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What Will God Teach You?

What Will God Teach You?
On Facebook I asked a simple question, "What did God teach you during your first year of homeschooling?" The number one answer? Patience, of course!

You Will Learn Patience!
Just like these moms.

"Patience!" ~ Leanne, Candace & others. Some seemed to SCREAM the answer in all caps!

"Patience, persistence, and trusting to let him lead us and guide us." ~ Angela 

"I learned to have patience and accept the will of God, because for the first two years I was in denial. Didn't want to homeschool and God used my husband to push me to homeschool. After those two years, I can say that it has been a challenge at times but over all to be thankful for Gods' purpose in our life's." ~ Areli

You Will Learn Strength!
Just like these parents.

"That I CAN do this!! Still going 9 yrs!" ~ Jennifer 

"That I can do it, even with three ADHD girls! We are still going strong 10 yrs later." ~ Debbie

"Even though my daughter was very smart; it was going to be a difficult road." ~ Jeanna

"I am capable of far more than I ever believed I was! My report cards very rarely had a grade higher than a D-, and my teachers from 5th grade on always told me I should just ride it out and not bother coming in the next day. Well, God is now telling me something the complete opposite! Our son is zooming through his lessons, doing everything I was in the 4th grade, and he'll be just 5 in December! God is always blessing us." ~ Sara

So many people explained that they feel weak, but through Christ they were strong enough. Remember that Philippians4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

You Will Learn Faith!
Just like these folks.

"Clearly, I am not in control." ~ Chris

"That I'm not in charge." ~ Courtney

"It's all His plan not mine!" ~ Melissa 

"That we're doing this because He wants us to." ~ Michelle

"It's His plan that matters most." ~ Samantha

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Make sure my heart is right before I teach my children." ~ Lois

"That He will walk me through what He called me to do. I began homeschooling my daughter in 3rd grade, after years of saying "I will n.e.v.e.r homeschool!". We're in our 8th year, and it's all thanks to God!" ~ Becky 

"That there was NO WAY that I was going to be successful without Him... NO WAY!" ~ Ginger 

Like it says in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I can be a challenge, at times, to have faith that we can't mess up God's plan.

You Will Learn to Prioritize!
Just like these families.

"Don't do family life around your homeschool, do home school around your family life." ~ Contina 

"Teaching our kids His ways is more important than any "school" subject." ~ Harvey

"To appreciate how awesome my kids are! It's not all about academics. We get to amazing things together and enjoy our time together. I am so thankful to be homeschooling!" ~ Kelly 

"To relax, after all, it's just first grade! Enjoy the time spent with them!" ~ Tricia 

You Will Learn Flexibility!
Just like Gumby!

"I have always been highly organized, but often it was at the expense of flexibility." ~ Lee

"That I didn't need to have all the boxes checked off at the end of the day." ~ Beverly 

"There are so many things to learn that are not written in books. Be flexible."  ~ Brenda

"To give Grace and be FLEXIBLE!  We've come a LONG way in 5 years!" ~ Heather

"You do not have to finish every page of every book!" ~ Mandy

"There is no right or wrong way. Just our way." ~ Amanda 

"To relax, be flexible and always be willing to learn from each other." ~ Irene

This is a difficult time of year to homeschool, when winter makes everything bleak and dark.  Try to take a step back, and remember that even in the midst of challenges, you are learning, and growing, and it WILL get easier as you learn these lessons gradually over time.

For more encouragement, consider this short ebook "Creating Homeschool Balance." And watch this free class, “Homeschooling: Discovering How and Why it Works” with Dr. Jay Wile. Why Homeschool Works.

What did YOU learn when your first year homeschooling? Please leave a comment and share your story!


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Public School Annual Report Card

Public School Annual Report Card

I love reading our local public school's yearly updates.  It has awesome information that can be affirming and encouraging to homeschoolers. Let's do a quick check and see how we are doing by looking at the Highline Public Schools 2012-2013 Report Card and annual report to the community.

First of all, do you insist on labeling your children by color groups? I always find it so frustrating when I see pie charts with "black, white, mixed, and other." I always wonder how that might feel to a child, being labelled like that.  I'm glad that as a homeschooler I didn't have to label my children, or risk having them feel "less than" if they weren't in a majority on the pie chart.

This year My school district announced some big and bold new goals they hope to achieve in the next 5 years.  In the coming years, they want 95% of kids to pass algebra in 9th grade. Today that is 77%.  One quarter of children aren't ready for algebra 1 in 9th grade.  When will your child be ready for algebra?  It's awesome that homeschoolers can give their children algebra when they are ready for it, even if that's in 7th grade.  It's awesome that they don't have to force their 9th grader into algebra and risk failure and confusion if they really need another year of preparation before they jump into that subject.  I'm the first to admit that algebra is critical for college preparation, but at the same time forcing it on a child that isn't ready can't be the besdt option.

My school district says they want 95% of kids to graduate and be able to choose their future. Right now that is 66%. One third of students don't have the necessary credits to graduate on time with the classes needed to success at college or career. Will your child be ready to graduate and choose their future?  Will they have the classes they need?  Homeschoolers can prepare their children for college and career with the freedom to choose appropriate classes at the right time.

My school district set a bold new goal of zero children suspended from school, "except when critical for student and staff safety." This year, there were 1,622 children suspended from my district.  They plan to do this by rewarding positive behavior and developing alternatives to suspending students.  But my children used to attend public school, and were in class with some violent youngsters who probably should have been suspended.  I'm left wondering about the other kids in class.  How can average students manage in a class with kids that might need to be suspended, but aren't? I'm thankful that homeschoolers can feel safe and secure without the threat of violence or bullying.

The local school district has the goal of 100% of children becoming bilingual, so that all graduates can speak, read, and write in another language. They plan to do this by awarding high school credit for "competency in heritage languages" - they will grant high school credit for speaking a non-English primary language at home.  I tell this to parents all the time!  If you are bilingual at home, you can count the non-English language on your transcript as a foreign language credit.  Yes, it would be nice to also study another language for foreign language credit, but giving credit for a bilingual home is another option to consider.  I'm glad we have the freedom to do things the easy way or the hard way, so that it meets the needs of our own child.

The local school want every student to become technology-literate. I agree, technology is important.  At the same time, I'm very thankful that homeschooling allows us the freedom to determine how much technology we can use in our homeschool.

In the brochure I was mailed, I noticed they were talking about huge, lofty goals that were actually quite different than the current state of education.  Does that every happen to you?  Do you wish it could be 100% at your home, but you only end up falling short. Have you read the information from your local high school?  It can be surprisingly encouraging.

My A la Carte courses will give you the tools you need to homeschool high school successfully.


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Nervous about Homeschooling High School?

Nervous about Homeschooling High School?
Not everyone feels confident about homeschooling.  Shannon was nervous when she started, but I'd say it ended up pretty well for her and her son, Aaron.  Read Shannon's story - I know it will encourage you!

Hi Lee, I'm responding to your request for high school graduate postings.

When I began homeschooling Aaron in kindergarten, I wasn't sure I could teach the basics, let alone all the way through high school.

I was nervous about teaching in general. He was a smart kid, and still is. One thing that gave me encouragement was the fact that I'd taught him to read when he was 4. I used phonics. When I heard that the local public school 'taught' reading in late kindergarten and 1st grade using whole language, I knew I had to homeschool. The irony is this school was very proud of its remedial reading program in 4th grade; however, if they'd taught the kids how to read using phonics, they wouldn't need the remedial program!

This Saturday he graduates with a 3.9 from his Running Start classes plus homeschool classes. He was accepted into both UW and Rochester Institute of Technology. He will be majoring in Physics at the UW. On the side, he sings, plays guitar and acts.

I am very proud of Aaron and what he has accomplished. Not only is he excelling academically and in the arts, he is a morally strong young man with a love for Jesus Christ. I know that homeschooling him all these years has been vital to his development. Homeschooling has enabled him to pursue his passions as well as guarding his heart from the prevailing attitudes of the culture.

Some of the best curriculum choices I made were: Bob Jones math (colorful pages when they're younger and they really teach the concepts; all my kids have done well in BJUP math), Apologia science, Romalda Spaulding phonics cards for learning to read and spell, frequent trips to the library, Christian drama/theater (which I'm heavily involved in, but which I endorse because of how it helps improve speaking skills, memory skills, physical memory skills, confidence, and helps instruct youth through story . . . and enables kids to do ministry for others, including praying for the audiences).

Homeschooling our children is one of the best decisions my husband and I have made.

~ Shannon

I agree!  It was one of the best decisions our family made too!  It's no always easy, but you can do it!  And you can be successful like Shannon!

We are having a 20% off sale on our Parent Training A la Carte courses today and tomorrow.  Just use the code "enjoy20" at check out!
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Crying out for Homeschool Encouragement

Crying out for Homeschool Encouragement
Dear Homeschool Parents,

Other parents feel the same fear that you do.  I have shared my own fears before, and I know I'm not alone.  Fear of failure is inherent in parenting.  Please read these words and tell me if you have ever had these feelings: overwrought, fear creeps in, meltdown, wonder about my own abilities, doing a lackluster homeschooling job, becoming more and more nervous, need moral support, family is NOT supportive, fear failure and future bitterness from children.

Now it's true, we don't ALL feel this way ALL the time.  But I'll bet that MOST of us feel this way SOME of the time.  You're not alone.  I felt that way and I succeeded.  Other parents had those feelings and they have succeeded.  You may feel that way now, but you can succeed too!  Read about Heather's feelings to know that you are not alone.
I've just found you and am trying to be encouraged by your newsletter, etc., but fear creeps in whenever I read success testimonies of homeschooling families and former homeschoolers. I do cheer each of them and even let my kids know about the testimonies, but they also cause me to wonder about my own possibly lackluster homeschooling job. I'm a single mother (of children with no involvement from a father), so I am in it alone. I don't even have a support group. (There's just not one anywhere near me, sadly.)

We even dedicate our school to God and pray for Him to take His rightful place as the head of His homeschool, and still I am more and more nervous about whether I can lead my children--especially my engineering-aspired son--through their college-prep educations. I fear failure and future bitterness from my children.

I know I shouldn't worry, but the time is growing so short. My children are 15-1/2 (10th grade) and 14-1/2 (9th grade), and this is our third year homeschooling. I don't know how to get enough information about "where they are" and "where they should be" to feel confident that I'm at least on the right track. I hope something you've written can help.

Heather in Colorado

Dear Heather,

Don't worry.  The biggest thing I hear from parents when they are done is Shock and Awe.  With a 10th and 9th grader, there is nothing you could have done that would make you "behind."  Instead of thinking about everything you could be doing, think about it one step at a time.  Read this blog post for encouragement: Homeschool High School: A Step-by-Step Guide. Then watch a short video called “How do you know you can homeschool high school

I just wrote a blog post about a mom who was CONVINCED she had messed up - until she saw her homeschool transcript.  I do have another few posts that might encourage you, though. Encouragement from The Other Side Homeschooler Wins Full Scholarship – Plus Some More! (By the way, this Renee didn't even think her daughter would get IN to college, must less get ANY scholarships.) Those blog posts should give you some encouragement for right now.

I think the thing that will help you avoid panic in the future is learning more about high school.  It's the unknown that we tend to fear.  If you learn more about high school, you'll be the resource that other parents turn to for encouragement!  You might want to get my video for beginners, Preparing to Homeschool High School, or join my Gold Care Club and watch the video online over four months.  You can read about all the ways I can teach you here:

Take a deep breath.  And take it one step at a time.

I can't thank you enough for your encouragement (and KNOWLEDGE!) Yes, you may use my name and question. Hopefully, you will feel the need to edit it, as I was a bit overwrought when I wrote it and probably rambled. ;)

Thank you for all of the links. I will visit them all. And I will visit Facebook too. (I'm pretty sure I "liked" you just yesterday.) I sure wish I had found you 3 years ago, or 4 actually, when I was seriously researching and considering homeschooling. I've downloaded or ordered every free thing I could get my hands on.

I think one of the meltdown catalysts for me was my thinking back to being a straight-A student all through school (until college, when I went crazy) but when I graduated, I did not receive one academic scholarship! (Nor did I receive help from parents to find any money, or even colleges, for that matter.) I was even vice-pres. of National Honor Society, in Y-Teens, volunteered a lot, had job experience since age 11, had lots of creative experience, etc., etc. and nothing!  I was never awarded a scholarship. Last night, I was thinking ahead to next year (when my son will hopefully be taking a college course in chemistry at a comm. college) and wondering if there were scholarships for that (dual credit/early college credit), and then I just jumped into fear about his college entrance being so near (as well as my daughter's).

I also know that if I were in a support group, it would help, but there just isn't one near me. I really need moral support, especially because my family is NOT supportive, to put it mildly, and I don't have a husband. But thank YOU so much for YOUR amazing help. (I'm sorry I made this so long. I rarely do that.)

Have a wonderful day and SHALOM,

Dear Heather,

A lot of my clients consider the Gold Care Club to be their personal support group.  I remember one member said "Hey, it's cheaper than therapy!"  If you're asking about college admission, that's one of the biggies that I help homeschool parents with.  I also have two DVDs that may help.  You can find them all on my Parent Training Tools page, but look specifically at  Finding a College and Getting the BIG Scholarships. Hang in there!  You're the best high school guidance counselor for your children, and you CAN be successful!

Our monthly newsletter comes out on the first of every month.  Sign up for your free monthly newsletter here.
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