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Copyright 2014
The Teaching Home
Box 20578
Portland OR 97294
Phone: 503-253-9633
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Since 1980 The Teaching Home has provided families information,
inspiration, and encouragement from a distinctively Christian perspective.

Co-Editors: Veteran Homeschool Sisters, Sue Welch and Cindy Short

Margin for Moms

Excerpted from HSLDA's Home School Heartbeat radio program.

If you're feeling overworked and overwhelmed, you are not alone! Many homeschool mothers struggle with finding margin in their lives. Find out just what this "margin" is and how you can de-clutter your life as Mike Smith speaks with Carol Barnier on Home School Heartbeat.


The Mom Malady

You know, I call this the problem of the list. The list that can kind of eat your life. Because we start homeschooling quite merrily – I mean we start with this reasonable, sensible list of things that we want our children to do, but then we go off to a support group meeting and, you know, we meet that woman whose children all play a stringed instrument, or maybe in the hallway we meet some woman, her child's Lego-robotics entry gets him a trip to the White House. I don't know – before you know it, you come away with a list of way too many things on it.

I think, we homeschooling moms, we regularly need to remind ourselves to create a reasonable, unhurried list of objectives. And every so often we just need to reassess that list and determine if we're trying to do too much. 'Cause chances are we are. It just kind of goes with the territory. We need to remember, we're not just running a school here, but we're also supposed to be enjoying being a family.


A New Kind of Margin

Margin, very simply, it means the time, the money, and the other resources that we have left over when what must be done is finally actually done. You know, it's funny, when I ask that question in a room full of homeschooling moms, the answer is almost always, "Nothing." So most of us understand how we live too close to our means financially, but, for me, the big issue is time. Most moms work nonstop through the day, and then they just collapse, and then usually we get up with less sleep than we really should get, and we start all over again.

So, in my talks lately, I have been really encouraging moms to actively pursue margin in their life. We really have to make an effort to incorporate down time, and times of laughter, and times of fellowship into our lives. Homeschooling, unfortunately, is highly conducive to overextending ourselves. But we, and our families, we need the peace that comes with some downtime. And that's something we're going to have to make happen.


Attitude Adjustment

When we first homeschool, I think part of why we push naturally toward "busy" is that we have that fear of socialization. And it doesn't help, every third person you meet asks you, "Well, what about socialization?" But the longer that you homeschool, the funnier that question gets. The question is not, "When will my child spend some time with other children?" – but rather the question becomes, "When will we ever spend some time at home again?"


Widen Your Margin

I have lot of ideas that are pretty extreme, but I think the most radical one, I call it "Dropping Off the Face of the Earth." And you might get to a point where you discover – maybe we have a house that is in serious need of decluttering. Maybe we have a child who's really struggling with something and we need to spend some time focusing on that. Maybe it's our marriage that needs some attention.

Whatever it is, you contact friends and people that you typically interact with, and you say, "I'm going to disappear for a little while. I don't want you to take it personally. I will eventually come back, but I am going to have some reflection time."

And the second step is to step out of all activities that you possibly, possibly can. Disengage for a while. And during that time, focus on that one thing. And when you have a handle on it, then you slowly step back into your community. But when you step back, your lives will be better, and things may very well be healed.

Read more >>




Bible Reading Schedule
Month 1: January

Immerse your family in God's truth through systematic reading and study of God's Word.


The Teaching Home's
Unique Bible Reading Schedule

Features include:
•  Start any month.
•  Read 6 days a week
   (allows for church on Sunday).
•  Read 4 weeks per month
   (24 days per month).
Online at TeachingHome.com.

Listen to the Bible Online.  Choose from six English versions (plus Spanish and other languages) at BibleGateway.com/Audio.


Jan. 1:  Holiday

Jan. 2
Gen. 1-4;  Ps. 1;  Matt. 1

Jan. 3
Gen. 5-9;  Prov. 1:1-7;  Matt. 2

Jan. 4
Gen. 10-14;  Ps. 2;  Matt. 3

Jan. 5
Gen. 15-18;  Prov. 1:8-19;  Matt. 4

Jan. 6:  Sunday

Jan. 7
Gen. 19-22;  Ps. 3;  Matt. 5:1-26

Jan. 8
Gen. 23-25;  Prov. 1:20-27;  Matt. 5:27-48

Jan. 9
Gen. 26-27;  Ps. 4;  Matt. 6

Jan. 10
Gen. 28-31;  Prov. 1:28-33;  Matt. 7

Jan. 11
Gen. 32-34;  Ps. 5;  Matt. 8

Jan. 12
Gen. 35-37;  Prov. 2:1-9;  Matt. 9

Jan. 13:  Sunday

Jan. 14
Gen. 38-42;  Ps. 6;  Matt. 10

Jan. 15
Gen. 43-44;  Prov. 2:10-22;  Matt. 11

Jan. 16
Gen. 45-47;  Ps. 7;  Matt. 12:1-30

Jan. 17
Gen. 48-50;  Prov. 3:1-12;  Matt. 12:31-50

Jan. 18
Ex. 1-4;  Ps. 8;  Matt. 13:1-23

Jan. 19
Ex. 5-8;  Prov. 3:13-26;  Matt. 13:24-58

Jan. 20:  Sunday

Jan. 21
Ex. 9-12;  Ps. 9;  Matt. 14

Jan. 22
Ex. 13-15;  Prov. 3:27-35;  Matt. 15

Jan. 23
Ex. 16-19;  Ps. 10;  Matt. 16

Jan. 24
Ex. 20-22;  Prov. 4:1-9;  Matt. 17

Jan. 25
Ex. 23-26;  Ps. 11;  Matt. 18:1-14

Jan. 26
Ex. 27-29;  Prov. 4:10-19;  Matt. 18:15-35

Jan. 27: Sunday

Jan. 28
Ex. 30-32;  Ps. 12;  Matt. 19

Jan. 29
Ex. 33-35;  Prov. 4:20-27;  Matt. 20

Jan. 30: Catch up Day

Jan. 31: Catch up Day




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Use this link and discount group number 299142 for $20 off your membership fee.  (Be sure to enter the discount group number 299142 in the "Discount Group Code" area, not the "Coupon Code" area.)




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Always-Relevant
Teaching Home Back Issues


Fifty-one Back Issues
are offered for sale online.

The information, inspiration, and encouragement packed into each back issue never goes out of date.  They are always relevant, applicable to your needs today.

"The Teaching Home has been a part of my continuing education since I started homeschooling, and I have kept every issue.

"I often go back to old issues to find creative, helpful hints or inspiration."
- Meredith C., Florida





Sunnyside Up




The Pharisee and the Sinner

I had finally gotten through our bedtime routine with the children. All I had left to do was to pray with our 5-year-old son Joey. I listened as he gave thanks for his home and family. He asked the Lord for protection and said a final "Amen."

Then Joey looked up at me and announced, "I didn't have to tell God about my sins – I didn't do any today."

Doubtfully, I told him that was certainly interesting.

I don't know if Joey had been guiltless all day or not, but I know he "blew it" with his next move. He rose up from his bed and pointed his finger at his 3-year-old brother.

The 3-year-old looked quite shaken as Joey said, "I didn't sin today, but I can tell you all about Jacob's sins!"

Submitted by Carol A., Ohio.

Send your humorous anecdote to publisher@teachinghome.com.




Peace with God

1.  God loves you.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

2.  Man is separated from God by sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)  For the wages of sin is death. (Rom. 6:23)

3.  The death of Jesus Christ in our place is God's only provision for man's sin.

He (Jesus Christ) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

4.  We must personally receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Eph. 2:8, 9)




God's Word

Immerse your family in God's truth through systematic reading and study of God's Word.


The Teaching Home's
Unique Bible Reading Schedule

Features include:
•  Start any month.
•  Read 6 days a week
   (allows for church on Sunday).
•  Read 4 weeks per month
   (24 days per month).
Online at TeachingHome.com.

Listen to the Bible Online.  Choose from six English versions (plus Spanish and other languages) at BibleGateway.com/Audio.




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Copyright 2014 The Teaching Home

10 Things
I Wish I Had Known
When I Started Homeschooling

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 In This Issue 
 
10 Things I Wish I Had Known
When I Started Homeschooling

 
  1.  It is all right to be afraid.
  2.  Do not worry about high school now.
  3.  You can be a great teacher without a teacher's degree.
  4.  There is not just one perfect curriculum.
  5.  Be willing to experiment.
  6.  You do not have to finish the book.
  7.  You don't have to know your children's learning style right now.
  8.  Your child is better off without the usual "socialization."
  9.  Teenagers are wonderful people.
10.  Commitment is the key to success.

 Sidebar 
 
 •  Bible Reading Schedule - Month 1: January
 •  Margin for Moms

 Recommended Resources 
 
 •  Basic Christian Education: Complete Bible-Based Curriculum


Greetings,

In this issue, we bring you a favorite article, "Ten Things I Wish I Had Known" by veteran homeschooler, Debbie Wilson. She shares with us what she has learned and what she wishes she had known when she started homeschooling.

May the Lord bless you and your family for His glory.


Cordially,
The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

The Teaching Home is a homeschool, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

Get a Free Print Catalog, or View Online Flip-Book Catalog
with useful tips & a thorough explanation of our teaching system.

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www.BasicChristianEducation.com


Ten Things I Wish I Had Known
When I Started Homeschooling

by Debbie W. Wilson, Indiana

When we first heard of home education we were intrigued, but we knew of no one who was doing it in northern Maine in the early eighties.

We had decided before we married that our children would not attend the public schools. Unfortunately we knew of only one Christian school in the area, and neither the curriculum nor the discipline impressed me when I visited it.

But homeschooling terrified me. I was not trained to teach elementary school. What if I failed to teach something or to teach it well? What should we do about socialization? What would happen if we were arrested?

Looking back now with one son in college and the other in the 11th grade, I am sorry to see the end of our homeschooling approaching. I think if I had known a few lessons in the beginning that I know now, I would have more eagerly embraced home education.

Here's what I have learned:



1.  It is all right to be afraid.

Apart from our Lord, nothing matters to most of us as much as our family. We want to be good husbands or wives. We want to do the right things for our children, to place great opportunities before them, to give them the best.

For this reason home education can be frightening. There are so many uncertainties, and so many people do not understand what homeschooling involves. We feel so inadequate.

Yet, when God placed His Son on this earth, He did not look for a fancy home, a high income, or prestigious education. He chose a man and a woman with character. Mary submitted to God's decision in spite of the problems it might cause for her. Joseph was a just and merciful man who also obeyed God's instructions.

God still wants parents to be dedicated and godly. The characteristics He sought for in Jesus' parents, He seeks for in us, the most important being our obedience. He tells us in James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

As we obey Him, as we seek His wisdom in the Word and in prayer, He will give us the wisdom we need for His glory and for our children's eternal welfare.



2.  Do not worry about high school now.

Most homeschoolers begin early in their child's education, but a question they keep hearing is, "What will you do about high school? How will you teach algebra and chemistry and . . . ?"

We do not know what will happen in 10 years or in even one year. God has hidden this from us. What He requires is our faithfulness today. God will provide what we need for each step of our way.

Right now He wants us to concentrate on kindergarten, or third grade, or wherever our children are, on doing the best job we can for what our children need now.



3.  You can be a great teacher
     without a teacher's degree.

My best reading teacher was my mom, a high school graduate who had never heard of homeschooling. When, as a first grader, I would bring a book to her and ask her what a word was, she would tell me to sound it out, but I had not been taught phonics in the public school. Troubled by this, she taught me from what she had been taught.

Most of us have a good idea of what our children need to know. They need to know how to read, write, spell, and do math. They need to know about science and history. We can get help from curriculum guides, or lists printed by publishers, to show us what is commonly taught in each grade. We can read and learn the things we do not know.

Though teacher's training can be helpful, it can also waste much time for the home educator who does not need to learn to run office machines, write up specialized lesson plans, or control a crowd of antsy 6-year-olds.

Instead of teacher's training, read books written about home education, magazines and newsletters for homeschoolers, and books of basic knowledge. Talk with experienced homeschoolers and friendly teachers. Remember how your favorite teachers taught. As you learn, as you develop, and as you change to meet your child's needs, you will become the teacher the Lord wants you to be.



4.  There is not just one perfect curriculum.

I think I spent the first 10 years of home education looking for the perfect curriculum while my husband spent the same time reminding me how well the boys were doing with what we were using. Though there are many good curricula, there is no perfect curriculum for every homeschooler.

What may work well for your best friend with her outgoing, sociable personality may not work well for your quiet, introspective personality. What your bookworm daughter loves, your take-it-apart-and-see-what-makes-it-tick son may hate. One of the wonderful benefits of home education is to be able to experiment with curriculum and methods.

Talk with other homeschoolers about their curricula. Look over their materials and ask for their opinions on what they like and dislike about the program they use. Talk to distributors at curriculum shows. Read summaries of new materials, and return materials that you order that are not appropriate if they are unused and in condition to be resold.



5.  Be willing to experiment.

In our early years of home education, we used a Christian textbook curriculum and really liked certain parts of it. I loved their reading curriculum and the way they taught word problems. We experimented with another math program I respect, but my boys and husband wanted to return to the original curriculum. We have used a little of several other curricula, plus I have put together some of my own the last few years in literature and history.

Sometimes a child benefits from trying a different curriculum or approach. Maybe he needs to get away from the history textbooks for a while to try a reading or literature-based approach. Perhaps instead of working all the way through that 4th grade science book, he will blossom studying about the ocean, ocean life, and marine ecology.

In some subjects you need to learn a foundation before you can build on it, but in other subjects it won't hurt to be creative. Study the chapter on insects while they are hopping all around you instead of waiting till February. Maybe with a new baby coming, this is the time to study how a child forms in the womb or how to care for one.

As long as your child learns his basic foundational subjects, you can adjust when and how he builds on that foundation.



6.  You do not have to finish the book.

When we lived in Maine, the homeschooling notification process involved a lot of work. Among other things, you had to list what your child would be studying in each subject, so you would list the subjects discussed in the curriculum guide or the glossary of the book. Unfortunately, this always left me nervous as the end of the year approached, because I felt the government was staring over my shoulder to make me finish that book regardless of whether my child hated it or we had faced some major catastrophe.

Then I smartened up. I stopped listing all of the contents of the books. Though we still finished the books, the pressure was off.

Now we live in a more relaxed state, Indiana. At times we have changed books mid-year because one was not working out. We have dropped a subject mid-year and finished it later or not at all.

We realized that most public schools do not always finish a book either.

I do not mean to sound lax. We work hard, and I plan thoroughly, but I am no longer enslaved by my homeschooling. Both boys have done well, scoring high on the Iowa Basics Skills Test, but when the inevitable delays occur or problems arise, we adjust our scheduling, our curriculum, or our methods. And sometimes we do not finish the book!



7.  You don't have to know your
     children's learning style right now.

To the new homeschooler overwhelmed with the whole idea of home education, teaching to your children's learning style sounds intriguing and bewildering. I really did not know my boys well enough or enough about learning styles when we were beginning to have made a reasonable guess. As I learned more about each, we adjusted some of what we were doing to accommodate how the boys learned.

Actually we used ideas for several styles. Our reading aloud helped them develop their listening skills. Don bought each of the boys a carpenter's tape measure when they were about three to help them learn to read numbers. We would roll match box cars next to the tape measure and read the number (and later the number with the fraction) by which it stopped. We chanted numbers and the alphabet. We taped large letters on construction paper around the living room. We went to the library each week and always had books around.

To be truthful, I still cannot tell you precisely what the boys' optimal learning styles are, but I have figured out strategies to help them over the rough spots.

Today there are more materials on learning styles than there were when we began. Some of them have great ideas to help you utilize your child's strengths.

I would caution you, however, not to build so much on their learning strengths that you do not strengthen their weaknesses.



8.  Your child is better off
     without the usual "socialization."

I always have hated being asked, "What about socialization?"

People seem to have the idea that the only way your child can learn to get along with others is to be thrown in the midst of 30 other 5-year-old tyrants to see who rises to the top. Your child will face being bullied, having his lunch stolen, and hearing words that would have embarrassed the most ungodly sailor 50 years ago. He will be told that he can make his own decisions about values while the public school undermines yours in their sex training (beginning in kindergarten), their drug training, and their child abuse training. This seems to be the government's version of socialization.

But God has another idea. He says, "Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." We may need to teach our children that kindness includes sharing their toys, playing what the other person wants to play, and having good manners, but the heart of socialization is the Golden Rule. In the past, even public schools taught that.

As our children play with others under our supervision, we can praise instances of kindness and point out selfishness or rudeness. We can teach respect for other people and their belongings, because we are all made by God's hand. Our color, our things, our names, our health, or our strength make none of us more special in His sight. He loves each of us and knows each of us. How small self-esteem looks compared with God's esteem!

Because each person is made in the image of God, we need to respect that other person too, for God made and loves him just as He does me.

A child can learn these lessons best when we live them out before him. Our children do not need socialization, they need to learn kindness.



9.  Teenagers are wonderful people.

I used to worry about when our boys would become teenagers. "Just wait until they become teenagers," people would say. "They'll rebel. They all do. It's just a rite of passage."

It is not true! Not all teenagers rebel. Teenage rebellion, though found occasionally throughout history, was the exception rather than the rule. Only since the '60s have we seen the massive teenage rebellion that we often hear is normal.

The good news is that teenage rebellion does not have to occur if you build a close relationship with your children. Spend time together not only in study, but in work and play and worship.

My husband Don has been great in all of this. When many other men might be out golfing or doing something with other men, he spends time with our sons. Often they are working together, but sometimes they are shooting together, playing ball, listening to me read, talking about the Bible, exploring ideas, making plans, or wrestling around the house.

Don is our boys' #1 fan. He encourages their interests, such as computer or rocketry, even when they are not his interests. Also he has modeled for them what manhood means in his treatment of me, in his stands for the Lord, and in his spiritual leadership of the family.

We have found that explaining the dangers of certain types of popular music and eliminating it from our home has helped the boys set their own music standards. Getting rid of our television got rid of some of the unscriptural cultural ideas about women, sex, and marriage that so many men struggle with. Of course, in a society where many women dress immodestly and sex is joked about openly, we have had to discuss these. Sexual temptations abound for a young man.

We have discussed for years the types of wives our boys should look for. Their attitudes about women and marriage differs so much from the boys I grew up with. They look forward to finding godly wives and raising families for the Lord.

Because of the high cost of vehicle insurance, our boys have to wait to get their license until they are 19 and can help with the insurance. Neither complains. This gives both of them three years to practice driving with us before assuming the responsibility of driving without us. It also gives them time to earn some money for a car and insurance.

Of all the years, the teen years have been the best so far. The boys are idealistic, committed to the Lord, thoughtful, and fascinating people. I must admit that we do not always see eye to eye, but we discuss those differences of opinion. We have had little disciplining to do; usually explanation of the problem suffices. The Lord has richly blessed us.



10.  Commitment is the key to success.

Some of the most successful homeschoolers I know have only a high-school education, yet, their children regularly score very well on tests.

One family was told that their 1st-grade daughter had social problems in the public school, needed counseling, and would never succeed in home education. In spite of this warning, her parents took her from the public school to homeschool her, and she did wonderfully, because her parents were dedicated to the Lord and dedicated to giving her the best education they could.

I have also seen parents who passed their child a textbook and the TV remote whose children did not do so well. In spite of what I tried to convince my mother when I was a teenager, you cannot concentrate on two things at once, at least not algebra and a game show at the same time.

Making homeschooling a priority makes it successful, not that every child will excel in the same things or do equally well. However, personal attention will help any child do better, helping him to exceed what the "specialists" thought possible.

Part of that commitment displays itself in consistency, in hitting the books every day, in learning from the unplanned situations that interrupt your book learning, in not giving up when you wonder if you are doing any good.

Commit yourself to do the best job you can do. If today went poorly, try a fresh approach tomorrow. Call a homeschooling friend for a good cry and some encouragement, but keep coming back, because you are shaping a young man or woman for God.





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