am i seriously doing this? and THIS?

Posted by & filed under Being a Mom, Homeschooling, Oliver.


The only thing that scares me more than homeschooling itself, is blogging about homeschooling.

And yet, here I am. Doing both.

I think blogging about homeschooling scares me because I understand what a personal decision your child’s education is. Super personal, super individual. Often needing to be re-evaluated on a year-by-year, child-by-child basis.

I have hesitated to share our experience because I seriously care about y’all’s hearts. I never want anyone to feel isolated – and I never want to come across as if I have all of the answers. Please please know as I share our decisions and experiences that I understand that there are a billion variables in everyone’s lives that contribute to their schooling decisions. These are ours. And believe me, when it comes down to it, we’re just all trying to do what is best for the children to which God has entrusted us.

I am neither above you or below you – I’m right alongside you and I love it that y’all are always so sweet to come alongside me and my family!


Last year, Oliver attended public school and he really had a fantastic experience. (I only attended public school for Kindergarten, and Ryan was in private school all the way through – so this was very new for us!)

He went into his Kindergarten year with only a few sight words committed to memory and by the end of the year he was reading small chapter books on his own. His teacher love love loved him and she really did a great job instilling a love for reading in our little guy. Oliver was absolutely in the right place last year. Absolutely.

By the end of the school year, however, we had already come to the conclusion that Oliver would do first grade at home this fall.

Our main reasoning:

  • The public school system did an excellent job (better than I could have done!) of teaching Oliver the “what” of every subject. However, we very clearly felt the absence of the “why” and “Who” in everything he was learning. Why does 1+1=2? Who created caterpillars to transform into butterflies? What can that teach us about Christ? We want our son to know that there in one truth in Math, just like there’s One Truth in life. We want him to be shown the Creator in every subject, because He exists in every subject.
  • Discipline-wise, we found that his classroom behavior was being shaped by social pressures. For example, a situation with lying was handled from “don’t do that, that’s bad”-behavior perspective at school, and a “here is why this is not okay”-heart perspective at home. We need a partner in shepherding his heart, not training his behavior.
  • Oliver made some awesome friends in school this year. He still very much keeps in touch with his school chums via playdates and sports. One thing we did realize when we sent him off to school, however, was that putting him on that school bus (or even kissing him goodbye in the drop-off line) was that in sending him away from us for nearly eight hours a day, we were letting a lot of new influences into his life and losing more control than we were comfortable with. While he had a perfectly lovely classroom full of 6-year-olds, some of those 6-year-olds had older siblings. And while the classroom was a relatively controlled environment, the cafeteria was not. Neither was the playground. We know that we can’t protect him forever, but we choose to protect him for now.
  • School days are long. Eight hours (that includes travel time) is a long time to be away from home five days a week. Early in the year we started to realize that kindergarten was almost like a full-time job for our six-year-old and though he couldn’t always express it, being away from his people like that was very emotionally wearing on him. Don’t get me wrong – Oliver is a social marvel. To know him is to love him and he is a natural leader. But we’re his parents. We know when too much is too much. We’d like to give him at least one more year at home with his people. We want to be his influencers.
  • Finally, Oliver excelled big-time academically this year. In fact, after doing a little placement-testing of our own near the end of the year, we realized that his aptitude might be beyond his peers in some areas. We want to challenge him and pace him individually in the areas in which he excels.

Bottom line: we need to take one year at home with him, and then we’ll re-evaluate!


So that’s that. Written out as much for me as it is for anyone else. My own bloggy self-pep-talk because, as I mentioned above, homeschooling scares the pants off of me!

Also, selfishly, I was so looking forward to all that me-time at home alone during the days while Oliver and Hazel were at school (did I mention that Hazel starts two-morning-a-week preschool this fall?). I just keep reminding my self though – “they’ll be big before you know it.” Invest invest invest in them now, so you can enjoy enjoy enjoy them later!

I’m scared – honestly, a little panicky – about how it’s all going to work.

But so far, we know this: He’ll attend a fantastic, highly academic, two-morning-a-week tutorial here in town to cover history, grammar, etymology, science and literature. We’ll have a good bit of homework during the week from all of that, then I’m on my own for things like math, spelling, handwriting, and any extracurriculars like art, athletics and music.

We’ll also do Bible lessons every morning after breakfast – I’d like he and Hazel to (re)memorize the ABC Bible Verses that he recited on his 4th birthday (if you watch the video, he gets a lot more focused by the third minute). Seems like a good place to (re)start!

I feel about 45% prepared right now, but I have very little time left as we’re planning to get started shortly after Ryan and I return from Guatemala. Here is what we’re planning so far:

  • Math: Saxon Math 2 (this may be a little ambitious, but since he placed so high in math, we’d love to have him through Math 2 by Christmas and onto Math 3)
  • Reading: We are loving working our way through the book list in Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt.
  • Spelling: Spelling Workout by Modern Curriculum Press
  • Handwriting: Draw then Write 1-3 (This is actually a cool book – the child gets step-by-step directions to draw a clown or a shark, then they’re given space to write about that subject. A great fine-motor builder.
  • Copy Work: Also sort of handwriting, we’re using A Reason for Handwriting, which basically gives students scripture to copy, practicing both handwriting and working in partnership with a Bible lesson.
  • Art: among other things, we’re actually going with a subscription to Kiwi Crate! We tried it this summer and each monthly box comes with several great projects. Both of my kids have loved it!

What do you think? Anything I’m missing? Can I do this??


I’d love to hear advice, specifically about:

  • how to homeschool one child with a younger sibling at home?
  • are there any specific things (things you buy or things you do) that might make our time feel more structured (I’m going to have to type-A this thing!)?
  • what are some ways to make the “first day of school” feel official?
  • in other words, how can we best make shifts between home and school/teacher and mother? Or is that not important?

Seriously, I’m so new to this. I’m very fortunate to have lots of friends and neighbors who homeschool, so the support system is very much there! But I also love to ask my interweb friends – y’all always manage to tell me things I didn’t know!


Have an awesome Wednesday, friends! I’m headed to Chicago with my sister tomorrow to host an event with Land of Nod and Bump Club Chicago and I’m just a leetle bit geeked about it! (Anyone who will be in the Chicago area is welcome to come! Y’all can RSVP here!)

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46 Responses

  1. Erin 24 July 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I’m in the same boat as you. We are going to be homeschooling my older daughter for 2nd grad this year and I am pretty much scared out of my mind! I have a 2 yr old girl at home too, plus a 1 yr old that I keep 4 days a week. I hope some other people have tips about schooling with other littles at home because that’s the part that scares me most! I’m going to try to incorporate them and give them “schoolwork” to do, maybe do a letter a week or something and do a different activity with that letter each day. I guess we’ll just have to figure out our own schedule and routine! Good luck to you & I hope to hear more of your journey!

    • Melissa Morris 29 July 2013 at 12:28 pm

      I love the idea of doing a letter a week. I think Hazel would love that! You could think of colors and things for that letter, maybe even incorporate some foods? Maybe have her draw/color/do some kind of artwork with it?

  2. Liesel 24 July 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I loved this post! My oldest turned 5 a couple months ago, so we’re a bit behind you, but I’m going to homeschool her this fall. I think I’m probably as panicky/nervous as you And I haven’t even started yet, so I don’t have any advice. I have an amazing support of family and friends who have been there, done that, ho are encouraging me, so I know we’ll be fine. I’m not going to be very type A about it all, and have planned a few blocks of time throughout the day to do our learning. I also have a 3yo and a 9mo, so we’ll see how that all works. Ha! We’ve been doing preschool stuff this last year, and the 3yo ALWAYS wants to join us. That worked out ok, actually. I just copied the same things for her to color on, or do with us, she got pretty good at the sight word games, etc… and when she got bored, just set her up with a different activity or show or something.

    I’ll be excited to read your posts about this. Good luck!

  3. Penny 24 July 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I am a public school teacher and I fully support a parent’s right to homeschool or choose alternative educational choices for their child. I know the influence other children’s behavior has on other kids. I correct misbehavior when I catch it, but my main goal is to teach. That’s my focus, what I’m hired to do, and my job depends on it. I don’t tolerate any form of bullying, but you absolutely can not hear/see everything twenty kids are doing. Especially at recess when you’re in charge of seventy+ kids. (There are more than two teachers on duty, but the playground is big and we’re still outnumbered.) You are making a decision that you feel is in your child’s best interest. Don’t allow anyone to discourage you. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Saxon math curriculum. I wish my school had adopted it, but we are in Louisiana~ one of the many states that have bought into Common Core. Please pray for the public school system. It is not easy, but I believe it’s where my calling is~ for now, at least. Wishing you and Oliver a great first year of homeschooling. :)

    • raechelm 24 July 2013 at 3:56 pm

      This was such a sweet, encouraging comment! It’s always awesome to hear from teachers. I have some great friends who teach in the public school system and I respect them so, so much! It truly is a calling and the public school system NEEDS amazing men and women like them! Thank you for serving so many little people, Penny! It’s an enormous job and worthy of so much respect!!

  4. Patty Everett 24 July 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Coming from someone who was home-schooled all up until college/grad school… I fully support it!! People give you such heat like “your kids won’t be social”. Well I made all of my friends through home-school groups, sports (yes, homeschoolers play sports) and churches. Honestly, much better places to find friends. Keep doing your best! I can’t wait to hear the stories. Just know this…my best memories growing up were studying math or learning Spanish with my brother & sister. And all of the field trips we were able to take because we weren’t tied down to a school schedule.

  5. Alysa (InspiredRD) 24 July 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Depending on baseball (our position with that changes each year), we will probably be doing some homeschooling soon. Honestly, it overwhelms me so much! Where to even start?! I am excited to follow your journey through this, I hope you will continue to share. Right now we have a great charter school that has a condensed day program, so Joe will only be gone for 5 hours a day for 1st grade (Kinder was only 3 hours). I am with you that 8 hours is too long for this age.

  6. Austin 24 July 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Eeek! You are going to love homeschooling. For all the reasons above (although we only guessed that they would be issues) I have homeschooled my young ones. This will be the first year they will be attending a four day a week private/homeschool school (I now have a first and third grader). We re-evaluate every year for each of our kids, and I feel like those first few grades that we have homeschooled have given them a great foundation for life on the outside! You are doing a great thing, and it will be so rewarding (despite the challenges and time commitment)! It will take a could 4 months to get yourself into a flow, so don’t be to hard on yourself or him as you get started!! Blessings to you on your new adventure!

    • raechelm 24 July 2013 at 4:49 pm

      The advice about it taking a while before we get into a good flow – I needed to hear that! I think that’s one of the biggest things I’m worried about, honestly! Good to hear it might just take some time. Thanks!

  7. Laura Smith 24 July 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Oh my goodness, I was in the middle of my quiet time this afternoon, cup of coffee in hand, when I checked Instagram in a momentary act of pathetic distraction and saw your pic about your blog post. I am embarrassed to admit that I gently put my bible down and then did an ugly run down the hall to my laptop to read your post in its entirety, spilling coffee all the way. I am SO excited for you, my sweet blogfriend-I’ve-never-met! Your post was beautifully written and so thoughtfully expressed. So many of your words could have come straight from my mouth. We have four littles, three of whom I currently homeschool (a soon-to-be 3rd grader and twin soon-to-be 1st graders). We also have a little ankle biter who just turned 2 and keeps me on my toes big time. I NEVER thought I’d homeschool. I sent my kiddos to preschool and reeeeally enjoyed my break from them :-). There are so many reasons we decided to homeschool (many of which you’ve expressed much more eloquently than I ever could), but the bottom line is that we gave it much thought and prayerful consideration, and felt affirmed that it was God’s plan for our family for that year. Each year we’ve committed to seeking the Lord again, aware that this may not always be His plan. It is for now, and it has blessed us so much. I so want to encourage you! The days will not always be easy. Your sweet blond babes will not always dance their way to their school desks singing merrily along! But God will equip you in ways you can’t imagine to get through those tough days, and He will bless your family mightily in the process. We use a classical curriculum to teach our kids, and I would be happy to talk with you more about it if you have any questions! Feel free to email. Many, many blessings to you as you begin this cool new journey. “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.” -Confucious

    • raechelm 24 July 2013 at 4:48 pm

      Hahaha!! Laura, I absolutely loved all of this!!! :) Thanks for the encouragement and the ideas and the “we’re here too”. I’d love to hear more about curriculum! We have decided against a comprehensive curriculum because of the tutorial we’re doing. But I’m always open to hearing about what works for other people!

  8. Beth 24 July 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve always wanted to home school, but I don’t think I’m cut out for that! And my oldest LOVES school. I’m excited to follow your journey! Good luck!

  9. Ebony 24 July 2013 at 5:27 pm

    I have never seen harsher bullying by grown ups than when it comes to how people decide to educate their children. I am not a home schooler but I do raise my right hand and say you go girl to the women who decide to. I do however agree that school situations vary from child to child. I was a public school child and I do feel like I got a great education. However for my children (ages 16, 14, and 7) I had to learn to parent them according to their needs. My 14 year old daughter is in public school, doing great and on her way to Harvard. Well maybe not that far from home but she’s doing exceptionally well. My 16 year old son is in private school because I felt he wasn’t being challenged enough. My 7 year old goes to a montessori style public school because she is such an independent thinker and very self motivated. This was hard for me because being from the south you learn “tradition” at a young age and God forbid you go against the way it has ever been done. However as parents we have to do what we feel is best for our children in spite of what family, friends, or society says. If you have prayed about it then go for it. I’m sure it will be a great learning experience for you and your son.

  10. grace aspinwall 24 July 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I was homeschooled until the end of my junior year, when i transferred to the public high to do AP classes and get college credits. I’m so glad i was homeschooled and public schooled, and I got the best of both worlds. I loved and excelled in college (nursing school), and credit that to my mom. Your humility is encouraging. Homeschooling gets a terrible reputation from parents who think their way is the ONLY way, and alienate and discourage other routes. There are a billion ways to school a child, and you have to pick the best one for your kiddo.

  11. The Domestic Fringe 24 July 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Sounds like an exciting adventure you’re on. My kids are public schooled; however, I pulled my daughter out for a year to work on her reading. It was extremely important to me that she be a very strong reader and develop a love for books and learning. Our year at home accomplished all we hoped and then we put her back in school.

    I never realized what a big decision schooling is for parents until I had my own children. We often re-evaluate what we do and with much prayer and discussion move on to the next year. It’s always an adventure.

    All the best to you and your family. I hope this is a most excellent year for you.

  12. Candace 24 July 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I myself and my three younger siblings were all homeschooled. Of my children, my oldest attended a private preschool, then a public school for half of the year for Kindergarten. We pulled her out halfway through the year because she was not emotionally ready, and I homeschooled her for the second half of Kindergarten and all of first grade. Second grade found me homeschooling our second child through Kindergarten and pregnant with our third child, so we made the decision to place our oldest in private school. While it was a great experience on so many levels, we finally decided, for a variety of reasons, to pull her out this past March and home school her for a good long time . I entered into it with all of the thoughts and expectations that I would continue to homeschool as I had always done (a very structured Christian curriculum that is used all over the country in private schools). With a newborn and trying to homeschool a Kindergartener, that plan quickly collapsed. In desperation, I vaguely recalled a book that a friend had given to me. I dug it out, and read Ruth Beechick’s “A Biblical Home Education” from cover to cover. It was the beginning of an incredible journey of discovery that has forever changed our homeschool, parenting, and even my relationship with Christ. I HIGHLY recommend it.

  13. Becky 24 July 2013 at 9:04 pm

    VERY well said on ALL points! We had our daughter in private Christian school until 4th grade. In the middle of her third grade year God really started to call me to homeschool. Our son would have been starting kindergarten and I realized that on top of the fact that he would be gone all day, I was already not spending ANY time with our daughter! She had so much homework and studying to do and was lost in math and needed lots of practice so her evenings were filled. We prayed and prayed over this decision. Our Church has about a 95% homeschool rate so I had many people to go to for advice and support. Even though I said “I WOULD NEVER” homeschool and I was scared to death, God has blessed our decision in amazing ways! Our daughter is now going into 6th and our son, second and I could not be more proud of them. They have learned so much and have also grown in character and in the Lord!! I am a hairstylist-turned-stay at home mom so I am FAR from an adequate teacher and they have tested very high so far! It looks like you have chosen amazing curriculum and I am SO SURE you will do an amazing job! Anytime you need encouragement, just lean on HIM! (you can also ask here… I know I’ll be sure to give you some!)

  14. Amy 24 July 2013 at 9:41 pm

    This is so great, Raechel! My kids are just 2 and 6mos, but I really would like to homeschool for a lot of the same reasons you listed. Best of luck, and I look forward to hopefully hearing more about your journey!! :)

  15. Amy 24 July 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I am very excited for you! I am entering my sixth year of homeschooling. It is truly a blessing. When my youngest was preschool age, I would have puzzles and things for her to do while I did lessons with the oldest. You may be surprised to see how much Hazel will want to join in. I tried to keep coloring pages and the like that related to what I was teaching. It helped my daughter feel like she was “in school” too. For the first day of school, I always have a little stack of fun school supplies for them. One year we made freezer paper stencil t-shirt son our first day and the kids loved it! This year I am going to take them to the bookstore to pick out a book for free reading (both of my kids love reading).
    Last year I wrote a post for new homeschoolers. It may have some helpful information for you…

  16. Melissa D 24 July 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Sign me up for the “never thought I’d be homeschooling” club! As a former classroom teacher (public & private Christian school), my wildest imagination never had me teaching at home…but that’s what we’re doing for Kindergarten this year (with a 2 year old underfoot). We’re doing Classical Conversations, Saxon math, and a eclectic mixture of language arts, since she’s reading way above level but has below-average fine motor skills and needs a lot of help with handwriting. We actually started on the first Monday in June because I hate the summer heat and I want to PLAY this fall when it finally cools down…nothing fancy, just a few “first day of school” printables from Teachers Pay Teachers and we did a fun photo mini-shoot with a chalkboard outside.

  17. Kristy 24 July 2013 at 11:10 pm

    I am so excited for you and your precious family. My story is a little bit different. We started homeschooling late. My middle child struggled with adhd so we pulled him out of school 6 weeks into his 6th grade year with the intent to only homeschool this one son. Little did we know God had a bigger plan. Year 2 of our homeschooling my oldest son (then in 9th grade) woke me up one morning and said there was no way he could go back to school. I knew he was constantly stressed out, but had no idea it was that bad. He told us the students were so disrespectful to the teachers and he didn’t like things that went on. By our 3rd year of homeschooling we decided to let the youngest one join in on the fun (he was going into 5th grade). It has been one amazing, wild, fun, stressful adventure and I wish we would’ve done this from the get go! The Lord has given us so many wonderful friends to walk with us on this adventure. He has taken this incredibly structured, control-freak of a momma and taught me to be flexible. I started off making the kiddos sit at a desk as I stood at the white board. That didn’t last long. Sitting on the couch or at the kitchen table has worked so much better. I have graduated my oldest and he got a full ride to college. My middle son will be a senior this year. He still struggles with test taking, but is incredibly bright. My baby will be a freshman (so hard to believe!). I can’t wait to follow along with your journey. One thing I did when I first started was make a list of why I felt the Lord was calling me to homeschool. On days when I felt frustrated I looked at that list and was reminded exactly why I was doing this. Some days you will revel in this decision, other days you will say, “what the heck was I thinking?”

  18. Bethany 24 July 2013 at 11:37 pm

    we’re homeschooling elijah this fall, too! in fact, our reasons were very schedule related. having a kid in school felt like another job to me (so much to keep up with!) so we’re bringing our work home :) anyways, one thing a friend of mine does (and we’ll do too) is school year round. we’re starting in a few weeks and then taking a long break at the end of october/early november for when the baby comes and we have lots of visitors around. anyways, the point is, it’s homeschool, so you can make it what you want! have fun and enjoy the flexibility!

  19. Jolene 25 July 2013 at 12:37 am

    My husband and I were missionaries in Ukraine for 10 years until very, very recently we were unable to get back into the country due to visas…. Long story short, we moved to CA in January for my hubby to become the missions director of Golden State Baptist College. I dearly miss the mission field, and one of the the things I miss most is the need to homeschool my kiddos… (I homeschooled them until my oldest was halfway through 5th grade.) Now, they have the incredible opportunity to attend one of the finest Christian schools in all of America, and I love what they get to be a part of. It is truly an outpouring of God’s blessings on us. {Though I will always miss the one-on-one time we enjoyed during their early years!}

    I have a friend who homeschooled all through her growing up years and something her family did that was unique and special that I have always loved…. Her parents would send her and her sister out the back door with their backpacks on, lunchboxes in hand, kisses and goodbyes… as mom and dad. Then, the girls would walk around the house and knock on the front door and the mom would meet & greet them at the front door… as teacher. Then, the mom would send them “home” the same way. I always thought that was a terrific idea… if even just for the first day! :-) I think it really helped those girls to really feel like they were “going” to school!

  20. Anjanette 25 July 2013 at 7:51 am

    I’ve been homeschooling for nine years. My older two (14 & 12) started school successfully for the first time last year, and my younger two (6 &8) are still homeschooling. It sounds like you are more prepared than you think, and I’d say homeschooling is a great decision for your family right now. By the way, I love the drawing handwriting book– I am going to check that one out for my kiddos too! Also, if Hazel wants her own “school book” to do alongside Oliver sometimes but needs something aimed at younger kids, I highly recommend this one: It also has a drawing emphasis (tracing, then drawing animal legs, the path of a car, fence posts, etc, then copying those same basic strokes needed for letter formation on a large scale to lead up to writing letters and numbers. If you haven’t already visited her site, modernmrsdarcy has some great (and realistic) posts on homeschooling (I highly recommend her day off strategy if you can swing it!). Good luck, I’m looking forward to reading about your homeschooling adventures!

  21. Camie 25 July 2013 at 8:37 am

    Thank you so much for this post. We have a 16 year old and 8 year old that are both in the public school system. We live in a small country town and are very fortunate in that God is still very much present in our farming community and the mindset of the teachers, HOWEVER they are obviously limited and cannot teach of the Word but they do have a different approach when dealing with social issues and being able to have private conversations with my kids in ways that my children respond to…which is completely faith based. That has been a blessing. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, sending my daughter to Kindergarten for 8 hours each day, yet she has thrived and will be starting 2nd grade in a few weeks. In hindsight I wish we could have kept her home until 2nd grade. The outside influences, the not knowing what she is being exposed to, the wanting to protect her and build on the tools from the Word before sending her off in to the world would have been so much better. Our son will be entering his sophomore year and this is where my head is in complete turmoil. He has been in advanced Math classes since 6th grade, but it became clear to us after 8th grade that he should not be in advanced math anymore. Enter, 9th grade/1st yr of high school. After struggling horribly through 1st semester and barely passing, 2nd semester was worse and he failed. Rather than working with us or simply allowing him to once again be in his own grade level for Math they have tried to get us to pay them $100 for summer school and if he doesn’t make the semester up via summer school he will be required to take it in place of an elective at the same time he will be in yet another advanced math class. We are shocked, to say the least, at their “logic”. So, here we are just a few weeks from school beginning and wondering if he should be home schooled. This scares me to death, and I have no idea where to start but I can’t stand the thought of him suffering through another year and feeling inadequate when he is quite the opposite. We obviously want so much for him, as any parent. He has gone to school with the same kids since preschool and has friendships that will not suffer if he’s not in classes with them, but I still worry that he will miss out on come major social experiences. Ugh, sorry to think out loud. I admire you and your decision, and I know it wasn’t one made overnight. Praying for you all to have a truly wonderful experience with this. Praying we can figure it out sooner rather than later. =)

  22. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy 25 July 2013 at 9:24 am

    I’m in the same boat as you: I never thought I’d be a homeschooling parent, but we’ll be starting our 4th year in the fall.

    To answer a few of the specific questions: don’t sweat the school-mom to mom-mom transition. There’s really no need, especially with a toddler running around! And you can only be as Type A as Oliver is or you’ll both go crazy. :)

    I actually just wrapped up a really casual series about homeschooling on my blog. The last post is here:

    Wishing you well on the journey; can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  23. Liz 25 July 2013 at 10:44 am

    I LOVE this post and LOVE every single one of your reasons for homeschooling!!! I do not have littles ready for school yet (3 yr old and 6 months) but man school scares me for them already. My husband and I both work FT so they go to daycare and the influences that my 3 yr old already has from other kids makes me crazy. I am not sure what our plan is yet for the future but I have contemplated homeschooling as to be honest public schools scare the bejesus right out of me. Not that I have anything against public schools or teachers or anything like that, more so the influence from other kids and especially other kids with older siblings (as I have already witnessed from daycare). I totally support what you are doing and wish you all the best of luck…everything will work itself out and I believe Oliver will thrive so much from learning at home (and Hazel too)!!!

  24. stacy 25 July 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Love the grace you express in this post. Choosing which education path to take can be difficult. We are each called to do what is best for our families. Thank you for including links–that is so helpful! We are not homeschooling but I have recently become interested in a two day a week school/three day homeschool program in our area. We have only lived in this town for about one year. We have one child in school who starts second grade this fall. We have been disappointed with the public school he attended but he starts a gifted and talented school this year. We are praying that this will be a better fit for him but it is still a public school so the Who is still left up to us. We are working hard to build a foundation of Truth for our boys. During the school year, it becomes difficult to fit those lessons in–especially when they are gone most of the day! I am looking forward to hearing more as the year goes along. Just from the things I have read on your blog, I think you will have a great first year!

  25. Dana 25 July 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Holy cow. I feel like I wrote this post. I wish we were neighbours. I feel alone here in doing this as none of our friends are choosing the homeschooling route. I’m terrified for all the same reasons you wrote about. I guess your blog will be a great source of encouragement and coffee talks even if you don’t know who I am from a hole in the ground. I’ll introduce myself in heaven ;)

  26. claire 25 July 2013 at 4:45 pm

    My son is Oliver’s age and we have been homeschooling him. He’ll be in 1st grade in the fall. It will be hard and sometimes feel impossible, you will most likely question yourself. because it will be worth it. I always say that I’ve never felt equipped (in my own ability, like I’m some sort of teaching wonder woman) but I have felt called and that puts me in the perfect position to lean on God’s strength!

    Find a good support group with your husband as your biggest support/backer. Ask those who have gone before you, they are such treasures!

    After our first day, I told my husband, “your sin almost got expelled today!” Lol!

  27. Kim 26 July 2013 at 12:16 am

    I love that you have the opportunity to do this with your son! As a public school teacher, I am really impressed with your curriculum decisions. They are very similar to what I might choose. To go along with your fabulous reading list, you might consider reading the Daily 5 books by Gail Boushey. They give a lot of insight in helping students to become strong readers and writers. Keep us updated on how your year goes!

  28. Alina @ My Yellow Umbrella 26 July 2013 at 11:45 am

    I’ll repeat all of the above comments and say: “I love this!” I was homeschooled all the way through my senior year. I’m eternally grateful to my mom for her decision and sacrifices to do this for my brother and I. She took it year-by-year (like you said–you have to!), and state-by-state (we weren’t in the military growing up, but moved just as much) and child-by-child. I THRIVED. I was taking my first college classes at 15 and graduated with my Bachelor’s at 20. So, at 20, when I accepted my first post-college job at an advertising agency, I was easily the youngest employee they had. I got so many responses along the lines of, “But you’re so…normal!” I think homeschooling is far more accepted now–and that’s partly because of people like you who are doing it for the right reasons. Oliver (and Hazel) is so blessed to have you two for parents! I’m not saying that parents of public (or private) school kids can’t/aren’t investing in them (I would NEVER say that), but homeschooling allows a deep, daily and foundational investment that isn’t warring with other influences and, therefore, has the ability to go so much further. My little brother was homeschooled but finished out his high school in a public school, I homeschooled all the way through, my two youngest step-brothers were in public school until my stepmom decided to homeschool them around the beginning of middle school, and my oldest stepbrother was in public school all the way through–my family has literally seen every scenario! My (now-medical-doctor) husband was homeschooled from 2nd grade-senior year and we plan on homeschooling our babies when we get to that point–and taking it year-by-year and state-by-state (we ARE military…the Lord was preparing me for this growing up!). I want my children to have the flexibility to thrive and excel in certain areas while needing special attention in others, just like I did. I want them to be able to truly experience the places we will live, just like I did (hellooo, who else got to tap maple trees in Vermont as a field trip??).

    Anyway, all of this is meant to give you some insight into my family and my opinion of being homeschooled myself. You’re giving Oliver such a gift this year, regardless of which direction you take it next year!

  29. Nicole 26 July 2013 at 9:03 pm

    You are going to ROCK this!
    Your reasons to start home schooling are the same as mine when I began 14 years ago.
    One year at a time, one day at a time. Don’t worry about tomorrow, today has enough problems of it own. :) He will always give us the strength to do what he calls us to do.

    *Do not worry about the teacher mother distinction. Wether you home school or not you are always both your children’s teacher and mother. when your school work is done you are still teaching, still training, still leading, weather by example or word. It is not as difficult to our babies to see us as both. We teach them how to pray, how to tie their shoe, how to share….adding how to subtract only seem natural to kids…let it be just that.

    *For my first day of (home) school I still buy a new back to school outfits, which we save for the first day. I secretly buy new pens, crayons, notebooks, paper, special stickers, a surprise book. a new basket to keep all there new school books in and so forth. then the night before our first day i decorate the table, pull out the chalk board write each child’s name, new grade and scripture for the day. i place all there new surprises on their seat with there new outfit. The first day arrives early with much excitement, new clothes new books, and our traditional first day of school breakfast. Even my high schoolers get giddy about the first day of school. :)

    *It is good to have a schedule. A Start time, a lunch time, ending time. . A consistent place to do school. I let my child pick his first subject (usually their favorite), I pick the 2nd ( always the most difficult) then move to the rest. this works well for my kids. While having a schedule is good, remember why you are doing this, and leave room for flexibility. Plan a month at a time, so that if he moves faster or slower you do not have to re do your whole years lesson plans. there are some fantastic lesson plan softwares out there. My favorite is the organized christian home school mom.

    * as far as other younger babies go. I always do “school” with them too. They sit with there “work”, with the older siblings. ( I always buy back to school stuff for them too) There attention span is always sooo much shorter, after they tire of school they go to “play time”. Special toys only for school time, which they play quietly. i have different christian music, bible stories, or children songs on Cd that i rotate through. I make sure the time on the cd is about 45 mins to an hour.( you can start with shorter times and build up to an hour if this seems too long) I pull the special toys out, put on the cd and reinforce that this is play time and they play quietly until the music is all over. The child quickly realizes that mommy and brother are not available until the cd is over. My little ones LOVE play time, they look forward to this special time every day. The key is do not bring these toys out for any other time and make a big deal out of it for the little one so they feel super special, not like you are getting rid of them. This gives me the first 1 1/2 hrs of school pretty interruption free with my attention dedicated to my school boy. It is a win win for all involved. Even my teens still talk about play time and wish they still had it. :)
    The Lord bless you, fellow soldier, in this new calling.

  30. megan 27 July 2013 at 12:46 pm

    We homeschool and here is what we do on the first day of school.

    1. Kids get backpacks full of new supplies. Even a lunch box full of snacks.
    2. Kids go with Dad to Starbucks for doughnuts and chocolate milk.
    3. Dad brings kids home to their “teacher”. I welcome them with a first day of school banner and act a little crazy.
    4. They put their supplies away in their school carts.
    5. We do first day of school activities found on pinterest and take pictures.
    6. Dad heads off to work and we start right in on lessons.

    So excited for you Raechel. It’s a crazy journey, but it has been amazing. Feel free to email me anytime about questions regarding curriculum, organizing, etc. Would love to help if you have any questions…

  31. Danielle 29 July 2013 at 11:24 am

    Sounds great and I believe your family will do great with this! You sound ready and excited! Saxon is what my two younger ones do in public school its a little harder but I think its helps the child with memorizing the math more so they just end up knowing it! My going into 6th grade boy started it when he was in 4th grade wish he would have started it in kindergarten! Also, some advise which Im sure your already do is make lots of play dates and do sports so that he is getting the social part of growing up with hi peers! I totally understand your child being around his grade who have older siblings. My almost 14 yr olds best friend has an older sister and it was as if I had to teach my child things earlier then I would have because my daughter was being exposed to it!

  32. Melissa Morris 29 July 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I read your post last week, and am happy that you are deciding to do what’s best for your family and homeschool Oliver. I can’t wait to hear how things are going. It seems like you are organized and good at paying attention to details, and that Oliver is a focused kid, so I’m sure things will be great!

    It’s wonderful that Oliver placed high in math and that you want to challenge him. My only concern, that I keep thinking about since I read this post, is that if you teach him 2nd and 3rd grade math this year, and then decide to have him go back to public or private school next year or whenever, that he will be bored to death in math class. I’m a high school teacher, not an elementary teacher, so I don’t know how things work with advanced kids that young, but I would check into advanced math options in schools before you teach him that far ahead of his peers. Maybe you could do second grade math and then move on to a different type of math? Like measuring and cooking in real-life situations instead of having him go farther grade-level wise. I don’t even know what math they learn in 1-3 grades anymore, but I’m sure you could think of things! Obviously you know what’s best for him and for your family, but I would hate for him to have an awesome year in math this year, and then go back to school in a year or a few years and hate math because he’s so far ahead or too bored or whatever the case may be. I hope that you understand my sincerity in this and that I’m NOT criticizing, just concerned =)

    • raechelm 29 July 2013 at 4:46 pm

      Hey Melissa!
      Oh yes, that’s absolutely a realistic concern – and definitely one we’ve considered! For first semester, we’ll get great at 1st grade math and work on other subjects, then in the spring we’d like to wade into 2nd grade math. Re-entry is important, for sure! Thanks for your sweet comment!!


  33. Amber 31 July 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I don’t homeschool (we do public) but I have friends that do and I would recommend taking the 1st day of school pictures and letting him pick a favorite meal for you to serve. Just have some fun 1st day of school traditions.

  34. Jennifer 1 August 2013 at 10:46 am

    Hi Raechel! I am a homeschooling mom of 3 – my oldest will be in 4th grade this fall, my middle in 1st, and we have a three year old also. You’ll find that your little one will get included more than you realize, and learn more than you think, too! Include her in the read alouds, some craft/art projects, etc. As far as traditions, we take a first day picture (or first week picture), and maybe a special treat at the end of the first week. Absolutely let them pick out awesome pencils/folders/etc. We are using curriculum from My Father’s World. Honey for a Child’s Heart is an awesome resource!

  35. Gillian 2 August 2013 at 8:53 am

    Wow, I’m so excited that you will be homeschooling this year so that I can glean some great tips from you! I homeschooled my son for preschool and will be continuing for kindergarten in the fall. You seem way more super organized than I am, so I am looking forward to seeing how you do it :) Also, what is this “tutorial” that Oliver will be attending? I am unfamiliar with this option!!

  36. Tracy 14 August 2013 at 7:53 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart, Rae. Eric and I often feel the same way about schooling. However, for right now, we feel they are best suited in our local school. After getting news of who they have for teachers this year, I basically said to him “I can always pull them out and home school if we feel the need.” It’s always there, available to us, and I’m glad that it is. It makes the beginning of the school year a lot less scary.

    I know you’re going to be an amazing teacher! :)


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