Secrets of Successful Homeschooling

You Have What it Takes to Homeschool!
A compilation of lessons from well-known authors such as
Cindy Rushton, Christine Field, Terri Camp, and Lorrie Flem.

©November, 2005 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC
PO Box 1701, Dandridge, TN 37725

Printed in the United States of America
All rights reserved
General Editor: Melonie K. Murray
Project Manager: Jessica Harvey
Cover Design: Patricia Tirado, Dzign Associates

Cover Art: Monika Wisniewska | Agency:

A Note from the Creators of The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine, Paul & Gena Suarez
Why an e-book on homeschooling? Shouldn’t we take the contents of this incredible resource
and publish it so it can land on bookshelves like our print magazine? We didn’t think so! Parents
considering the education of their children often require their answers quickly. They are studious
themselves; they are good researchers. Many rely on the Net to get their questions answered. With
an electronically delivered book, you can have what you are looking for in mere seconds, with no
shipping charge!
Inside these pages you will find honest writings from homeschool parents who have found
success in their own homeschools. One question we often get is, “But how would I teach a child
to read? I’m not qualified.” You’d be amazed at how simple it actually is—and it is better for the
child. The one-on-one attention and warmth between parent and child cannot be duplicated by a
teacher trying to meet the various needs of 30 children in a classroom. There is just no comparison.
If you love your child, you are already ahead of the game. While school teachers may make meaningful
connections with their students and truly care about the child’s classroom experience under their
supervision, they will never love your child the way you do. Children should learn in a relaxed,
loving environment, one unsullied by ridicule from peers, bullies on the playground or a weary
teacher trying to do her best job under the circumstances of the sheer numbers of children she
needs to reach. When you ask your child to read aloud, rather than him sharing the floor time
with 29 others, he will have your ear for as long it’s needed. When she just doesn’t “get” her math
assignment, she’ll have you to explain it over and over until mastery is achieved—rather than feeling embarrassed about asking for help, and allowing the teacher to sweep her off to the next lesson
without full understanding of the material. A homeschooled education is a customized education.
It’s a plan your family constructs, and it is unique. This individualized education has other benefits as well. Research has shown that homeschooled students do well on standardized tests and on
academic evaluations. Colleges and universities across the United States are now actively recruiting
homeschool graduates, whom they know to be confident, independent students with a true love of
You can do this—you are able to homeschool! Inside this e-book you will hear from authors
who will support and encourage you as you educate your own children, and then you’ll meet
authors who tell you specifically how to get started, how to teach reading, math, and how to be organized. We’re sure that when you finish this e-book you’ll want to pre-order your copy of our next
title, Homeschooling the High Schooler: From Transcripts to Graduation. Contact us today
to reserve your copy of this vital new homeschool resource and we’ll give you a coupon for $5.00
off the new e-book!
Whether you are a new parent thinking ahead to your family’s educational years, a young
homeschooler in the trenches, or a veteran parent who has “been there, done that”, there is something here for everyone. You will come away with a renewed hope, a vision for your journey ahead.
It’s time to create a successful, customized homeschool education for YOUR children! Let’s get
From Our Family to Yours,
Paul and Gena Suarez
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC


Introduction: What Do YOU Need to Homeschool? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Part One: Support & Encouragement
Chapter 1. Homeschooling: Questions You Should Ask . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Chapter 2. Let Freedom Reign: Creative Education in the Homeschool . . . . . 9
Chapter 3. Don’t Just Rise, Rise and SHINE! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Chapter 4. TEAM Schooling: Single, Working and Homeschooling . . . . . . . 15
Chapter 5. The Organized Homeschool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Chapter 6. Home by Choice: Am I Depriving my Children? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Chapter 7. Confessions of an “Unsocialized” Homeschool Grad . . . . . . . . . . 25
Chapter 8. Pouring Myself into My Children’s Lives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Part Two: The Nuts & Bolts
Chapter 9. There’s a Method to My Madness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Chapter 10. The Frugal Homeschool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Chapter 11. Special Needs: Yes, You CAN Homeschool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Chapter 12. Homeschooling in the United Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Chapter 13. Simple Steps to Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Chapter 14. Teaching Math in the Homeschool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Chapter 15. Let’s Try Lapbooking! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Chapter 16. At Home for School, Work and Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Biographies: Meet the Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
A Special Offer from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60



What Do YOU Need to Homeschool?
Homeschooling is not a new method of education. Up until just a century or so
ago, children were frequently taught at home, by their parents or by paid tutors.
Living, working, and learning as a family were not uncommon.
As homeschooling once again becomes a mainstream educational option, more
and more families are asking questions. “Why should we homeschool? How do we
homeschool? What about our jobs? What about socialization, extracurricular activities, elective subjects?” The list goes on!
Whether you are a veteran homeschooler looking for some extra support or
some ideas for adapting your family’s learning methods, or a parent who is just
considering home education as an option for your family, this e-book will be of
use to you. More than a dozen homeschooling parents have come together to offer
answers, suggestions, humor and support to those new to the homeschooling community and those who have been here for years.
In the first portion of this e-book you’ll find support and encouragement from
homeschooling moms who have “been there, done that”. Deborah Wuehler shares
her questions and will help you onto the pathway of homeschooling. Dena Wood
reminds us that creativity is integral in the homeschool. Marsha Drew has some tips
for helping the homeschool run smoothly. Single and married homeschoolers alike
will gain encouragement from Terri Camp and organizational tips from Melonie
Murray. Lorrie Flem and Coie Igarashi share humorous insights about being homeschoolers, and Nancy Baetz will remind you of what it’s “all about.”
The second portion of this e-book is about the “nuts and bolts” of homeschooling. This is where you’ll learn about homeschooling methods, teaching individual
subjects, and even a brief history of homeschooling in another country! Kris Price
will help you get started with an introduction to some of the most popular philosophies in the homeschool community today. Julie Nott has tips for homeschooling
on a budget. Christine Field shares her insights for parents of students with special
needs along with a healthy dose of encouragement. Jane Bullivant has joined in
from “across the pond” to introduce us to homeschooling in the United Kingdom.
Gather tips for teaching reading and math from Eleanor Joyce and Dena Wood, and
join Cindy Rushton for a lesson in making Lapbooks. Then let Crystal Paine help
you bring school and work home by offering anecdotes from homeschoolers running businesses from home.
The overwhelming message we here at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine would like
you to have is that homeschooling is a viable method of education for many families. There are Secrets of Successful Homeschooling…and now you know them too!



Part One:

Support & Encouragement


Homeschooling: Questions You Should Ask
By Deborah Wuehler

Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the
Lord: and he delights in his way.”
New to Homeschooling? Welcome! You have just decided to join the ranks of
the beginning homeschoolers who are wondering what they are getting themselves
into. And, I might add, Congratulations! You are embarking on the journey of a
Are you a little terrified or are you feeling overwhelmed with choices? Perhaps
you’re wondering about curriculum, your teaching style, your child’s learning style,
or maybe just how to schedule it all in on top of the regular household duties?
First, relax and realize that God has called you to this road less traveled and He
will provide what is necessary for your journey. There is no “one size fits all” in
homeschooling—no singular “right” way to provide an education for your children.
There are as many varied methods as there are families who homeschool and they
are all doing the job extremely well.
It can still be very overwhelming looking down that long road of homeschooling
when your vantage point is the starting line. One of the first things to do is establish your thoughts and make some goals. Let’s begin to answer some basic questions
by asking a few more:

Values and Viewpoints
What are your values and viewpoints (your “philosophy”) of education—in other words, in the long run, what is important to you and your family? What do you
want the education of your children to achieve for them?  Write it down. Do you
want them well educated in man’s wisdom in order to be able to answer every man?
Do you want them well educated in God’s precepts?  Do you want them to eventually go to college or do you prefer apprenticeship?  Are you in favor of workbooks
or would you rather your child’s interests direct the way? What are your personal
convictions?  How will they fit into your educational goals?

What exactly do you want to accomplish this year with your children? What do
you need in terms of books and supplies to fit with what you want to accomplish?
For example, if you have a second grader who is not reading yet, your goal may
be to teach that child to read. How you do that depends on the curriculum you
choose, the learning style the child has and the resources available. Will you use
a book or will you make your own flash cards? Will you use a few workbook pages

a day or will you read and have them sound things out with you? Are they coming home from public or private school? They may be used to a more organized,
workbook format. When you have a plan, then you can begin looking at how to
accomplish that plan and with what curriculum, if any. Sit down with your spouse
to discuss and pray about your educational goals for each child each year, and then
write them down. 

What type of personality is your family—are you well organized with your time,
or more relaxed?  Do you enjoy paperwork or nature walks?  Are you project oriented or would you rather read good books?  Are you scheduled or spontaneous? If you
know the dynamics of your family and your own teaching style, you will be better
able to decipher what will actually work for your family.
What kind of learner is your child? Do they learn better by seeing (visual), hearing (auditory) or doing (kinesthetic)? Will they learn better with textbooks, handson, narration, or a combination?  Only look for things that you can easily use and
that will enhance their ability to learn. Get practical and make a list for each child
about what they need—keep it basic. Don’t overwhelm yourself with extras that
may not be necessary.
Your family is unique—you will be different from all others in your approach,
your goals, and your convictions.  As you go along and find out what works in your
household, your personal style will begin to emerge. What is most important is that
you are in unity with your spouse and you know the heart of God for your own

Getting Practical
Let’s get a little more practical. If your children are very young and just beginning to homeschool, you will only need a few good resources. They must be taught
to read, so they will need some type of phonics lessons. For writing, they can begin
writing simple words on lined paper or you can find a resource to help them shape
their letters. You’ll need a good math book which covers the basics and offers repetition for reinforcement. Or, at this age, you can do it yourself: math manipulatives
can be beans or blocks. Most likely you will not need anything extra that you don’t
already have around the house.  And, of course, you should be reading to them
daily: share good books about history, science, and just plain fun reading books. 
A fun way for the whole family to learn is through unit-type studies. You can
make your own by allowing the children to pick a topic they are interested in and
then go to the local library for many of your resources. Keep a binder of what they
learn and their drawings along the way. Throw in a few field trips and you will have
provided a very successful learning experience.
What about housework? Teach your children to do chores when they are very
young and you will have help for all those household duties that need to be done

daily. Plan for a little mess to pile up here and there and then plan to clean it up
together. It’s all part of the learning process.

Getting Support
As this is the beginning of your adventure, don’t go it alone.  It is extremely
helpful to get support.  A few like-minded friends or a support group will work wonders in answering your questions and offering encouragement.  Keep reading, keep
asking questions, and you’re sure to find many answers. 
It is important to check with Home School Legal Defense Association for any
questions relating to legal issues in your state at and consider becoming members in order to protect your family legally. Stay in tune to the homeschooling community by subscribing to a good homeschooling newsletter (such as
those offered on and
and a quality magazine (such as The Old Schoolhouse Magazine). Many home educators benefit greatly from hearing about how other families homeschool.

For the Teacher
What about you, the new teacher? What do you need personally? You need to
soak yourself in the Word of God and keep feeding yourself spiritually until you are
overflowing with His joy and confidence. If He has called you to teach your children, His grace will be sufficient for any weakness you perceive in yourself. When
you take those first steps down the homeschooling road, keep your eyes on the
Author and Finisher of your children’s education. The journey will be worth every
effort as you see your children open up and flourish before you.


Let Freedom Reign!
Creative Education in the Homeschool
By Dena Wood

“How! Me Squanto,” says my son as he answers the door
dressed in a homemade loincloth and headband.
The UPS man grins, peeks inside at me and says, “Learning about Indians
this week?”
You see, in the prior couple of months our friendly delivery man had been greeted by frontiersmen who bragged of sewing their own coonskin caps and jesters who
assured him they could make him laugh. Such is the freedom we have in homeschooling. Our children have the room to take learning from textbooks and worksheets and integrate it into their lives through their work and play. They are able to
make learning real and active part of their lives.
Unfortunately, freedom can be a fearsome thing. Rules, test, worksheets, and
schooling in the manner we were raised with can provide a sense of comfort. We
know we are covering the right things at the right time and the have tests and
worksheets to prove it. Thankfully, we are not required to choose one method over
the other. I encourage you to take the best of both worlds. Use texts and tests as you
see fit, but, at the same time, be sure not to discount the value of learning that takes
place through more enjoyable, non-traditional methods.
For instance, will your child obtain better math skills by filling out a page full
of “greater than” “less than” problems or by playing a rousing game of War with
Mom? Each method uses the same mathematical process. A game of War, however,
has the added benefit of being FUN, not to mention relationship building. Mom can
be seen as the bad guy who comes in after the work is finished and fills the paper
with red marks or she can take the opportunity to laugh and play with her child as
she accomplishes the very same thing. There is no difference in the skill being exercised. With the game your child will be likely to play longer, have a blast and go on
to teach his siblings how to play. See how that works? You won’t even need to teach
the next kids when it’s their turn!
Following are just a few examples of how to make creative education a part of
your homeschool:
*Chore time—When folding towels, have your child fold them into halves,
thirds and fourths. Ask him to measure the perimeter of one towel and then determine the total perimeter of all the towels folded when you’ve completed the task.
He could estimate how many pounds of laundry you do each day and then weigh
each load to see how close he came. As you clean the bathroom have him estimate
the weight of various items and set them on the scale to check accuracy. When you
pick up books in the living room have your child take a moment to put them in or-


der from least to greatest. A small child can do this by size and an older child could
use the ISBN number on the back. Determine the skills you want to reinforce and
you will be surprised at the ways you can find to integrate them into daily life.
* Talk, talk, talk—It’s amazing where a simple question can lead. My four
year old recently asked how they made Chapstick. Rather than brushing him off I
had him and his siblings guess what it was made from. We then read the label to see
if we were close. That led to a discussion about what the different ingredients were
(in “real-people” terms) and my explaining how the ingredients were listed in order.
This conversation re-surfaced throughout the week as my children perused cans in
the pantry to check ingredients, determined what was most or least healthy in the
grocery store and learned the many different names for sugar.
*The world around you—On a long drive I was able to use the shapes of
signs and mile markers to have my children point out horizontal, vertical and
oblique line segments, estimate mileage and practice addition. These opportunities
abound if we are on the lookout.
*Drama! A favorite activity in my Sunday School class is to act out the Bible
stories we have recently learned. What great reinforcement!
*Audio and video resources—My daughter is a night owl who listens to
books-on-tape as she falls asleep each night. The number of tapes she plows through
is almost as astonishing as the knowledge she gains. Recently, I was reading the
Greek myth of the Minotaur as she quickly corrected my pronunciation. I asked
how she knew and she told me she’d heard it on her tapes and, quite accurately,
recounted the story to me.
*Games, Games, Games!—Games are one of my absolute favorite ways to
reinforce learning. Card games, dominos, Scrabble, Boggle, Monopoly as well as
specifically educational games and computer games can be great learning fun. Trigger Memory Systems sells a wonderful blank game set that allows you to make your
own educational game to correspond to a study on a specific subject.
*Pretend play—Use Legos to build a castle making sure it has battlements, a
tower, drawbridge, keep, turret, moat, etc. Enact a siege and use words in your play
to reinforce new vocabulary such as; catapult, garrison, crest, chain mail, etc.
*Nature study—A favorite resource of mine is Comstock’s Handbook of Nature
Study. With this book you can be an expert on practically anything having to do
with nature. Daddy recently brought home a painted turtle found on the roadside
and we were able to easily learn about and examine him for a few days before returning him. When my daughter brings in a fuzzy caterpillar I turn to this guide
and find information along with several questions, experiments and even poetry. It
is great fun to enter all these discoveries into an ongoing nature notebook.

– 10 –

None of these ideas are intended as “to-do’s” but rather as a spark to light your
creative fire. Don’t be tied to the classroom model of teaching. Instead, have a ball
educating your children at home! Enjoy your time with them and be free to have
FUN! Both you and your children will look back on these years with a fond remembrance.

Creative education resources:—One-stop-shop for nontraditional learning materials and producer of Times Tales, a FUN
memorization system for the upper times tables.—Many creative education
resources as well as hints, tips and games for creative learning.—An online homeschool magazine with resources
and articles for creative, eclectic homeschoolers.—Come meet fellow homeschoolers and share ideas!—Great articles, inspiration and resources for creative learning.—Check out their “Creative Homeschooling”
category for lots of great ideas and articles.

– 11 –

Don’t Just Rise, Rise and SHINE!
By Marsha Drews
Ahhhh…waking up to the sound of seagulls reminds me of the beach. But I am
not resting in the lap of luxury on white sandy beaches. It’s just the alarm going
off…again. Hitting the snooze on my fancy nature sounds alarm clock one more
time is not an option. So I climb out of my cozy bed to get ready for the day.
Shower, dressed, quiet time, and coffee…just in time to hear the first little sleepyhead wander into the kitchen with a “Boo!” I pretend to be surprised and greet my
oldest son with a hug and kiss. It isn’t long before my four-year-old and baby are
awake as well. I settle everyone down for breakfast and we begin with a read-aloud.
Sometimes it’s verses from their Wednesday night class at church, but today we are
reading the next exciting chapter in the adventures of The Boxcar Children. After
breakfast and discussions on why mommy doesn’t want to use the swimming pool
as a refrigerator, it is time to get them out of pj’s and ushered down to our schoolroom for some educating. The boys rush down the stairs and eagerly wait at the
table for me to pull out the day’s schedule and give them their assignments. I can
already tell that it’s going to be a very good day!
It wasn’t too long ago that my days began with “Mommmmmy! Please will you
get out of bed? We’re really, really hungry!” I’d guiltily climb out of bed wondering
what in the world I had gotten myself into with this whole homeschooling thing…
and now with a new baby on the way, I’m really going to be in trouble! Sure my
friends with five or even nine kids can do this, but even with just two-and-a-half
kids, I can’t be a superwoman like them! Defeated, discouraged, and disheartened I
sought help. I sought wise counsel in every form I knew possible—from God, books,
and my super-homeschooling friends. Here’s what I found to be helpful in making
even the most chaotic days and weeks of my schooling a success.

Discipline—It’s Not Just for the Kids
If discipline and training are necessary for kids to be at their best, then how
much more important is it for us as parents? As hard as it is for some parents to admit (myself included), we are the grownups so we must maintain self-discipline!
The best days begin with a mommy that is rested, refreshed and ready to greet
her kids as soon as they wake up. I found this to be possible by not only having a
consistent wake-up time, but a consistent bedtime as well. It is easy to get carried
away with reading, watching TV or computer time when the kids are in bed and
the house is quiet. This is where that self-discipline kicks in. Set a bedtime that
actually gives you 8 hours of sleep and stick to it. The same goes for that wake-up
time…by buzzer or seagulls, get up and get yourself in gear—no one can make you
do it but YOU!

– 12 –

Don’t Just Rise, Rise and Shine
There is definitely truth to the saying “If momma ain’t happy, then nobody’s
happy!” You set the tone for your family, your home and your school day. We all
want our kids to be a Cheerful Charlie, not a Grumpy Gus…and we must lead by
If you want your kids to wake up smiling in the morning, then greet them with
a smile. When your child has forgotten (yet again) the spelling words you thought
he mastered the previous day, don’t get angry and hold a grudge—encourage him
to review and practice them again. Teach him to face frustration and difficulty with
grace and perseverance, not gloom and doom. Do you want science to be fun and
exciting? Then oooh and ahhh even when the volcano sputters instead of explodes
like you imagined it would. Don’t get upset, down or dwell on it. Enjoy it, learn
from it, and then move on! Your attitude and your tone set the outcome of success
or failure for each and every day—make it for the better, not the worse.

Develop a Game Plan
Invest the time at the beginning of each school year to set goals. How do you
know if you’ve succeeded or even what to do every day if you don’t know what
you’re working toward?
For example, my two goals for Kindergarten were for my child to learn to read
and write. Even if I didn’t build a replica of Biltmore out of Popsicle sticks or make
handprint turkeys for Thanksgiving, I knew that we could proudly graduate from
Kindergarten because my child met and even exceeded his goals of learning to read
and write.
Establish your goals first, and then decide how you’re going to reach them. This
is the time to look at curriculum, your children’s learning styles and any other factors you need to consider. Remember to keep those goals in mind at all times! If it
doesn’t bring you a step closer to reaching your established goals, then don’t worry
about it.

Distractions, Disruptions and Diversions
While I seek to live a simple life, this technologically advanced world that I live
in just doesn’t let me! I am bombarded daily with phone calls, e-mails and other requests that would require my attention. Fortunately, these are easily fixed. I turn the
ringer off and shut down the computer until after our lessons are done. And to keep
certain friends and family from calling the police out of sheer worry, I make it clear
to each of them that I am simply unavailable until after lunch.
Certain other distractions, however, just can’t be helped. My sweet little baby
just demands to be fed, held and played with…every single day…imagine! There’s
three of them and just one of me. I may be outnumbered but I’m not outwitted!

– 13 –

We have a schedule and an order to our day. We take advantage of the baby’s
awake and happy time. I set out special toys for the baby that only come out during school. This keeps him actively interested for a longer period of time. While he
is playing on the floor, the bigger boys and I will sit on the couch and cover our
reading, handwriting and spelling lessons. These are subjects that I can easily teach
or direct even while the baby is on my hip. While the baby is napping, we cover
the meatier subjects that require concentration and/or one-on-one teaching. This
includes math with the oldest, phonics with the younger one, and science experiments that have baby-tempting components like glass jars, chemicals or choking
hazards. It’s amazing what you can cover in one hour when you KNOW that’s all
the time you have!

Demonstrate Flexibility
When facing challenges each day, you have two ways you can respond. You can
shudder in disbelief and then throw a fit, or you can be flexible and accommodate
that challenge. While the first does happen on a rare occasion, flexibility is definitely the wisest choice. And you DO have a choice!
One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is flexibility. We are not tied down
to having school from 8:15am until the bell rings at 3:15pm. My husband has a job
that takes him away from home for days at a time. When he is home, our priority
is to spend time together as a family. Sometimes he will be invited to play golf and,
great dad that he is, he will want to take the kids with him. So we flip-flop our day
so they can play while it’s light outside and then hit the books at night. The same
goes for the not-so-good events like the other day when one of my boys fell and
required stitches. Five hours waiting in the ER definitely throws off your school day!
We made up that school day by having lessons on a day that we normally have off.

You can be successful at homeschooling! You just need a little discipline, the
right demeanor, a developed game plan, and decide to be flexible for those times
when things don’t go quite like you planned.

– 14 –

TEAM Schooling
Single, Working, and Homeschooling
By Terri Camp
When I suddenly found myself single and working full-time I wondered how in
the world I would be able to continue homeschooling my six remaining children.
Two have graduated from homeschooling already. I discovered that in order for this
to work, there would have to be some TEAM effort. I had to figure out a way to utilize my Time and Energy. Our new Adventure together required me to rethink the
Materials I would use. I knew that for me to be successful, I would require some help
in the above areas.
When life took over, homeschooling took a back seat. This was okay, for a
season, but not for the entire lives of my remaining children. They would eventually need to get back to hitting the books. Granted there was much they learned
on our life journey the first few months. However, I knew they needed more than
I could offer them in my few hours in the evenings when I wasn’t at work. I made
it a subject of much prayer. I wasn’t surprised when God answered my pleas from
within my own family.
My second oldest daughter had graduated from our home school in June. She
was planning to attend Community College, but with the move, she couldn’t afford
the out of state tuition. After much thought, she came to realize that God was giving her an opportunity to help out her family. She decided to stay home with the
remaining children in order to homeschool them. She knew that homeschooling
was a lifestyle for us, and she wanted to do whatever she could to enable that the
children continue in their homeschooling. She was willing to replace the Time that
I didn’t have with her own Time.
I’ve heard of many instances where a previously homeschooled child comes
into the home and takes over the role of homeschool instructor. We must be careful that the person is not simply a replacement for a teacher, but someone who truly
loves and cares for your children as if they were her own.
When faced with the loss of a spouse either through divorce or death, there is
often a huge emotional burden that can zap us of our energy to do even the simplest of tasks. This is a short season of healing. We need to be careful not to ignore
the basic needs of our own bodies. Enlist the help of others to take over some of
those tasks. It is far better to ask for help than to wake up each day and fall deeper
under the weight of the overwhelming tasks. If money isn’t an issue hire someone
to come in and clean. For many singles, money is extremely tight. This is when
you need to put away the pride for awhile, and when people ask what they can do,
hand them your laundry basket. I had to swallow my pride many times. One of the
things I had to do was explain to my children that I desperately needed their help.
We formed cleaning teams. An older child is paired with a younger child. These
teams are given a certain cleaning location. This rotates each week in our home. On
Fridays, they do a thorough cleaning, so the room is clean for the next team when

– 15 –

they take over the following week. When I get home at the end of a long day, it is
much easier for me to spend personal time with the children because the house isn’t
in serious need of cleaning.
Homeschooling was always an Adventure in our house. We looked at our new
life as just another adventure. We knew God would be walking the road with us.
Daily we give our homeschool plans over to Him. One of the ways He proved His
faithfulness to us was in placing me in a job as a store manager at a homeschool
bookstore, which offers supplemental classes for homeschoolers. This is not a public
school, but a place where my children can come once a week for a class in an area
that they need. (The store is located in Watauga TX, just north of Fort Worth. You
can learn more about it at If you find yourself
in need of work, whether you’re married or newly single, you might want to check
to see if there is any place where your children can take a class or two. One of the
greatest advantages for me is that I work in a family-friendly environment where
my children are welcome. Just last week my 11 year old came and helped me move
books around on the shelves. She helped with pricing books as well as organizing
them. When my kids come to work with me, they see the inner workings of a business. I’ve always believed education to be not about the textbooks they read, but
that it is an adventure to be lived. However, when I had to go to work, I felt I was no
longer there to help guide them on their adventure.
As I perused the shelves of my bookstore, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. There was a lot of sadness and regret as I focused on textbooks for my children. Then I had a brilliant idea. I brought them in and showed them the materials
we could choose. I also took into account that Christi would be doing the bulk of
education with them. As with every step of our new life, this area was also the subject of much prayer. Again, God did not let us down, but led each child to the books
they would need and desired to do.
God has blessed us tremendously. When I was married and stayed home with
my children, my life was the way I knew it was supposed to be. When the elements
of my life changed, I mourned the loss of the way it used to be. What I have discovered on this journey is that no matter where I am in life, God is there walking
beside me, guiding me, and directing me. I want to encourage you that even when
your life seems to fall apart, you can continue to walk in His will. It doesn’t make
any difference what kind of life I’m living as long as God is the center and I’m looking to Him. God revealed to me that I could not do it alone. He needed me to release it all to Him so He could bring about the TEAM work that would be required.
Now the concept of TEAM work is frequently enforced in our home. The children
all know that when we work together we can accomplish much.

– 16 –

The Organized Homeschool
By Melonie K. Murray
After some deliberation, you have chosen to homeschool. You’ve hit the curriculum fairs, the support group meetings, the store that caters to educators with all
those fun reward stickers and unit studies and colorful pencils and…stuff. Lots and
lots of STUFF. Don’t forget the trips to the bookstore and the library. After all, you
have to have picture books, reference books, field guides, videos, audio books…the
list goes on, doesn’t it?
Then there are the trappings every family has. You’ve got raincoats, shoes, stray
socks, art projects, alphabet magnets, food pyramid charts, fingerprints, dust, dirt
tracked in from the latest foray to the sandbox…as time goes on there will be puzzles, educational software, the alphabet magnets for the toddler to play with, the
workbooks and craft supplies and the laundry and the grocery lists and the bills
that are piling up somewhere (but you’re not sure where), and…STOP! Stop right
there, and move AWAY from the three-year-old curriculum catalog you’ve been
saving because you really want to look for the book on page 27. You’ve got all this
STUFF—all these catalogs, books, pencils, notebooks, projects, mementos, paperwork—but what are you going to DO with all of it?
Maybe it’s time for a little intervention. I promise this will be fairly painless; you
might even enjoy some of the steps involved. First of all, it’s important for me to
share a little secret with you: you are not the only one. Some of the most delightful families I know thrive in environments that I can only call “creative”. Others,
however, use the “excuse” of having children home all the time as a reason to just
let things pile up…to no one’s benefit. Having children and having an orderly home
are not mutually exclusive concepts. In fact, having a place for everything and trying to put everything in its place can be a learning experience for the whole family.
It can even be fun!
“Fun?” you scoff. (Yes, I heard you snicker too.) “How on earth can cleaning be
fun?” Consider this…a two-year-old with his own child-sized broom and dustpan
will have much more fun helping Mom sweep the kitchen than he will have being
told to stay out of Mommy’s way while she sweeps. A four-year-old who is praised
for neatly hanging up her coat on a peg after a nature walk will enjoy her return
home much more than the little girl who is scolded for never being able to remember where her coat is and being cold on the next walk. And the teen that can plan a
menu and find cooking utensils is much more likely to invite new friends over for a
home-cooked brunch where involved adults can monitor interaction than the one
who can’t even find the measuring spoons this week. Taking the time to establish
basic cleaning routines and to incorporate organization at all levels of the home is
as vital to your family’s homeschooling journey as scheduling field trips and paying for all those pencils, notebooks, and books. If you can’t find that wonderful new
history book, how on earth are you going to use it?

– 17 –

Ready to start that intervention I mentioned? Here are some basic tips for organizing your home, your homeschool, and all that STUFF!

Baskets, boxes, and bills…oh my! What to do with all that
printed matter?
• Sort the mail as it comes in. I keep extra plastic trash bin in my kitchen
which is used exclusively for recyclable paper items. I can stand in my
kitchen and immediately place junk mail and catalogs in my paper recycling
container. It also comes in handy for the paper labels off cans and jars used
during meal preparation!
• Try using attractive baskets to neatly stack magazines and catalogs that are
waiting to be read. Recycle old magazines through your waste management
company, or by passing them on to your friends, local library, or a local senior center. (Be sure to remove any mailing labels first!) Place treasured back
issues of magazines and catalogs you plan to order from in a different basket,
or file them neatly in a file box.
• Tired of wracking up library fines because the books end up all over the
house and left behind on library day? Designate a special library basket near
the door or a specific shelf where library books are kept. I use a canvas tote,
myself. Videos borrowed from the library go back into the tote bag after they
are watched, and since Tuesday is library day, each Monday night I do a quick
“book sweep” to make sure the books are placed in it as well. I started putting
the bag in my truck so it can’t be forgotten, and fines no longer eat up my
pocket money!
• What about those bills? You can save yourself some late fees for “forgotten”
invoices if you create a bill paying station. This can be a drawer in your desk
or a portable file box. Put bills to be paid in the box along with a book of
stamps, a calendar for marking due dates, extra envelopes, and several pens
(these always disappear in my house!). If you take advantage of online bill
paying services, you might want to put your bill paying station near your
computer. When you sit down after payday to pay bills, you can write checks,
perform online transactions, and balance your checkbook all in one sitting.

Clothing, clothing, clothing…Keep those hampers rolling!
• Save yourself time and energy. One of the best tips I learned for clothing
storage came from my years managing children’s clothing stores. If you have
the closet space you can save time and drawer space by hanging as much as
you can. Folding clothing takes much more time than hanging it up. Even
toddlers can help out by putting shirts, coveralls, and dresses on hangers and
placing them on a low closet bar.
• Sort it as you go! Years ago I realized that I could save myself a lot of time by
separating my clothing into lights, darks and linens as they were placed in
– 18 –

the basket. I invested in a rolling laundry hamper that has three sections in
the (washable!) canvas bag and as I remove clothing it is dropped into the
appropriate section. Take a moment to spray stain remover on any stains on
your kids’ clothing as you do this and you don’t even have to stand at the
washer and do that!
• Sorting the clean items as they come out of the dryer helps too. In my case, I
place my daughter’s clothing in a small laundry basket to be folded or hung
up and my own in a separate basket. My basket goes to my bedroom and hers
goes into her room, where she assists me by hanging up items in the closet
as I give them to her or neatly placing folded clothing in her dresser drawer.
Involving your children in such tasks not only teaches them responsibility, it
helps them to feel empowered as they look down upon a job well done. Those
of you with older children could simply deliver the baskets and the kids can
take over from there.

Foot loose and clutter-free: How ‘bout those knick-knacks?
• Ready, set, GO! Spend a set amount of time doing a quick “sweep” of a room
each day. If you have a large home, consider setting a timer for ten minutes
per room, or challenge your kids to clean up a room together, working together against the timer. If your home is smaller, you might be able to set the
timer for a bit longer and cover more ground.
• Guests on the way? Keep a laundry basket or storage tub handy in common
areas. If all else fails, you can clear items off the kitchen table and into a storage tub, place it in the closet, and deal with it later, during your timed clean
• Another task little ones love to help with: dusting. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does need to be done to cut down on unattractive (and unhealthy)
collections of dust and its lovely cousins, the dust kittens and dust bunnies.
Give children who aren’t allergy-sufferers a dust cloth and let them go low on
a bookshelf while you handle the high shelves. Chat, sing, or tell jokes, and
you’ve turned it into family time, not just chore time.

Speaking of time…make good use of yours!
• Take a page from the Montessori education method and supply children with
brooms and dustpans built just for them. Again, the job may not always be
perfect, but they will feel like they are a part of the family “team” by helping
out, and you can tackle other “grown-up” chores that can’t be delegated to
little ones, such as chopping food for a meal.
• Do you have a two-story home? Consider purchasing a special basket made
for stairs. As you come across items that need to go upstairs, place them in
the basket. Next time you head up for something, take the basket with you
and take a few minutes to deliver the items to their destinations…or at least
– 19 –

to the owner, who can put them away properly. Headed back downstairs?
Reverse the circuit.
• The greatest time waster comes from spinning your wheels because you don’t
have a plan. You don’t have to be totally regimented in your days, but creating a basic schedule and being prepared to be flexible where necessary will be
helpful both in regard to family business and the lessons you want to teach
in the homeschool. For example, as a single parent I am responsible for everything…all the meals, all the lessons, all the housework, and earning a living.
I am blessed to work from home, which means I can still homeschool, but I
was allowing myself to burn the candle at both ends. This, of course, recently
led to a severe case of “burnout”. Now I’ve reevaluated my situation and
instituted a split shift schedule, where I work four hours each morning, and
four hours at night, after my daughter goes to bed. During my morning shift
I handle tasks that require a little less concentration so that I can still interact
with and supervise my daughter while she plays. We then have lunch, then
run errands or do chores as needed. I recently realized that by holding myself to this schedule I would get days off, which I had previously sacrificed by
making myself available to work all week long. My employer never asked me
to do this…so why did I do it? Lack of planning and scheduling. Everyone’s
happier now with this schedule, especially this Momma who needed some
time off on the weekends! Examine your needs, your wants, and those of
your family, then sit down with a calendar or planner and see where you can
consolidate your schedule and create a more effective routine for your household.
Several of my acquaintances are reformed chaos queens, or are slowly working
toward more organized lives, homes, and homeschools. If you’re looking for more
ways to get in touch with your organized side, try some of these resources:
• The Fly Lady (Marla Cilley): I’ve met “FlyBabies” everywhere, and they even
have shirts now to spot fellow “FlyBabies”! Check it out at
• Managers of Their Homes by Steve & Teri Maxwell: Several friends of mine rave
about this program! You can learn more at
• Clutter’s Last Stand by Don Aslett: Anybody that can offer ways to clean your
bathroom in 3 ½ minutes has to have some great ideas. Visit him at www.
• 10-Minute Clutter Control Room by Room by Skye Alexander: This book and its
predecessor, 10-Minute Clutter Control, will give you tons of tips for getting
organized, and quickly!

– 20 –

Home By Choice: Am I Depriving My Children?
By Lorrie Flem
“Do you know what causes this?” asked the lady. She thought she was asking an
innovative and witty question—believe me, neither is true—while looking at our
sixth sweet baby, Kiley. At times you want to avoid an uncomfortable question, one
you would rather not answer for one reason or another. Maybe it’s too personal, perhaps it would require too lengthy a response, or possibly you are afraid the answer
may offend the one who asked.
A good way to divert a question and possibly avoid answering it entirely is to ask
a question of your own. Recently I was questioned about the wisdom of having such
a large family in today’s economy. The questioner was concerned we were probably
depriving our children of vital things. In this case, not to circumvent the question,
but to answer it let me ask you a few questions.
Am I depriving my children of social interaction? They live in a family
with eight brothers and sisters and two parents. They have a grandma and grandpa
that live across the street and two more that spend a few days with them at least
once a month. They go to church once a week if not more often and we have a
weekly Bible study in our home. We have swimming, piano, and Spanish lessons
weekly and participate in a weekly homeschool co-op. We try to have another family over for dinner at least once a month and often we exceed that.
What have we learned? We have found that time spent with people of various
ages, like God designed the family, is healthier for positive, unselfish attitudes than
in artificial environments with children of all one age group.
So am I socially depriving them by surrounding them with these people and
activities? They learn on a daily basis the fun that can be had with people of all ages
and the give and take that goes with it. They are learning to understand that their
activity desires are not always going to be met. Sometimes what they want is not the
best choice for our family. They are learning about real life.
Am I depriving my children of love and attention? I make sure to have
some one-on-one time with each of them weekly as we go about our daily homemaking tasks and I train them in the art of homemaking. John loves to keep me up
with current events. Levi and I can wash dishes together. Drew often accompanies
Jay and me on errands. Dessaly folds laundry with me. Kiley and I go high and low
together and get the dusting done in half the time. Haley likes to walk up to the
mailbox with me. Luke and I love to sing songs together. During all of these activities we have time to talk alone together. I give them individual attention whenever
one of them is hurt, disobedient, or in some way tell me they need it either verbally
or non-verbally.

– 21 –

Perhaps the best answer to this question would be to tell you that each time we
have had a new baby the other children embrace the newborn with open arms.
They argue over the honor of holding him and later playing with him. My little
ones look up to their older siblings and the older ones happily help care for their
needs, most of the time with no parental prompting.
Do they ever argue? Are they ever selfish? You bet! Yet they learn from living in
a large family that their needs are not always going to be met as soon as, or in the
way, they want. They are beginning to learn that it is more blessed to give than to
Am I depriving my children of a ‘normal’ family life by having a
large family? Soon after James was born our nearly sixteen-year-old son, John
answered this question eloquently, “You know, Mom, before James was born I was
nervous about our big family. We already stick out so much in public and another
baby would even make it worse.”
He then gazed lovingly down on his fourth brother, cuddled closely against his
chest, and said “I hope we have a whole bunch more.” I’ll remember this poignant
moment the rest of my life!
A large family teaches children that life doesn’t revolve exclusively around them,
their desires, or their preferences. They learn that mommy and daddy’s love for
them, and their love for each other, is not diluted by having more children, but that
it is a given they will always be able to count on. They are learning about real life.
Am I depriving my children by providing them with the healthier
choice? Just as I work to nourish their minds with wholesome thoughts and surround them with a healthy environment as they learn, I try to teach them to nourish their bodies with healthy foods.
We talk about our work at home as we cook and clean. We talk about how
thankful we are for our home that Daddy works so hard to provide for us. We try to
thank our servants often. How much more work our lives would be without a washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, and oven.
I try to feed them the best fuel for their growing bodies. A piece of fruit or a bag
of chips? A glass of water or a glass of Kool-Aid? A book or a movie? Which is the
healthy choice? They are learning that what we want is not always the wisest choice.
They are learning about real life.
Am I depriving my children by not taking them out to eat at fast
food restaurants very often? The quality of this food is appallingly low and the
caloric content is atrociously high. Not to mention the mixed message I send by trying to teach them to make healthy eating choices by encouraging them to snack on
carrot sticks and then feeding them French fries. Besides, I am blessing my children
with a healthy marriage relationship.

– 22 –

By not grabbing a bite to eat for lunch or a pizza on the way home even once
a week at $10, I save $520 a year and my husband Randy appreciates it. They are
learning that a woman can be a helpmate to her husband in the decisions she
makes. They are learning that the advertising we are surrounded with is not necessarily showcasing the smartest thing to buy and that smart financial decisions don’t
always involve large sums of money. Benjamin Franklin said, “Small leaks sink big
ships.” They are learning about real life.
Am I depriving my children by not buying them every toy they like?
Do I let three-year-old Lukey eat all the chocolate he wants? Not unless I want him
to be sick! I don’t give my children everything they want. It isn’t good for them and
as a mother who loves her children, I try to give them what is good for them rather
than what they want. Watch them and you will see that they tend to play with a
few favorite toys over and over. They are learning that often less is more. They are
gaining a valuable life skill, the joy that comes from sharing your blessings. They
are learning about real life.
Am I depriving my children by not buying them trendy clothes? Do
I buy them the sweater that “everyone else has?” Not if I want them to learn that
Godly attire is more often than not, not “like everyone else’s.” Just like with toys,
they tend to wear a few beloved pieces of clothing anyway. They are learning that
new clothes are new whether they come from the local thrift store, a friend, or a
trendy department store. They are learning about real life.
Am I depriving my children by not buying them each a car or paying for each of them to go to college? Speaking from personal experience
here, a car and four years of private, liberal arts college education does not ensure
they learn to care and appreciate them. In fact, it probably has the opposite effect.
A college degree does not equip you with the most important knowledge, a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ.
Cars and a college education are probably more effective when they are paid for,
at least in part, by the student. They will gain an increased awareness of the value
of a dollar. They are learning that you have to work for what you want. They are
learning about real life.
Am I depriving my children by choosing to stay home with them? I
don’t work outside of our home in part, to protect them from the detriments that
come from having lots of interaction with children of the same age, multiple cans
of soda pop, bags of chips or Big Mac’s, expensive (not necessarily the best because
expensive is not synonymous with better) toys and clothing, and becoming latchkey or After School Program children.
If I were to go to work so my children can have these things, the world would
not consider me to be depriving them. If I become so active in church and other
activities outside of the home that I am not there to kiss Haley’s owies and listen to
Drew’s jokes, even many of my Christian acquaintances would not consider me to
be depriving my children. But I know I would be.

– 23 –

You see, once you have a taste of the good life it would be very difficult to take a
job that only pays in dollars. My home and family are my career. Homemaking for a
husband and children is a delight and privilege—one I wouldn’t trade away for any
amount of silver or gold.
So am I depriving my children? Am I aware of what causes this? Thank you for
asking and yes, I most certainly am.

– 24 –

Confessions of an “Unsocialized”
Homeschool Grad
By Coie Igarashi
“Coy?” I turned around, puzzled. I was at a convention and someone was trying to say the name on my badge. After I gave him the correct pronunciation of my name, he asked me where I was from.
“I’m representing The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It’s a magazine
for homeschoolers.”
“Ahhh,” he responded. “Are you homeschooled?”
“Was. I’m waiting for test results to confirm I’m done with school.”
He gave that funny look that people give when introduced to an
odd concept. Then he asked, “So, what’s next?”
I told him I would start taking online college courses but he shot
back, “Aren’t you ever going to get out and interact with other people?”
It was my turn to give a funny look. I lived in California, and was
now in Denver representing a national magazine at a huge convention
- at age sixteen.
“I do interact. Aren’t I interacting now?”
That usually does the trick. Many people seem to believe that homeschooled
kids are unable to function in “the outside world”. I’ve been homeschooled nearly
my whole life, and I can face the world just fine. I get responses all the time like the
one above and I’ve learned how to answer them.
Nearly all your life, you ask. Yes, I did go to a Christian school for Kindergarten
and first grade, but otherwise I’ve been homeschooled ever since. Once they brought
me home, my parents noticed attitude changes…for the better!
Neither of my parents had a teaching degree and only my dad had completed
some college. We’ve usually gone for a more interest-driven schooling, because my
siblings and I enjoy it and we retain more information that way. I learned math
from schoolbooks, yes, but for me, mathematics came to life when I had to double
recipes and so forth. My English skills developed when I wrote stories and letters for
Mom about “Sally and her Cow.” Science was approached with a mini-microscope
and anything I could convince my siblings to put onto a slide (like fingerprints, spit,
blood, etc.). Learning new things just became everyday life.
I’ve enjoyed being homeschooled because I’m on a more relaxed schedule, and
I get to spend more time with my family. It doesn’t seem right to leave your family
for eight hours a day, come home, and then do more schoolwork. When do you see
your family? How do you form relationships with them? Through the privilege of
– 25 –

being homeschooled, I’ve been able to learn and do things that I know I couldn’t
have done in “school”.
During our recent move across the country, my dad and I had to return for a
time to California to work on our old house and build trailers before our final trip
out to Tennessee. If I went to public school, I would not have had that one-onone time with my dad, because I would have been in school. Throughout that one
month I helped paint the inside and outside of our house, watched Dad wire a few
outlets, learned to weld, tried my hand at some landscaping, used an angle grinder, took plugs apart to replace the ends, and more! I was going beyond ordinary
“schooling” and learning beneficial skills.
With my extra time I have also been able to work for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, help school my siblings, and pursue projects I enjoy. I’ve recently joined a few
other homeschoolers and started an online Bible Study (www.ASideTrackedFocus.
com). We planned it for months and even got a very professional looking website
up, thanks to our combined skills. Now there is a place for in-depth Bible studying
online for teens! We have worked on being constructive with our spare time and
I am also grateful because I don’t have to listen to teachers who could have completely opposite views from my parents. I’m not encouraged to go to some counselor and spill my life story out instead of talking with my parents. My mom and
dad assist in helping me choose my friends. If they think there is a threat, they will
encourage me to avoid that person. My “peers” are people of all ages. I enjoy talking
to adults and small kids and don’t feel like I’m “not cool” for doing so. I don’t have
a million different theories swimming through my head, all contradicting each
other. I’m taught what is true, I believe it after considering it logically, and I defend
it. These have been the benefits of homeschooling.
I’ve now covered the behavioral advantages of being homeschooled, but is my
education itself good enough? Over the years my test scores, as well as those of
many other homeschoolers, have come in well above average. I’m now sixteen and
have the choice of being done with school or starting college because I have become
proficient in the areas of study needed to graduate.

– 26 –

Pouring Myself into My Children’s Lives
By Nancy K. Baetz
Once a month at my favorite little branch of our library district here, I host a
“getting started” meeting for new homeschoolers. Even though I have done this for
several years, I still get very nervous. My heart races and I usually feel really sick
right before I get there. I start to have some stage fright, thinking, “What on earth
can I say to these people that will make sense, and how can I, little old ordinary me,
do this?” Well, I will tell you that much prayer goes into doing these meetings, and
you would THINK that after so many of them, it would be “old hat.”
Last February, I decided it was getting a little monotonous, and since the meeting fell right on the St. Valentine’s Day commemoration, I thought we’d just have
a little fellowship time and some fun. Instead of the regular go-over-the-basics-of the-law-and -styles-and-testing-and... questions, questions, and more questions...and
excitement mixed with trepidation...I decided to throw a party!
Please don’t get me wrong; I love these meetings! No matter how apprehensive
I might be going in, I am always encouraged, and well, more like “on fire” when I
get done. Sure, the basics may get routine, but the blessing I get from helping parents see the benefits and possibilities of homeschooling, is worth every minute and
more. No matter how nervous I get, once I begin talking about this wonderful life
called homeschooling, it is hard to get me to stop! I strongly believe that bringing
our kids back home is one of the best steps to bringing them wholly to the Lord.
When I see that light-bulb moment happening to one of the newcomers, it just
makes my day!
So, we ended up having quite a good group at this Valentine meeting, with over
a dozen kids racing around and even some Dads who came to hang out with us for
a bit. I wanted to bring something to share with them briefly—just a short presentation to bless them and encourage them—but about two hours before I was supposed
to be there, I hadn’t come up with anything yet. Yikes!
I got to thinking and praying about all the many questions I field for our homeschool group. For many reasons, parents are conditioned to think that they need
something that seems unobtainable, or at least expensive, or out of their reach in
order to teach their kids at home. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm
23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.” One version says “I shall not
want” while another paraphrases it like this: “The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.”
So just what are all these things that are not within our grasp, those elusive brass
rings that we think we need in order to take the homeschooling plunge? A college
degree or possibly even a high school diploma? Scads and scads of money? A big (or
bigger) house? A pre-packaged curriculum? An expert opinion? The patience of Job?
These are nice, sure, but they are not necessary! What? You don’t need a prepackaged curriculum? Now, I am not saying you can’t have one at all—I am just
– 27 –

saying this: God Provides what His children need. Remember Psalm 23? “But, Nancy,” you say, “what if I don’t even have a high school diploma, much less a degree in
anything?” I tell these parents, if you can communicate, both in the written word
and verbally, and can do basic math.....AND have a loving relationship with your
child, you can do it! If you need help, just ask your heavenly Father. I don’t want to
sound redundant, but with His help, you can learn anything right along with your
children. How many times have you heard a homeschool mom say she is getting a
real education, finally?!! I hear it from them all the time!
The whole of God’s creation is at our fingertips, and we want to learn all about
it. But homeschooling is not just about academics and information, formulas and
facts. In thinking about what we need, I discovered that there is much more that
we will gain from homeschooling, and without even spending a cent! What it will
cost us though, is TIME and the dedication and resolve to rely on the Lord to be our
homeschooling shepherd. He will gently show us His way, and as we follow Him, we
will gain:
*A teachable heart and spirit.
*A willingness to learn from our mistakes.
*Hands that serve.
*A heart that forgives.
*A loving home.
*A library card complete with fines!
*The blessing of Godly, homeschool materials! (The Lord blesses us with some
“wants” too, not just our “needs.”)
*A humble heart.
*A willingness to expect the unexpected, and rejoice in each new day.
*The patience of Job. (Or at least a new appreciation for trials!)
You will soon discover that what you thought you needed is not always necessary,
but what is necessary is gained. The eternal, important things that you need will be
gained from being home, pouring your life into your kids, by God’s strength, wisdom and grace alone!
So at the conclusion of our party, after the library security guard comes in and tells
us we have exactly 14 minutes, and 39 seconds until the library closes, and we have
said our farewells and best wishes, I am once again blessed by meeting this new
“flock” and sending them on their way. I am also walking on air and thanking the
Lord for helping me, and knowing that He will help them too!
Now, about those library fines, Lord...

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Part two:

The Nuts & Bolts

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There’s a Method to My Madness: Seven Teaching
Methods You Can Use in YOUR Homeschool!
By Kris Price
Homeschool families are different in so many ways—these differences include
the reasons why they choose to homeschool, the size of their families, their goals
for their children, and their curriculum budgets! Luckily, there are also many different methods of homeschooling for parents to use to teach their children. Let’s look
at seven of them: the Charlotte Mason Approach, the Classical Method,
Eclectic homeschooling, the Principal Approach, Traditional Schooling,
Unit Studies and Unschooling. After explaining these methods to you, I will
show you how I personally use five of these methods in my homeschool … there IS
a “method to my madness!”
Let’s begin with the Charlotte Mason or “Living Books” Approach.
Charlotte Mason was a British educator who taught from 1885-1923. Her method
of education included many new ideas for that time. Children were given shorter
lessons, but subjects were taught using “living books” which means NOT using dry
textbooks. Instead, books were chosen for their ability to bring a topic to life for the
child. This is a literature-based approach to teaching and the quality of the literature
chosen is considered more important than the quantity of books assigned to be
read. Narration is the key to the child learning the material being presented. With
narration, the child retells to the parent, in his own words, what he has just learned
or read. Dictation is also important—children learn about punctuation, capitalization and spelling by writing down what they hear Mom dictating. Other important
key components include copywork (the child practices good handwriting) and memorization (gives the child something to “chew on”). The CM Method also incorporates
keeping Nature Notebooks as a way to study the world around us. Finally, the study of
Fine Arts is considered important—this includes studying poetry, folk songs, famous
artists and composers. For families on a tight budget, a FREE curriculum guide and
yearly schedule is available through Ambleside Online at http://amblesideonline.
The Classical Method is similar to the CM Method, but it focuses a bit more
on the “academic” side of education. The book, The Well Trained Mind, by
Susan Wise Bauer has taught me a lot about this teaching method. The main idea
behind Classical education is that children are at different levels of learning at different ages. This is called the “Trivium” and is broken down into three levels:
• The Grammar Stage (grades 1-4): children learn facts
• The Logic Stage (grades 5-8): the student begins to analyze the relation
between the facts
• The Rhetoric Stage (grades 9-12): the student begins to apply the facts to
real-life situations
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The basic skills—grammar, math, and writing—are taught to a mastery level.
Emphasis is placed on gaining a general foundation about history and science. In
addition, both of these subjects are taught on a rotating four year schedule so that
the homeschooled child encounters each subject at each level of the Trivium. History is taught chronologically and the child focuses on one main science subject
each year—biology, earth science, chemistry, and physics. Logic and Philosophy are
subjects that are studied beginning in the Logic Stage. A Classical Education often
includes the study of Latin and/or Greek as well.
The Principal Approach is a Christian-based teaching method. According
to Rosalie Slater in Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History, the
“truths of God’s Word become the basis of every subject in the curriculum”. Every
subject taught is filtered through God’s Word. The goal of this method is individual
self-government as the child develops a Christian character and conscience. Biblical
thinking and reasoning are paramount to understanding each subject and its foundation in the Bible.
Traditional Schooling is what I like to call “school in a box.” Basically, Mom
finds a company that publishes their own textbooks on each subject and orders it
ALL from this one source. This is similar to public or private school in that textbooks and workbooks are the main source of learning material. That is not to say
that the child doesn’t read good literature or never has any “fun.” This method is
usually easier for new homeschooling parents to implement because you can just
open up the Teacher’s Guides and go!
Unit Studies are my FAVORITE homeschooling method! Unit Studies typically
combine all of the academic subjects through the study of one topic. For example,
if you are teaching about the planets for science, history would have the child studying the Greeks who named the planets. Math would include comparing the size of
each planet and measuring its distance from Earth. For language arts, the child could
write reports about what he is learning and his spelling words would come from his
reading. Unit studies usually use a hands-on approach for more effective learning.
The child learns through projects or experiments and other activities, rather than
just reading a chapter from a textbook. One distinct advantage to unit studies is
that children of various ages can be studying the same topic, but on different levels.
The first grader learns basic facts about the planets while the high schooler is writing a major research paper on the topic!
Unschooling (also sometimes referred to as “natural learning”, “child-led learning”, “discovery learning”, or “child-directed learning”) is the term given to an
increasingly popular method of homeschooling. Parents act as “facilitators” and are
responsible for having a wide-range of resources available to provide their children
with a quality education. Proponents feel that individualized, child-led learning is
more efficient and respectful of a child’s time, takes advantage of a child’s interests,
and allows in-depth exploration rather than shallow coverage of a broad range of
subjects. Unschooling places the emphasis on the process of learning how to learn,
rather than focusing on what subject matter the child learns.

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Homeschoolers using the Eclectic Approach often mix their teaching methods, borrowing “a little from here and a bit more from there.” According to the
World Book Dictionary, eclectic means “selecting and using what seems best from
various sources, systems or schools of thought.” I believe that most homeschoolers
are eclectic in one way—we all want what is best for our children and sometimes
that means REALLY looking at the child’s strengths and weaknesses and adapting
our curriculum choices to best suit each child. Children’s learning styles vary and
we must consider this when choosing curriculum. Eclectic homeschoolers often
own a lot of curriculum because they are always looking for the best resources
for their kids—and they will change curriculum as necessary to keep up with the
changing learning styles and interest levels of their children.
So, what is my teaching style? I am a Classical, “living books” unschooler who
loves Unit Studies, so I guess that puts me in the Eclectic category! Let me show
you how I use these methods in my home. First of all, let me mention that we have
homeschooled for four years and we are just now finding out what really works for
all of us—mom AND kids! I am drawn to the Classical approach because of the
focus on academics, and the four year rotation of subjects. I like the structure of this
system and the fact that my kids will learn about the same subjects several times on
different levels. We will not be learning Latin or Greek in our home, but we have
made Latin & Greek root study a part of our weekly schedule.
What do I like about the Charlotte Mason approach? I love that we are told
to avoid “twaddle” or “dumbed down” material. Ms. Mason wanted “to feed and
nourish” the child’s mind. For my family, this means that textbooks are just not
going to do! Each week, I look for quality literature—Landmark books, Newbery
winners, biographies, etc—for my children to read. Fine Arts are also important in
our homeschool so I set aside time each week for us to study poetry, composers and
artists together. The short lessons are also very important for my child with ADHD.
I use Unit Studies to bring the Classical and CM approaches together. I am very
impressed with the Tapestry of Grace curriculum (
It uses a four year rotation of history and schedules “living books” to be read by the
children each week. In addition, the books are separated out by the levels of the
Trivium. The weekly schedules also include material suggestions for studying fine
arts, philosophy, geography and Bible history—and all subjects tie in to the subject
at hand. In addition, this curriculum includes instructions on teaching writing and
ties the writing into the weekly topic, too.
Now, you are probably wondering how I fit “unschooling” into all of this
because I do sound rather structured, right? Well, of course, our typical school day
is shorter than the public school day, so that allows the children plenty of unstructured time to pursue their own interests! I believe in natural learning and child-led
interests so I make a huge assortment of educational board games, software, activity
books, and reading books available to my kids. I have a wall of bookshelves that is
crammed full of resources—and this doesn’t include the board games or software
OR the books and toys in their own rooms!

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So how can you apply this information to help you choose a method of homeschooling for your family? First, you have to determine your goals for your children—are academics important? Consider the Classical Method. Do you want to be
sure they read great books? Look into the Charlotte Mason approach. Maybe you want
to let your child follow his own interests on his own schedule? Then “unschooling”
may be best for you! The goals that you set for your family will help you choose a
method that is best for your kids.
Do you have a large family? Traditional Schooling may be easier for you to implement or Unit Studies may be best because you can combine all of the kids—no matter what their ages—can study the same material. Do you have budget concerns? If
so, the Charlotte Mason approach may be the best choice if you have access to a good
library or Traditional Schooling may prove budget-friendly (you can reuse the textbooks with younger children). Is the Bible the basis for everything in your home? If
so, the Principle Approach deserves your undivided attention. Of course, maybe you
are a lot like me and can see the individual merits of ALL of these different homeschooling methods and would consider yourself to be Eclectic. Then keep on looking
for the curriculum that works best for your children until you find the best combination. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it is often worth it to try different curriculum to see what works the best.
I will leave you with one final bit of advice (and it has taken me the last four
years to figure this out!): Do NOT worry about the homeschooling methods that
your friends choose to use in their homes. The method you choose is NOT “wrong”
and theirs is not “right!” Remember the reason that you decided to homeschool
your family. No matter what the exact reason is, it probably boils down to the fact
that you believe that your child deserves an individualized teaching experience and
that you are the best person to be his teacher! If the method you are using is working, stick with it! If it’s not, then hopefully I have given you some information that
you can use to choose a method that is right for your family!

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The Frugal Homeschool
By Julie Nott
Have you ever had that sudden feeling of panic as you walk through the doors of
the vendor hall at a homeschool convention?
What about that feeling of giddiness that comes over you when you just got the
“once-in-a-lifetime-offer—never-before-seen, never-to-be-seen-again-discount-price”
on the curriculum you were seeking?
Or how about that sinking feeling when you realize that the “perfect” curriculum to suit your child’s age, ability, learning style, brain type, brain patterning,
blood type, etc. is the cost of two mortgage payments?
Curriculum purchases can be quite an emotional roller coaster. Years ago when
my parents started homeschooling my younger brother, there were only two companies that would even consider selling their product to a parent. Today, however,
your choices are endless. In fact, there are even people making money by consulting
with families to find the best curriculum. There is money to be made and money to
be spent.
The good news is that even with the plethora of costly choices, there are just as
many—if not more—free options. The only investment is the time and energy it
takes to find them. Consider these options:

Local Resources
• Libraries—You can find lots of free resources at your local library! Many
libraries are partnering with homeschool support groups and parents to find
out what their needs are and how to best to meet those needs. I’ve seen classes about computers, art, book study groups, research, and various other subjects. Many library programs are supplemented by state or national grants, so
they are eager to keep their enrollment up to prove their usefulness and meet
their goals. Call and speak to the head of the children’s department of your
local library.
• Bartering—Do you have a special talent or knowledge of a subject? Do
you know someone who could teach your kids a skill you feel inept in? Talk
to your friends about bartering. What if you were to teach your neighbor’s
daughter to sew in exchange for cooking lessons for your daughter? What
about tutoring your best friend’s son in math while she does your weekly grocery shopping? Bartering doesn’t always have to save you money—it can also
save you time!
• Trading Curriculum—Did you buy a science curriculum this year only
to find out that it didn’t suit your kids? Offer it at your local support group

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meeting or send out an email query…someone may have another curriculum
for trade.
• Apprenticeships—Along with bartering, you could have one or more of
your children learn from a professional in a field of work they are interested
in. Many local business people would be thrilled to teach a young person
“the ropes” of their job. They probably don’t get to talk about their passion
very much because they are so busy running the business side of things. This
would also be a way for your child to fine tune their future job goals and the
education needed to reach them.
• Field Trips—Trips to banks, grocery stores, health food stores, pet stores
and car factories are just a few of the many adventures you and your family
can take advantage of. My most recent find is the Field Trip Factory (www. This non-profit organization was started to ease the
planning and coordination of field trips for schools but their resources are
available to any teacher, school or home educator. All you have to do is register, check the opportunities available, pick your field trip and voila—it’s set
up. In most cases, there are supplemental texts given to prepare the students.
I have set up a number of these field trips and have yet to be disappointed.
The guides are very knowledgeable, patient and take the time needed to
answer questions. The kids usually walk away with a “goodie bag” related to
the business. We’ve come home with coupons for a free Beta fish, toy cars,
samples of products, flashlights, pens and pencils, just to name a few!

State/National/International Resources
• Teacher Resources—There are so many free things on the internet for
teachers. You don’t have to prove you are a “paid educator” to access these.
Do a web search for “teaching resources’. Check out http://sitesforteachers.
• Your State Government—Every state has their own website for informational purposes. Numerous educational resources are available. Find the education and learning portion of the website and you should be following links
in no time. Check out Illinois which led
me to this resource
• Research Organizations—A lot of research goes into how kids learn. Take
advantage of the grants these organizations have been given. One example of
• Universities—This is an option that I have recently tapped into and will
definitely be doing again. I saw an ad in the local paper for free educational
testing in exchange for my child’s participation in a research project. My kids
would be given standardized testing, along with $20 an hour for their time,
and I would be given $20 for the gas to get there. This did take a lot of time
out of our days, because the location for the research was about an hour and

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a half away from our home. My time investment, however, got me the standardized testing I normally would have paid about $50 for. Plus the kids had
some extra spending money too! Call your state universities and ask about
research projects involving children.
• Companies/Educational Businesses—Because teachers have to buy a lot
of their own resources, retailers have tapped into that need and offered many
for free. This will eventually entice the educator to go back to their company
when they need to purchase an educational product. As a home educator,
you can take advantage of this and use their services for free. With the World
Wide Web growing by leaps and bounds every day, many companies now
have their own website. The ease of offering documents for download becomes a marketing tool for furthering their bottom line. Many offer lesson
plans, online educational games, downloadable activity books, worksheets
and numerous other options. Just one of many can be found at:
• Region Specific—Do you want your kids to learn about Germany? Do a
web search for “Germany teacher resources”.

How to Find Internet Resources
• Search Engines—,, http://dogpile.
com “Ask Jeeves” is a great web searching tool for kids.
You know those questions they ask that you have no idea how to answer?
Tell them to “Ask Jeeves”! You type in the question just like they asked it and
wham—either the answer or where the find the answer will pop up. Jeeves
will be your new best friend!
• Terms to Use— “free homeschool curriculum” “free unit studies” “free
lesson plans” “free worksheets” “free homeschool” “educational webquests”
“free teaching resources”
You can also sign up to receive the most up-to-date information about free
homeschooling resources through The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s e-Newsletters.
Each month you will be sent a free topical unit study and other great websites to
help you homeschool for free! To subscribe, visit:
Past newsletters are archived on the website as well, at:
The website also offers free unit studies at:
Happy FREE homeschooling!

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Special Needs: Yes, You CAN Homeschool
By Christine Field
As a new homeschooler, I would read the accounts of other families and dream
my dreams. Would my children earn early admission to Harvard? Would they be
National Merit Scholars? Never in my dreams did I ask myself, “Will they ever learn
to read?”
Yet that became the question and cry of my heart with one of my children, the
third of my four. She has challenged me and forced me to grow. She has allowed me
to dream new dreams. With a lot of hard work and prayer, she is doing well.
When she was first diagnosed with ADHD and a Learning Disability, I doubted
that I could adequately provide for her educational and emotional needs. I was
ready to pack her off to the experts for them to deal with her. I am so glad I didn’t!
I took the counsel of several of those experts and did my own research and created a program that makes sense for her and for our family. I did not close my eyes
and hope that it would all go away—the behavioral problems, the inattention, and
the seeming inability to learn. Instead, I opened my eyes to another way to look at
learning. I settled in my heart the incredible value and blessing of each of my children, no matter the level of their academic success. Instead of pushing them to be
scholars, I now view my role as that of teaching them to be successes—with whatever gifts and abilities they have been given.
Has your child been given a special needs label? Rest assured, you CAN homeschool.

Will they be OK?
Little research has been done in this area. There was one study that looked at the
amount of time students spent responding to a parent’s teaching. In the classroom,
this would be called academic engaged time, or AET. The thinking is that the greater academic engaged time, the more significant academic gains. The study noted
that ten times as much one-on-one instruction was observed in the homeschool
versus the public school. (Steven E. Duvall, et. al., “An Exploratory Study of Home
School Instructional Environments and Their Effect of the Basic Skills of Students
with Learning Disabilities,” Education and Treatment of Children 20 (1997): 150-172)
As a parent, I know instinctively that if I spend time with my child, they will
learn. This study suggests that spending that time teaching the child is effective
and that the child will do as well as, if not better than, their traditionally schooled
counterparts. I am grateful that some academic research corroborates what I already
know—home is best for all kids, even those with special needs.
In addition to reassuring you that you CAN meet your child’s academic needs,
I’d like you to think of the other benefits of homeschooling them. If your child has
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special medical or dietary needs, you can meet them effectively in the home. Socially, think of the pain and stigma you are possibly sparing them by not having
them pulled out of their class for special services. Lastly, remember that by educating them at home, you have the primary influence in matters of faith and values.
I always remember that I am raising a child who will someday function in society
without me. I want to make sure they are grounded with God and equipped with
values to withstand the culture. Homeschooling is the ideal atmosphere for this

What Are Special Needs?
The term “special needs” covers a huge territory. An overall Federal law covering
disabilities is the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1997 (IDEA). This law delineates the following areas of disability: autism, deafness, blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language
impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment including blindness.
Another Federal law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, lists even
more categories of disability, including any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body
systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory including speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitor-urinary, hemic
and lymphatic, skin or endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as
mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is generally
categorized under this descriptive heading.
A further definition of a specific learning disability might be helpful. It is present
when a child has normal or above normal intelligence, but is underachieving in one
or more academic areas. In other words, there is a significant discrepancy between
the child’s intelligence and his level of achievement. The academic areas covered by
this definition are basic reading skills, reading comprehension, written expression
(including spelling) listening comprehension, oral expression, mathematics calculations and mathematics reasoning.
Has this bored you to death? It is intended to help you get an idea of where your
child’s difficulty might lie. It is also meant to reassure you that you are not alone!
According to the United States Department of Education, as many as one out of
five Americans have a learning disability, and almost three million children receive
special education in school. (U.S. Department of Education, Twenty-second Annual
Report to Congress, 2000) Once you begin to get to know the special needs community, you will be surprised at the numbers of families you probably already know who
deal with these challenges

Getting Help

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Homeschooling a special needs child is generally not something you can do
alone. You will need advice and possibly other people to help you. Don’t think you
are the only one dealing with your issues; you may be surprised to learn about the
many resources available!
NATHHAN (National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network) should be
your first stop, no matter what your challenge. They have both a magazine and a
web site located at Together, they are a virtual education in
special needs. The organization is the creation of the Bushnell family, a large group
consisting of biological and adopted kids.
Next, you need to decide whether to avail yourself of the services of your local
public school. They can provide you with testing, therapy services and tutoring. If
you bring them information pointing to the possibility of a special need, Federal
law requires that they test your child and offer services. You are free to accept or
reject the services. Many argue that homeschoolers should have nothing to do with
the public schools. Others of us take a less strict stance and make use of some services while continuing to home educate. You will have to make the decision that is
right for your family.
If you pursue private testing and programming, there are also many options.
HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has a special needs advisor for
their members. They can be contacted through Several private
practitioners also offer testing and program assistance. Some of my favorites are Sharon Hensley at Almaden Valley Christian School (, Terry Spray at Christian Cottage Schools (
and Joyce Herzog (
Educate yourself before signing any contracts or agreements for services. My last
book, Homeschooling the Challenging Child (Broadman & Holman, 2005) provides a
good, general introduction to the topic. Keep abreast of products and providers by
subscribing to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Special Needs e-Newsletter (see www. to subscribe). Check the website www.Lifeway.
com/homeschool for informative articles and interviews. Just as you went through
a season of educating yourself to begin homeschooling, this should be another season of self study. You can learn techniques and strategies to work with your child.
As you learn more about the resources available, you will see there is no shortage of
materials to use as you teach your special child. Your challenge, as with any other
child, is to find the right approach for the student.

A Word About ADHD
We all know some child we suspect has ADHD. This is the child swinging from
the light fixture, right?
Yes and no. There are actually three “strains” of ADHD, according to the American Psychiatric Association. The first is the hyperactive type we have been accustomed to thinking about. The second is an even more pervasive type of behavior

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characterized by inattentiveness. This is the extreme daydreamer, the easily distracted child. The third type is a combination of hyperactivity and inattention.
It should be noted that ADHD, while it is considered a disability by the U.S. Department of education, is not a learning disability, although the two may appear together. A learning disability, as defined above, affects specific areas of learning, such
as reading, spelling or math. ADHD is an overall disruption in attention, which can
drastically affect a student’s functioning, but is not a learning disability, per se.
Homeschooling an ADHD child is an ideal fit. If they are the more bouncy type,
you can accommodate them with a hands-on, active approach to learning. If they
are inattentive, you can control the environment to reduce distractions. There are
many tips and techniques to help this child. An active child might review his math
facts or spelling words while jumping rope in the kitchen. An inattentive child
would be best served by having her desk placed in an area with few visual distractions. With experience and education, you can learn many strategies to give this
child a tailor-made environment for success.

And So, To Begin …
Are you convinced that you CAN homeschool your special needs child? Good!
Let’s get started.
The child with an obvious physical impairment, such as blindness or deafness,
is less of a puzzle than a child with learning or attention issues. While trying to
fathom the nature of your child’s learning challenge, start with your own observations. This may take some time as you try to pinpoint the exact area of struggle. For
example, is it visual or auditory processing? Maybe it’s short-term memory retrieval.
Doing several observations will help you organize and clarify what you know about
your child. Doing this groundwork now will also help you later if you seek professional services as you will have detailed information about your child.
Record the following information for each observation session: Date, location,
time, focus, purpose and observation. For example, on April 12, I observed my
daughter at our school table at 10 AM. She was to copy spelling words off the board.
I observed her having to look up to get each letter of each word, and she still copied
many of them incorrectly. This observation would indicate poor visual memory, or
an inability to hold a visual image in mind long enough to translate it into writing
on a page. If many of these types of observations were made, it would give me the
clue to pursue strategies to strengthen and work with visual processing.
Try to observe the child in a variety of setting with different people. For example, observe her with each parent, with siblings, friends, and with other teachers. Observe settings such as the child’s room, the dinner table, doing schoolwork,
watching TV, in public settings like the library or a museum. Pay particular attention to school time, mealtime and bedtime. These recurring situations will yield the
most clues to your child’s behavior.

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You will probably conclude that for this child there is no one-size-fits all curriculum. You will begin the exciting journey of pulling together and adapting resources
to suit the child. It is a time of experimentation and discovery. For the parent of a
special needs child, there is no greater joy than that precious moment when your
child gets it—whatever it is. It may be the twenty-ninth time you have taught the
letter sound for “b.” It may be the one-hundredth time you have taught how to
fold a shirt. But in that moment you and your child will bask in the glow of success together. Don’t miss it! I can think of no other human effort that holds greater

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Homeschooling in the United Kingdom
By Jane Bullivant
Not many seven olds begin the school week hiding in a hedge with a Wonka
bar and binoculars watching a baby hedgehog. For my turbo-charged son and his
siblings, a Monday morning nature exploration is par for the course. We are a UK
family who have opted out of the school system and chosen home based education.
Under section 7 of the Education Act 1996 (England and Wales), all parents have
the legal right to educate their children—without tests, lesson plans, records or the
National Curriculum. Educational laws in England state that it is the legal duty of
parents to ensure their children receive a full time education suitable to their age
ability and aptitude. The parents have the choice whether to delegate this role to a
school, or otherwise. Parents are not required to register their children with their
Local Education authority. If a child is withdrawn from school in order to home
educate, the LEA has a duty of care to ensure the child’s educational needs are being met. This duty of care involves usually a visit or contact from a local education
authority inspector.
It is estimated there are currently 50,000 home educating families in England
and Wales; most are linked in with the national support organisation ‘Education
Otherwise’. Most home educate as they are dissatisfied with both the worldview, and
peer pressure of current schooling system. They believe that home education actually offers a rich experience that widens horizons, and raises well grounded individuals.

Historical Roots
A seventh century church in Middle England houses the ruins of a ‘learning
corner’ where peasants educated their children.. England’s rich historical roots are
very much based on thousands of years of home education. Indeed many British
greats were home educated including Jane Austen, Charles Wesley, Isaac Newton,
Florence Nightingale, and Alexander Graham Bell. The Queen was educated by tutors at home. However, the twentieth century saw the boom of schooling to educate
the masses and train a future workforce. As educational establishments became
more and more prestigious, schools became part of the social structure of the nation. Much of twentieth century schooling was indeed of high standard, based on
sound moral principles. The last twenty years, however, have seen the tide turn to
an education based very much on the current self centred worldview. Education
standards remain high, but at what cost?

UK Homeschooling in the 21st Century
Current UK society has absolutely no concept of its home educating roots. The
general perception of home education is that it is a new phenomenon, chosen by
those who are anti-authority. There are no home education curricula, fairs or widely

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available products. Nevertheless, UK homeschoolers are distinctly resourceful.
There is much sharing of skills and resources between families. Many families do
project-based learning together, utilising parental skills and qualifications. Networking tends to occur locally, resulting in supportive small groups, nation wide. Home
educated students are now proving able at University level and many have gone on
to successful entrepreneurial careers. The media is beginning to take notice of an
option that is obviously successful, and far from the stereotypical image.

The ‘curriculum’ style approach in UK is virtually non-existent, although some
families use the USA curriculum reading lists. ‘Eclectic’ would probably best describe the UK style. Resources are gleaned from the national curriculum, museums,
educational organisations, libraries, and the internet. The majority of home educators would class themselves child-led; other families would see the authority and
direction of parents as crucial in having a well-balanced homeschool. The distinctive ethos behind all UK homeschooling is the value of learning in context. This
has led to a recent interest in Charlotte Mason methods, living history and classical
education. Most families also utilise clubs and groups in the community for specialised subjects such as pottery, theatre skills, sports, music. England is rich in history,
architecture and varied geography. Science museums designed for hands-on learning are beginning to offer discounts for home educators.

The Future
The perceived necessity of a schooling experience is embedded in the core of UK
society. This is perhaps the biggest barrier to home education. Nevertheless, the
current generation of parents are far more questioning of accepted norms than the
previous generation.
‘Home educators are parents who are convinced of their abilities and instincts. New technology, they argue, means knowledge is no longer the preserve of a remote figure standing in front of a blackboard. They are willing to
sacrifice both time and a salary. While grandparents are often horrified by
the idea, this is a generation who really think they can do a better job. This
generation are consumers and don’t want off the peg education. They want
something that is individual in a greater way than the government can provide. They want education by invitation, not compulsion’.

(M Fortune Wood)

Current UK home educators feel very much like pioneers and enjoy the simplicity of home educating in a ‘strange’ land. Despite its historical roots, Home
education in the UK is in its infancy and much work is to be done to break down
stereotypes. The home education community, while small, is thriving. Indeed, its
foundation of sound principles, resourcefulness and courage will be a generous
legacy for home educating generations to come. Many of us discuss how precious

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it is to have a window of opportunity with our children. The lack of established
homeschooling means that sometimes we have to go the extra mile and do more
hands-on learning and connecting with our communities. This has kept us humble
and taught us of the importance of sound foundations.

“Do you wish to become great?” asks St Augustine.
“Then begin by little. Do you desire to construct vast lofty
fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility.
The higher the structure is to be, the deeper
must be its foundation.”

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Simple Steps to Reading
By Eleanor Joyce
The ability to read well is probably the most critical element of a good education. Perhaps that is why many parents are intimidated by the idea of teaching their
child to read. “What if I don’t do it right? My kid will be messed up forever!” they
cry. And so the hand-wringing, second guessing, and frantic curriculum searching
Just stop, and take a deep breath. Now...think about the millions of children in
our nation’s history who learned to read at their parents’ knees, or in a one room
schoolhouse, with a teacher not much older than themselves. Their curriculum was
often the King James Version of the Holy Bible, or the equally stern New England
Primer. Nobody told their parents that teaching reading was a skill that could only
be accomplished by a highly trained specialist.
As a parent, you are best able to provide the optimal learning environment,
incentives and encouragement for your child. Without spending a lot of money, investing huge amounts of time, or sweating buckets of bullets, you can teach your child
to read, and both you and your child can enjoy the process! The one-on-one interaction of parent and child in the learning experience is priceless, and cannot be duplicated anywhere else. It is pure joy to watch your child’s face light up the first time
he sounds out two letters together, and realizes that he has read a word!
Before you break into that first box of flashcards, there are a few foundational
principles about reading that should be established. Long before Junior can even
hold a book in his hands, there is much you can do to increase the likelihood of his
being an excellent reader.
First, make sure that your home is a print-rich environment. Fill your rooms
with good quality books and magazines. Incidentally bookshelves on “outside”
walls are very good insulation, and muffle sound if you are in an apartment or
townhome situation! Building an excellent library need not cost a fortune. Books
are readily available at garage sales, library sales, second hand stores, and thrift
shops. Great deals can be found online on book closeouts, and re-sales. Remember
that your local library is one of the best resources and bargains around! Make it your
friend...and visit often.
Develop your own reading habit. Take time every day to sit down and read something. You are your child’s first model, mentor and teacher. An environment where
parents and older siblings are frequently seen reading encourages an early interest
in books. Be sure to have colorful, sturdy board books in a basket or on a low shelf
within your little one’s reach. Even if all he does independently for the first several
months is to chew on the least he will have a book of his own in hand.
Read to your baby! You can get away with reading something like Better Homes
and Gardens or The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Sitting snuggled in your lap, hearing
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the soothing sound of your voice, and seeing colorful pictures is a wonderful experience for a baby. What a beautiful reason for you to sit down and relax’s
educational! Soon you can move on to simple, colorful books. Slowly turn the pages,
and talk about the pictures.
Teaching reading is not a race. It is more like watching a flower unfold. Do not
try to rush it, and do not stress about it. Let your child set his own pace. Some
children will learn to read much later than others. That’s quite okay! Frequently
children who learn to read later will make very rapid progress within a few weeks or
Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore are considered the “grandparents” of modern
homeschooling. Both are certified specialists in education, and have spent years
researching how children learn. If you find yourself stressing about teaching your
child to read I recommend that you look into one or two of their excellent books.
The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook and Better Late Than Early are just two of
the titles that are available.
Finally, keep early (and all) lessons short! Nothing will kill the love of reading
faster than tedious, frustrating, lengthy sessions spent poring over a book or worksheet.
So, you have a good foundation in place, you’ve decided you CAN teach your
child to what? There are many excellent resources and curricula available, designed to both teach the mechanics of reading, and to foster a love of good
literature. A few are listed at the end of this chapter. Talk to parents at co-ops, support groups or online forums. Take the time to ask about what has, or has not,
worked for them. Know your child and tailor your approach to their strengths and
For pennies, there are many things you can do at home to start your child on
the road to reading. While it won’t get you featured in a decorating magazine, try
putting labels on everyday household objects. On index cards clearly print words
like “bed” “lamp” “window” or “step” and tape them in place.
Shake things up a bit. A child who doesn’t have the fine motor skills to use pencil and paper effectively can still learn letter shapes. Try finger paint, or tracing the
letter in a pan of rice or cornmeal. Spray shaving foam on the counter and let him
“write” in that. Write a letter with glue on construction paper and have him stick
cereal, marshmallows or beans to the glue. Use sidewalk chalk.
After your child learns the “alphabet song”, teach him letter sounds in a song
of your own. Make a poster board phonics chart or book with pictures either hand
drawn or cut from magazines, and letters printed in permanent marker. Help the
child point to the letter/picture as you sing “ah ah apple, b b ball, c c cat, d d doll,
eh eh egg”, etc to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.
Teach short vowel sounds first. The child will soon be able to look at “a” and
know that it both makes the “ah” sound, and “says its name”. After the short vowel

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sounds, move on to high frequency consonants, like t, p, or n. After a few short lessons your child will be able to sound out words like up, it, pot, and (mom’s favorite)
There are hundreds of easy, fun, cheap ways to teach and reinforce reading skills
at home, which obviously can’t be covered here in one chapter! The point is...there
are simple steps to teaching reading. You can take those steps, and you can enjoy
them too!

A few resources to take a look at:
• (Sing, Spell, Read &
• (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann
• (Five in a Row)
• (Sonlight Curriculum)

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Teaching Math in the Homeschool
By Dena Wood
Few subjects cause knees to tremble and hearts to pound like that of mathematics. For many of us, the daily struggle through math class was as much a part of our
routine as deciding what to wear. When we combine such negative personal experience with the requirement to educate our own children in this area it can be downright daunting. It’s no wonder one of the most common questions fielded when we
share our intent to homeschool is, “What will you do about math?”
Fortunately, with the wide variety of curriculum and resources readily available the most intimidating aspect of teaching math boils down largely to deciding
which one to use. There is no doubt that math, even at upper levels, can be successfully mastered in the homeschool environment. The key is in determining which
approach will work best for your child.
A child in public or Christian school is tied to the curriculum of choice regardless of their learning style, ability or confidence level. We are blessed to be free from
the one-size-fits-all standard. The ability to tailor educational tools to the individual
needs of our child is one of the greatest advantages we have as homeschooling parents.
The big question is, “How do we determine which method or program is right
for our child?” In all honesty, there is no black and white answer. There are, however, several factors to take into consideration as you make curriculum and resource
First and foremost, it is important to instill “math-confidence” in your child.
This begins in the early years by teaching your child the many ways in which
numbers, measurements, weights, etc. are a part of daily life. Positive interactions
with numbers in a non-threatening and concrete way remove the fears that can surface when a student is met by abstract, meaningless numbers on a page.
It is entirely possible to go without a formal math curriculum the first several
years of elementary school simply by using life as your textbook. Your child can
learn to count money, measure, tell time, estimate, make graphs and charts, identify shapes, and more, simply by spending time with you. As you play store, build a
birdhouse, make cookies or create art, discuss the mathematical component in what
you are doing. A good Scope and Sequence can assist you in covering all your bases.
Even at an older age, it is crucial to continue these real-life learning experiences.
Supplement your curriculum by having your student balance a checkbook, figure
interest, create a budget, calculate gas mileage, build a playhouse or start a small
business. These activities not only prepare them for life, but prevent math from becoming simply an abstract concept.

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As a child enters the mid- to upper-elementary grades, a formal curriculum becomes more desirable. We must remember, however, that curriculum is a tool to be
used to our best advantage. Grade levels can be arbitrary. What is considered third
grade work in one curriculum can be the equivalent of fifth grade work in another.
Place your child according to ability rather than grade level. Do not feel bound to
complete every page and problem as presented. If your child has fully mastered a
concept, skip drills in that area. If your child is experiencing difficulty with a particular skill, consider supplementing with a resource that presents it differently.
Likewise, do not bind yourself to one particular curriculum for life. Just because
one child responds well to a certain program doesn’t guarantee that another will.
We must be sensitive to the needs of each child and open to new options ourselves.
Learning styles play a large role in the right curriculum choice for each child.
A kinesthetic learner responds well to a program that relies heavily on manipulatives and will enjoy games and computer software. An auditory learner will appreciate CDs like Schoolhouse Rock and a lecture-style teaching format. A visual learner
will enjoy a workbook or text with bright graphics and examples.
Ask questions about your children. Do they enjoy workbooks? Do they work well
independently or do they prefer adult interaction? Are they content to move forward at a steady pace or are they eagerly seeking the next challenge? Do they struggle with issues of self-confidence? Do they find drills to be an affirmation of their
skills or simply a bore?
If your child has difficulty retaining new learning, a program that incorporates
incremental review, like Saxon Math, will be helpful. If your child quickly and easily grasps new ideas and enjoys a challenge, Singapore Math may be a good choice. A
child lacking in confidence may find comfort in the drill and practice of Rod & Staff.
Many of these publishers have samples on their websites that are available for
preview. Borrow from friends and let your child try a few lessons from various programs. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into making a decision. If necessary, use
workbooks from Wal-Mart or Costco until you have a good sense of what the best fit
is. Time invested in finding the right program is time well spent.
By high school, many homeschoolers are largely independent in their math
studies. While it is certainly possible to learn successfully from a text, more and
more students are taking advantage of the many interactive DVD or video math
programs now available. Switched on Schoolhouse, Saxon’s DIVE CDs, and Systematic
Mathematics are only a few of the programs receiving positive reviews.
As you take the time to know your child and determine the curriculum best
suited to his needs, remember to use that curriculum as a flexible, adaptable tool.
Pair it with outside resources and real-life learning and you practically guarantee a
successful home education in mathematics!

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Below is a small sampling of math resources:
• World Book Scope & Sequence
• Trigger Memory Systems—mnemonic based systems for times table and
math term memorization as well as other creative learning tools http://www.
• Saxon Math—Proven success with incremental review, online placement
tests and activities
• Miquon Math—Hands-on, discovery based program http://www.keypress.
• Rod & Staff Math—Traditional, solid program.
• Math-U-See—Hands-on program encouraging problem-solving http://www.
• Alpha Omega—Offer programs for computer-based, traditional work-text,
or faster paced
• ABeka—Traditional-style Christian program
• Bob Jones—Bright, colorful workbooks & texts
• Singapore—Fast-paced program originally used in Singapore http://www.

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Let’s Try Lapbooking!
By Cindy Rushton
Ready for something new and fresh for your homeschool? Need to add a bit
of fun to your lessons? Looking for a great way to encourage your young writers?
Lapbooking is going to hook you! Once you make your first Lapbook and learn how
easy it is, you will find yourself as addicted as we are! Are you ready? Let’s try Lapbooking!
Quick and Easy Steps to Getting Started Lapbooking…
Yes, there are only a few steps to making a Lapbook. Let’s get going!
Learn the Lapbook basics! Making a Lapbook is easy. Just read through the following steps. If you need even more help, you can visit our website for more detailed instructions, ideas, and pictures. We’ve got a whole section of help just for
Lapbooking on our site ( Of
course, you may be ready to go after these basics…it’s that easy! Read through this
chapter at least once to get a good overview. Then, go back through it as you work
on your first project.
Make a Sample Lapbook! One thing that may help you is to go through the steps
making a “Sample” Lapbook. In a sample Lapbook, you can try all of the basics of
making booklets, setting up folders, and putting it all together. I cannot recommend that highly enough. Make up a Sampler with your booklets and ideas for
displaying materials. You can try your hand at setting up a Lapbook without the
risk of messing up any of the booklets or original work that your children have
made. In fact, you may want your children to make their own “Sampler” so they
can learn the basics. Usually a child will be ready to go with a project once they see
how it is done and work through one Lapbook. Then, all they’ll need is access to
their supplies, plenty of time to work, and a whole lot of “mommy” encouragement!
So, learn the basics, try them out in a “Sampler,” show the little ones, and let them
go…you’ll love it!
Learn how to make booklets. A Lapbook is made by taking a big file folder folded
in a shutter-fold and filling it with many small booklets, foldables, and information
sheets. There are hundreds of great websites with step-by-step instructions for creating fun booklets. It truly amazes me how much is out there! We also have a few
ideas for making booklets on our website. Little children LOVE making booklets.
Making booklets is a child-friendly way to research information; the kids hardly
realize that they are learning so much information. This is such a great way to encourage reluctant writers to get started writing without overwhelming them. Find
a booklet style that appeals to you just so you can get started. Then, let the sky be
your limit! You can include any style or shape for your Lapbooks. They will all be

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Teach your children how to make booklets for themselves. Again, I highly recommend making a sampler with your children. Show them the basics of making
booklets. If you are a bit overwhelmed, you may want to begin with just a few
simple booklets. You can make them in different sizes to fit the material that you
have. Just a different size or type of paper makes the same booklet look completely
unique. The fun part is that ANYTHING goes, so make it easy! Show them the basics. Help them to learn just a few options (they will want to know more later; that’s
when you can dig up even more for them to try out). Give them a nice introduction
and turn them loose!
Teach children to record neat information in their booklets. Information is EVERYWHERE begging to be added to your Lapbook—online, in your workbooks, in
your study materials, etc. There is so much information all around you! You can add
ANY of it to your Lapbook. Lapbooks are such a cute way to display pictures, maps,
charts, information booklets, lists, coloring pages, etc. They are great for the reluctant writer who needs to copy information bit-by-bit without being overwhelmed.
We use small sheets of writing paper for the text of our booklets. They can copy
their information on them and then just glue them into their booklets with illustrations that we cut out of our study material. Once they learn what they can add to
their booklets and how to do it, all we have to do is let them do it!
Keep booklets in a plastic baggie until you are finished with the study and ready
to build your Lapbook. We keep our booklets in plastic baggies in our notebooks
during our studies. As we wrap up our study, we can begin to get an idea of how the
booklets can be set up in our Lapbook to blend together and make a neat presentation of the information that we have studied. One thing to remember: if you have a
certain theme, you may want to plan ahead by choosing matching specialty papers
and coordinating supplies. Of course, that’s not a necessity. Lapbooks still have a
neat way of coming together, even if they are not completely planned out!
Take a file folder and fold into a “Shutterfold.” Most of the time, we use colored
file folders for our projects. I usually choose a color that coordinates with our study’s
main theme. You can use other paper too. You can use the 11 X 17 cardstock, which
gives you even more options for colors to match your themes.
Take out the booklets from the study. Get an idea of how you want to display the
booklets in the Lapbook. I like for mine to have a nice flow with the information. I
try to group my booklets in an order that flows.
Add any “extensions” needed to hold and display all booklets and information.
If you are like me, you will quickly run out of space for your booklets. The perfect
answer to that dilemma is to use “extensions” which allow for more booklets to be
added to your Lapbook. An extension can be made with another file folder or with
cardstock paper or even poster-board. We use clear packing tape to attach the extension to our folders. A friend of mine inspired me with the idea of using prong paper
fasteners. Those work great when you want to add a bunch of pages as extensions.
Extensions offer lots of room to display the different booklets and information from
our study. They also provide even more stability to the book. One of the nice things

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about Lapbooking is that you can keep on adding extensions and booklets for years
as you come across more information. Your Lapbook can keep growing with your
child’s education!
Glue booklets, pictures, and captions into your Lapbook. We use glue sticks for
most of our additions, but some of the heavier entries need spray adhesive to hold
them better. We use a lot of our scrapbooking materials, supplies, tools, and techniques for making our Lapbooks really special. Elisabeth and I are always ready to
“Scrapbook” for any project. Perhaps that is another reason that Lapbooking appealed to me! Lapbooks just seem to look more and more adorable as we add neat
new touches to each one.
Add stickers and any other accents. Again, I use many of the goodies that are
left-over from our scrapbooking projects. For the Presidents and Elections Lapbook,
we actually bought some adorable stickers and die cuts at our local scrapbooking
store. They were JUST what the Lapbook needed to be perfect!
Finally, decorate and title your cover. Titles can be designed and printed on
your computer or made by hand. Just make them special! Don’t forget to add the
student’s name, age, and mini-bio (brief information about them) to each Lapbook.
You will treasure these as they get older. Remember that although you CAN create
one Lapbook for your entire family, it is really more special for each child to make
his/her own book. Each Lapbook will show individual abilities and information
retained from the study. In fact, one thing that we really enjoy is making one each.
It is so much fun (and challenging!) when I make one too. They are each different,
yet really neat. Each of us prefers different booklets and different ways of making
our Lapbooks and we all pick up different information that appeals to us from the
study. We love enjoying each other’s creations. That’s a large part of what makes it
You are done! See how easy that was? Don’t you think it was fun? Yep! You just
might get addicted to Lapbooking too!

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At Home for School, Work and Play
By Crystal Paine
So, you’ve already made the big step to homeschool your children. You are enjoying the journey, in spite of some difficult days, but something is still missing…
Dad! You wish he could be a part of your day-to-day activities. You wish he wasn’t
gone for the bulk of the day at work. You really wish you could bring Dad home and
start your own business. However, you have serious doubts whether this arrangement will work. After all, is it even possible to have a home business while homeschooling?
Barbara Frank, homeschooling mother of four, author, and owner of Cardamom
Publishers says: “I think the combination of homeschooling and home business is
one that can especially bless a family. It’s not easy, and certainly requires patience
and organization.” But, she goes on to say, “God wants families to be together. They
should not spend their days in different places—some in school buildings, some in
office buildings. Their time together is short enough without losing five days each
For many homeschooling families, having their own business has been a wonderful and blessed adventure. The family togetherness they experience every day,
all day long, is worth the extra effort and work that most home businesses require.
As Carla Hardwick says, “Even though there are minuses to being home educators
with a business, the pluses by far outweigh the minuses! Oh, the joy of just being together as a family! We have so much time to love on each other!” The Hardwick family has owned their own business for many years. They have no regrets
in their decision to work together as a family. “There is a daycare across the street
from our house,” Carla continues. “Each day I watch busy moms and dads drop
off their precious children early in the morning and return to pick them up 8-10
hours later. While they were gone, they missed hours and hours of loving. They
missed first words and first laughs and jokes. They missed skinned knees and comforting hugs. They missed fights and opportunities to exhibit forgiveness, mercy,
and grace. They missed songs and dances and faces full of delight at the sheer fun
of living! At the Hardwick house, we do not miss these things. We live them to the
fullest. Every day is full of hours and hours of living and loving together as a family.”
Belinda Bullard, whose family owns A Blessed Heritage Educational Resources, says
that one of the greatest blessings for their family in owning their own business has
been the opportunity to teach their children by example. “In a time when traditional job avenues are diminishing,” she adds, “you are role modeling for your children the value of being able to gain wealth for themselves.”
But, in spite of the many blessings, having a home business, especially while
homeschooling, is a lot of work. As Jennie von Eggers, homeschooling mother of
four and creator of the widely-acclaimed TimesTales math facts program, wisely

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states, “A home business, especially a thriving one, does not come without sacrifice. My children and husband have less individual one-on-one time than they
had before the business. Having a home business also invites a type of workplace
stress into your previously sheltered abode.” Terri Johnson of Knowledge Quest Maps
reiterates this, stating, “Having a home business is not always easy. In fact, it rarely
is. Balancing school and work is tough when you have a home business. There is no
separation between these two aspects of my life—they just blend in together.”
How do you realistically juggle homeschooling and running a home business?
There are many approaches and you must find out what works best for your family
and your specific needs. The Roper family owns an adventure tourism farm in New
Zealand. They tried intermingling business and schooling at the same time and
found it impossible. Sue Roper relates, “It took me two years and burnout to realize
that we cannot work and homeschool at the same time. When I am homeschooling in the mornings, I try not to allow interruptions. Later in the day, I make myself
available for business work.”
“We school on a year-round schedule,” says Martha Greene, homeschooling
mother to 11, author, and owner of Marmee’s Kitchen, “This leaves most weeks for
school days as four-day weeks, keeping Fridays and Saturdays free for the business. I
try to make it a policy to either get up very early and take care of business emails
or only work on the business when all the school work is done. For me, it is a real
struggle to keep these balanced, but with the Lord as my helper I am trying to
please Him as I serve my family and try to also help other women as I minister to
them through my business.”
Before you start a home business, it is important to count the costs. Even if you
just have a small business, it will take a lot of time and work. As the co-owner of
WriteShop, Kim Kautzer has quickly understood just what this means. “I’m no longer
homeschooling, yet I’m struck by how little free time I now have. Our business has
grown to the point where we need to keep regular office hours. We need to be available to answer phone calls, take orders, make plane and hotel reservations, pack and
ship, market our products, and work with vendors. This means that I have to make
sacrifices in other areas.” Kim also gives a great reminder to would-be entrepreneurs:
“A home business will always look for ways to suck the life from you if you’re not
careful. It will never be satisfied with the amount of time you give it.”
“Balancing homeschooling and a home business takes vision, focus, teamwork,
organization, and a willingness to accept imperfections,” says Karen Davis, homeschooling mom and JuicePlus business owner, “The vision is knowing why we are
homeschooling and why we have a home business and not losing sight of it when
days don’t go right.” Cindy Prechtel, homeschooling mom and owner of Homeschooling from the Heart agrees, commenting, “It is so important to make sure I do
not lose sight of why I homeschool and the importance of teaching and training my
boys. If I’m a wildly successful homeschool speaker and author, yet fail in my role
as a wife and mother, then what have I really gained? To this end, I try to make sure

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that I take off my ‘writer/speaker/business owner’ hat to give my home and family
my undivided attention.” 

Want to start your own business? Here are some basic
steps to take:
1. Pray and Seek the Lord. Spend time in prayer and discussion as a family.
This is a vital part of setting up a business. And don’t just pray in the beginning, continue to seek the Lord’s guidance and direction each step of the
2. Discuss Ideas. Evaluate what the strengths and weaknesses of your family
members are. What unique gifts or creative marketable talents are represented
in your family? Is there a way you could combine these talents into an entrepreneurial endeavor?
3. Do Your Homework. Once you have decided upon a business idea, read all
the books you can get your hands on about your market and about starting a
business in general. Talk to other business owners and get their feedback and
counsel. Search the internet and see what is available in your field. Bounce
your ideas off of your friends and relatives and get their input.
4. Research State and Local Laws. Call your city hall or local Chamber
of Commerce to ask about steps you will need to take to set up a business
in your state. (For those in the US, you should be able to find the number
on your secretary of state’s website.) Find out if there is special licensing you
need to obtain or codes you need to abide by.
5. Get Professional Advice. It is recommended that you meet with an attorney and a Certified Public Accountant to help you decide upon what type of
business entity you should become and what taxation that business structure
will require.
6. Go for it!
Starting and running your own business takes a lot of work and effort, but the
rewards can be wonderful! As Christy Stouffer says, “Having a home-based business
is a true blessing. It brings the family together in unique ways and teaches us how
to be patient with one another, depend on one another, and trust one another. We
work together and enjoy the fruit of our labor together. Our children are receiving
instruction from their parents and we are able to follow God’s instruction to teach
them as we go.”

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Biographies: Meet the Contributors
Nancy Baetz, Staff Writer and Photo Acquisitions Editor for The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine, lives in Colorado with her husband Ken and their four children. She
enjoys learning with her children about God’s creation, and lives for SPRING!
She also likes to write about her experiences as a homeschooling mom, takes
zillions of photographs, and spends as much time as she can in her wildflower
Jane Bullivant is a UK Homeschooling mum to three turbo charged children and
their pet snail called Virgil. She is also the author of Dear Lord I feel like a Whale!
Pregnancy the ride of your life (Kregel). She is a freelance writer and contributes
regularly to many UK magazines and newspapers. Read her homeschooling journey at
Terri Camp is, first and foremost, a mom to her eight children. She also enjoys
writing and speaking to offer encouragement to women in an effervescent,
humorous way. Terri has written several books as well as hundreds of articles.
She has appeared internationally on both television and radio. In addition she
hosted a national broadcast for homeschoolers. Terri now works full-time as a
store manager at a homeschool bookstore, while overseeing the education of her
children at home. You can view more of Terri at
Marsha Drews says she “is blessed to be the Mrs. to David for over nine amazing years. We have 3 rowdy boys—Austin (age 6), Noah (age 4) and Christian
(age 1). This is my third year homeschooling, although we’ve always lived and
learned together as a family. We have a slightly odd lifestyle in that David’s occupation as a pilot takes him away from our home in Houston, TX for days at a
time, but also allows him to be home for days at a time. I’ve got a ton of hobbies
that I currently don’t have time for in this season of my life—blogging on www., playing my flute, reading, baking anything chocolatey, painting (acrylics), my slightly new venture of sewing and drinking coffee
with my friends.”
Christine M. Field practiced law for eight years before becoming a full-time
Mommy. She and her husband live and home school their four children in
Wheaton, Illinois where her husband serves as Chief of Police. Three of their
four children are adopted, one through a private adoption and two are from
Korea. She is the author of several books, including Coming Home to Raise Your
Children (Fleming Revell, 1995), Should You Adopt? (Fleming Revell, 1997) A Field
Guide to Home Schooling (Fleming Revell, 1998), Life Skills for Kids (Harold Shaw/
WaterBrook, 2000), Help for the Harried Homeschooler (Harold Shaw/WaterBrook,
2002) and Homeschooling the Challenging Child (Broadman & Holman, 2005)
She serves as Resource Room columnist for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Her
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articles on life skills have appeared in Focus on the Family Magazine and Single
Parent Family.

Christine loves to encourage others. She has spoken to many groups, including
small fellowships and large conventions. To contact her about speaking to your
group, you may email her at or visit her
website at Her mailing address is The Home
Field Advantage, P.O. Box 261, Wheaton, IL 60189-0261.

Lorrie Flem has been honored to be the happy rib of Randy for 20 years. They
make their home in Maple Valley, Washington until they reach the mansion Jesus is preparing for them. She considers it a privilege to be a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to their always precious and often precocious eight children.
Lorrie has always been prone to talk and as a result she has written a number of
books, is the publisher of TEACH Magazine as well as a FREE bi-monthly ezine,
and speaks nationally at conferences, retreats, and teas. Lorrie is known for her
humorous and gentle words of encouragement to other keepers of the home. See
her and get a sample of TEACH—The Magazine that Puts the Home in Homeschooling—For Mothers of Today with Yesterday’s Values, at
Coie Igarashi is 16 years old and the oldest of six kids. She can be reached at Coie@
Eleanor Joyce is a freelance writer and homeschooling mother of four. Forever
grateful to her parents for instilling an early love for books, she has sought to
pass that legacy on to her own children. In addition, she has enjoyed working
with emerging readers in Head Start, Public School, and Homeschool Co-op settings. She can be visited at,ink.
Melonie K. Murray is a freelance writer and editor and the Director of Public Relations for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Her work has appeared in several books
and e-books, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, The Griffon military newspaper, The
Guardian law enforcement paper, and SEEN Magazine. You can catch her blogging
about life as a single homeschooling Momma at
Julie Nott is a homeschooling Mom from Illinois.  She and her husband, Daniel,
have 4 children ages 14 and younger —1 girl and 3 boys.  She can frequently be
found scrounging around in other people’s throw away boxes (i.e. trash), garage
sales, thrift stores, E-bay and used book sales searching for the find of the day. 
Visit Julie at or at her website in progress  You can also subscribe to her e-Newsletters with The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine at

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Crystal Paine is a homeschool graduate and co-author of HomeGrown Business:
How to Start and Run a Successful Business While Homeschooling. She and her husband, Jesse, are the blessed parents of Kathrynne and owners of Biblical Womanhood ( In addition to delighting in her role as
wife and mother, Crystal works part-time as a marketing consultant for The Old
Schoolhouse Magazine, writes books and articles, teaches an online home business
class, and is an avid blogger.
Kris Price is a homeschooling mom of two great kids. Her husband, Jim, lovingly
supports her eclectic homeschool adventure! She is Assistant to the Publishers of
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and uses her blog—
ClassicalEducation4Me —to share lots of great information with homeschoolers using ANY homeschool method!
Cindy Rushton is the wife of her very best friend, Harold Rushton, and the mother of Matthew (18) and Elisabeth (15) who have always been homeschooled.
Cindy lives in the beautiful mountains of North Alabama in her dream cedar
cabin. Cindy is the author of over 75 books, Bible studies and homeschool resources. She edits and publishes two magazines, Time for Tea and Homeschooling The Easy Way. She has become a beloved and favored speaker for homeschool conventions and retreats across our country. You may find more of her
articles for free online at her website: and her popular
Dena Wood is co-owner of Trigger Memory Systems, marketer of non-traditional learning materials and co-author of Times Tales, an mnemonic memorization system for the upper times tables. She is a homeschooling Mom in Eastern
Washington State where she resides with her husband, five children, a dog and a
Deborah Wuehler is the Devotional & e-Newsletter Editor for The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine and resides in Roseville, CA with her husband Richard and their seven
gifts from heaven. She loves spending time in the Word of God, homeschooling
and dark chocolate. To contact her, email

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