Why homeschool? Home is a safer place to be!

From Our House to Yours

Why homeschool? Home is a safer place to be!

Were you ever bullied in school? Did you ever worry about who you would play with at recess, sit by during study hall, or shower next to after basketball practice? Was there a certain person you dreaded being partnered with for a project or sitting next to in class? Did the thought of walking home after school or riding the bus scare you? Although I usually felt safe at school, the times I didn’t remain fresh in my mind. Unfortunately, bullying is on the rise with about 20% of students being bullied on school property. In fact, our U.S. federal government even has a ‘Stop Bullying’ website to help children learn how to try to stand up to bullying, so they can be safer at school. So, why homeschool? Home is simply a safer place to be!

At home, you can always sit by someone at lunch who loves you!

When it comes time for lunch at home, your children can always sit by someone who loves them. I love to hear our children laughing and telling stories around the kitchen table! We all look forward to mealtimes with one another. We find it is a great time to first pray with one another, and then share food and fellowship with one another. I know these are all things our children would miss if they were not homeschooled.

At home, it is always safe to walk through the ‘halls,’ to go to the restrooms, and to change clothes!

Some of the most common places bullying in schools occurs are the hallways, restrooms, and locker rooms. Changing clothes for gym class, for sport-related activities, or for extracurricular activities is another magnet for bullying in schools. Undressing next to strangers is not ideal. I still don’t really like to do this at the fitness center I attend, and I’m 47 years old! At home, I love that my kiddos are never worried about walking through the ‘halls,’ going to the restrooms, or changing their clothes.

At home, children are safe from school violence.

On Dec. 18, 2018, the Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety was completed and submitted to the President. Within that report, I found a startling chronology of school violence. The list begins with the Grover Cleveland shooting in 1979 and ends with the Santa Fe shooting in 2018. Within this “Tragic Chronology” (as it is aptly named), I counted one shooting in the 1970s, nine in the 1980s, five in the 1990s, six up until 2010, and ten so far from 2011 to now. School violence is on the rise. Why homeschool? Our children are safe from school violence! I’d say that’s a pretty compelling reason, wouldn’t you?

A Few of My Less Than Safe Experiences at School

I taught for 7 years in public school prior to having children of my own. While I do have good memories of teaching, I also have memories of some less than safe experiences. For example, I waited to see a principal for my first teaching job interview. There were 2 girls waiting to see the principal with me. One had a broken off pencil stuck in her leg. The other girl was threatening to do worse to her after school. Yet another time, I had to restrain a student who took a scissors and raced outside to ‘go stab a first grade girl’ at recess. Still another time my class had to all stay indoors for recess for an entire week. Why? A student’s father had escaped from prison, and he had made mention of kidnapping his son prior to escaping.

Why homeschool, you ask?

So, you ask, why homeschool? At home your children won’t be bullied. They also won’t have to worry about who they will eat lunch with. At home your children will always find it safe to walk through the halls, to go to the restrooms, and to change clothes. Finally, at home your children won’t have to worry about school violence. In contrast, your children will feel safe being homeschooled. They will look forward to meal times, to ‘recess,’ and to being part of a school in which every single person loves them! And not having to worry about safety frees up brain power to be able to more fully focus on learning! That’s a pretty good reason to homeschool, if you ask me.

In Christ,

What is one easy way to put “home” in your homeschool?

Teaching Tip:

What is one easy way to put “home” in your homeschool?

Do you want school time at home to seem less “schoolish” and more homey?  One simple way to do this is to read the history, science, and “Storytime” books on the couch.  Cuddling up with your child on the couch with a good book sets a different tone for your “school.”  It reminds your child that he/she is at home and that you are a parent first and teacher second.

What does this look like at our house?

At our house, we intersperse our reading times throughout each child’s school day.  This means that we’re settled on the couch with each child multiple times throughout our day. We also do Bible this way if possible. Then, we return to the table to do any written work.

Why does the location of where you read make a difference?

Prior to homeschooling my own four boys these last 18 years, I spent 11 years teaching in the public school classroom.  During my years in the classroom, we did everything we could to make the classroom more “homey.”  We added blankets, pillows, beach chairs, colorful plastic tablecloths, fake flowers in vases, quiet background music, lamps, etc. The kids loved these touches of home and couldn’t wait to take turns cuddling up with a good book.  So, once I came home to teach my own boys, I knew I wanted to capitalize on the advantages of home!

Capitalize on the advantages of home!

Instead of recreating school at home, capitalize on the advantages of home.  Read on the couch or snuggled up in an easy chair.  Cuddle up in blankets or stretch out on the floor with a pillow.  If the weather is nice, read outside in the backyard. Have a snack time and allow your kiddos to sip beverages during school (with spill-proof cups of course)!  Allow them to work alongside a favorite stuffed animal or listen to quiet music while they work.  Utilize the fireplace! Schedule a little break outside mid-morning. The possibilities are endless!

Think of how you can capitalize on the advantages of home. 

Look for ways to bring your home into your school.  Try this easy tip and see whether the “tone” of your school day changes!


PS: If you enjoyed this blog post, you might also be interested in this post by Julie with more practical tips on how to enjoy your homeschool life!

Enjoy Your Everyday Heart of Dakota Life

Why homeschool? You know what your child did for the day!

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… A Series on Reasons to Homeschool

As a mother raising children in America in the 21st Century, you blessedly have many options to choose from when it comes to schooling your children. Public schools, private schools, French or Spanish immersion schools, magnet schools, charter schools, homeschooling, and more.  So, with all of these schooling options that are available, why should you choose to homeschool?

#2 – You know what your child did for the day.

My son was just 3 years old when he first got on a yellow school bus.  As I watched that tiny yellow bus back out of my driveway with my little boy in tow, my thoughts drifted back to the day he was born. It was a cold December day, and he was not supposed to come into this world yet. He was early. Really early.  7 1/2 weeks premature to be exact, and as a first-time mom, I was too young to know the ramifications. After several weeks in the the neonatal intensive care unit, he came home on Christmas Eve. Our little babe had made amazing gains from that rocky beginning, but his speech was slower to come.

The Difference Between Speech Therapy at Home and at School

When our son was 2-3 years old, Sue came to our home twice a week. Sue would zip in our driveway in her little yellow car, and sit down on our living room floor to laugh with, love on, and teach our little boy speech therapy. Sue was always quick to include me, and we worked as a team in my home to help my little son learn to speak. Our home was a happy, safe place for him to learn, and I was a part of it all. How different I felt seeing my little boy get on that yellow bus headed to public school for speech therapy!  All I could think was he looked so little, and how would I know what he had even done for the day? Granted, it was really only for a few hours, but they felt like the longest hours of my life.

The School’s Rules Aren’t Open to Discussion

Why was my 4 year old son on a little yellow school bus? Well, once he turned 4, he no longer qualified for the ‘Birth to 3 Connections’ program.  Apparently, 4 is the magic number for boarding a bus alone and attending public school for therapy.  We lived 5 blocks from the school, but I still couldn’t transport my son to speech therapy myself.  Why? Well, because.  Just ‘because.’  At least that’s what I was told. This is when I began to see the school’s rules aren’t open to discussion. Sue was still my son’s speech teacher, but everything else had changed. He didn’t want to see Sue anymore; I knew that much. I began to realize I had no idea what my son did during his time at school.

A Drop-In Visit

That was when I decided to make a drop-in visit. I told the school I’d be stopping in to pick up my son, and he would not be riding the bus home. When I walked into the room, I saw a very crowded noisy room that was bordering on total chaos. Poor Sue was totally outnumbered. She was surrounded by way too many students of all different ages that had many special needs demanding attention. It was totally out of control, and my wide-eyed son was sitting alone at a table in the corner.

Sue apologized profusely for the chaos. She explained the school had promised another teacher, but there were no funds for it. I asked if my son’s speech therapy was going to be taught within the special education class rather than 1:1 with her, as the school told me it would be. She said it looked that way. We were both sad about it, but we were both also certain the situation wasn’t good. Later that night I called Sue, and we made a plan for me to finish his therapy on my own at home. She was amazing!  But just like I had little control over what happened at school, she didn’t either. I understood. I was teaching 2-3 days a week, job sharing with my sister Carrie in a similar situation – nearly 30 students, and over half of the students with special needs with no help on the way.

What a blessing to know what your child did for the day!

One of the reasons I love to homeschool is because I always know exactly what my children did for the day. What a blessing! I never have to wonder what really happened, nor do I have to grill them to try to figure it out. All I have to do is teach them in the comfort of my own home. Prior to having children of my own, I taught other parents’ children.  It always surprised me when they asked questions like if their child had friends, if their child was bullied, if their child used the bathroom a lot, or if their child ate their lunch or threw it away. After my little son’s bout with speech, I understood. If they didn’t ask, how were they to know what their child did for the day? I’ve never taken knowing what my child did for the day for granted since.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

These years with our children are precious. Why should you homeschool? First, so you can spend more time with your children, but second, so you can know what your children did for the day. Dear mothers – take time to train up your children in the way they should go, and hopefully, when they are old, you will find they do not depart from it. Consider homeschooling, so you know what your children did for the day – so you don’t have to ask whoever spent the entire day with them what they did – so you don’t have to pry it out of your children when they get home. Homeschool simply so you are ‘in the know.’ It is a simple blessing with big rewards.

In Christ,


Tired and Overwhelmed Young Homeschool Mom Asking for Help

Dear Carrie,

I am a young overwhelmed homeschool mom who needs some tips to help us be more productive with homeschooling. My daughter is in 1st grade in Heart of Dakota now. Last year I overbooked us with too many extracurricular activities. Lesson learned! This year we bought a house, moved, had a baby, and just sold our first home on Friday. But, I feel like I am drowning and cannot accomplish much of anything. My children are 7, 3, and 3 months. I have made reading and math a priority, but I cannot seem to keep us disciplined to do Little Hearts full-speed on a daily basis. She might even be ready for Beyond…, but I’m afraid to introduce a guide that takes longer when we cannot even finish LHFHG.

I think the biggest problem area for us is that I do not start my day early enough. I am NOT a morning person, and the waking every 3 hours to nurse does not help. My shower in the morning is my coffee, but that puts an even later start to the morning. Meal planning and prepping is another big drain! It seems to take at least 1-1.5 hrs to get everyone fed and the dishes cleaned after every meal. And dinners take longer! My oldest loves Heart of Dakota when we get to it! I’d love to start my 3 yo with Little Hands… when she turns 4 yo soon. Thank you in advance from a very tired and overwhelmed mommy!


“Please Help This Tired and Overwhelmed Mommy Make Time for Homeschooling”


Dear “Please Help This Tired and Overwhelmed Mommy Make Time for Homeschooling,”

Thank you for sharing here! My tips vary a bit due to your specific situation, but I want to encourage you! Small changes make big gains! Since you’ve just moved and have a new little one, you are in a transition phase in life. With this in mind, I would seek to do the following:

Not everyone is a morning person!
  1. Accept that you are not a morning person. I am not one either. With this in mind, set a time that you can realistically begin school each day, and then stick to it. I began school at 9:00 or 9:30 for many years (until my older sons, who are more morning-focused workers could get up on their own and begin without me)!
Focus on half-speed LHFHG for 45 minutes by setting aside distractions.
  1. Make sure that when you begin school you are focused on school. Set aside the distractions (i.e. mess, phone ringing, doorbell ringing, laundry, meals, texting, computer) as much as possible. For now, I would downsize to half-speed LHFHG. Do the left page one day and the right side the next. Do this until your house gets in order. It will only take 45 min. a day this way, and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel! You can still do reading every day but make sure that it takes 15 min. or less to do reading. You can alternate days of math, doing it every other day for now until your house gets into shape. Can you set aside everything except school and caring for your little ones for 45 min. a day? Definitely. At the end of the year, you can assess again and see if she is ready for Beyond. For now, use the materials that you already have and work on moving through LHFHG steadily until year end. Think of this as much about routine as it is about the skills.
You can start Little Hands… half-speed with your little one.
  1. When you get ready to start your little one on LHTH, do it half-speed too. This means 3-4 boxes one day and the other 3-4 the next day. This will add 15 min. to your day. Can you school for an hour a day total every day? Yes! Manageable goals done every day mean steady progress forward. This is better than random forward motion.
Plan how your kiddos will spend the rest of their day to buy yourself extra time for other tasks.
  1. Next, have some sort of plan every 30-45 min. or so for your kiddos throughout the rest of the day. This may sound exhausting, but in reality it will save your sanity. List all of the things each child does throughout the day, and make a loose schedule for each child to keep them rotating along through things during the day (changing every 30-45 min). Use your timer to time their activities and have them clean up when the timer rings. Doing this will buy you 30 min. here and there throughout the day that you wouldn’t get otherwise.
Routine breakfasts and lunches save the day!
  1. Make a routine easy breakfast menu that is the same every week for Mon-Fri. Do the same for lunch. Type it and post it on the fridge. Enlist your older child to help make breakfast and lunch. Keep the menu easy prep-wise and clean-up wise. Having the same menu each week for breakfast and lunch helps you know what to shop for and helps your kiddos know what to get out when it is time to eat. It will cut down significant time in preparation and clean up too. Make dinner your bigger meal and use your crock pot for that as much as possible to save you prep. before dinner. Assign each child a “set the table” and a “clean-up after meals” chore(s) to do. Keep the chores the same all the time, so your kiddos get good at them and always know what “their” chores are to do automatically.
This is a good time to set routines that help get your house and homeschooling in order!
  1. Think of this time as a time to get your house in order, grow your baby up a bit, set some routines in place, and figure out how to calm the chaos. Start schooling steadily at a similar (realistic) time every day and school in a similar order. If you do this for even a week or two, you’ll begin to see the benefits! Make sure you allow yourself to sleep when you can. Think of this as a plan you’re striving to work up to! You can do this!!!




P.S. Please check out our new youtube video that has an overview of Little Hands to Heaven!  Please ‘like’ and ‘subscribe’ to help us become ‘branded!’  Thanks!!!

There is a third kind of memory – facts and ideas floating in the brain

A Charlotte Mason Moment: 

“There is a third kind of memory – facts and ideas floating in the brain which yet make no part of it, and are exuded at a single effort; as when a barrister produces all his knowledge of a case in his brief, and then forgets all about it; or when the schoolboy ‘crams’ for an examination, writes down what he has thus learned, and behold, it is gone from his gaze for ever: as Ruskin puts it, ‘They cram to pass, and not to know; they DO pass, and they DON’T know.’ That the barrister, the physician, should be able thus to dismiss the case on which he has ceased to be occupied, the publisher the book he has rejected, is well for him, and this art of forgetting is not without its uses: but what of the schoolboy who has little left after a year’s work but his place in a class-list?” (Home Education by Charlotte M. Mason Vol. 1, p. 155)