The Homeschool Swap- The Real Gift

My opportunity was on the way!

The opportunity for me to step outside of my introverted ways. The opportunity to open my newly finished and almost empty home. The opportunity to have company while my husband was so far away

Some would say it was foolish to let a practical stranger come stay at my house, but that’s the thing. Heather didn’t feel like a stranger. Even though we met only briefly at a homeschool convention, I knew her in a way I don’t know my own neighbors. I knew her through blogging.

photo by: Sprittibee

When I sent my first post into the cloud of search engines, I never imagined friendships would form. Friendships created not on externals, but on ideas shaped with words.

Even though writing doesn’t peel away our flesh, souls are revealed over time. And time is on Heather’s side. She has been blogging at Sprittibee for FIVE years.

photo credit: Sprittibee

I was so blessed to have Heather’s beautiful family in my home. They arrived late and had to leave early, but our time together was refreshing. Our children became instant friends.

I got to hold the baby while the boys chatted about Star Wars Lego faster than my brain could process the words. The girls enjoyed drawing pictures together.

The gifts Heather sent me for The Homeschool Swap are still making me smile. Many of the presents brighten my new kitchen: a cute towel, a stainless steel bowl (the perfect size for blogging munchies), a timer (which I really needed), and a cool magnetic spice container.

The artsy, handmade cards for each of my children were carted off immediately. Sweet Pea claimed the fairy wand, and Bug built the Lego set in mere seconds. Sunshine decided the CD was for her. She was not disappointed. Heather filled it up with pictures of the visit.

These last photos of our time in Texas brought tears to my eyes. She captured not only my children, but little glimpses of my house with new eyes.

photo credit: Sprittibee

The package was only a representation of the real gift: her friendship.

Thank you so much, Heather!

You can read Heather’s side of the story here.


Homeschooling Through the Summer

Lesson plans wait as my little girls collect twigs and pull grass. A Birds’ Nature Park emerges underneath the green-tipped lilac branches. My twelve-year-old son gathers cast-off lumber and sketches plans for a chicken coop.

These first beautiful days of spring remind me of one of the reasons I homeschool: the inherent flexibility.

Photo by Brandi Jordan

During my son’s first year of phonics lessons, our schedule matched public school. I hadn’t considered any other possibility...

To find out my plans for summer learning and get some ideas of your own, please visit The Teachers’ Lounge.

{Psst, if you leave a comment while you’re there, you’ll already be entered for the giveaway from Really Good Stuff here on Monday.}

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While you’re thinking of summer plans, you may want to click over to read my review of a very helpful website I discovered: ChoreBuster.


Help! I’m Considering Homeschool

I’m thinking about homeschooling. My husband and family keep talking me out of it. I never considered the possibility before, but since putting my daughter in preschool she’s become angry. I don’t even know how to begin homeschooling. Your views would be helpful. ~J.K. in FL

Mother and Child in an Interior, 1898

Dear J.K.,

First of all, I want to encourage you. Homeschooling isn’t as scary as it sounds. So many messages in our culture come against the idea, but, especially in the early years, homeschooling is pretty simple. I didn’t say it’s easy, but it is simple.

Your child needs to learn to read.

Because homeschooling is very centered on family, I would not try to do it if my husband wasn’t in unity. Is he open to trying it? What are his concerns? As you explore this option, continue praying and communicating about it.

Another thing to consider is your state’s homeschooling laws. It looks like you have more restrictions than I do in Idaho. However, you don’t have to start any formal education until your child is 6. You may have a year before state requirements come into effect, and by then you will have found support.

Honestly, I think homeschooling during the beginning years is more crucial than later. It is a time of laying foundations.

While our children are young, we need to teach them, not their peers. Then when they are older and capable of discerning good from evil, they have a foundation to stand on.

I hope this helps. You have already been teaching your child. And no matter where she attends school, you are still her most important teacher.

Peace to you,
Renae

What would you have said?


The Faith It Takes to Homeschool

For the first time, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the plethora of choices at the homeschool convention. A few art supplies were gathered as gifts to take home to my children, but no curriculum grabbed me. Our shelves at home contained more than enough.

After six years of homeschooling, I felt settled. I finally realized there was no perfect curriculum. I understood there was no system to replace character.

The view from my new vista looked so promising. My faith was stronger than in those first faltering days of kindergarten crying. My children were learning and growing. Homeschool was working.

Then a new season crashed in on us. A season of selling our house and moving across the country….

To finish this article, please click over to Heart of the Matter Online and let me know how you conquer the fear of homeschooling.


Homeschool Is Messy

My husband leaves for work early in the morning, but the rest of us are here all day, every day. Before breakfast, toys are dragged into the living room. I sling bowls onto the table and notice the library basket being emptied. The rug is covered with books as I pull out the cereal.

Breakfast explodes all over the table and my coffee has disappeared in plain sight.

Balancing messes and lessons is a daily struggle.

To find out how I try to balance homeschooling and homemaking, please hop on over to Heart of the Matter Online. While you’re there, please share your insights and tips. I need all the help I can get!