happy homeschool rainbows

I’ll do my best to keep this post totally focused on the positives of homeschooling (as I see them). The things that get my heart pitter-pattering at the very thought (as opposed to this post full of my hesitations/misgivings).

Then I may or may not quit talking about it for awhile. It’s wearing me out, frankly.

REASONS TO HOMESCHOOL (not an exhaustive list):

Life Is Short. At least the amount of life I get to spend as a mom to kids who live with me. Livi is 10. In eight years, she could be headed off to college, on her way to getting married, beginning a new family that only marginally includes me and Gabe. I want to soak up these fleeting years with our girlies.

Life is Short, Part 2. Just like I don’t want to spend my days here on earth frittering time away on stuff that isn’t advancing God’s kingdom and bringing him glory, I don’t want my girls to either. Seeking his glory brings ultimate joy, and I desperately want that for all of us.

Flexibility. I can’t count how many times I’ve wished the girls didn’t have school so we could do something/go somewhere. For the zoo trip, I just pulled them out. Six days I think. This year I was good. Until this month.

More Time. My girls are on the bus for 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon. They come home from school really tired. I can’t drive them to school, because they go to different schools that start at the same time on opposite sides of town.

More Time for What Matters Most. I was a teacher. I know how hard it is to dedicate big chunks of time to things you care most about. There are so many little things to be done. Some of them seemed pointless, but necessary. Most of them are eliminated when you’re learning at home with Mom.

Living Out Our Family Purpose Statement. I’ve almost blogged about this seventy hundred times, but I keep putting it off, because I keep tweaking it. I think it’s almost there. If it’s not, I’ll post it soon anyway, and you can help me tweak it.

Global Awareness. In my ideal school year, we’d learn about the world until our heads fell off. Globes and maps and outreach and missions and travel and reading tons and tons and tons of books about other cultures and people.

Travel. I have big dreams. Taking the Girls’ Zoo Book (not done/published yet) on the road, back to zoos, reunions with friends we met and fell in love with. Cambodia. Kenya. The ends of the earth. You know, places like that.

Perfect Timing. I can’t imagine teaching a child his/her letters and/or how to read. Call me impatient (or worse), but I think I’d stab my eyeballs out. I didn’t teach Livi and Ava (they learned in kindergarten). I didn’t teach Nina (she learned at The School of Livi and Ava).

Some Beautiful Trailblazers. I have some amazing online friends (and a few in real life too) who homeschool. They inspire me to greatness. I admire them for so many reasons not related to homeschooling, but the fact that I’d be in good company makes me sigh and smile.

ESPECIAL (not sure that’s a word) THRILLS:

*Note: I realize that much of this is lofty, dreamy idealism. I’ve lived long enough to know that all the happiness you can imagine rarely plays out according to plan. Humor me, would ya?

Art Walls. My girls love to create art. Livi especially. I dream of clearing space on our walls, applying a fresh coat of a bright color, and letting them pushpin their artwork up until the wall won’t hold anymore.

Uncluttered Home. Ann reminded me that she doesn’t like “stuff” either–just her library card. I feel like we’ve been de-cluttering not to make room for tons of superfluous homeschooling “necessities” but freeing up space to learn and grow and be.

Globes, Maps, Globes. Globes on every shelf, maps on every wall surface (and shower curtain, tablecloth, etc.). In moderation of course (chuckle, chuckle).

Speaking Engagements. I typically speak to a lot of MOPS groups in the fall/winter/spring. I could take my girls with me. If I’m talking about sex, they can sit in another room. Or we could talk about missions or zoo trips together.

Chore-Sharing. I’m not that great of a housekeeper. And I’m even lousier at making my girls help around the house. I see that changing if we homeschool.

Reading, Reading, Reading. I love to read. So do my girls. I thought for awhile there that they weren’t going to like it. Whew. I envision lots and lots of reading. And making a book wall where we put up the titles of all the books we read.

So Much More. But I’m out of time and space.

THE BOTTOM LINE: As sweet Ann reminded me, “Only head this way — if God’s really calling. He calls other good and right ways too.” If God isn’t calling our family to do this, then none of this matters. May our ears, eyes, hearts, and hands be open to his perfect plan. (totally wasn’t trying to rhyme, but clearly I have missed my calling as a poet).


43 thoughts on “happy homeschool rainbows

  1. Pingback: weekend link love | everyday miracles

  2. Tracy

    Great pros for homeschooling! Loved it! We are starting homeschooling this fall . My son has an hour and 15 min bus ride each way so that was one of many reasons . Thanks for sharing and hope to keep in touch . God Bless. 🙂
    Ps I have been pulling my son out of school to do things just because God has given us a glorious day and i want to spend it with him. Too bad i can’t pull my hubby out of work too!LOL

  3. Jessica

    Your pros sound pretty convincing! I’ll pray with you about your decision.
    We have art walls. Right now there’s a lot of scribbling but it’s mixed in with verses and a yellow crescent. I love looking at all of the hand prints that Ivy does. It’s all very comfortable.
    It was good to see a few positive comments about FIAR. That’s what I chose for Ivy’s Kindergarten year. It all seems so huge and permanent. I want to do a good job educating my children, but mostly I just want them to understand that Christ took their punishment. Any way you go with schooling, that’s what’s really important.

  4. Liz Szymanski

    Marla, we were homeschooled all through and I am planning on doing it with my kiddos as well at least for now. I just wanted to give you a tip if/when you do start looking at some curriculum based on what you are so excited about for homeschooling. They are many of the same reasons I am excited to homeschool as well and this is the program we will be using. I have a bit of personal experience with it already as I used it my last 2 years of HS. The program is called Sonlight. It is very literature based with lots and lots of reading. It also does a great job focusing on other cultures and many things like that. It is all planned out for you which is something I love as well. 🙂

      1. Liz Szymanski

        It can be cheap. 🙂 The curriculum if you just buy the whole package isn’t, but since it uses books for so much of it you can just get the teachers manual and then get the books from the library. That also helps keep the clutter to a minimum as well. That is what we usually did when I used it in HS. I haven’t done much checking on it yet since we aren’t really starting, but I have heard you can also get the manuals even cheaper if you find them used.

      2. Nadine Webb

        We considered Sonlight, too. It is a really great option if you do want to go the literature-based route, but it is by no means cheap. Unless, that is, you can purchase the readers and teacher guides second-hand, or, knowing the way you pray, Marla, and how good God is, someone may just GIVE them to you! Then you might only have to purchase a small amt. of materials. But that is why we are leaning the FIAR way, b/c lots of their books are available at the library and Sonlight was just out of our price range. Keep in mind, too, that you can pick and choose. You don’t have to use one ENTIRE curriculum set for all subject areas. I know plenty of people who use Saxon math, Sonlight for historical studies, and something entirely different for Bible, etc. See – that’s what’s so great. You totally customize to your family and the needs/strengths/interests of your girls! 🙂

  5. Carrie Hester

    That bus ride is EXCESSIVE!!! Oh my! And then when it is hot and humid…oh yuck-o!

    I am a special education teacher and I always, always feel like I am giving more to my students than to my own sons. My 3 oldest are in high school and out of my league in honors math, chemistry and physics so my “help” would be limited. But I constantly feel the guilt of doing more/serving more for my students. I tow the line between, ” I wish I would have” to “I am soo glad I didn’t” about homeschooling. Although I will be the first to say that just because we hold official teaching degrees that alone doesn’t mean we are automatic material for successful homeschooling.
    Just my thoughts…..

  6. Nadine Webb

    Marla, I am with you on sooooo many of these points, and like your list, ours includes many more reasons why we are leaning this way. And despite some new developments in our family that could make the idea of homeschooling 2 Kindergarteners seem even more overwhelming, some good friends keep reminding me…It’s JUST Kindergarten!!! Our family plan is to go that direction unless God clearly stops us in our tracks because we feel it is what’s best for *our family.* Leaning the way of the classical-education approach, but also love, love, love the literature-based approach as well. Have you heard of Five In a Row? We are seriously checking them out because our kids LOVE to read (well, at this point, be read *to*… but still). Lots of decisions for us this summer, and I’ll be praying for clear leading with your family!

    1. Marla Taviano

      I haven’t really heard of any homeschool curriculums. Livi’s begging to “search for some online” and I’m totally balking. It does not excite me AT ALL. And this worries me. 🙁

      1. Nadine Webb

        There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands of options! This can be an overwhelming thing when you start looking, but it is a blessing as well because you can make it whatever you want it to be…whatever it _needs_ to be for your family, and for each individual child. A word about Five in a Row (FIAR) – the basic concept is that the individual subject areas (science, history, applied math, art, etc.) are pulled directly out of the books that you read with your kids. Each book is read (at least) five days in a row, and each day a different ‘subject matter’ becomes the focus as it relates to the story you have read. There is also Beyond FIAR for older elem. kids which I think is a little different b/c it would use chapter books and such, but anyway, that’s the general idea.

        I have to agree with the comment Carrie just made too, regarding the fact that we have education degrees…I think the most important thing is that you are seeking God’s direction for your family. Considering the 6 years that I did spend in the classroom teaching, the idea of homeschooling has been something that has taken time to grow on me. In addition, God has had to shake some – arrogance, let’s say – because that’s what it is…that people without education degrees are not qualified to educate their children, or that I am more qualified because I have that degree and training. Do I think in some ways it might be helpful? Of course. But I know that it has to ultimately be God working through me and my desire to do right by my kids and train them in the way HE wants them to go. I can’t hang my hat on my degree. And, in some respects, it can become a stumbling block because I have to fight that mentality of recreating a classroom environment or structure in my home. This is hard for me because I’ve always been the type that thrives on structure, predictability, and order. It’s definitely going to take wisdom from the Lord to help me sort through what works for my kids at home, what is *necessary* for their learning process (including things that may not be included if I sent then to a traditional classroom), as well as things that I can leave out…things that I would simply be inclined to include just because it’s what I’m used to, having spent basically all of my life in a traditional classroom setting. Lots and lots of sifting, but doesn’t that make it a learning process for us, too?

  7. Ellen

    Something to think about…my SIL’s mother homeschool(ed/s) the oldest four and sends the youngest one to private school because that’s what he needs. I think it’s neat that she recognized that homeschooling was working for some of the kids and that the younger one needed the extra interaction with kids in a school-setting.

  8. Natalie

    We made the decision to homeschool our older two next year for the first time. They are 10 and 7- so many similar reasons to yours! Our daughter who will be 5 in September will go to school and learn to read and write. We’re giving it a year and if it is a good fit for our family, we will bring our girl home for the next year. If not, at least we had a year together to slow down and (hopefull) begin to love learning, again.

    You’re welcome to check out our reasons on my blog on this post: http://onethingspokentwothingsheard.blogspot.com/2011/02/decided.html

    I think all your reasons are part of ours, too.

    Oh, and check out IdeaPaint for your art wall.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Wow, Natalie. Great post. That’s what we’ll do too (if we do decide to homeschool). Our youngest will still go to afternoon kindergarten for 2.5 hours. She’s so excited about it, and it will give me more time in the afternoon to focus on the older two. We’ll have to keep tabs on each other!!

  9. beth lehman

    Marla – I loved Ann’s post – which got my head swirling. I have loved yours, which keeps my head swirling. I’m not sure that our public school makes learning engaging – and that is what I am having a hard time with. I have tried to sort this out. My husband thinks homeschooling is for families who want nothing to do with the real world. I used to feel that way, but no longer. I work in public schools as a reading teacher (part-time) and LOVE my work but see so many downsides to schooling so many who don’t fit into a one-size fits all mold. Last summer we “home-schooled” a little. I loved it… this summer more of the same is in order. A trial run, maybe. My oldest will start middle school in a year. I have often wondered if taking her out during those years would be a good thing to do. Honestly, I THINK about this all the time, but I don’t PRAY about it like I should!


    1. Marla Taviano

      I really like my girls’ public schools. That’s part of what’s making this such a tough decision. It’d be a lot easier if public school wasn’t working for us, and we had no other option. It IS working. We just think homeschooling might work better. We think.

  10. Holly

    I am struggling greatly with this too!! I think I’m going to do a similar thing as you did and make a columns sheet- positives in one, negatives in the other. See if this makes the decision any easier. Especially since we’re moving AGAIN and my husbands military schedule doesn’t sync with the public schools. My NUMBER ONE SEEEELLLFISH concern- how to get just a bit of me time every here and there affordably so I don’t go BONKERS- any ideas mommas? I’m realistic that unless I have at least one good day (at least 4 hours or so) once a week to go tcb and unwind I’ll go crazy! I’ve also thought about going ahead with putting my little about-to-be kindergartner into school so they can work with his basics and he can meet some friends but keeping my about to be 4th grader at home this year so she and I could regain some time together and solidify our connection, but I’m not sure about the kids being in differing rhythms. Although when they’re in the younger grades I don’t hesitate to let them miss days of school but this has bred animosity at my daughters current school!

    1. Marla Taviano

      I don’t think I’ve talked about this yet, but if we do homeschool next year, we’ll still send our 5yo to afternoon kindergarten. She’s soooooo excited about it, it’s just for 2.5 hours, and it will give me time with the 2 older ones. Nina (5) has had me to herself for a long time now.

      1. Holly

        Yes- I feel I’ve lost some of the closeness with my eldest in the midst of raising my second. Plus, I agree with what you said that what most intimidates me about homeschooling is trying to teach him such extensive and fundamental basics of reading, letters and numbers etc.. I know it would be wonderful to see him learn to read for the first time but I just don’t feel up to it! Plus, it is still wonderful to experience their learning of reading while you have story time each night, even while in public school.

  11. Rachelle

    From my side of the fence. I went to public school elementary through Jr High, much larger town and school than I live in now. At the end of my 9th grade year I couldn’t take it anymore: the girl bullying, cliques combined with teenage angst. I begged my mom to homeschool and she did! I excelled in homeschool and so cherish that time. We moved my Senior year and I attended and graduated from the school in the town where we live now (class of 6). I am thankful for the entire schooling experience and know that the decisions and timing were all in His hands.

    Excited to hear what you decide to do!

      1. Rachelle

        I don’t homeschool my kiddos. We live in a itty bitty town that defines “rural”. Our school here has 50 students K-12. In my kids’ grades there are 2,7,6 and 3 students respectively, counting my children. Our school is phenomenal and has stayed the way of old fashioned values as best as possible, often bending A*CLU rules (like we have student led Christian prayer before every event). I am a member of the school board and Clyde is a high school science teacher. We feel very blessed to have a school that is a haven.

  12. Keri

    Geesh….now I want to homeschool!!! I would certainly be less selfish if I did. One thing I can say is that I actually had an art wall when the boys were little. I painted a huge rectangle on the wall of our family room and framed it out then taped or pinned pictures all over it. One of my most favorite things about any house we’ve ever had. Loved it!!

  13. Missy June


    My two oldest will be in public school next year, but we also homeschool, just in a less formal way. We’ve got that artwall (maybe I’ll post a picture), We have maps on the wall, we read, read, read and we are constantly “schooling.” Constantly.

    For summertime, we have a schedule posted which includes ‘seatwork’ for math and writing practice, ‘art’ for hands-on, ‘housework’ which includes gardening and cooking. I’m so grateful for a babysitter/nanny who works with me on the goals/standards I set for our home.

    The greatest difference is truly the flexibility and schedule, which my own work limits anyway. I gues what I’m saying is that whatever your choice, implement your great ideas!

  14. Carrie

    Praying for you as you make your decision! We do preschool at home for many of the reasons you mentioned – we live in the country so even though the school is a min drive away, my 4 year old would be on the bus for nearly an hour – plus my hubby works Tues-Sat, so if my kids went to any Mon-Fri traditional school, we wouldn’t all have a family day off. I loved all the reasons you listed & I know God will help you do what glorifies Him! I can’t say whether we’ll homeschool our kids until they turn 18, but at least for now, I love it. 🙂

  15. Cheryl Pickett

    I didn’t have kids of my own so never had to make this choice. But in reading your positives, I know the girls are already busy, but seems like a lot of what you’d like to do you can do anyway, homeschool or not (like the reading/book wall, missions, going with you to speak sometimes). Every family has to make choices about what to be involved in or not. Maybe it’s time to purge schedules too and go from there.

    Not sure if that helps or hinders but it’s what came to mind.

  16. Emily M.

    Really great and honest posts, Marla. I will pray for you on this decision! I have struggled, struggled, struggled with the decision as my oldest heads off to kindergarten this fall, and we feel called to public school for now. I was actually wondering, since we’re in the same district as you, what you have found positive about the public schools. I feel as though I don’t hear much in that regard, especially from Christians. I’m reading a book at the moment called “Going Public” written by committed Christians, trying to focus on the positive. I wouldn’t ask you to do a whole post on the topic, but if you have any general thoughts, I’d love to hear them!

    1. Marla Taviano

      I will try to share some of those soon, Emily! I have LOVED our school district, and that’s what makes it SO HARD to make this decision. This is going to sound bad, but sometimes I wish the school system was awful so my decision would pretty much be made for me. My girls have done a combined 9 years in the school district, and I can’t think of a single complaint off the top of my head.

  17. Christy @ pureMotherhood

    I love your rainbow. Those are many of the same reasons we would want to homeschool our kids. I also struggle with the things you listed yesterday – though my rainbows are a bit brighter than my cloudy skies.

  18. Megan at SortaCrunchy

    I’m going to tell you a secret that I haven’t told anyone yet. Why not make it right here in the comments of your blog? hee.

    I love all of the Especial Thrills that you have written about here. I love them so much that I’m going to treat this summer like we are homeschooling. This works nicely for me because Dacey is every bit the nerd (good connotation here) that I am. There will be reading, art, homemaking lessons, maps, music, every enrichment thing I’ve ever wanted to do.

    My heart is so torn on this: part of me wants to homeschool so badly, but so many things from your list yesterday reflect my concerns. Add to that a husband who is pretty much convinced NO on the matter, and here we are. BUT, that won’t keep me from enriching the time we DO have at home. This season of life is good for that (for us) because our calendar and schedule has LOTS o’ space in it.

    So. We’ll see. I’m going to be a wanna-be homeschooler from May to August. I’ll let you know how it goes. *grin*

    1. Marla Taviano

      This is PERFECT. You can give me detailed notes that should take me at least through December. 🙂

      p.s. I really have no basis whatsoever for what I’m about to say next, but I have this feeling I’m going to see you in the flesh in 2011…

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