Homeschooling

Art possesses a worldview.

How to Introduce Your Children to Great Art and Music

Most of what I learned in public school K-12, I’ve forgotten. But much of what I learned while homeschooling my children has literally transformed my thinking.

Isn’t it cool how homeschooling gives us another opportunity to be educated?

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Phonics or Sight Words

Phonics or Sight Words?

When the time came to teach my two young sons how to read, my homeschool mentor/dear friend Beth recommended I keep things simple….

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3 Tips for Storytime

3 Tips for Storytime

Cuddling together on the couch… exploring new worlds through the pages of story… learning significant character lessons through noble (or ignoble) characters….

Stories can connect us!

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Make Music with Our Lives

Stress-free Homeschooling?

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could experience stress-free homeschooling?

Stress. It’s often linked to anxiety and fear. It can make your heart race, palms sweat, and stomach churn.

Stress is painful.

We desperately want to escape it, but some stress is unavoidable…perhaps even necessary. (I would even go as far as to say that some stress is good.)

The Power of Perspective

One writer compared stress to the tension on a stringed instrument: Too much tension, and the strings snap. But without tension, there is no music—only a dull, raspy sound.

Is there a way we can use stress to “make music” with our lives rather than become so overwhelmed by it that we “snap”?

The key lies in perspective.

What does Scripture say about stress?

As you may know, our company provides resources that teach “critical thinking from a biblical worldview.” So, naturally, I approach this topic from a biblical perspective.

If you equate stress with fear, Scripture has a lot to say about it. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 41:13, Psalm 34:4 are a few verses that may encourage you.).

“Fear not!” is repeated throughout the Bible. It appears frequently enough to indicate that fear is a real problem.

If you struggle with fear, you are not alone.

My worst homeschooling-related stress was provoked by fear:

  • fear of ruining my children’s lives
  • fear that my sons would suffer because of my inadequacies
  • fear that they wouldn’t be prepared for life.

Have you ever struggled with similar fears?

If so, you may be encouraged by an article on fear that I wrote for the 2016 Annual Print Edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. (You can find it here.)

You might also be interested in our blog series titled, “Overcoming Your Greatest Fear About Homeschooling.”

The Hidden Blessings of Stress

How we respond can determine whether we will transform painful stress into productive stress.

When fear motivated me to evaluate our homeschool progress and consider where we needed to improve, the subsequent insights and course corrections were a blessing.

It doesn’t feel good to be in a state of desperation, but when fear motivates me to pray and humbly ask for God’s help, I’ve been amazed by the way God has graciously answered my prayers!

Put Stress to Work.

Stress-free homeschooling may not be possible, but we can put stress to work for us. When stress moves us toward reflection and prayer, blessings follow.

So, when you feel your pulse picking up, your palms getting clammy, or your belly begin to ache—take a deep breath and pray!

Pray. Trust that He has heard you. Then do whatever you can right now to make the best use of this day that the Lord has made—knowing that:

  • His strength is made perfect in your weakness.
  • He is trustworthy and knows what is best.
  • He is for you.

Rest in Him, dear friend.


Struggling to make most of your time?

Don’t Eat That Frog — A Liberating Look At Time Management Strategies gives you a plan to win the battle! Sign-up below to get a FREE cheat sheet with five of the “FROG” strategies:

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Are you equipped to educate your children

Are you equipped to educate your children?


What keeps you up nights? Do you find yourself fighting to overcome fear? Do you ever lie awake wondering whether you are equipped to educate your children?

Do you wonder whether you are adequately preparing them for life? How will they handle interacting with the world?

Will they be ready for college? Will they find a spouse?

If you find yourself asking these questions (and sometimes, figuratively speaking, biting your nails), you’re in good company.

What is your greatest fear about homeschooling?

I recently asked the question on social media: “What is your greatest fear about homeschooling?”

Within minutes, I received a rush of heartfelt responses. It became clear from the comments that many parents suffer trepidation. A few fears repeatedly surfaced.

I was particularly touched by one mom who asked,“It’s obvious that we all have the same fears, but what are we going to do about it?”

Her question moved me to pray … and then ask a few trusted homeschool parents and graduates how they would encourage homeschooling parents struggling with fear.

If you struggle, I pray their words encourage you and help you overcome your fears.

Let’s tackle three of these terrors, beginning with…

Fear That You Are Not Equipped to Educate

“Don’t you need a teaching degree to do that?” Have you heard that question yet?

Most of us encounter family members or “friends” who are highly critical of homeschooling. They cross-examine us on our credentials and leave us second-guessing whether we have what it takes to teach.

Yet homeschool families today have countless options for curricula, co-ops, and conferences. Any academic inadequacy can be effectively addressed.

And perhaps awareness of our inadequacies can be one of our greatest assets.

Hillary, who has homeschooled for more than a decade and has three homeschool graduates in college, talks about her experience:

“I’ve had days when I felt very inadequate. Yet, when I confess my weakness, God steps in and shows up in a big way!

Remember that your kids are really on loan to you from your heavenly Father.  He has the wisdom we lack and just wants us to ask Him for it.”

Fear That Your Mistakes Will Harm Your Children

Sometimes the responsibility that accompanies homeschooling can feel overwhelming. Many parents expressed concern that mistakes they make will have dire consequences for their children.

Jane, who has three homeschool graduates and is still educating her youngest child, reminds us:

“God chose us to be our children’s parents.  He knows what our children need, and He also knows that we will make mistakes.

Do we tend to cry out to Him when everything is peachy?  Or do we turn to Him in the midst of our trials?

Maybe it is through our mistakes that our children (and we, ourselves) will actually be drawn closer to God.”

Fear That You’re Leaving Too Many Gaps!

If you ever worried about how can you possibly teach your children everything they need to learn, be comforted by these words from a certified-public-school-teacher-turned-homeschooler:

“Schools don’t teach our kids enough and neither do we.  There are gaps everywhere—and that is fine.

What we need to do is teach our children how to learn and help them love learning so it becomes their lifelong habit.

Then, when they encounter something they need to learn, they will have the tools to figure out how to learn it for themselves.”

What These Fears Might Really Be About….

My homeschool mentor, Beth, observed that all parents struggle with many of these fears—not just homeschoolers. She explained:

“During my most challenging times when I homeschooled, when I wanted to quit and call the school bus, I recognized that often the problem had nothing to do with academic education…and everything to do with our parent/child relationship or my own weakness or sin.

Thus, before any schooling method could be effective, that relationship problem or character issue needed to be addressed.”

Final Thoughts — You Are Equipped To Educate

Homeschooling provides a safe environment in which to develop your children’s character, as well as your own. Consider these wise words from homeschool graduate, Renee:

“Homeschooling in no way guarantees salvation or success. Those things belong to the Lord.

Don’t homeschool for results.

Homeschool as a testimony to your children of your love for God and for them, as a testimony to others of your sincerity in your faith, and as a testimony to God of your dedication to Him.

There may be times you feel inadequate, or like all your attempts and work is futile, but in Christ you are more than enough. Through Him, you are building the Kingdom of God through your day-to-day time with your children.”

Fear not, dear parent! You can trust the One who is able to equip you.

Rest in the knowledge that He will work all things together for the good of those who love Him.

 


This article was originally published in the Annual Print Edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Copyright 2016, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC.

Feature Products

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Prone to Wander Devotion

A Homeschool Hymn Study Devotional

Saved From Myself

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it,

prone to leave the God I love….

As I read these words, my heart breaks. Much as I wish it was otherwise, I know it is true.

Why would I leave you, Lord Jesus? You hold the keys to all I need and truly want. And yet, were I not tethered to You, I might be lured away forever by temptations that lead only to destruction.

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Boy Playing Guitar

EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN ON THE POWER OF MUSIC


Music has an amazing ability to influence our moods, which, in turn, can influence our actions. That’s powerful.

We would be wise to educate our children on the power of music.

Do you have a soundtrack for your life?

Songs you listen to when you feel victorious?

Songs that bring comfort when you’re feeling blue?

Songs to give you energy when you clean house or exercise?

MUSIC IN OUR STORY

My husband is a guitarist. The first time I met him, he was backstage getting ready for a concert. The second time I saw him, he and his brother joined a mutual friend for a jam session at my house.

I quickly fell in love with his music. A few months later, I fell in love with him.

After we married, he pursued a career as a studio guitarist, and I began writing “The Great American Novel.” We didn’t plan to have children.

Our plans changed when I became pregnant.

However, five years into our marriage I became pregnant—and our plans changed.

My husband loves playing guitar, but when when he became a dad, he set aside his musical aspirations and dedicated himself to supporting our family.

I’ve never met a more dedicated father.

MUSIC IN OUR HOMESCHOOL

Music has “played” an important role in our homeschool.

When my sons were big enough to hold my husband’s travel guitar, he began teaching them how to play it. As they grew a little older, he bought them their own guitars and taught them music theory, techniques, and how to care for their instruments.

They quickly became competent guitarists.

We often talk about the most significant purpose for music: “Music is made for worship!”

Today, both my sons are equipped to lead worship on guitar. One of my favorite memories is pictured below when Ryan and his dad led worship at my dear homeschool mentor’s farm.

Ryan-Farrell-03

(BTW: We’re working on a new resource designed for beginning or aspiring guitarists. Click here for more info!)

Listening to music together and asking questions has sparked some lively discussions:

  • What attracts you to a particular piece?
  • What mood does it inspire?
  • What story is told by its lyrics? Is it edifying?

MUSIC IN OUR CULTURE

We seize every chance we can to develop critical thinking, so we talk about how music impacts our culture.

(I firmly believe that critical thinking is one of the most valuable tools we can put in our children’s toolbox. That’s why I created Philosophy Adventure and other critical thinking resources.)

The late atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, made this sinister statement:

Education should aim at destroying free will so that pupils thus schooled, will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished….and in order to condition students, verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective….

Bertrand-Russell-on-music

When I first encountered Bertrand Russell’s comments about such dangerous objectives and blatantly manipulative methods, I was shocked. But his words only deepen my resolve to help my sons and other students develop critical thinking skills.

MUSIC IN YOUR HOME

Music is a tremendous gift. However, as Bertrand Russell demonstrates, it can also be tremendously destructive.

Given the powerful nature of music, I urge you to be proactive and engaged.

Do you have guidelines for the music your children are allowed to listen to?

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5 mistakes parents and students make when planning for college

5 MISTAKES PARENTS & STUDENTS MAKE WHEN PLANNING FOR COLLEGE

Do you know the five mistakes parents and students make when planning for college?

The words affordable, efficient, and effective aren’t typically associated with college. But they can be accurate descriptors of your student’s college experience.

You’re invited to listen in on a discussion between Home School Adventure’s CEO Stacy Farrell and education innovator Woody Robertson as they discuss the best ways to navigate the college decision.

They discuss common flawed thinking like:

  • Expecting to go into debt for college
  • Expecting college to train you for your career
  • Thinking you’ll figure out what you want to do in college
  • Failing to prepare for the battle of worldviews
  • Not taking advantage of dual credit
FREE Webinar Replay
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Russell and Gary Quito cathedral

WALKING WITH THE WAODANI — PART 4 — LIFE LESSONS

What About Socialization?

(This is part 4 — life lessons — in our Walking with the Waodani series. Click here to start the series at the beginning.)

We hear it so often that it’s become cliché. But I suppose, if you don’t homeschool, there’s no way to know how many “social” opportunities are available to homeschoolers. …

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Russell poison fishing

WALKING WITH THE WAODANI — PART 3 — POISON FISHING

(This is part 3 — poison fishing — in our Homeschooler Adventure Walking with the Waodani series. Click here to start the series at the beginning.)

FIRST CAME SPEAR FISHING

In our previous Homeschooler Adventurer post, Russell Winter told the story of spear fishing in the Amazon River. The post also mentioned how, during his seven-week adventure in Ecuador, a new friend had taken him spear fishing on the Salinas coast. See the lovely fish he caught there? …

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eternity in their hearts

Eternity in Their Hearts

Taking the long view on home education

In the final hours of childbirth, before I pushed my firstborn out into the world, my pain intensified and I slipped into survival mode….

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Making the most of High School

MAKING THE MOST OF HIGH SCHOOL WITH COLLEGEPLUS — PART 8


If you are homeschooling high school in America, undoubtedly, your student will be studying American History.

We’ve studied a lot of history in our house — ancient history, world history, the Renaissance and Reformation….

However, at the start of the 2016 school year, we had yet to complete a systematic study of all periods of American history. So, when selecting courses for dual enrollment, American History 1 and 2 were natural choices.

(If you’re just joining us now, you might not know that dual enrollment enables high school students to earn college credit for the courses they study.)

THE MERITS OF LUMERIT COURSES

CollegePlus / Lumerit Scholar outlines a variety of cost-saving ways for high school students to earn college credit for American history. Students can attend a traditional college class, take a CLEP or DSST exam, or enroll in an online course.

After reviewing our options, we decided to enroll Roger and Ryan in Lumerit courses. The courses are a bit more expensive than CLEP tests, but they offer some benefits that we found “merit” (pun intended) the additional cost:

  • There is structure and a set timeline built into the courses.
  • They are self-contained (with everything  students need to complete the course).
  • They still offer substantial savings compared to traditional college courses.

Roger and Ryan particularly liked the open-book tests. The format still require them to comprehend the material but didn’t require them to memorize minutia.

Upon successful completion of Lumerit’s American History 1 and American History 2, Roger and Ryan earned 3 college credit hours per course.

TIME TO APPLY THOSE CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS

SPECIAL NOTE: As you probably know by now, we place a high value on critical thinking. Because Lumerit’s American history courses are not written from a biblical worldview, it’s not surprising that Roger and Ryan encountered perspectives that caused them to evaluate and challenge the author’s opinion regarding the facts presented. That can be a great opportunity to exercise those critical thinking skills.

However, it does require discernment.

If you’re not concerned about earning college credit but simply want a solid homeschool curriculum that approaches American history from a biblical worldview, we strongly recommend (referral) Dave Raymond and Compass Classroom.

* * *

Learn more about Lumerit Scholar, the new name for CollegePlus.

Enjoy this article? Read the complete series on Making the Most of High School with College Plus or discover the 5 Mistakes Parents and Students Make When Planning for College.”

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CollegePlus reimagined as Lumerit Scholar

Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — Part 7


In the midst of our CollegePlus studies, the program underwent a major transformation. Consequently, we decided to “interrupt our regularly scheduled programming” to explain this change.

College Plus Reimagined As Lumerit Scholar

What inspired the change?

We’ll start with a little history… …

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teaching to the test

Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — PART 6


One of the greatest gifts of homeschooling is the freedom to customize your child’s education.

Without formal testing, it is unreasonable to expect a teacher who is responsible for a large classroom of students to know with certainty whether those students are comprehending the material presented.

But in the intimacy of the homeschool environment, there are a variety of ways to make this assessment. …

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A Study of Worldviews with Lumerit

Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — PART 5


Do your children see the world through the lens of Scripture?

Everyone has a worldview. It is the “lens” through which we view everything around us. Most people blindly accept theirs from the culture in which they live. However, Christians are called to cultivate a biblical worldview. …

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when boys become men

MAKING THE MOST OF HIGH SCHOOL WITH COLLEGEPLUS — PART 4


My homeschool mentor warned me, “One day, you may want to stop calling Roger and Ryan your boys and start calling them your sons.” I’m so grateful for her wise words.

When Boys Become Men

It happened so fast! Long days crawled past while years flew by. But today, there’s no doubt — my boys have become men.

(We marked the transition with a special gathering detailed in Celebrating Manhood — a rite of passage guide.) …

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Plotting a course

Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — Part 3


Plotting a course for life after high school can be a daunting task. Although some people know from an early age exactly what they “want to be when they grow up,” that seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.

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Don't run from the mirror (why you need to teach)

Don’t Run from the Mirror — Why You Need to Teach!

You Will Be Faced With A Critical Choice

Is everything is going well in your homeschool now? Just wait. If your experience is anything like many of us, the day will come when you encounter difficulty and discouragement in your homeschool. When you do, you’ll be faced with a critical choice: run … or overcome.

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Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — Part 2


Have you ever had a wonderful opportunity derail your lesson plans?

Shortly after my two teenage sons, Roger Dean and Ryan, officially started Lumerit/CollegePlus, my husband announced that he was taking us on a week-long vacation to Texas to visit his 88-year-old father.

Learning at the speed of life

(This is part 2 in our series. If you missed our first post, you can find it here.)

In 2005, Granda Farrell had moved back to his home town, a thousand miles away from us. We missed him. (I miss him now.)

It had been far too long since our last visit. Although I was thrilled at the thought of seeing him again, I felt a bit of stress not knowing what impact this unexpected trip might have on our studies. …

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The days are long but the years are short.

Making the Most of High School with CollegePlus — Part 1


How can we make the most of these final days of homeschooling?

Unbelievable as it may seem, my firstborn son is now a high school senior and his brother is a junior.  Where did the years go?

In the joyful chaos that was my life after my second son was born a mere 19 months after my first, a dear friend warned me, “The days are long but the years are short.” Looking back to that day now, I marvel at the truth of her statement. …

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