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Dear Homeschooling Mom or Teacher,

By Rikki Beth Poindexter

August means back to school for most of us with school age children! Wow, where did the summer go? This 2022 -2023 school year will be my seventeenth year homeschooling, and I am incredibly thankful for the wonderful opportunity to have been able to do it! Those years have flown by! Three of our five children have graduated high school.

I do not believe homeschooling is for every family. Don’t compare yourself to other families, but DO YOUR BEST in the BEST situation for your family! Our Lord, our husbands, and our children deserve OUR BEST!

I am very passionate about giving our BEST to our kids in homeschooling (if that is the route your family chooses). So, here are some tips, tricks, and words of encouragement.

We will want and need to reflect often on the reasons we decided to homeschool. These are some of the most rewarding days and some of the most challenging.

If this is your first year as a homeschooling mom/teacher, seek out and consult with families (more than just your friends) who homeschool. Ask questions and listen!

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: But in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

Proverbs 11:14

Remember why we decided to homeschool!

1. Research the curriculums before you start. When I began our homeschool journey, everyone I knew who homeschooled (which wasn’t many) used Abeka. Naturally, that is what we decided to use. I have used it all the way through. It has ensured our kids would be ready for college. Many times, you get what you pay for. It is only our kids' education we are considering. Be careful switching back and forth between curriculums. This can especially confuse the elementary age child.

I would like to add, piecing together a curriculum can save money, but it can also be a nightmare; I speak from experience. Be careful cutting corners. I understand, especially when you have multiple kids in school, that it can get very expensive. With Abeka, in particular, in the elementary grades, everything you need is in the “kit.” They offer a lot of extras that are not necessary. I am a firm believer and proponent of their Bible curriculum. It is worth EVERY. Single. Penny.

Abeka does offer a no interest payment option. I am not saying Abeka is the only way - it is the only curriculum I used.

2. Be consistent - DO SCHOOL - just DO IT! We must Discipline ourselves and our students!

Remember why we decided to homeschool!

If you have younger kids that aren’t in school yet, hopefully they are well trained and obedient. Yes, even toddlers can be well trained and obedient. If they are not, this is going to be a real challenge. This is just another reason to do what the Bible says and train our children!

“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” Proverbs 29:17

3. Have “special” toys or things they can ONLY do or have during the school day: Play dough, magnets, water painting. Get creative…. Whatever is special and works. When school is done, those are put away until the next day. This can really help in keeping those too young for school entertained while you work with the students.

Your toddler being able to play independently is very helpful during this time. We had a toy room/area my younger ones could play in when I was teaching the older ones.

I did use a thirty minute show during school sometimes for my younger ones. We had some excellent Bible story movies or educational shows that I used some days. It’s ok - remember DON’T COMPARE. Do your BEST for your students.

4. Have a schedule and keep it (for the most part). Our kids will most likely have to keep a schedule as adults. Teach this to them young. Have a school start time. We made exceptions for start times when we were out late in extra church services or if we had company that stayed late. We did not make starting late a normal practice.

Remember why we decided to homeschool.

5. Be faithful - this is our ministry! We need to Be good stewards with our children! We will give an account for how we stewarded. Ladies, we are guiding the home; let’s guide it in the right direction.

“and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”

Colossians 3:23

Our kids will grow up and have an opinion about the education they received from us or the lack thereof. I don’t want my kids deciding not to homeschool because I failed to do a good job. I have spoken to many families who decided not to homeschool because of the quality or lack of quality they received as a homeschooling student. What a shame as a Christian!

Our kids need an education to get jobs and function in society. It isn’t getting cheaper to live!

6. Attend church functions that fall during the day - I am amazed at the homeschoolers who will take off a day of school for a field trip, but won’t miss school for church services or church activities that are scheduled during the day. Make the things of the Lord priority in your life, especially if you want your children to make those things a priority in their lives as they grow. We are setting the example; guiding the home. Prayerfully, once our kids get saved, the Lord’s things will become their priority too.

Remember why we decided to homeschool.

7. Keep up with the amount of field trips/days you are taking off from school. Most of us do not want to do school year around! If you decide to do it year around, still keep up with the days you are taking off. I purchased a year planner each year. I PENCILED in my school days, field trips (we took one day a month off for our Chapel/field trip day at our church) vacation, special church events, etc. This way I could have an idea of when school would be over (180 school days are required in NC).

8. Make Bible class the priority subject (remember why you decided to do this). I personally learned so much from teaching Abeka’s Bible curriculum to my children. It is worth EVERY PENNY! But you have to teach it! It was ALWAYS our first subject in school. Even when my kids got into High School, our family decided to have the students stream or watch video classes, they still decided to watch Bible first.

Memorize, memorize, memorize Scripture. Start when they are beginning to talk. I made this part of my devotion time with them before they were school age! Make it part of the school day - you will be amazed how those children can memorize, and it will help you too. You will never regret the time invested in helping your children memorize the Word of God.

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, That I might not sin against thee.”

Psalm 119:11

Remember why we decided to homeschool.

9. Research the college options your state offers for high school kids. In NC, you can take FREE college classes beginning in the 11th grade.

10. Keep good records. Attendance, end of the year grade scores, test scores, (in NC it can be as early as 1st grade), and regular grades for each subject and each semester. Give your students report cards. Keep up with these things. It makes life simple when your kids begin applying for college and you have to fill out a transcript. They are WORTH the effort and work.

Take it all in because these days go by so quickly. I currently only have two of our five kids still in school. I am so grateful for the AMAZING opportunity to homeschool our children!

“So teach us to number our days, That we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12


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