Does your child waste time during math?

Teaching Tip: 

Does your child waste time during math?

As I’ve been thinking about math these last few weeks, I wanted to share a tip that is really needed in this area. The tip is what Charlotte Mason so eloquently refers to as “not letting a child become stupid over his lessons.” In modern day terms, this equates to not letting a child daydream, stare into space, or waste time over his lesson. As parents it is our job to be there during subjects that lead to much wasted time. This is especially true for subjects that can be linked to long pauses between working moments. Math is one of those subjects.

How can you help your child stay focused during math time?

Partnering with your child to talk through math problems is a great way to keep your child focused. Discussing how to solve the problems will keep your child interacting with the text. Pointing out errors immediately and helping your child fix mistakes before they are repeated will move your math time along quickly. Leaving a child to work on his own often means the math lesson will go on much longer than needed! It also means your child could become really frustrated by the lack of forward motion or the sheer volume of problems to be completed.

Staying nearby to help is an easy way to keep math time productive.

Stay nearby to keep math sessions focused and productive. If you catch your child wasting time and staring into space, it often means he needs you to help and redirect. Watch your child during math, and if he “becomes stupid over his lessons,” jump in and move it along. Try this tip and see if your day goes better! I know my days go better when I keep this tip in mind.


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,


Why should you homeschool?

From Our House to Yours

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

My family was recently sitting around the kitchen table when we began discussing why we love to homeschool.  What began as just an informal discussion over lunch ended with an all day brainstorming session! I set out a piece of paper on the kitchen counter and told everyone to add to it as they thought of ideas. Five pages later, reasons why we love to homeschool filled each paper!  Reasons that made it on the list range from obvious to less obvious, from big to small.  But, as the day wore on and the list grew longer, it occurred to us that many of the reasons have revealed themselves to us gradually over the past 17 years we’ve been homeschooling.

The reasons we felt we should homeschool at the start of our journey are still reasons we feel we should homeschool now. However, as we have moved through different stages of life with different blessings and challenges, we have discovered new reasons we never even could have foreseen! It also occurred to us other families might be trying to answer this same question.  Why SHOULD you homeschool?

To whom is this blog series dedicated?

This blog series is dedicated to all of you wonderful moms out there who are wondering why you should homeschool!  You may be excited – but somewhat overwhelmed – at the possibility of homeschooling for the very first time.  Your first little one may be on the brink of entering public or private school, or you might be pondering pulling your children out of a school they are already attending. Either way, if you are wondering why you should homeschool, this blog series is dedicated to you!

Before you choose to homeschool, it helps to have a target in mind!

To hit a target, we need to know what it is, don’t we?  Imagine a hunter drawing his bow to aim at… nothing.  The chances of hitting the target if you don’t know what it is are minimal.  Homeschooling can be like that. If you don’t have a clear picture of the target, it will be hard to know if you hit it.  Knowing why you should homeschool is the target, and having that bullseye in mind lets you know when you’ve hit it!

So, what’s your story?

Talk to any homeschool mom that has happily homeschooled her children, and you will find she has a story.  Something led her to homeschool, and whatever it was became a part of her ‘target.’ We’ll call it the first ring of the ‘bullseye.’ For me, it was the day I dropped my 2 year old son off at daycare to go to my teaching job. He stood at the door crying, and as I got into my car, I was crying too.  But then a very sad thing happened.  I went to my teaching job, and I completely forgot about him.  It wasn’t until I picked him up from daycare that I realized I hadn’t thought of him once.

That broke my heart. I also realized the only way I’d know what his day had been like was by what his daycare provider told me. Furthermore, I realized when he began attending school every day, I’d see him even less, as at the time I was  teaching part-time and only had daycare a 2-3 days a week. That bothered me deeply. To be able to spend more time with my children became the first ‘ring’ in my ‘why should you homeschool’ bullseye target.

#1 – You have more time to spend with your children!

For many moms, this is the first reason they begin to entertain the idea of homeschooling. In this crazy, busy life we as moms lead, sometimes there is really very little time we get to spend with our children. Maybe you are a mom like I was, and while you work your children attend daycare.  You miss them, and you are a little jealous of the daycare provider because she is the one that gets to spend time with your children while you work.

Or, maybe you are a mom of little ones who does not work and who has loved staying home with your little ones. But now, kindergarten is looming, and you can see that time you have cherished with your child is on the precipice of slipping away.

Or, finally, maybe you are a mom who has children attending public or private school, and you are weary of your only time with your children being at night and on weekends. You find yourself being the homework helper, and you find your child is less enthused about schoolwork at night or on the weekends after having done schoolwork at school all day and all week.  

The Bible supports this longing you have to spend more time with your children!

When you feel that tug at your heart to spend more time with your children, know that longing is supported by the Bible!  Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

So, your longing to spend more time with your children is a WONDERFUL reason for why you should homeschool!  In my next From Our House to Yours posts I will be sharing many more reasons why you should homeschool.  In keeping with the list we made as a family, they will be in no particular order of time or of importance. I hope you enjoy this and find some answers that encourage you to either consider homeschooling or keep homeschooling – God bless!

In Christ,


P.S. To find out more about homeschooling with Heart of Dakota, click here or here!