy each of my four kids a sketch book. This has been a stretch for some of my less artsy inclined children, but it has taught them to think out of the box. Sometimes I give them a topic, sometimes we find magazines to cut pictures for collages. The first time we journaled we went to a park. It was not the harmonious experience I had hoped because it challenged the kids to be creative with a different medium besides Legos or scrolling on Pinterest. It was great, though, to watch the kids share their work later that evening with their Dad. I'm not as diligent about getting out the bag I was the first weeks of school, but when I get the satchel that holds the art journals and supplies I hear way more cheers than groans.

Tidy up. This is my least favorite but most helpful tactic to encourage innovative thinking. I will just go on and confess that I am far from a neatnik. My husband might even call me a clutter bug. I think of myself as someone who organizes with piles. Piles on the couch, piles on the table, or any flat surface, actually, and piles on the floor. I do not know many homeschoolers who avoid the eventual pile up that occurs when you do school at home. I do know, however, that when our house is (mostly) tidy we are much more productive, and therefore much more creative.

Pump up the jam. Well, maybe not with Salt-N-Peppa, but putting music on helps bring out the imagination. As a young mom I would sometimes call out, “Dance party!” and my little people would come get their groove on in the kitchen with me. I still sometimes call for a Dance Party, but we also like to listen to genres that are new. It’s how we learn what we like. It’s also how I can get my kids to do something they would ordinarily think they couldn’t do. Having them paint, draw, or write a story as they listen to new music allows them to enter their own world and interpret what they’re hearing on their own.

Being creative every day is vital to our homeschool, and really just to being alive. I believe that being creative connects us to our Creator, and look at how creative He is! I think getting out play dough, throwing some Legos on the table, playing with glue, taking pictures of nature, anything that fuels the artistic tendencies in children will get those juices going.

Sometimes, parents even find themselves getting creative!

See? What’d I tell you? Super inspiring!
Thanks Kara for stopping by & dropping off some sweet & creative encouragement!

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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Books

• so many books, so little time
• a room without books is like a body without a soul
• you can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me
••• I’m quite positive there are thousands of quotes about books, & they are one thing I feel certain I’ve done right in our homeschool.

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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Waiting

Today we sat in the doctor’s waiting room. Lucy with a Rick Riordan book & me with a head full of all the thoughts.
Someday creative homeschooling looks like getting in as much of the basics as possible & not worrying about the schedule.




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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Inspiration




Yes, When You Rise Up ~ again. Because every time I need to remember why we are doing what we are doing this book brings me back to what’s important. Right away on page 17, “This is our goal- raising
God-glorifying children, rather than raising responsible citizens who can manage to get along with the world around them.”.
And on page 29, “I’m not arguing that it’s a bad thing for our children to be smart. Rather, I am suggesting that the issue of education is always the heart…. Our goal is not multigenerational personal peace & affluence. Neither are we simply trying to raise clean-cut children…”



(I realize that the verse doesn’t match 1 John 4:7 & 8. “We love” is from 1 John 4:19.. this journal page is about how our love is given out because The Lord loves us)

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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: Do’s & Don’ts

Lucy letterboxing

Do ~
Love your child.

Realize their interests.

Play games.

Read aloud.

Write them notes.

Teach phonics.

Take advantage of
learning moments.

may 150

Don’t ~
Allow discipline to rule your family.

Ignore your children’s fears.

Expect them to like to read (or math, Latin, classics, poetry..) if they don’t.

Get hung up on spelling.

Try 50 million curriculums.

Forget to have fun!

I have been homeschooling for almost 7 years. (IF you count preschool and you know we all want to!)

This is what I have learned
~ We get too caught up in what other homeschool families are doing.

~We are suckers for comparing ourselves or our children to others!

~We think we must buy and try everything out there.

~ Homeschooling curricula has become a market!! (or is that a racket?!?!)

* I wrote this list in 2006, and I have to say that I haven’t changed my mind about any it. I would probably add:

– do create a schedule
– don’t be afraid to take time off
– do seek opportunities for others to teach your children
– don’t forget to explore field trips

So what about you? What would you add? I’m curious to read your list!!

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31 Days of Creative Homeschooling: An Unexpected Gift

Dyslexia a gift?
My daughter will scoff and I can’t blame her. I don’t imagine she can see the gift. In fact, I’m fairly certain she might never see dyslexia as a gift. But dyslexia has been a gift to me and in turn, has made me a better mother to her and to her siblings.
Learning to parent a child with dyslexia meant examining my preconceived notions of what her interests would be, her education & learning style, and my life plans & goals.
We had decided to homeschool when she was quite young, therefore, homeschooling meant finger painting, reading about Jesse Bear, talking about Jesus, and going to the zoo. Good times! Fun & easy! We were golden until the time came when I thought she should be reading.

She was such a little bean, and I had so much to learn. We plugged away with pathway readers, explode the code workbooks, sing spell read & write curriculum, read alouds, wizardspell, computer games, posters, board games, blocks…..are you getting worn out reading the list? We certainly got worn out trying to achieve the list. She would do the work, many times in tears, we would spend far too long on each assignment, I would push far too hard….
It is a sad memory for me & I’m certain sadder for her.

Hear this, “she would do the work”.
If I could have seen she was doing it, maybe I could have slowed down. But no.
Although she was doing the work, it didn’t stick. It took years before anything stuck. Not her fault. Not my fault.
I did eventually wake up from my homeschool mommy fog. We slowed down. I apologized for pushing too hard. I acknowledged things she said. I read aloud, we loved good books, we played. I remembered to breathe.

Dyslexia taught me to know & love my children right where they are for exactly who they are. Some parents never learn that.

Has she conquered dyslexia? No. I’m not sure one ever fully can. We both have learned to live with dyslexic quirks, not to bite off more than she can chew and to not be defeated by dyslexia.
How can I not be grateful?
(originally posted 11/2011)

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