Monday, January 20, 2014

5 Essentials of Homeschooling: If you build it they will come...

This week I am going to talk to you about the 5 Essentials of Homeschooling. Instead of writing about my favorite brand of #2 pencil and math curriculum, I want to talk to you about what I consider to be truly Heart issues. Of course, these issues are what I have found to be true in my own experience. They might be different for you. My topics for the week are Discipline (the self kind, not the a timeout…though you might need one), Flexibility (and if you can put your leg over your head I don’t want to hear about it), Creativity (you might be able to borrow someone else’s), Teachability (believe it or not…you’re not done learning)  and Grace (I need it daily!). My apologies to those who really wanted to know my thoughts on dry erase boards (I like them) and co-ops (I am slightly afraid of them). Happy Reading! 


Ugh. I can’t even believe I’ve started here. My friends. This one is a doozy for me. And it might be for you, too. If you have ever lost your pants in a public place, sent your child into the big, wide world without breakfast, looked down at your feet at the doctor’s office to find you wore two completely different shoes or started a batch of tomato soup only to discover you were out of tomatoes; you might be my sister. I take that back…you are just my kindred spirit.  My real life sister is an organized, well-mannered, put-together and generally a perfect individual. But stay tuned. I have a few things to talk to yous peoples (the orderly kind) about later in the week. 

I have a friend whose husband teases her about being her own little circus. We are friends for a reason. My circus is truly a sight to see. Highly entertaining. And sparkly, very sparkly. I love spontaneity. There is part of me that cringes away from all things predictable.  It can be exhausting.  
I have some issues. I always seem to be behind in my dish duty. And on occasion my bedroom feels as if we are preparing for the apocalypse. Anybody need a safe place to hide in case of a zombie attack? I can hide at least 15 under the pile at the end of my bed. 

Being ever the student, I have purchased countless organization books and resources. I’ve tried every system and program. Okay. Maybe I didn’t really try. I just read and read about it.  And therein lies the problem. If you are the type who has 42 organizational books, 36 diet books, and 752 How to Homeschool Without Losing Your Mind books, I feel your pain. 

The bottom line? It’s not my resources that are going to change my life. It’s me. I have to be willing to spend fewer hours working on those important tasks like Downton Abbey marathons. Or perusing through Pinterest. Or spending days on an Ancient Egypt unit. I need to do first things first.
How does Discipline translate into the Homeschooled Household? 

It is absolutely necessary. I speak from experience. 

One of the beauties of homeschooling is its flexibility. However, it’s easy to get trapped into the excuse of that flexibility. 

“We really don’t have to do math today. Or tomorrow. We can pick it up next week.” 

“I realize the house is chaotic. We are homeschoolers. We thrive in chaos.”

The truth is that I really don’t like chaos. My visual brain likes things that appeal to my senses. Which means I function better when my environment is tidy and attractive. My busy boy thrives when I stick to a schedule and can anticipate our next activity or subject. 

This means I must Discipline my own wants, needs, issues and obsessions. Being the Overkill Queen that I am (I’m always up for a “theme”), it is so very tempting to do this with color coordinated gusto.

Anybody hear me out there?  I start designing my own fleet of adorable binders. I spend hours on the computer creating my own perfectly designed forms. I check out every book available at the library and immerse myself in preparations for a smoothly run homeschool and home. By this time, I have devoted so much time developing and talking about my system, my “get up and go” has run away from home.  

It all seems like so much work. 

Here’s the thing. I have discovered that there has to be a delicate balance between Discipline and Flexibility (which I shall address later on this week). Discipline means I put aside my own ideas of a perfect Ancient Egypt unit. It means I might have to get up earlier in the morning. Go to bed a little early. Drink my water. Take my vitamins. Plan ahead for those harder days and make sure I keep Josiah on a predictable schedule. It also means of letting go of my ideas of ideal circumstances. 

I have learned that I those small steps; those good choices, will bring me the results I desire. Though I am not opposed to a turn around the Big Top  every now and again. Can I do it? Over the past year and a half, I have lost over 80 pounds. Yikes! My 12-year-old doesn’t even weigh 80 pounds! When things seem impossible, when it just seems too hard to press forward; I remind myself that all things are possible through Him (Philippians 4:13). He is able to help me through the hard things. I just have to be willing to put a little elbow grease into it. 

I want to leave with you this great resource. I enjoyed reading and applying what I learned. It is a series on how to have a more disciplined life from

This post is part of a Big Ole Blog Hop featuring a bunch of us Crew Folks (at the Schoolhouse Review Crew ). I invite you to check out some of the other fabulous blog posts below featuring a few of my Crew Peeps. They are...

Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Heather @ Thrift Schooling
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos
Amy @ Homeschool Encouragement
Monique @ Living Life and Learning
Jenn @ Fresh Start Academy
Lori @ Special Connection Homeschool

You can find even more bloggers at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog all week long!

 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials 

Come back tomorrow! I will be talking about Flexibility,


  1. I might just be one of your sisters too! I certainly can relate to the Over Kill Queen complex. I think I spend more time planning an activity than I actually have time allotted to do that thing for which I planned! Oh to find that balance between both discipline and flexibility! Thanks for this great post to remind me that we need to discipline ourselves, not just our kids! Loved it!

  2. I'm visiting from the Review Crew.

    Great post! Your picture of your book on How to Clean your Home Fast made me laugh. Whenever I'm reading a non-fiction book my oldest daughter want to know if it is about "How to Clean Your House in 15 Second or Less". Yeah, I think she has her mom pegged!

    1. I just downloaded another one on my kindle that was free. I haven't read it yet. You would think I would know all of the tricks by now!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you :<) I probably need to schedule a rereading of it every so often for myself. To remind myself what I need to focusing on!


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