When Homeschooling Isn’t What You Envisioned

When Homeschooling Isn't What You Envisioned

I will admit I was pretty naive when we first started our homeschooling journey.

I remember envisioning nice, orderly days where my daughters would happily sit at their cute little desks in our perfectly organized {spotless} house while I stood at the white board and taught them lessons that they mastered on their first try. We all would get along and would enjoy every second of every day.

Are you ready to throw something at me?

Seriously, what was I thinking?

Fast forward three years. Peek into our home during any day and you are likely to see the house in a mess. One child might be doing lessons at the kitchen table, while the other sits in her room complaining about doing her math and painting when I’m not looking. Our whiteboard is rarely used and sometimes I explain a concept 20 times and they still don’t grasp it.

But you know what? It is okay.

Because while my vision of homeschooling sounded nice from my very limited earthly perspective, God’s plan for our homeschool was so much better.

However, it took me almost two years of homeschooling before I finally stopped trying to fit our homeschool into this mold {or idol} that I created.

Finally, one day I had enough. I was tired. Tired of trying to be someone I wasn’t. Tired of forcing my children to be something they weren’t. Tired of trying to live up to my own standards and not seeking the Way of the One who put me on this path.

I couldn’t do it anymore. I gave up, and gave it to God, because He could.

From that day on, God began to change my heart and our homeschool.

He showed me what was already there, what I was too blind to see: that even though school didn’t always happen at a desk, and sometimes it took 20 tries to get a math problem correct, my girls were learning.

They were learning academics,but they were also learning more.

They were learning to love one another and learning how to receive God’s grace with open hands.

Which is far more than I could ever envision for our homeschool.

So, is homeschooling what I envisioned it would be? No, absolutely not, and I am so thankful for that.

Is homeschooling what you thought it would be? I pray that it is more. Let go of your expectations, sweet mamas. God’s plan is better.

Heavenly Father,
I come to you today humbled, broken and in awe of what you are doing in homeschools throughout the world. I thank you for leading us down this path and for never once leaving my side. Being a homeschool mother is hard, but it is You: your love and grace that gets us through each day. Lord, I lift up every worn out mom reading these words, fill her with peace and let her find rest in You. In Jesus’ sweet name I pray, Amen.


Heather Bowen is a wife, homeschooling mother and follower of Jesus. In 2012, after 5 years of being a nurse, she traded in her scrubs to embrace the calling of being a full time work from home mother (writer, speaker, and virtual assistant). Heather blogs about all things faith, family and homeschooling at Upside Down Homeschooling. She is a Teach Them Diligently blogger and a monthly contributor to The Homeschool Village, The Curriculum Choice, Free Homeschool Deals, So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler?, and a member of iHomeschoool Network.

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Adventures in Homeschooling BJU Press Homeschool Convention

Adventures in Home Schooling

Where is the time for fun and adventure? Are you overwhelmed with schoolwork? Are you finding that you spend more time planning than teaching most days? Do you feel that you haven’t done enough? Do you ever wonder if you are presenting everything your child needs to move on to college? These are some things that my husband and I wanted answers with our schooling.

Adventures in Homeschooling BJU Press Homeschool Convention

Over twenty years ago when my husband and I researched curriculum, we looked for a curriculum that addressed all of the above for us. I like to plan ahead, and I do not like a lot of change. When I was growing up, my family moved a lot! Every time we moved, that meant a school change, which meant a curriculum change, and that was very hard on me as a student. That left many gaps in my education, and I did not want that for my children. Therefore, we looked for something that was well planned out with educated researchers that we felt we could stick with for the duration. Sure, we knew I would need to manipulate it to our children’s needs. I learned that I did not have to change my curriculum – just my teaching style. After choosing BJU Press, I knew that our bases were covered. We no longer had to worry about content, planning, or having enough material. We were all set! Let the adventures begin!

Adventures were important to us as well as academics. Because we felt confident in our curriculum choice, we were able to explore adventures. Our oldest son loved music. His love of music and guitar led us to pre-college programs and many guitar concerts and competitions all over. Now, he is a college graduate working for a well respected company. Our second son enjoyed amateur radio and sought his radio license by the time he was 12. He began volunteering in emergency services by 14, and taught several classes on amateur radio at 14 and 15. From there he moved on to aviation and is now seeking his degree in an Aerospace Pro-Pilot program. Our oldest daughter loves sewing and cooking.  She won first place at the state fair with her first quilt at a young age. She has made several formals and won several sewing competitions through our local 4-H program. She is now a 4-H alumnus seeking her degree in Family and Consumer Science with the desire to teach one day. Our youngest daughter loves her dogs, and while still in high school at home, is pursuing training her fourth dog. She and her dogs have won many ribbons in competitions all over, including a national 3rd place ribbon.

Bob Jones University Press Home school Curriculum

Each child is different in their desires, and as they have different desires, they still need the same basic academics in order to succeed. By using the BJU Press materials and Distance Learning Classes, I was and am able to focus on making sure they are getting to do some of the fun and extra things while still maintaining a high quality education with test scores that have soared and made them all eligible for college scholarships to help out with that college expense. By choosing an organized, well-structured, well-planned, well-researched curriculum, we were able to follow many adventures through our homeschool years, both those that focused on their desires as well as those that brought us together as a family to make memories.

We have found that we have traveled by vehicle through thirty-eight states seeking out historical sites as a bonus over the last 19 years.  Anchorage, Alaska; San Antonio, TX; Boston, MA; and even Toronto, Canada, are just a few places we have had family adventures.

Home Schooling Adventures BJU Press

After three homeschool graduates, one already a college graduate and one more to graduate, I am confident that our choice so many years ago is what allowed us the opportunity to seek the desires of our children and entertain many family-time adventures while still maintaining that quality education they needed to succeed in their future endeavors for our Lord.


Joel 1:3 states “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”


Eujeana Chism BJU Press Homeschool ConventionEujeana Chism is a homeschool mom of 4 children and a homeschool convention workshop speaker. She and her husband are HomeWorks Consultants with Precept Marketing, the company that represents BJU Press at Homeschool Conventions across the country. They are always open to speak with homeschool families about BJU Press products and determine how your family can find more time for those adventures.  Please feel free to visit her web page at www.homeworksbyprecept.com/Eujeana-Chism and follow her on twitter at @hwpec for specials announcements.

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Homeschooling Even When You Don't Feel Like It

Homeschooling Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

By Jennifer A. Janes

It’s that time of year. The one where we got spoiled by having three weeks off for Christmas break and then promptly got sick the day we started doing lessons again. The sickness has cycled through the entire family, and I’m the last one to recover. This has been going on for a month now.

My children want to take all of these as sick days. We have done some “light” school days, but most days I have pressed through, making sure that our critical goals are reached each day and that we hit some of the other subjects and activities we usually do too. The girls don’t understand why I continue to push.

Homeschooling Even When You Don't Feel Like It

Here are the lessons I’m trying to teach by homeschooling even when I don’t feel like it:

Perseverance. Sometimes you just have to keep going, even when the circumstances aren’t optimal. My kids need to know this now. Life isn’t going to be perfect, but you have to keep doing what needs to be done.

Service. Homeschooling my children is a calling and an act of service—an outpouring of my love for them. When I choose to do what I know is best for them, to homeschool even when it’s not convenient, it sets an example for them. It’s important to do what’s right, even when it’s tough.

Time management. My kids like to take off June and July for summer break so we can enjoy the summer camps and other activities we participate in each year. If we’re going to finish our lessons by the end of May without having to double and triple up on them later in the spring, we need to keep working whenever possible.

Discipline. It is important for my children to see that having a routine and the discipline of getting up to do something worth doing is critical. Having the discipline of a daily routine will help them now and in the future, whether it involves spiritual disciplines like a daily quiet time or the task of getting to a job or ministry commitment regularly.

Responsibility. We have a responsibility, as Christians and a homeschooling family, to conduct our lives with integrity. We’re not perfect, but we do want to be good representatives of Christ and of the homeschooling community at large. We follow the local public school calendars loosely and keep good records of our attendance, lessons we’ve done, and field trips and educational opportunities we participate in. Our community is watching, and we want to be found faithful.

How do you keep momentum going in your homeschool—even when you don’t feel like it?

Jennifer A. Janes Teach Them Diligently Homeschool ConventionJennifer Janes lives in Arkansas with her husband and two daughters, one of whom has special needs. She spends her days homeschooling, reading her Bible, praying, sharing good books with the kids, and writing in blue ink. You can connect with her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. She also shares on Pinterest and Instagram.

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God Has A Plan Do You Apologia Homeschool Convention

God Has A Plan… Do You?

By Charity Decker, Apologia

God Has A Plan Do You Apologia Homeschool Convention

I am not yet a homeschooling parent, but as an Army wife, I think we share a thing or two in common. For example, we both must practice the art of flexibility on a daily basis. You know, that little skill that is required when your day doesn’t go as you had sketched it out in your mind?

I am a planner. I enjoy strategizing my days to see how I can get the most done possible between the time I get up until the time I go to sleep at night. However, take a quick glance at my calendar and you’ll see a scribbled-out mess of to-do items that have been moved from one square box to another. Military life can be full of spontaneous moves, random work hours, and unknown deployment dates. Just the other day, I found out my husband’s long-distance training was to be extended another eight weeks. Eight weeks?! That’s a lot of scribbling out to do.

It’s probably safe to assume that as a homeschooling parent your day rarely goes as intended. Sure, you can decide to set a schedule and have your kids abide by it. You may have visions of one subject flowing seamlessly into another, but in between math and English, a glass of milk is spilled, a knee is skinned, or an attitude needs correcting. During science, someone asks a question about evolution and you go off on a tangent. Now you’re way behind schedule on history, you forgot to thaw the meat for dinner, and just where is that Spanish book?!

Proverbs 16:9 (nlt) says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” As Christians, we know that God is sovereign and in control, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty details of our day, do we really believe this? Do we get out of bed each morning with our minds focused on our agendas or with hearts surrendered to the Lord’s plans? Do we trust that a good God is ordering our steps and therefore open our hands to receive His daily agenda for our families? Don’t get me wrong, a calendar is a perfectly good and useful tool for making our lives less stressful. But we as humans are prone to twist that which God created as good.

My challenge to you is this: Commit your homeschool itinerary to the Master Planner each morning. Yes, strive to keep your family on task and disciplined, but willingly embrace the unforeseen moments. For they are moments foreknown by a loving God and intended for your good.

Charity Decker, Apologia and Teach Them Diligently Homescool ConventionCharity Decker is a home school graduate who is passionate about training young women to be good guards—of their hearts, to be exact! Charity received her degree in Counseling and Psychology from Toccoa Falls College in North Georgia. She went on to acquire a Masters in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In November of 2011, she married the love of her life and moved to Fort Bragg to take on the role of an Army wife. Charity enjoys taking care of her little home, teaching exercise classes, and working as the Logistics Manager for Apologia Educational Ministries. Both she and Jared (also a home school graduate) look forward to homeschooling their own children one day.  Charity will be speaking in the Four-12 Track at each of the Teach Them Diligently Conventions in May.

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Hope in Allon Homeschool Convention

A Series Written for Hope

By Shawn Lamb, author of the Young Adult Christian fantasy series ALLON

Hope in Allon Homeschool Convention

The Allon series began after the simple request of my daughter, Briana, for a good, old-fashion hero quest fantasy. She didn’t like anything too dark or grotesque evil, rather Narnia and Lord of the Rings. She was in 9th grade at public school after she went past what I could do for homeschool. Harry Potter was just started and she felt left out of her friend’s conversations. She knew I wrote for children’s television thus, made the request.

I hadn’t completed two chapters of the first book, when Briana shared with her school friends about mom writing her an “epic fantasy”.  With interest peeked, some of her friends came to the house to discuss my book. We live in Nashville, which has very large immigrant and refugee communities from various countries. These kids came from Iraqi, Kenya, Egypt, Laos and Somalia, meaning they were of different faiths – primarily Muslim and Buddhist.

What started out as discussions dealing with the story, turned into more personal conversations. Being as their families came to America for a new life, they asked why American’s think a certain way, or why Christians believe differently.  The “American Dream” of freedom and a better life was eluding these families, and the kids struggled to assimilate. Yet what struck me to the core is every one of them expressed a deep need for hope but could not find it. Although I freely spoke of Christ in answering their questions, I felt lead by God to write more stories in response to them, and with the theme of hope evident.


Hope is central to our belief as Christians, and something we tend to take for granted, but to many in the world, hope is an elusive dream.  The word hope, hoped or hoping appears over 150 times in Scripture!

Romans 8:24 (NAS) For in hope with have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopes in what he already sees?

In essence, this was the dilemma facing those kids. Their hopes were dashed by what they saw and discovered in America. Unbelievers search for hope in all the wrong places, while believers hold the key to the true and everlasting hope.

1 Timothy 1:1 (NAS) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope.

1 Peter 1: 3 (NAS) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Our hope as Christians is living, not dead or imagined in vain and being based upon earthly things, rather founded in God’s grace and mercy.  My stories are just that – stories, but the cry of my heart was to bring hope to those kids. It should be the same with all Christians for as it says in Ephesians 2:12 (NAS) Remember in that you were at one time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

With our hope secure, we should heed the words of Peter But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account of the hope that is in you with gentleness and reverence. {1 Peter 3:15 – NAS}

 How are you sharing that hope that is in you…

right now?… right where you are?… with the talents God has given you?  Leave us a comment with how God has led you to share hope with others!


Shawn Lamb- Teach Them Diligently Homeschool ConventionTo learn more about ALLON and Shawn Lamb visit the website http://www.allonbooks.com





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