Posted in Blessings of Habit, Home School, Inspiring, Pre-schoolers, Scripture, Who's the mom here?, Wisdom

How to Make a Man Cry—Memorize

BibleI’ve always taught my children to memorize the Bible. I think it is good for their spirits, good for their souls, and even good for their bodies, if they heed it.

People seldom made me memorize anything until I was fourteen, but I remember much of it, today. I want my grown children to have lots and lots of the Word hiding in their hearts, and they do. It was worth all the work, just for that benefit.

Several times, though, we realized a different benefit.

I always had my children recite their memory work during our homeschool closing programs. It always was a large Scripture portion, such as The Book of James or The Letters to the Seven Churches. One night, when they recited Hebrews 11, “The Faith Chapter”, one preacher in attendance asked if we could recite it again, at his church, during the normal worship time.

After that presentation, a man remarked to me that it was such a great essay and wondered if I had written it, or where he could get a copy of it. Hmm.

I assured him I am not that great a writer, that it had been a selection from Scripture. He was astonished, said he’d never read anything that good in the Bible before. I gave him the reference. He marveled and promised he would go home and read it again, with the children’s voices still sounding in his ears, and seek for more meaning. Hmm.

But another time tops this. One night my children recited “The Sermon on the Mount”. Our youngest bravely wanted to help recite and assured me he could, although he was only seven at the time. I wondered at the wisdom of it, but knew the audience would forgive a flawed recitation from one so young. I knew this, especially since he desired to recite solo the entire parable of “The Wise and Foolish Builders”.

As the presentation progressed, I felt good about it. My children were totally prepared for this and giving, truly, one of their best recitals. However, as they neared the end, and my young son’s solo, he began to waver. After several bobbles, though, he collected himself and made it through to the end.

Bravo, Darling.

Later, I asked him what was wrong, what made him fearful. He replied, “When I saw that man in the audience crying, I thought I was doing a bad job.”

Further checking revealed this man in a rumpled suit, slumped down in his pew and openly mopping tears from a crumpled face, was the back-slidden relative of one of our group.

Oh, the power in the voice of a young child reciting Scripture! A grown man weeping to hear it, a churched man desiring to read it, what more could a mother want for reward?

Only this: that they would remember it, walk in it, and turn and teach it to their own.

Another story in this series here!

Posted in Blessings of Habit, Home School, Inspiring, Pre-schoolers, Who's the mom here?

Did a Scary Angel Visit? Or a Savior Tramp?

Burning pine straw

One of our little boys was inventive and fearless.

And one day, a stranger came knocking at our back door.

It had been a mild-weather day and the main back door was open to let breezes in and to allow my supervision of our little boy’s outdoor play, while I tended to some laundry. The only separation between me and this huge visitor was the screen door of the back porch.

Over the expanse of his body he wore a grayed t-shirt, overalls with one strap fastened, and grubby boots untied.  Some of his teeth were missing. He badly needed a shave and his oily hair flattened in several directions. Something about the urgency of his loud knock startled me. That was before I turned and spied his unkempt estate.

I admit I was beyond distressed. Wild images of countryside kidnappings captured my mind, uninvited.

Timidly, I approached the main door, breaking all my rules about talking to strangers.

When you don't know if your are safe or not, when fire is the enemy, when friends are weird...“Yes?”

“Ma’am, it may be none o’ my business, but did you know y’ur little boy has got hisself a fire a-goin’ in the pine straw out here?”

“Oh, no! Oh, no! Please, PLEASE, stay and help me!”

Funny how outward appearances don’t matter much, sometimes.

I followed that kind and insightful messenger of mercy to the scene, and found that, sure enough, as he’d seen his daddy do countless times, our little son had raked up a pile of pine straw and set fire to it. He never guessed his tiny blaze was only feet away from oceans of pine straw, some of it drifted against our garage, downwind on a breezy day. The fire had already broken out of bounds.

We two adults raked and sprayed water until it was out.

I told the man he had probably saved our son’s life, and surely saved us great property loss. I thanked him until he was embarrassed and left.

I forgot to ask his name.

I guess he was an angel in disguise. Sometimes we need help, and God knows it. Yeh, maybe an angel. I can imagine my asking him his name, and him saying, “Folks jis calls me Gabe.”

On investigation, I learned my husband’s matches were stored high on a wall in the garage, good, but under them was the mower, rolled there by our son in less than five minutes, and topped with a milk crate, making him tall enough to reach. So young, but so brave and inventive.

And so perfectly protected.

Another story in this series here!

Sharing an Amazing Homeschool Post

It’s really a great encouragement and a true help. A friend has interviewed a collection of college professors and posted their candid responses to what they think of home-educated students.

The results are exciting and humbling, at the same time. And so inspiring!

No more from me! READ THIS! 🙂

Homeschool Graduates in College ~ From the Professors’ Perspective

In my pursuit to encourage homeschooling parents, I thought it would be interesting to get an idea of how homeschool graduates perform in college as experienced by the professors. I made an appeal to professors through Facebook posts, and with the responses that I received I’m going to give you some insight into what they’ve seen in homeschooled college students.

You will find the rest here. Be sure to follow her link to the place where one of these professors wrote a post about her post. It’s just an amazingly fun read! Rewarding! I cannot feel more affirmed than I do, right now.

Posted in Home School, Management, Play

From BLAH to BOOM! The 3 Ways to Jazz Up a Down Day

You feel it coming.

You remember the last time you sensed a blah day approaching, you ignored it, and boy was THAT a huge goof! Nothing got done. The whole day fell off the face of the earth….

Next time you’ll capture that day! Right? You’ll notice the rival advance and you’ll counter-attack! Right? Just wait! You’ll be so aware nothing will get by. You’ll push back until…umm…?


Actually, you will.

And here’s how:

First, learn to recognize the symptoms of a blah-attack.

If you don’t up periscope, you’ll find yourself already blah, beyond rescue, too late for intervention, so pay attention! Here are the warning signs:

  1. You feel bored/depressed/tired/hungry/or something nerve-wracking and indescribable; usually you deal with it by moping and wonder if you might be depressed.
  2. The kids squabble/rebel/dawdle/over-eat/or something you simply cannot figure out. It is out of character and growing out of control.
  3. Often the weather is lowering/glowering/hot/humid/or something almost unidentifiable, and often chalked up simply to “the heat” or “spring fever”.
  4. Perhaps someone was up too late last night, had too much sugar a few hours ago, visited naughty friends yesterday, or played a lot of digital games. Maybe you, maybe them who knows? But if you consider, that package with the m’s all over it, on the top shelf, is emptying fast, and come to think of it, you cannot find your tablet. Yep.

What to do! What to do!

These are ideas, only . We did these things and they helped. You are welcome to totally copy me and see how it goes.

You are also welcome to say, “She’s nuts! But I know what would work in my house!” I get that.

Because I’d probably feel the same about your post, if you came up with bizarre stuff like this. Read on…

  1. Intervene fast: When you get that crawly feeling under your skin, or that lead weight in your heart, make your plan, hydrate, grit your teeth, and go! Your home is worth it.
  2. Realize the whole blah thing is overtaking, or will overtake, the whole family, in spirit, soul, and body.
  3. Treat the body first. Children are mostly about the body. They get that. It’s like Jesus multiplying the bread and fish and then laying some heavy stuff on people afterward.
  4. Immediately after you get their attention, have a wise, soul-stirring, reviving maxim, message or motto at the ready. Something to clear the air, sharpen the brain, and stir the heart. Or all three.
  5. Follow up with Scripture, Christian music, or just go to your room and pray.

What happens next is important.

  1. Immediately you plan to do this, you will feel reluctant. As soon as you overcome your own reluctance, the kids will feel reluctant. Expect it and push past it with patience. It’s normal. Just go, and keep going.
  2. Once you get everyone on board, it still possibly can slip away from you. So stay wary.
  3. Not long into your plan, you will realize the current trouble is licked and you are well into a great crop of life-long victories, from which you can probably reap someday. Yes!

What does it look like?

Jazz up a down day from BLAH to BOOM!Here are examples of how I’ve dealt with our blah days. See if you can recognize the three parts (spirit, soul, and body)! And let me know if you get the giggles or want me to adopt you. ;)

  1. My favorite blah-beater of all time: I’d often combine body, soul, and spirit in one activity by getting the kids to grab their tambourines and wood blocks and join me in marching all around the interior of the house and singing, “He is the King of Kings! He is the Lord of Lords! His name is Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! O-o-oh He is the King!”
  2. Sometimes the most fun solution: I’d start a rubber band war. Seriously. I am very competitive and they knew to keep rubber bands withing easy reach. We’d chase each other awhile, then I’d put a stop to it and say, “Time to pick up!” They knew the importance of a time to pick up rubber bands, because the cat would get sick all over the house if it ate any. Yeah, I know. I was desperate. Then sometimes as the giggles  continued, I’d remind them that Scripture says laughter does good, like a medicine, and ask them if they didn’t feel the difference.
  3. Desperate measures, here: Sometimes, I’d institute quiet time. I’d make them lie down for a half-hour “nap”. They had to keep eyes shut the whole time, and lie still. If a nap ensued, fine; if not, fine. But if eyes or mouths opened during the time period, it started over. Often I reminded about not enough sleep making people grouchy or the importance of proper rest or whatever. Often I played Christian music during this time.
  4. After-lengthy-tennis-lessons slump: (free from a fellow home school mom!) we usually had ice cream to help us cool and quiet down, plus plenty of water. We’d then chat about what went well, socially, during tennis, and what did not, and what to do about it.
  5. One more (and I have plenty left, so ask!): Sometimes I’d make our lunch time a picnic. (Cool story here, by the way.) Walking to the picnic site, refueling, enjoying the beauty of the Creation, playing find-it games, and yes, discussing how amazing stuff is, like grass, clouds, etc., and how glad we were God has it all under control—all these things revived us.

Why not try it yourself? Spring or Fall are the perfect times for it! (Both for the blahs, and for revival!) And share with us how it goes for you! Cannot wait to see you smile!

Posted in Home School, how-to

What Is the Perfect Schedule for My Home/School?

How to Make a Permanently Perfect Schedule for Your Home/School!

How to Make the Perfect Homeschool Schedule

The Problem

You are sick of rescheduling your children’s day every day? I don’t blame you!

Sick of arriving late, due to lack of schedule? I don’t blame you!

Sick of never getting it all done? I don’t blame you!

Your problem may not be what you think, though.

The Remedy

Things may not be as bad as you think.

You may not be a failure as a home schooling mom! And your children may not be lazy bums!

You simply may need to learn how to make a good schedule that works for you!

The Three Parts of a Perfect Schedule

One thing a schedule often fails to provide is a way to remember it. After all, interruptions and our overtaxed minds might be working against us a lot, right? And who usually has the schedule all mapped in the mind, anyway? Not I!

Therefore, in order to actually serve any purpose in your home, a schedule must be:


Make a schedule that’s easy to remember. Of course, any new habit will take a while to gel, in everyone’s memory, but there are ways! Make your schedule MEMORABLE.

  1. A perfect schedule has the same elements every day. I know, I know, your days vary. Of course they do! However, with a perfect schedule they will vary less, believe me, and with that schedule firmly in place, variations will become “ho-hum”. Really. Just keep reading!
  2. A perfect schedule is written down. How much easier to remember something with a cue card! Don’t worry; this is a ten-minute job on a computer. Or copy and print my graphic below! Trust me; that’s all there is to it.
  3. A perfect schedule is enforced. At first, implementing a schedule will go against everyone’s grain. After all, having lived unscheduled, or differently scheduled, can make this change seem too drudgy. I mean, look at it! It’s just as if no one even knows how to make a spreadsheet! However, after you’ve fought the good fight to get there, you will be so glad. Give yourself and everyone else 21 days to make/break this into your lives. That’s 21 school days, please.
    Announce it with apologies for never thinking of it before.
    Print it on interesting paper, set an amazingly cheery example, ask husband for reinforcement, and GO!

What? Stopped already?

Oh, you haven’t even begun yet? Oh. You know why? Possibly it’s because you’ve piled everything you have been delaying all on the first day of your new schedule. Not going to work, you realize? Rather impossible, you say?

Right. So, the next thing your schedule must be is based upon sound reasoning . . . .


Make a schedule that is reasonably doable. The schedule I will discuss on this page was how WE did it. It was exceedingly doable for us. We thrived on it. I was ecstatic about it. I even . . .

Okay, here’s how:

  1. Your perfect schedule includes every activity your family performs. List them on paper, ask for input, and add to it if you remember more. And by “every” I mean: bedtimes, meals, church, chores, field trips, piano lessons, etc., and school work. It will help if you list it in groups such as: daily, weekly, twice weekly, monthly, etc.
  2. Your perfect schedule is pared down. Many mistake home schooling for hunting—that is, hunting down someone to give lessons on every imaginable subject. If you are seldom home (as in home school) rethink a bunch of the outside activities.
    Or rethink being one of those who arrives on time and gets everything done?
  3. Your perfect schedule is amenable to gentle management. Once it’s in place, quiet reminders will be enough. Once it’s in place, your children will adopt your schedule with contentment, will self-start according to it, and may even thank you. Once it’s in place.

And the pared-down, gentle schedule will be received with great calm, if it is . . .

—Purpose-able (That’s not a word, I know, but read on!)

A schedule that works, will create beautiful things for you and your children. You sense that; probably that is why you are reading here. And you are right. And that is where the acceptable and doable schedule is so self-promoting!
There is a reason airports, hospitals, and even God do things on schedule:

It creates beautiful things for those involved.

  1. A good schedule benefits its administrators. That’s you. You’ll have a reasonable idea of where your children are, in their studies, or where they need to be, at any time. Because you are the enforcer, you also are the one who can adapt your schedule at any time. Oh the joy of redirecting an entire day, calmly and effortlessly, with just a few words! (as I will explain.)
  2. A schedule benefits students. They eventually fall into the plan and begin relaxing and working on math, because they know that they know: Park Day begins in three hours!
    ALSO—and this is big—they learn how to schedule themselves. They grow up to understand the wisdom of deadlines, how to meet them, and why. This will carry over into such adult scenes as college, the workforce, paying debts, milking cows, planting in spring, and many other extremely important facets of real life. They will learn that getting up and getting going, with cheer, is what it’s all about.
  3. A schedule benefits truth, justice, and the American way! Joking!
    However, if you show up at a meeting on time and even remembered to bring the cookies as you said you would, your schedule will win friends and admirers for you!
    If your school allows for field trips, lessons, and play days, AND finally is over for the year, your schedule will win your children over!
    If your husband comes home to children ready to play with him or learn man chores with him, guess what! Your schedule wins again!
    And just think if you actually had a chance for quiet time almost every morning…

My Perfect Schedule

Need help making a really good schedule that works for your home/school days? Look no farther!While I have a tendency—as do many others—to think my way is the only available highway, I realize we have friends who have other (gasp!) schedules that are perfect for them.

For instance, we know a family of which the dad was an ER physician who came home every night at 11:00 or so. He wanted to teach the upper-grade science in their school. So the older children stayed up until Dad got home for their science lessons. Therefore, school for them began at 10:00 every morning. Reasonable, don’t you think?

Not so for me!

I’m sure you would be squawking, too, if I said you had to arrange your schedule as I did. Still, I think you can learn from the old schedule we always followed, so I offer it for your consideration. It’s natural to be curious, too, so I include it here.

Feel free to read it and say, “Nope! Not going there!”

That will be very good, in fact, because it will mean you are gradually forming in your own mind what your own schedule ought to be for your own family and purposes. In spite of the fact that I love my adoring fans to slavishly imitate me. Ha!

Seriously, study it, in all it’s naked glory and glean:

The Schedule!


5:00 – Mom awake. Quiet time. Breakfast for Dad. Start Mom-chores.

6:30 – Kids awake. (alarm clocks) Kids dress. Quiet time. Feed pets. Feed selves. Clean kitchen. All in that order.

8:00 – Opening exercise. (hymns, Bible memo)

8:30 – School work begins. Mom works with K-2 students. Older ones self-schedule goals and self-start.

10:00 – Break for P.E.

10:30 – School work resumes.


12:00 – Lunch break. Eat. Kids clean kitchen. Free play.

1:00 – School work resumes.

3:00 – School over. Dawdlers begin “homework”.

5:00 – Dad comes home. Examines, praises day’s work. Still dawdling? – Lecture from unhappy Dad!

6:00 – Supper.

6:30 – Clean kitchen.

8:00 – Bedtime for littles.

9:00 – Bedtime for olders.

10:00 – Bedtime for Juniors and Seniors, if needed due to trig, calc, or research paper.

11:00 – Bedtime for Mom. Yes, I worked on six hours of sleep during the week, usually.

What About the Rest of It?!

I’m so glad you asked! That part is coming!

First I want to explain a bit. (The bit that makes it adaptable, flexible, and usable!) You see, just as English forms the past tense with “ed”, except when it uses “ought” or “ank” or “ang” or . . . , our family also used our wonderful schedule, except . . .

Except on Tuesdays, Fridays, and once a month on Thursdays.


Because on Tuesdays we had lessons with home-schooling friends (Spanish, bowling, tennis, piano, and/or art) and I took time to shop in the big city, then, and treat them to pizza out.

On Fridays, we cleaned house, which threw the schedule off usually about an hour.

Once per month we had Park Day with our support group, which included picnicking and playing wild (rollerblade basketball?) and fun things in the fresh air with homeschooling friends. On a different Thursday of each month, we had our home-school group business meeting at night, which meant very early supper.

Therefore, on Tuesdays, with the MWF lessons skipped, they usually did not do Spelling, either. On Fridays, the house cleaning was their P.E., when they dusted and vacuumed their own rooms, and I fixed no supper since it was our popcorn and movie/game night. Once a month, during Park Day, they only did Math and maybe English on that Thursday, and then off we went.

Whenever we chose to skip lessons for outside activities, we made them up via extra work on each day or even on Saturday. It was our school; we could do whatever we wanted and we wanted to make up missed lessons.

Regarding my chores, I did:
laundry on Mondays
ironing on Tuesdays (followed by activities and shopping, remember?)
church night on Wednesdays
special projects on Thursdays (sewing, special baking, etc.)
house cleaning on Fridays
All of this was woven between cooking and the help the kids needed. On Monday, I would start the washer, teach a reading lesson, load the dryer and reload the washer, teach a phonics lesson, etc., sometimes asking a child to wait a moment while I added bleach to a washload, or something. It was always like that. I often ironed while administering a spelling test, the teacher’s book right there on the ironing board as I worked. At 11:30 each day, I began lunch and no one was allowed to ask questions about schoolwork. The teacher had clocked out; I was the lunch lady, a private joke of ours.

For Field Trips, I gauged the day according to the schedule for the trip. Once a year the Field Trip was to the County Fair, and I closed school. When we stayed up nights for meteor showers, we slept in the next day. Mmm . . . .  Many times I told them the Field Trip would be exactly like a Tuesday.

Get this: because my kids were constantly plugged into this schedule, I could say, “Don’t forget the Field Trip today; it will be just like Tuesday, only we’ll leave a half-hour later…” and I could know they would know exactly what to do about it.

Of course, when they are little, you just tell them what to do. After they learn to read is when all this locks in, as you will see, shortly.

Now that we’ve mentioned the little ones, let me confess I almost never stood up and lecture-taught my children. After they learned to read, we handed them their books and required them to read for understanding and follow directions. The olders were free to ask me when they had troubles, but not during the littles’ math, reading, or phonics lessons. The beginning of each school day was for getting the littles squared away and working and I taught the littles on the couch in the cuddling mode.

Exceptions? Yes, when they worked on Mapping the World by Heart, I jumped right into it with them and we all learned this alternate method for learning. Loved it. Also, when they began typing, I started them in the summer so they could learn the way I’d learned, which included dictation.

They got their practice at taking notes from lecture in church. I required they take notes from the sermon, for which we always received a helpful outline, anyway, so that was tailor-made.

In my school, if they had a problem with a lesson, they did not interrupt someone else’s lesson, nor my lunch preparations or phone conversations. They re-read or set it aside for something easier, until a better moment to get help.

Indeed, from the time they were in 3rd grade, on, they worked independently. They self-taught. They learned to prefer that, because it was faster. And they scored their own work (except essays) with the goal of learning quickly what mistake to correct. Each paper was reworked to 100%.

(Don’t worry. The score keys were in my kitchen, only red ink could be used for scoring, red ink pens were forbidden outside the kitchen, they could not keep going to score the same subject 50 times a day, and we always made spot checks for cheating, since being the parents, we knew when to suspect . . . )

The kids knew how to schedule their own work each day, even. Inside the front of each text book, I would write things like: 2 pages per day, one lesson per week, one unit per month, etc. Thus, in two weeks, they should have 10 pages, or two lessons, or half a unit done, and they knew it. And they knew I knew it. This method did take some oversight.

I could not just watch soaps and eat bonbons.

However, we had a schedule that we lived by for nine months of each year.
We had a schedule their dad or I could check on and see if laziness was creeping up.
We had a schedule anyone could step in and help for a day or two if we had to be gone.
We had a schedule that so freed me that after the sixth child was born, I began writing for magazines.

And the way we did it was to give our kids the following small chart for keeping track of their weekly goals. They filled in the chart. They crossed off each completed goal. They did the work. They self-taught. They finished before summer. They got summer jobs. They got high ACT scores. They got scholarships. They finished college. They got jobs.

And on and on, and I think. partly, it was because they learned the wisdom of living on schedule.

The child’s chart:

Child's goal schedule

Okay. That’s all I know about schedules! If you had trouble understanding, let me know in the comments or the contact page. If you loved this, share it with those you know need it.

❤ K

Posted in budget, Home School, Wisdom

How Pro Home Schoolers Get Curriculum Cost-FREE

Have you been pricing home schooling, lately?

I sure have!

I see that as the provider companies’ costs go up, ours must, too.

Yet, I know there still is a way, so pay attention!

Having begun presenting informative slide shows to parents who are thinking about home schooling, I know the subject of cost always comes up, so I figure I should bring it up myself, instead of making someone ask.

The cost!

The least expensive actual curriculum I’ve found isn’t bad—around $225 or so per child, per year, which is not even $2.00 per school day.

The big thing that hits some home schooling families hard is having a large family. At $225 per child, six children’s curriculum could end up costing over $1000! Per year!

How can I say there could be a way that “pros” provide their children with curriculum, cost-free?

Not too hard, actually.

It depends on the type of curriculum you choose

You see, all curriculum provider companies are NOT equal!

Ruling out those who now claim to be agreeable to the Common Core (Those will cost you LOTS more than just money!) there are several ways to eliminate or greatly, GREATLY reduce your curriculum costs. This is something you may only realize after you’ve been in the business awhile and looked around with more seasoned eyes.

And noticed a secret thing or two. Heh heh.

And spent a lot of money you didn’t need to.

The “fee” for “free” adds up

Not all curriculum types are created equal. Did I mention that?

Before we go on, we should discuss some of the tricks you can find “out there”.

First, there is a deep flood of stuff that claims to be curriculum, provided on the Internet, free for the swiping. That’s great. If it’s what you really want, it’s great.

However, most of it is:

  1. Aimed at preschool age or slightly above
  2. Not designed by educational professionals
  3. Common  Core affiliated, linking you to government watchdogs
  4. Not connected to any overall scope and sequence.

This means you could start a young child easily enough, if you know exactly what you are doing and have time and training to triage it and design a course content, yourself.


Then you’ll be happy to know the other objection to the free things is that they must all be printed.

By you.

Which means you need a printer, paper, and INK!

If you want to provide your child with, say, ten pages per day of seatwork (after designing and finding everything you need) then you are looking at 1800 pages of printing, since there are 180 school days in a school year.

Printing 1800 pages per child per year can REALLY mount up if you should possibly be able to find all you need for all six of your children (if you have a large family) which would be 10, 800 pages per year.

But that’s just for one year. If you were still not convinced and you were to continue with this plan the rest of their school years, you would potentially have printed 129,600 pages.

No doubt, you would have bought that many pieces of paper, too, and, no doubt, a new printer, sometime along the line…

And large three-ring binders. And gummed reinforcements.

Announcing the solution!

Go back to the $225 company.

Find $225. Pay up. Wait for delivery. Notice the books are hard-bound and very well-constructed. Use the books. Never need to print anything. Realize it all fits neatly on a small bookshelf.

Repeat next year for the next grade.

Wait—how is that free?

The freedom of this way adds up, just as the cost of the “free” way does.

You see, you’ll be passing these $225-books down to your next children.

At no cost.

If you have six children, spaced at every 2 years, you would have to spend about $1300, two years in a row. (This is just an example; No pressured intended!)

After that, you would spend nothing.

Zero. Zip. Nada.

The breakdown:

By the end of home schooling 6 children for 12 years apiece, your cost for ALL SIX children would still be that same $2600, but by then it would be divided by 12,960 total school days, or:

Are you ready for this?

Twenty cents per day per child. That’s all. Merely 20 cents.

Still not free, you say?

Well, I’m still not done.

But I am done home schooling, and I found a way to recoup lots of even the 20 cents. Hold on to your seat belt, here…

When you buy great, well-made curriculum, you can always find a market for it online.

YES! You can sell those used books to someone else, who needs “free” even more than you do.

Of course, the shape they are in will determine how much they will be worth, but if you teach your children how to make book jackets, and require them to do so, the books will be clean and mostly un-worn in appearance, making them fetch more than most used books. You will be surprised.

And that, my friends, is how we did it. 😀

Posted in Home School, Inspiring, Who's the mom here?

A Week of Answers – Space and Budget Squeeze

Mountains in Ecuador
Mountains in Ecuador

Dear Katharine,

My husband and I are becoming missionaries. Our current home is in Hawaii but he spends a lot of time in places like a mountaintop in Ecuador. We have three children and are fairly certain we want to continue home schooling them, although some of our friends say we will waste my missionary education. My question is how to provide effectively all they need in a way that will store in a maximum of six feet of shelf space. That truly is all we can spare for their materials, so I want to find some way to do without regular curriculum. Also, when we want to take our children into the field, how can we make school as portable as possible? Our life is rather flexible or relaxed and our funds are low. Is there a way that is really good, that you can truly recommend?  –Dina

Dear Dina,

Yes. And you are not alone.

Let me start by emphasizing that missionaries are not the only ones with little space, low funds, and the need to travel. Several home schoolers that I have known had the same question.

Those who work in building construction are one very mobile group that includes many home schoolers. Those who work in the music ministry business are another.

How to fit it in, how to afford it, how to make it portable, are questions I hear frequently.


Missionaries are also not the only ones accused of wasting Mom’s skills on a mere lapful of children. We must be careful to realize that people base these accusations on the popular devaluation of children, the opposite of the ways of Jesus, Who took them up in His arms. Your friends would let you reach out to Ecuadorian children with impunity, right? Why not to your own?


There are some incredibly inexpensive ways to make learning happen, though, and they all take very little space. The first resource that comes to my mind is the Bible. Since you lead a flexible life, I suggest you try the idea of studying all the concepts presented in the Bible.I think you would never run out of “curriculum”.

For instance, in Genesis 1:1, you could study the earth for a month. Of course, you probably do not know everything you would like to share about it, so my second recommendation is to obtain a set of encyclopedias (for about $5.00 at garage sales, and the older, the better) or at least a world almanac (a few dollars at a discount store.)

One thing you would never have to do, in Hawaii, is make a fake papier-mâché volcano. You could just visit a real one and learn about it, probably all you want to know, without cost, in a tourist center, right? It would make a good study.

For spelling, you could work on “created”, “heavens”, and “earth”, and add words like them, to teach the different “ea” pronunciations.

For math, older children could calculate things like the circumference, diameter, and volume of the earth.

And then comes Genesis 1:2, in which you study oceans, spell words that compare to “form”, “void”, and “covered” for various sounds of “o”. Do you get the idea? You are probably thinking of many other ideas that I am not, just because you know what God wants you to teach and I do not.

Your mission.

  • If you are surrounded with people of many nationalities, obtain their input, please.
  • Introduce your children to many missionaries and let your children reap the richness that would never fit onto any shelf, but is inherent to your life.
  • If you speak any Ecuadorian languages, your children should too, so get busy creating a bilingual home. Really, social studies should be a breeze for you.

A little-known fact about most reading curriculum is that many of the accessories are optional. In fact, if you can find moral, age-appropriate material at your library, use that. As long as your children are reading, they are learning more about how to read. You could just read the Bible. For phonics, stick to very simple books that you read to them while pointing, and explain a lot. Or , buy a few workbooks for first grade, to get over the phonics hump at first.


For math, you may feel you need one text per grade, per year, which you sell or lend once you do not need them any longer. Alternatively, you can  teach the basics as you remember learning them when you were little, incorporating the lessons into your daily lives.

Are we still fitting onto your shelf? Good! We are almost finished shopping.

All I would suggest after the above is a book on scope and sequence (which will help you gauge the math lessons, if you do not obtain texts), a good collection of moral classic literature, a good Biblical world  history, and a good English handbook.

Actually, with those four and the Bible, you could probably skip the encyclopedia as long as you have a public library. Since most missionaries have outstanding computers and Internet service, you might even skip the library and obtain information from outer space.

Once you master this way of teaching your children, you’ll be able to visit Ecuador with them, teaching with nothing but the math book and your Bible. It will unfold itself to you in a way that only God could explain, but perhaps with which you already have much familiarity. When you are in the field, in other words, let God be your explanation and your scope and sequence. All of us could use more of that input in our home schools, anyway.

This method, as you requested, is really good, and I can truly recommend it. God did not leave out one particle of important information in His Word, and when you lean upon Him, He will guide you perfectly. You already know that.

Finally, I cannot over-emphasize the importance of forming or joining a support group. Even if only one other missionary mom is home schooling, but will store half the encyclopedias on her shelves, you both will gain. You could share all the above resources, cutting both your expenses in half. This says nothing of moral support, but you would certainly find that, too, not to mention prayer support.

Yes, you can continue home schooling your children, and you must. Nothing else will accomplish the very things you desire.

May God bless your efforts!

Love, Katharine

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