Open to Change, Part II

stick-in-the-mudMinute-by-minute changes in our routine are one thing, they generally affect our lives for a brief moment. But, what about those changes which are far-reaching and costly? Are we open to change when those changes stand to cost us something?

What happens when we invest a great deal of time and money into a homeschooling curriculum that just isn’t working? Do we stick with a routine we’ve established simply because we’ve dedicated hours of planning to getting down just the right schedule?

Before I scream in frustration or wallow in despair, I need to ask myself a few questions:

Did I pray about this? Before leaping into a change, I always want to pray. The Lord will help me determine whether this is just hormones speaking or the truth coming to light. (laughing)

What are my long-term goals? Do I know what I want for my family in the long run? When we envision the end goal, the hurdles are much easier to jump.

Is this change meeting those goals? By sticking with what I’m currently doing, are we able to accomplish what we set out to do? Let’s not waste time on things which do not move us toward the prize. I need to pick my battles carefully.

Could our goals be met in a better manner? Yes, this may in fact be doing the job, but is it doing it well? If a better plan comes along, I need to be open to change.

Am I one with my spouse on this issue? As always, what does my husband have to say on this matter? I don’t want to fight for constancy or change, if I am fighting alone. I need to be sure we are one on whatever the issue may be and then we move forward together.

Is there someone who could help me with perspective? Change can be hard, especially when the consequences are far-reaching. Instead of making a blind leap into the unknown, it might be in my best interest to seek counsel on this matter from someone who has been here before.

Change is always a hard one for me, but by focusing on what’s important, being one with my man, and seeking the Lord in all things, change definitely becomes a little easier.

Time to Chime In: What is the biggest change you’ve ever made mid-year into your homeschooling routine? (I know some of you have changed states!! That’s pretty big!)

Open to Change

stick-in-the-mudI think I must be a stick in the mud. Once I have set myself down, getting me to move can be a little difficult. It’s not that I dislike change, but once I have my mind set in a particular direction, it can be challenging to redirect myself. One lesson I’m learning over the years is that I need to be open to change.

Change can be a beautiful thing, it really can; it offers new perspective, fun opportunities, and teaches many lessons. However, for someone who tends to be OCD, change cannot only be a little scary, but full of tension.

The hardest area of change for me… last-minute, day-to-day changes. It’s hard enough getting a stick in the mud to move slowly toward a new goal, but ask that stick to immediately shift into a new position and you are going to hear squeals of protest. (laughing) What helps me make those necessary, last-minute changes? Well, I…

Breathe – I try not to react, but simply take a deep breath. This helps me flush out the emotions willing to rush to the forefront of my mind, and allows me a moment to gain perspective of the situation.

Pray – If I can remember – I admit I don’t always do this when I should – I ask the Lord to help me through the situation. He knows what is best for my family and what I need to handle this in the best manner.

Listen – I cannot make a sound decision if I haven’t taken the time to listen fully to what’s needed.

Determine What’s Important – At that given moment, what is most important? Is it keeping to my schedule, dealing with my child’s character, running that errand for my husband, taking a last-minute field trip, or even having a necessary nap? What needs to take precedent; what can’t wait?

Reevaluate – Once my emotions are under control and I have fully understood what is happening, I do my best to evaluate the circumstances and decide the best way in which to tackle this new angle of life. Evaluating a curve ball can be tough sometimes!

Move Forward – Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. Once I have my answer, I need to move forward with confidence, knowing God will provide.

With practice and patience, this stick in the mud is learning to be flexible. It isn’t always easy, but it is necessary. After all, either I can bend or I can break. Personally, I’d rather bend; wouldn’t you?

Time to Chime In: Do you ever wish you could just stamp your feet and growl like a bear to help rid yourself of tension? (laughing) What is the silliest thing you’ve ever done to help relieve stress?

“You Can’t Shelter Your Children!”

Every once in a while, my husband asks to guest post; addressing concerns which he feels are vital to both homeschooling and families. Today, he shares yet another reason we are thankful for the blessing of home education.

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The Myth: Homeschoolers, conservatives, and people of faith are often on the receiving end of the superficial and thoughtless claim that “one ought not to shelter his child”. I say “superficial and thoughtless” because those who issue the claim have given it no serious reflection whatsoever. Instead, they parrot the statement because, like many social myths, it’s been repeated ad nauseam so as to condition many to embrace it as axiomatic.

The Hypocrisy: Those who insist that others “should not shelter their children” are doing so hypocritically. One can easily demonstrate this by simply asking them the following: Would you allow your children to watch pornography? Would you allow them to watch snuff films? Would you allow them to watch videos wherein muslims behead their enemies? Would you allow your children to walk alone anywhere, anytime they please?  The point is, EVERYONE shelters their children. The only difference is that some draw the line earlier or later than others and/or they draw the line at different places.

What Does the Critic Mean By “Sheltering”?

Homeschooling: In the context of homeschooling, many critics hold the false belief that “homeschooling” means that a child hardly ever goes outside the home until he is an adult, or something that approximates that situation. Since this is a gross misrepresentation of homeschooling in general, such critics simply need to go outside their own home and familiarize themselves with the real world of homeschooling. Only then will they learn that many homeschooled children get to see more of the world than those children who never experience the world outside the public-school box.

Religion: In the context of a religious home, critics of “sheltering” usually believe that children raised in a conservative setting are not adequately exposed to the evils of the world so as to prepare them for what they will encounter as an adult. While children do need to learn about the evils of the world, this clearly needs to be done with adult supervision at an age-appropriate time. This is precisely why films have ratings, computers allow for parental controls, and polite adults do not speak or behave inappropriately around children.

Both Homeschooling and Religious Upbringing

With respect to both homeschooling and religious upbringing, the critics often hold to the view that children in both situations are not taught about different worldviews and are “sheltered” from beliefs outside that of the parent/teacher.

The fact is, most homeschooled children do learn about other ideas outside of that with which they are indoctrinated. However, what the critic really takes offense to is the fact that the child is taught those other ideas from the parent’s perspective. Note, however, that the critic hypocritically does the same thing with his own child/student. He indoctrinates his own worldview into his child/student, and anything he teaches outside of it is presented from his perspective as well.

Drawing the Line

So if everyone shelters their children, where exactly do we draw those safety lines? It will depend largely on your worldview. Those with a Biblical worldview have some direction with which to work. We view a child’s innocence as a good thing to be protected and maintained as long as reasonably feasible.

Secularists, relativists, “progressives”, and others on the ideological left have nothing other than their own arbitrary and vacillating predilections to consult. Such persons often draw the line much further out because there’s nothing objective to morally restrain them. More often than not, it is these persons with less moral restraint who often issue the claim that one ought not to shelter his child. In other words, they draw their own line so far out that it lies out of view behind the horizon and, consequently, they fail to observe that the imperceptible limits they place on their own children constitute a form of “sheltering” as well, poor and misguided as it may be.

In conclusion, I’d encourage good parents to continue sheltering your children from the evils and ugliness of the world until it’s absolutely necessary for them to finally learn about it. While that day must inevitably come, there’s no good reason at all to hasten it.

-FG

Be Prepared

The following article was written for our monthly PSP newsletter. With permission from our principal, we are sharing this with you; praying you are blessed by the heart of his message. Enjoy!

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School LogoThe Boy Scouts have a motto… “Be Prepared.” Perhaps we could take their advice to heart as well. When it comes to spiritual warfare, both personally and regarding our families, one of our biggest enemies is the tendency to drop our guard. Professional boxers end up taking one on the chin when they drop their guard, and we too, as soldiers for Christ, end up taking hits when we ease up on our vigilance.

Nehemiah 4 gives us some great insight into spiritual warfare. Sanballat couldn’t give us a better picture of the heart, mindset, and scheming of our adversary if he tried. Take a few minutes to read the chapter.

In verse1, Sanballat hears of the construction project. he becomes furious, indignant, and mocking. Does this not picture how our enemy must be, and has certainly demonstrated that he is, whenever God begins to do a work in our lives? Like Sanballat, his agents become angry with what we are doing. The only reason for his anger was that the Israelites would be better defended and therefore less at his mercy than before.

“What? You’re going to home school? What about your kid’s education?” (Gee! Thanks for indirectly calling me ignorant too!) “What about their socialization?” (Now my kids are going to be ignorant, rude, and uncivilized savages?) We have all heard the arguments, and many of them come from well-meaning friends who are simply under the misguided impression that we have, at last, taken complete leave of our senses. If we stop for a moment to analyze it, is there really any difference between Sanballat and Co.’s reaction to the wall and what we experience when we choose to buck the system and home school, or enact anything else that God calls us to for that matter?

Nehemiah’s reaction is immediate – prayer – mindful of who is really being reproached and provoked. We would pray that the same would be said of us, namely that we take things to the Lord first. Nehemiah’s first course of action is prayer, but then he began to build anyway, and so should we.

Verse 7 takes up the mind of the opposition again. Nehemiah and crew are rebuilding, the spots in Jerusalem’s defense are beginning to be filled in, and the Sanballat gang becomes even angrier, “and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion (emphasis mine).” In verse 11 we read, “They will neither know nor see anything, ’til we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.” Basically the idea is, “They won’t know what hit them.” Doesn’t this sound familiar? God calls us to some action, area of service, or conviction, and immediately the enemy tries to dissuade us from acting on it in the first place. When that fails, as hopefully it should, he then kicks it up a notch, moving from chaos and confusion into actual danger, a credible threat at the least, with the desire to put an end to what God wants to accomplish.

Jesus reminds us in John 10:10 that the enemy has only one basic goal – to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, We are often able to identify with the Jews in this account. Every time we turn around, we are getting hit, or threatened by possible hits.

Black/White Photo of Wall

Nehemiah stationed men, armed to the teeth, at all the weak spots in the wall, each defending his own family. Could the stakes be any higher? Looking at what the enemy wants to do to the next generation in our society, I am convinced that like those men, we have been positioned to stand in those gaps and fight for the defense of our kids. Nehemiah’s words are just as accurate today for what we must do – “remember the Lord ,great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”

The immediate result was that their enemies saw that they would not be taken in, and that it was God who had brought the plot to nothing; resulting in the continuation of His work. Just like Sanballat, our adversary knows when he is beaten, and will pull back. Also like Sanballat, it is usually only for the purpose of trying another tactic. Nehemiah continued to plan for the future, implementing not only a strategy for defense and the construction project to continue, but also a system by which the Jews were able to rally to each other’s aid when one might come under attack.

They had each other’s backs, and so should we. Nehemiah also instructed the men, himself included, to always be on guard. By always being dressed for battle, there would be little time needed to gear up; instead, they were prepared to act at a moment’s notice.

We need to be prepared for spiritual battle at all times. The enemy does not fight by the Marquess of Queensberry rules. He does not send out notice of his intent to attack, and thinks nothing of hitting when our backs are turned. In fact, if he can get us looking in any other direction than where the real attack is coming from he is happy, as he is more likely to score a blow we are not prepared to block.

Like Nehemiah, we are called to a project, the disciplining of our children. If you are a Believer, and you have children, then the command is in effect and cannot be denied. Whether the walls we are instructed to build are physical or spiritual, the truth is that God has commissioned us as builders, soldiers, and teachers to raise up a generation that knows both the Lord and the things which He has done; to be vigilant in our guard, protecting those who are not yet able to stand in their own defense; and to come alongside each other as we fight for a common goal. Like Sanballat, our adversary is relentless, angry, and cunning; but as with Nehemiah, our God is able to bring Satan’s strategies to naught.

One of my favorite movies is “Facing the Giants.” In one scene, the coach tells his team’s defense, “Build me a wall.”

May we build ours like Nehemiah.

The World is Our Classroom

The TableI think most homeschoolers dream of having a place to call their own. You know… a dedicated ‘homeschooling’ space where the bulk of our learning gets done. While not all of us have a dedicated room to do our schooling in, we are fortunate to call the world our classroom; learning takes place anywhere and everywhere!

Like most families, I’d love to have a homeschooling room. A special place set aside just for our learning materials, instead of having them nudged into a closet. A place where colorful charts, verses, and artwork could be proudly displayed on the walls. A place where, if learning isn’t finished, we can simply leave our projects to rest until later.

It’s a lovely dream, but, for now, we work with what we’ve got. The world is our classroom and here is where you’ll usually find us:

The Kitchen Table – We don’t have a dedicated homeschooling room, but we do have a dedicated homeschooling place! If you happen to stop by on a moments notice, you’ll find us at our kitchen table plugging away at our lessons. It’s a good size and convenient for having snacks.

The Office – My husband has a ton of books, supplies, and inspiration all packed into his little office space. Sometimes you’ll find us crowding his space to do a little learning.

The Backyard – The great outdoors, filled with greenery and fresh air. If we can, we try to get outside on occasion.

The Park – Sometimes the backyard doesn’t do it. We need some leg room to run around, swing from trees, and rough-house with our friends. What better place than the park? Plus, they have basketball courts, volleyball courts, tennis courts, and more!

The Library – If we can’t be at home, this is where we prefer to be. Our favorite place on earth. Books, games, research materials, and more!

The In-laws – Who else is going to teach us how to garden, cook, crochet, cross-stitch, craft, sew, and more? Being at my in-laws is always a treat.

On Field Trips – Museums, galleries, music centers, and more; field trips are wonderful and we take them as often as possible. Field Trips

No, we don’t have a dedicated classroom, which I would truly love, but we do have the world at our fingertips. Now, if I could keep the kitchen table clean!

Time to Chime In: What is the most unusual place you’ve ever done ‘school’?

A Banana a Day

“The anagram game that drives you bananas!”

Resource-Review_logoNormally, I don’t like games. If I had to narrow down a reason for this lack, I would be hard pressed to come up with a solid answer. Generally speaking, I believe most games are just a little too slow for me. Each person must wait their turn before playing, which results in most players sitting around mindlessly waiting for their play. So, when a new game was introduced, you could say I wasn’t overly excited.

May I just say… this game is wonderful! Not only did I like this game, I haven’t stopped playing it since we got it.  Bananagrams is a fun-filled game where the action never seems to stop!

Played similarly to Scrabble, players must makes words with the lettered tiles given. The difference between Bananagram and Scrabble? All players play at the same time! Yup; no waiting. Each player is given a certain amount of tiles from which they must create their own ‘Scrabble-like’ connection of words. Need another tile, shout, “Peel!” Used all your tiles and ready to win the game? Shout, “Bananagram!”

What I appreciate the most about this game is it’s diversity. Beside the standard Bananagram game, players may also play Banana Smoothie, Banana Cafe, and Banana Solitaire. It’s fast paced, fun, and helps add those wanted wrinkles on the brain.

Bananagrams

As an educator, I find Bananagrams very helpful. I highly recommend playing this game on a regular basis. Playing with the kids will increase their vocabulary, by watching you play they learn new words. Playing regularly will help them increase their speed and mental recall. Learning to negotiate the tiles will increase their critical thinking.

For the littles, we use this game to simply help them create words, without the necessity of connecting the words together. They are given a certain amount of tiles, just as we are. They, however, are simply asked to create words and play the remainder of the game accordingly. The only difference is their words are not connected.

So far, this game has proven tons of fun. So fun, in fact, that I haven’t even bothered to put the game away! It simply sits on top of our learning pile, ready to be played at all times.

Time to Chime In: Name your favorite word game and why you like it so much!

The Right Fit

I have a confession to make. I’ve started doing it, again; already. I’m obsessing over curriculum for next year and we haven’t even finished this year! I’m researching, studying, and stressing over which curriculum is going to be the best fit. Only this time, we’re talking high school.

Bookshelf_Feb2010(sigh) I wish I could be one of those parents who is blessed in picking the perfect curriculum right from the get-go and using it all through their children’s learning. (Those people do exist, right?) While we’ve been pretty lucky and only had a few changes over the years, it still irks me to know I’ve wasted a few dollars.

How does one pick the right curriculum? Does such a thing even exist? If it works for one, does it have to work for all, and does it last for their entire learning experience? All great questions! I’m not an expert, but here’s what I’ve learned:

When Not to Buy – Knowing when to buy is good, knowing when not to buy is just as important. Don’t buy on impulse, out of stress or because someone else says you ‘have to’ have it. Learn what works best for your kids, pray, and buy when you’re ready.

Is it For Them or You? – Sometimes we have a tendency to pick curriculum which gets us excited, but we don’t stop to think if it fits our kids’ needs. We need to look at this curriculum from their perspective and determine if it’s the right fit.

All or Nothing – Are we buying one type of curriculum and then forcing all our children to learn the same way? If we can, we try to meet each child where they are. We’ve been blessed that most of our curriculum works for everyone, but there have been times when I’ve needed to adjust to fit a particular need. This is just one of the joys of homeschooling.

Can it Wait? – Being a planner, I like buying things in advance. One mistake I’ve made is in buying items way too early and then realizing I didn’t need them after all. While I’m all for a good deal and planning ahead, I’m learning to bookmark or ‘pin’ items I might want in the future, instead of buying immediately. As the years progress, I can come back to those and reevaluate as needed.

Pray Always! – As always, pray about this issue. When the Lord is at the center of your life, you can trust He will be faithful to direct you to the curriculum that best fits your family’s needs. Be open to what He is going to do. You’d be surprised at how often He will take you down a path you would never have dared on your own!

Be In Agreement – I don’t recommend tackling this obstacle all by yourself. Make sure your spouse is included in curriculum and course choices. Sometimes we stress over areas our better halves could work through in moments. We were created to work together, so plan a date night and hash it out. Figure out what you both are looking for and make it happen.

Bend a Little – So, you prayed over the curriculum, talked to your spouse, bought it, and somehow it just isn’t quite working out. That’s alright! Sometimes we have great materials at our disposal, we just need to tweak them a little. Other times, the particular curriculum is only good for a period of our learning experience before we move on.

The Curriculum Graveyard – This one is the hardest for me, I admit. However, sometimes curriculum just isn’t the right fit. What happened? Who knows! It might be that I’m not using it properly. It might be I wasn’t following God’s instructions and was using my own wisdom in making the choice. It might be God was using this experience to teach us a lesson which had nothing to do with the curriculum what-so-ever; the curriculum was merely a catalyst for a greater lesson. No matter; if it isn’t working, drop it! Donate it, give it to a friend, set it on fire (just kidding), or whatever else you can think of. Life is too short to waste on lessons which aren’t being learned. Don’t be afraid to admit what you’ve got isn’t doing the trick, then readjust.

I don’t know that we’ve ever come across the ‘perfect’ fit, when it comes to curriculum.  Honestly, I don’t if one exists. What I have learned is to pray about the choices we make, be one with my spouse on this matter, and to be flexible with whatever we finally go with. No matter which curriculum we’ve chosen, we’ve always learned valuable lessons through using it. Just not always in the way it was intended. (smiling)

Time to Chime In: What is the shortest amount of time you’ve spent using a particular curriculum? What made you relegate it to the curriculum graveyard?

What New Thing Did You Learn Today?

Originally posted in February of 2013, I find it pertinent to remind myself from time to time of why we are doing what we are doing. This particular post keeps popping into my head lately, reminding me to not lose focus. Sometimes I forget these little nuggets I want to implement, but often put to the side. It’s time to renew this concept and start asking…

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The Kiddos and Tia NeneDuring a recent visit, my sister-in-law asked the kiddos an important question; one that sparked something in the forefront of my brain… “What new thing did you learn today?” She explained, if I remember correctly, that she knew of a family in which this question was asked daily. When the father joined them for dinner each evening, they were asked to share one new thing they had learned during the day. Not only did this encourage open conversation, but inspired the children to actively find something about which to communicate. If the children hadn’t learned anything of note in their formal studies, they energetically set about searching for one! This question is one I truly appreciate and believe, from this point forward, will continue to be implemented in our daily living. To encourage our children, I believe we adults should also participate! Learning something new everyday should not be relegated to only the young; we too ought to continually be seeking to expand our minds and add those precious “wrinkles” on our brains. Whether it is menial or monumental, adding knowledge and wisdom to our lives is never a waste. Time to Chime In: What new thing did you learn today?

In the Kitchen: Just Squeeeeeze!

In the KitchenWelcome to our kitchen. Here we’ll share our favorite recipes, lament over food failures, test out new gadgets, and discover tips to making kitchen life easier. Join us on this new adventure and share your life experience with the rest of us!

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‘Tis the season. No; it’s not Christmas, it’s citrus season! Healthier than fruit cake (although what isn’t) and right at your fingertips, citrus fruit is the perfect way to jazz up any meal.

In our backyard we have several citrus trees. My in-laws have quadruple this, plus a ton of other amazing fruit producing greenery at their disposal. Between both houses, we have all the citrus fruit a mom could ask for; no need to buy bags of Cuties, quarts of orange juice, or mixes for lemon cake. We can run into the back yard, pick fruit off our own trees, and enjoy the fresh taste of our produce.

While it would be great to think we eat all of our citrus fruit, the truth is we grow more than we could possibly chew. No worries though, this just means we need to find other creative ways to use our fruit. Usually we juice a portion of the fruit; who doesn’t like fresh lemonade and orange juice? Some of it we cook and bake with! Citrus Label

Our kids love orange juice and, when I can, I love giving them a fresh glass to drink. The downside? Squeezing the juice out of these babies. I either feel I don’t get all I can, thereby wasting fruit, or I spend all day juicing. (You wouldn’t believe how many oranges it takes to fill a gallon jug!) Our solution: an electric citrus juicer! While we do have a juicing machine, it doesn’t have a citrus attachment. Therefore, we need a separate juicer just for the citrus fruit. We also have a standard citrus juicer (non-electric), but, frankly, an electric does the job faster and is more efficient.

A side factor of having oranges is we also get the orange zest. Zest is great for baking, cooking, and in drinks. The act of zesting, however, took a little time to master. I couldn’t figure out how to get the zest off the grater! It seems I was using the wrong tools. (Um… yeah.) Just in case you’re not sure how to zest fruit – hey, it could happen – here is a great video to help you out:

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think the kids have finished off the orange juice, again! Time to refill the jug and remind them, “Juice is for mealtimes. Stop drinking juice like it’s going out of style.”

Time to Chime In: Food for thought… why do people think the fruit Adam and Eve ate was an apple? I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t feel any different after eating one. Is it just me?

Do You Feel Like a Ping-Pong Ball?

Our neighbors have five kids. At one point, they homeschooled all five; each child having completely separate curriculum. I learned a lot from our afternoons together. One basic lesson l learned, was having five kids took a lot of work. I could bounce around like a ping-pong ball all day or find a better way to make this happen.

New School BooksFor our family, the best method of tackling the concern of teaching four kids is to do as much as possible together, as a group. If we can learn something as a family, that is what we do.

While there are some areas of learning which require individual study, mainly grammar and arithmetic, there are just as many (if not more) we can do together. Bible, history, science, geography, economics, music, and Spanish are all areas of learning we not only do as a group, but have more fun doing so. Thus, we spend the bulk of our day learning together.

Our day always starts off with Bible time. Then each of our children begins grammar and arithmetic, working at their own pace. Once everyone is done, we take a break. As a group, we come together to finish off with history and science. After lunch, the kids are free to work on their electives together or individually, whichever they prefer that day.

But wait a minute! How can all four of our kids, who happen to all be two years apart in age, all learn the same material when they aren’t the in same grade? Good question; I’m glad you asked! Here are several thoughts to consider:

Grade, Smade – Exactly who determines what gets taught at each ‘grade level’? Why can’t a five-year old learn biology and a fifteen year old study life science? What’s important isn’t the ‘grade’ your child is in, but that the material being covered is done thoroughly and in such a way that your child understands. I would also encourage us to challenge our children in their learning. This might mean a higher level for our younger kids and a more basic for our older; each child should be taught at their level, not their ‘grade’.

Middle Ground – To help all our children follow the lessons (meaning the littles aren’t overwhelmed and the older ones aren’t bored), we try to reach for the middle. By teaching to the average, the littles are slightly challenged, but not lost in the mix. This also allows for the older children to participate in the bulk of our group activities, while additional assignments and projects are given to increase their learning in this area. (e.g. Let’s suppose we are studying the Civil War. The material covered is understandable by all, with just enough vocabulary to challenge the littles and encourage them to learn more. The older ones are prompted to assist with doing the reading for us, keeping them involved. We have a roundtable discussion of the lesson, answering questions as we go. Once the reading is done, the littles will work with mom on a project based on our reading while the older two work independently on assigned projects based on the same topic. We learned together and yet tailored the material to meet each person’s needs.)

What, Again? – Once you’ve been homeschooling a while, you start to notice something. History repeats itself; so does science, literature, grammar, and almost everything else. Think of it this way. You cover certain aspects of science in first grade, right? Guess what? You’re going to cover them again in second, with a little more added. Oh, and you’ll do it again in third, then fourth, and yet again in fifth. Stress less about skipping a ‘grade’ with your kids, missing out on material, and just focus on them learning the concepts you’re teaching now. Odds are, whatever you didn’t get this year is going to be covered again next, and the year after that.

What about high school, you ask? I don’t imagine we’ll change much. There is no reason our eight year old can’t learn a little biology along with our big girl. He might not participate in all activities, but he’ll have projects of his own. Our big girl might have a few additional projects tailored just for her, but this will teach her to work independently. There is no reason the bulk of our studies can’t still be enjoyed as a group, it just takes a little imagination and dedication. In the long run, it’s still less work and more financially feasible.

Do I still have days when I feel like a ping-pong ball? Oh, yeah! That’s bound to happen when you have four kids, homeschool, run a business, and a household. However, we like to keep the bouncing to a minimum and do as much as we can together. It’s less work for mommy and, frankly, it’s just plain fun!

Time to Chime In: I used ping-pong as an illustration of what my day can sometimes feel like. If you had to compare your day with a game, which would it be?