Category Archives: Homeschool

Accepting Help When You Are Facing a Struggle (In Your Homeschool)

There may come a point in your homeschooling journey where you are facing a struggle that you don’t know how to handle on your own. It may be something as simple as you are not confident enough to teach the advanced math or sciences. Or you find despite all your best efforts to aid your child at home, your child has a developmental delay that you need the guidance of a physical, occupational, or speech therapist for. Coming upon a situation where you need outside help is not a bad thing.

Facing a struggle in your homeschoolt

Let me tell you a short story. Right around Chloe’s second birthday (before I had even given serious thought to homeschooling,) I started to wonder if she might have a language delay. At that time I didn’t think it was anything big, but I wanted to know more about when I should be concerned with her linguistic development. Her doctor then told me I didn’t have to even think about that until she was 2 1/2. So I ignored my immediate concerns and figured since she understood me just fine that I would let it go for now. By 2 1/2 her delay had become significantly more pronounced.

Approaching her third birthday I contacted the public school around here on the advise of my mother’s neighbor, who is a public school teacher. She described to me a program called Early On, where children under 3 years of age can get assistance from the public schools, if it is determined the child has developmental delay. I went home and did a little research. I contacted the public schools where we were to get the ball rolling.

The program that my mother's neighbor referred me too.

The program that my mother’s neighbor referred me too.

Since it was summer time, when I contacted them I had to wait to get my daughter tested until school came back in session. By the time they tested her she was a month from her third birthday. They agreed she had an expressive language delay, but explained she was reaching the upper age limit for the program I had inquired about over the summer. They were able to offer me a speech therapy program though.

I was on cloud nine by the time I heard my first homeschooling speaker. I still wasn’t seriously considering homeschooling, especially considering I had just enrolled Chloe in public school. This parent was part of a panel made up of a public school parent, a charter school parent, a private school parent, and a homeschool parent. I found the whole thing interesting. I especially found the homeschooling parent interesting. Interesting enough I spoke with her briefly after the panel was over .

I found she was very encouraging until she found out I had enrolled my daughter in the public schools for speech therapy. All the interest I had developed in homeschooling over that hour quickly dwindled listening to her talk to me, or rather talk down to me. It felt as if she was pronouncing me a failure because I needed the extra help with my daughter.

Now as you know, I have come around to homeschooling, despite my experience with that woman. The point of this story though, is there will be people out there that think you have to do this all on your own. There is no need to face a struggle and barely muddle through, or to feel you have to give up and send them to public school.

Seek help. Accept help. Help can be found when you are facing a struggle, help that is unique to your situation. Needing help does not mean you are failing in homeschooling. All it means when you seek and accept help is that you want the best for your child. Sometimes someone other than us are the ones better suited to aid in these areas.

Where the Focus of My Homeschool Belongs

If you were to take a peek into life at the Russell house, you might begin to realize that my children’s education does not look exactly the same from day-to-day.  One day we might be watching a little much TV for some people’s taste, but then on those days I try to balance it with outdoor play or anything else that involves being active. The next day we might be crafting and cleaning all day. Then again it might be a day full of errands and building blocks. One of my three-year old’s favorite kinds of days is spending time on, reading, cooking, playing outside, coloring, and playing with her trains.

On a superficial level you might assume that there is no consistency to their education, but that is where you might be mistaken. Daily we are talking about colors, numbers, letters, and the kind of behavior we want to develop.  We read bible stories daily, and stop to talk about what it is that we can learn from the stories.

As my girls grow, we will develop a more regular routine for school, but at 2 and 3 years old I want their education to happen naturally as part of their lives. We still have workbooks and educational software, but those don’t need to be where they get the bulk of their education. I want them to see that learning can happen in almost every situation, and I want to nurture their natural love of learning.

For now the consistency comes into play as we are learning daily in almost every situation. As I scoop flour they can help me count the scoops. Crafting helps them develop fine motor skills, learn colors, shapes, and more. I can print coloring sheets that have the ABC’s or numbers, and we talk about what we see on the sheet. Their Mobigo’s and are both educational software that they can learn with as they play. Reading together helps to expand their vocabulary.

So I offer you this encouragement while your children are young; don’t fret if they don’t like work sheets or anything that might resemble a formal education. Instead while they are young focus on developing your relationship with them. Your children are only this young once. Mother’s who are further along in this journey called life promise me that developing a relationship with your kids is foundational to almost every other aspect of parenting.


(Note: I am not being paid or compensated in any way for the links provided in this article. I just really believe that these items are working for my family and wanted to share them.)


How I am Teaching My Children to Rise Above

The bible is an excellent tool in teaching children to rise above temptation

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, this morning I noticed a friend was contemplating acting vindictively. I am actually not here to discuss that, while I don’t feel we should act in a vindictive manner, I think we all would agree we have  felt those urges. Some of us have acted upon them, and others  of us know how to rise above those feelings. What struck me really was in the comment section.

Hiding among the encouragement, for my friend, to walk away from the negativity and for her to set healthy boundaries, was the suggestion to simply give into that side of human nature. I don’t disagree it is human nature. What I disagree with is the idea that we should simply give into it if it is natural. There is a whole generation that believes if it is natural then it must be alright to do.

I would argue that emotions are just temporary, no matter how natural that it is that we have them, and our responses should not be based on the temporary. I understand the appeal; there is short-term gratification, some times it is just easier, and other times we know no other way. Instead I believe as a Christian I need to be seeking to live a life that brings me closer to my God. That life does not include room for the negativity.

I also believe that as a parent that it is my responsibility to be teaching my children how to rise above temptation, and that is one of the benefits for me in homeschooling. I can show them how I am living this out in my life everyday.

It is in the little things we build relationships.

It is in the little things we build relationships.

How I am teaching my children to rise above:

1. Drop to their knees

Prayer, prayer, and more prayer. We pray at every meal. We pray at bed time and nap time. They see me pray when I lose my temper, when I am hurting, and any time I am called to.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

2. Open the Good Book

We read bible stories together. We read from Psalms together. (I found at my children’s young age they handle the poetry better, than the long stories found in many of the other books.) We talk about what we read. They see me reading it on my own.  They know this is a book that is a part of our days, and not just decoration for our homes.

“I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” Job 23:12

3. Live transparently

In other words, I let them see me succeed and mess up. When I succeed I seek to show them how to do so humbly and graciously. When I have messed up and fallen short, which is often, I model apologizing, repenting, and simply trying again.

John 13:1-17 Is a beautiful example of Jesus modeling behavior.

4. Praise

When I see them displaying the character traits that I am hoping to instill upon them I praise them for their effort and hard work at it.

In Titus you will see where the Bible talks of encouraging one another in Godly behavior.

2013-06-26 10.59.56

Homeschooling allows my family the opportunity to do this each and everyday throughout the days. I know homeschooling is not the answer for every family, but it is for mine. I can best model this behavior when they see me consistently doing this.

Now if homeschooling is not the answer for you, great. Just don’t forget you can model the behavior you want to see when you spend time together as well. As I have read in multiple posts and heard in multiple venues recently, “More is caught, than taught.”

***What do you think? Is this something you can do? Is this something you are doing? Do you want to do this? Is there something more that you include in teaching your children to rise above?***

How I Came Around to Homeschooling

Sometimes it feels like I had a little birdie chirping in my ear about homeschooling, long before I had any children. At first, I was extremely resistant to the idea. It was for other people, strange weirdos, but not for me.  It was for parents who were highly educated themselves, not just anyone could do it. Really, how could a child ever socialize enough if the only people he or she saw were family members? I surely did not have  THAT much patience for educating and raising my future children.

This gives me a chuckle and I thought was appropriate here.  (source: Alpha Omega Publications Homeschool Division from a Pinterest link they found.)

This gives me a chuckle and I thought was right here.
(Source: Alpha Omega Publications Homeschool Division via a Pinterest link they found.)

One day the ‘buts’ and the ‘well maybes’ started to creep into my thoughts. But my mother’s cousin homeschooled, and her kids were always well-mannered and polite. Well maybe the flexibility to set your own schedule and take vacations when you want, not based on a particular school calendar wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe  if she is doing it then it isn’t as weird as I thought, but then again her family is pretty odd. (Looking back I have to say ‘her’ family was no stranger than mine is now.)

I was still had plenty of reservations. I was sure with more than two kids I would need the break, especially since my husband travels for work. What about my patience, could I be that patient day in and day out? I was convinced, I would never be able to write an adequate enough curriculum on my own.

Then one day it happened. I was sitting down with my two oldest at the kitchen table. They wanted to continue to color, but they were starting to get bored with what was in front of them. So I created a coloring sheet for them. They loved it! I was excited that I was able to work with them so simply, and still teach them new concepts in a way that entertained.  I ran down the stairs to the basement excited to tell my husband, that I thought it was even a possibility for me.

Chloe working on one of her homemade worksheets.

Chloe working on one of her homemade worksheets.

Upon opening up on Facebook, that I was considering this, I had expected much criticism. Instead, I received lots of encouragement and probably some of the best advice I have been given regarding this decision. I was told to research, research, and research some more.

So that is what I did. I continued to teach the girls during the day. During nap time and bed time, I would scour the internet for blogs, resources, local groups, and any other resource I could think of.

I learned that there are many curriculum choices available, for the homeschooling parent. I also started to see that there are about as many ways to homeschool as there are parents doing it. I also took the time to learn about the laws in my state. I went to a homeschool conference. I met some amazing families, heard some amazing people speak. Received some encouragement that convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt not only could I do this but that this was the road God was calling me down.


The conference I went to in the spring.

The conference I went to in the spring.

One of the biggest things I took from the conference: none of these parents felt they were exceptionally patient. They each had their own struggles. There will be tough days, but the rewards seem to out weigh any of the drawbacks. I also learned that, while homeschooling is within the reach of every parent, it is just not the right fit for everyone, and that is okay. This is my story of how I came around to homeschooling.

Why I Homeschool My Children

Why I Homeschool My Children

Chloe and Paige finding out what happens when you mix vinegar and baking soda.

I am relatively new to the world of homeschooling, and I invite you to follow me on this journey. Come discover pitfalls as I do, and celebrate milestones with me as we reach them. I will not only talk specifics of our journey, but try to provide encouragement for your journey, whether or not you homeschool, because every parent is a teacher for their child.

I want to note that I am not against the public schools or any sort of school for that matter. Rusty and I have made the choice to homeschool our girls and that is our choice. It is right for us, that does not mean it is the right choice for everyone.

Here are my reasons why I homeschool my children:

1.  It provides me with the best opportunities for discipleship.

2. I can customize lessons to work with them at the level they are at, for each subject.

3. Excellent student to teacher ratio. 🙂

4. More family time.

5. More flexibility on when our family can take vacations.

6. They get to spend their days socializing with people of all ages and backgrounds.

7. I will be able to allow them to help direct the course of their education.

8. My husband would say we are homeschooling so that we can have the smartest babies, ever! 😉

9. My kids are loving the learning process currently, and I want to encourage that love daily. (I see too many kids who enter the school system, and then develop bitter feelings about learning.)

…and last but not least

10. I feel God calling me to do this!