Hey Mama – Keep Pluggin’ Away!

This is for all the moms who have homeschooled their kids, are currently homeschooling or are wondering if they should…

In 1988 I began homeschooling Abigail (her kindergarten year) because I couldn’t bear the thought of someone else having the joy of spending the day with her.  Not to mention, that after a zillion years of infertility and loss, finally having Abi and Tyler, I couldn’t stand the idea of having my days empty again.

Back then, homeschooling was largely unheard of and most people would scrunch up their nose when they heard what we were doing and say, “Is that even legal?”  When I first talked about it, Dw thought it was the weirdest idea ever.  Both his parents were public school teachers.

One of his concerns, “Linny, Abigail now she says she even wants to homeschool college!”  (I mean, if homeschooling was odd, that sent him into a panic!)

I laughed and reminded him, “Babe, at this moment, she wants to marry you!”  He couldn’t help laugh.  True enough, at 5, her daddy was her super-hero and future-husband-kind-of-guy!

When we actually began homeschooling, I thought I would probably continue until about 3rd grade.  But it was so much fun, the kids were excelling and I still couldn’t bear the thought of them being gone all day.  So we decided to just keep going.

Twenty-eight years later we are still going and I have seen a bazillion great advantages to teaching my pile at home, but the motivating force still is that I couldn’t bear someone else receiving the joy of spending the day with any of them.  I’m addicted to them.  I can’t help myself.  They are just the stinkin’ coolest bunch in my universe.  And we have a blast.

Most days.

Don’t get me wrong, we do have our moments, every now and then, that are not all peachy.  Thankfully they are few and far between.

Over the years, we have usually done school around the kitchen table.  Although over the years, we’ve done school at the dining room table and once turned our basement into the school room.

And then this summer, after being at my cousins, Steve and Jamie’s home, Dw asked, “Babe, what if we turned the dining room into our homeschool room?”  So as soon as we got home, we set to work getting ours whipped into shape!!

Liberty painted the blackboard paint and Dw made the frame.  If you visit our home, it’s the first thing you see when you walk in our door.  And it looks mighty lovely to this homeschooling mama!!

A peek into it one morning a month ago.  Birdie and Ruby were about to eat a snack, as evidenced by Birdie’s big smile (she loves to eat!).

IMG_9421As we do school, Birdie roams about playing around us in 3 main rooms (the rest of the house is barricaded off).

She’s hysterical. When she sees us making the barricade, she flings herself about, convinced we are ruining her great escapades. It makes us laugh. We’ve had some pretty dramatic kids over the years, but this littlest chica takes the cake with her impressive moves! IMG_9422

She sees that barricade getting put in place each morning and she gets so offended!

After all, why shouldn’t the new-kid-on-the-block be allowed to roam freely?  And what exactly was the big deal with turning the bathtub faucet onto the floor and filling mommy’s bathroom with water – I mean, it made such an amazing indoor pool?!  And just imagine how that dull bathroom floor had a surprise chance to sparkle!!  Even the carpet in the closet had a new opportunity for getting clean! IMG_9423

And what was the big deal with tossing every single paper from every single medical file? I mean.   The papers rearranged everywhere made a really pretty look in daddy’s office.  Besides, it gave Mom a great chance to brush up on her organizing skills – again!


So fellow homeschooling mamas out there  – here’s to you!

Having successfully launched our oldest five, I look back with zero regrets.  I am so grateful for every single day I had the pleasure of being with them.  They are our friends and they close friends with each other!  They text each other daily and they have each other’s back.

Here’s some of my thoughts after all these years:

1.  Relax.  I have met many moms who are so stressed about homeschooling.  Re-lax.

I remember when Abi was in 2nd grade.  We took a walk in our neighborhood one afternoon after we had finished our lessons. It was Abi and Ty and I was pushing Autumny (who happens to be turning 26 today! Happy Birthday Autumny)  and I.

We actually lived down the street from an adorable old elementary school.  As we approached the school, our eyes grew wide!  Literally, about 8 kids (around 11 years of age) were all hanging out the windows of a classroom on the second floor.  They were throwing things to the kids in the room below, who were also hanging out their windows.  I laughed out loud and reminded myself that no school is perfect and if someday my own kids should be hanging out the upstairs windows throwing things to the children perched below, it would be okay.   

2.  Relax.  Do your work, but have some good ol’ fashion, spontaneous, surprisingly rowdy fun!!  Life is short.  Make memories that will last forever.

Yesterday was one of those days for us.  Early in the morning I had been reading the news online and saw that Krispy Kreme was giving donuts away to people dressed like Pirates.  I googled how close we were to a KK.  Thirty minutes one way.  Hmmm.  I’d have to think about that.  But as I was working out I got a text from the donut-lover-of-the-century – Emma!  She said she had seen the Krispy Kreme giveaway and that I needed to take the kids.  Well to be honest I thought of all the things we could get done if we didn’t go.  Not to mention it was 30 minutes away.  But then I reminded myself that they are only young once.

So as we were finishing up Bible, I could hardly contain myself.  They were giddy when I told them!!




They gave our matey crew 7 dozen donuts!  Arghhh.

And guess what this prefer-to-eat-only-live-food mom then did?  Driving home I told them, “It’s donuts for lunch!! Eat all you want.”  They were like, “REALLY?????”  

And they did.  They will never forget it.  Then last night we drove around gave some away to friends and even took a dozen to Graham and Savannah (who is also a donut lover).  It was a win/win/win/win/win kind of day!

I’m so grateful I chose to relax and throw responsibility to the wind.  If I ever have to wonder if I should do something crazy, I need only remind myself of those 5th and 6th graders hanging out the upstairs windows at the elementary school!  ha!  

3.  Relax.  Talk to your kids.  Talk about everything.  Bible stories come alive when you study them together!  Talk about current events.  Talk about your life (the good and the hard).  Talk, talk, talk.

4.  Relax.  The road is not always easy.  Family struggles, health issues, moving, surgeries and some days are downright hard.  Take a break.  Go out for a walk.  Work out.  Go to the library.  Even with the hard days, the outcome is so worth it!

You can do this!  Your kids may never thank you, but down deep you will know that you gave your all!  

And by the way, for the record, Abigail did decide to marry someone else.

17 thoughts on “Hey Mama – Keep Pluggin’ Away!

  1. As always, your post came at the right time. We currently have two boys attending the public middle school and our daughter (5th grade) is in her second year of homeschooling. We love it! I keep saying it as the best decision we ever made regarding Alli. At first we thought she would go back to PS in 6th but now we’re not so sure. She wants to run cross country but that is about the only reason we can come up with to go back. The positives of homeschooling far outweigh the positives of public schooling. Your encouragement to relax and go with it is just what I needed today. Thank you!

      1. Thanks Linny. I’ve already talked to the school – she would have to take 3 hours at the school to be able to run there. It’s 4 hours at the high school level. We are trying to decide if it’s worth it. Today I’m leaning towards no.

  2. Oh how I love this post! I loved my 13 years of homeschooling. Loved to watch them
    Learn, grow, love (mostly) on each other. It was amazing. And even though HS was a bit daunting, we made it through with flying colors. My heart aches some days to go back there as they are all grown up, but alas….Maybe God will send others my was to fill the void?!?!

  3. I have been criticized many times through the years for homeschooling as a single (adoptive) homeschooling mom. How could it possibly work? It wasn’t easy, and I let people give me pause and doubts, but from K-12 I homeschooled mine, and we had the best time (most of the time!). We would just up and go to a park and have a picnic, go for a hike and then come back and do school.

    Jing, adopted at near 7, was mortified to even leave the house. She has very noticeable birth defects in her hands, she was furious I had “kidnapped” her. She is 19-1/2 now and still very introverted and not social. She would have been miserable in school. She did not do well the first two years, and I was terrified I had done the wrong thing and did not know the proper way to help her understand English. I just read and read to her, stacks of picture books and then novels for kids.

    She got an SAT score well above the state average, and her sister (adopted at 11-1/2 months) even higher. Lily got offered an invitation to apply for the Presidential Scholarship at a large local college. She was one of 12 finalists for six positions but sadly didn’t get it. She also didn’t get our state scholarship they give to everyone (lottery money) due to being homeschooled, which stinks as her SAT scores showed she did very well at academics.

    It hasn’t always been perfect but in the end it was so well worth it. I had no free time for many years, my avid book reading and art cast aside, but sending my kids off all day to strangers did not feel natural to me, and they were brought up outdoors much of the time and would have been miserable sitting in a desk all day. We did school very casually the first few years as Jing would become terrified with textbooks, I’m thinking they were hard on her in school in China, so we found ways to learn that were fun, and she was able to learn so much better that way. I highly recommend it to anyone who feels led to do it!

    1. Awwww, thank you for sharing your story friend!! Yes, I am certain that some of mine, who came home to us through adoption would have been horribly picked on in school. I was!! And the thing they picked on most was that I wore glasses and my name. Can’t even imagine if I had had a birth defect!!

      I love that your kids have done so well in the testing too!! Homeschooling works!

  4. We’re 16 years in, with 7 more to go =)
    Things are sooo different now than when we began. Also, schooling my special needs crew is totally different from what I did with my bio kids. I’ve been a reader here since just before the fire, and I knew you homeschooled, but you’ve never really gone into the details. I’d love to know your favorite curriculum, books, etc!!!
    Our favorite discoveries of all time are Teaching Textbooks and Mystery of History.

    1. You go girl!! I would love to share what we use, but really, over the years, it’s been some of this and some of that…kinda what works. I love, love, loved doing Unit Studies with Weaver being my fav. BUT our pile just doesn’t permit Unit Studies, per se, now. So we do Saxon and Christian Light and Amish readers and YWAM biographies…and it just works. Bless you friend!

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