Over the past year, I’ve often felt at the end of my homeschooling rope. When my preschoolers were babies and toddlers, quiet times and times for housework seemed to build into my day. However, over the past few months, I’ve felt like I’ve spent all my daylight hours running from one child to another, and getting further and further behind on all the things need to be done around the house or in my personal time.
An Overview of the Book
This is a book of homeschool encouragement. In the book, Heidi St. John, a homeschooling mom of seven, shares some of the tips from her years of homeschooling on schooling, scheduling, chores, cleaning, cooking and trying to keep on top of everything necessary to keep your household running smoothly.
This book is divided into eight chapters, and also has an introduction that is lengthy enough that it can be substituted as chapter number nine. I’m going to share a little more about each chapter, without giving away too many spoilers, and then move on to some of my favorite advice from the book in the next section.
Introduction: First Things First–In this chapter/introduction, St. John discusses how family relationships are much more important than the actual homeschooling in your house. .St. John’s goal in this chapter is to help you see that there’s a bigger picture than the assignments and the day-to-day grind that so many of us tend to get bogged own in.
Intentional Daylight–This chapter begins by examining your motivations and where your resolve to homeschool comes from. However, as St. John freely admits, a sense of resolve is not enough to keep homeschooling long term. You need a plan of action, and she helps you determine four key areas that this plan should include.
Organized Daylight–In this chapter, St. John tackles an important part of keeping a homeschool household running smoothly, and that is keeping the clutter at bay. She provides many helpful ideas for helping you with your clutter.
Scheduled Daylight–This is the homeschool scheduling chapter. In this chapter, she shares her own ideas about scheduling along with schedules from many more families to give you some examples.
Hungry Daylight–This is a chapter on feeding the family. She includes suggestions for helping make feeding the family easier on you. (I will say that this chapter helped me feel a little less guilty about how often I just serve cereal and toast for breakfast in our house. I’ve been guilty of beating myself up about that one.)
Discouraged Daylight–In this chapter, St. John give ideas and scriptures for encouraging homeschool moms when they feel discouraged or down.
Consolidated Homeschooling–This chapter is on teaching multi-age students. This was such a valuable chapter to me because multi-level teaching is one of my biggest homeschool challenges right now. St. John uses the acronym L.I.F.E. to share the four important things she’s learned about multi-level teaching and how to create more life in her homeschool.
Wasted Daylight–In this chapter, St. John discusses one of my biggest obstacles to homeschooling successfully. Those “little” things like Facebook that waste so much time. She gives you some really practical tips for helping to be accountable and grow your self-control muscles.
Surrendered Daylight–This is a chapter about the pressures that homeschoolers put on themselves, both as educators from without and also as members of the homeschool community. St. John reminds us where we should be looking for our validation.
My Favorite Quotes from the Book
I wanted to take a few minutes to share some of my favorite quotes from the book. Narrowing it down was really difficult because when I was looking over my copy of the book in iBooks, I realized that I had over half of several chapters highlighted with notations in them! However, I was able to find five favorite quotes that I wanted to share with you guys today.
It’s easy to let homeschooling take priority in your life. And it’s dangerous too.
This is in the introduction, and in this section St. John is discussing your marriage relationship and how easy it is to allow homeschooling to become the main focus of your life. I’ve been there and lived it for the first couple of years that we were homeschooling. There was just so much to learn and to do that it was as if my only interest for a while was in homeschooling.
St. John is like a more experienced and wiser sister, and wants to let you know that there’s so much more in your life that is more important than homeschooling. Take her advice and don’t let homeschooling be the only thing in your life.
Longevity in homeschooling is the result of resolve and obedience; it’s certainly not about patience! It’s about knowing why we’re homeschooling instead of just how.
I was feeling really burnt out through a big part of last year. The only thing that kept me going as a homeschooler was the knowledge that God had called us into it and that he had not called us out of it. I can now agree with how important the “why” is when you’re going through a dry patch in schooling your children.
Busy homeschool mom, the day you and your husband decided to homeschool your children, a huge decision was made with regard to how the bulk of your family time would be spent. Trading your children at home truly is a full-time job.
These sentences spoke conviction to me because of how much of my recent dry spell was caused at my resentment that homeschooling took most of my day, and that I barely had time for many of the other things I needed to get done each day. (That’s why her practical tips in the book were so important to me!!) Homeschooling is my job right now. Just like going to work and doing his work thing is my Hubby’s job.
I have a choice to make. I can either waste my precious free time in the evening on Facebook or watching television, or I can redeem the time.
This was another big source of conviction for me. I tend to get on the computer to work on blog stuff, and then find myself an hour later having played on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter, but not having got my blogging done. I love not just this statement, but the whole chapter on wasting daylight. I have so much encouragement and so many ideas for helping exercise my self-control and not waste time.
God chose YOU with your child in mind.
This is just such a hopeful statement. It’s the type of thing I can cling to in times of difficulty with homeschooling. My child is the child that God gave to me (and He knew I was going to be homeschooling my child). It doesn’t matter whether my child is a whiz at math or needs a calculator to add 1 + 1. Either way, I have been called to this job, and he has given me what I need to complete it.
My Opinion on this Book
This book has been a great source of ideas and encouragement to me. It’s highly readable, and in the little over a month that I have had it, I have read this book twice. Obviously, it’s going to get my highest recommendation. I’ve found so much help and encouragement from this book that I am thankful that God placed it into my hands at the right time.
In fact, I’ve been so encouraged by this book, that I’ve bought her The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance because some of the concepts from that book that she references in this book are concepts that I wanted some additional information on, and because I found her warm voice and style to be such an blessing to me. I’m going to put this near the top of books that I recommend for other homeschooling moms, and I’m going to tell everyone I know that they should buy a copy and prepare themselves for a blessing.