Meet Liz


Hi, my name is Liz Lepley. My husband is Aaron and we have been married for almost 12 years. We have five children. Lucy, 10, Galen, 8, Jesse, 6, Millie, 4, and August, 1. 

We started homeschooling five years ago with the Sonlight Curriculum. We loved Sonlight but have now transitioned to Classical Conversations (CC.) 

How we decided to homeschool:

We wanted to protect our kids. Fear led us to it- which is probably not the best way to start something. I looked at our then five year old little girl and just couldn’t imagine her on a bus to a school I know nothing about. We also saw family friends on their homeschool journey and admired how their children behaved and loved to learn. We trust the Lord to guide us through our homeschooling journey. 

Video Interview

Does the idea of homeschooling appeal to you, but you are afraid to step out and try it? Then you need to listen to this conversation with Liz! She tells her own story of jumping into homeschooling in spite of her fears. Liz shares how she has overcome the challenge of feeling overwhelmed and how her family has found a good fit in Classical Conversations.

Encourage other families: 

  • I don’t think I said this on the interview but, you won’t mess up your kids. I was so scared to homeschool because I felt under qualified to be teaching my children. It turn out that I am learning along side them and I’m fully qualified to teach them. 
  • Take days off. Don’t totally stick to your schedule. I am a rule follower and this is hard for me. If we are having a rough day and we need a break, we take one. We can make up that time another day. And that’s okay. 
  • Have a support system. These can take a while to develop. Pray for the Lord to bring people into your life to support you. 
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. 
  • Simplicity- work with what you have. We live in a very small house that we love and use our dining room table for almost everything homeschooling. It gets messy and that’s okay. Memories are being made. We use the couch and we do school outside.
  • Don’t give up 🙂

My biggest challenge: 

  • Feeling overwhelmed! Realizing that we can take it year by year, semester by semester is so helpful!


  • Each other! We all want to help! Ask a fellow mom or dad questions for tips! If I don’t know the answer, I can direct you to someone who does. 
  • this website was and is so helpful when you are first starting out! Answers so many questions for rules to follow in PA. 
  • Sonlight book list. 
  • CC offers books to read to go along with what the kids are learning. 
  • Pinterest- book suggestions by age.

1 Thessalonians 5:11- “encourage one another and build each other up…” 

Have questions for Liz? You can contact her at Remember, though, moms are busy! Response time may be delayed, but she will try to reply as soon as she can!

Helpful Habits for Writing Well #4: Notebooking

Are you looking for ideas to help your child develop good writing skills? I’ve been sharing four helpful tools I have found that cover a lot of ground in teaching kids to write. Since our family is larger than the average size, these have been very helpful to me in minimizing the number of lessons while still developing the many sub-categories of writing: spelling, vocabulary, punctuation, handwriting, writing style, etc. In my last post, I covered Habit #3: Narration. Here I will wrap up with the final habit for writing well: Habit #4 Notebooking.

  1. Reading- Reading quality literature of many genres.
  2. Copywork- Copying the best pieces from great authors.
  3. NarrationReading or hearing a short story, verse, concept, or idea and expressing it back to someone in your own (first oral, then written) words.
  4. Notebooking– Journaling as a regular habit for life.

Habit #4: Notebooking

The habit of notebooking makes writing personal for kids. It is a way to write that involves their individual interests and experiences. A child’s notebooks are a portrait of the child.

The possibilities for notebooks are endless. They can keep record of daily life, seasonal changes in nature, vacations/trips, gardening plans, craft ideas, sports achievements and goals, poems, drawings, a bucket list, favorite quotes, and more!

Keeping notebooks should NOT be confused with completing worksheets or structured assignments. Although offering a pattern or structure to give ideas can be helpful in giving kids a starting place, the purpose of note booking is purely self-expression.

The habit of notebooking starts with a blank page. To keep a notebook is to record observations, express emotions, share events and achievements, copy favorite authors. It is to put in written form the thoughts that most capture our interest.

There is something about writing an idea down that cements it more firmly in our memory. To write something down is to remember it.

Every Bed of Roses: Take time to write

For a deeper dive into this topic, I highly recommend the book The Living Page by Laurie Bestvater. Laurie discusses the “art of the keeper” and divulges her note booking ideas in her “gallery of forms.”

This blog post from Brandy Vencel who writes at is an excellent review of this book.

The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason: Bestvater, Laurie:  9780615834108: Books

Our Notebooks

Here are examples of some of the notebooks that some or all of our kids have kept.

Letters One form of note booking that I have practiced with my kids is to write short letters back and forth to them in a small note pad. I fill a page with thoughts, encouragements, etc. and place it in their top dresser drawer where they are sure to see it. They return by writing a personal note on the next page and putting it in my top dresser drawer. It is a way to connect with their dreams, struggles, ideas. It helps them to share personal thoughts that can be hard to say in person. Sometimes it is easier to express thoughts in writing and these exchanges help us do that.

Notepads that we use to write notes back and forth with each other.

Personal Diary If you have ever kept a diary, you can probably attest to looking back through the pages and remembering things you had completely forgotten. A diary is like a photo album. It is a written account of where you have been, what you have done. Sharing personal feelings and struggles in writing can be a great way of coping with difficulties. Writing in a diary is excellent writing practice because a child can write freely without constraints of proper sentence structure, spelling, etc. which will help them to develop expression of thought.

Nature Notebooking On Fridays, our kids are assigned to write entries in their nature journals. If you are looking for inspiration for keeping a nature notebook, The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady is a must read! I have found that the pattern in this book to be a very helpful tool to guide them in recording nature.

The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden ...

Page 1- Write the Month at the top in beautiful script or creative lettering. Draw pictures of what you see outside during this month. Copy a poem or quote to describe the month.

Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady | hubpages

Page 2- Keep a journal of observations by date. Write the day number and a short (2-3 sentence) description of what you observe.

The left side is page 1- Name of the month and picture. Sometimes they include a quote or poem. The right side shows journal entries of observations by date.

Sketchbooks A sketchbook does not necessarily develop writing skills, BUT it is a beautiful piece for a child to keep. It shows progress in drawing and observation skills. It is enjoyable for parent and child to look back and remember the ideas and environment that fascinated a child through different stages of growth.

Bible Journal A few of our children enjoy keeping a collection of notes from sermons they hear in church. It is a way to help keep attention during the service and to remember and reflect on past topics.

Other Notebooking Ideas

There are a few notebook ideas that I would like to inspire my kids to try.

-Math Notebooks: As new concepts are learned, a math journal might be helpful to keep charts and formulas handy.

-Bullet Journal: This is great for listing all sorts of things: bucket lists, vacations, gratitude journal, meal plans, exercise log, etc.

-Calendar of Firsts: This can be a seasonal record, noting the first flowers of spring, first time it snows, etc. It could also be a record of first experiences in life, losing the first tooth, first picnic, first garden.

Notebooking is a practice that captures vignettes of a child’s thoughts, experiences, and emotions at different stages of growth. It is a life habit with rewards. Our kids have enjoyed looking back through the notebooks they have kept and I have too! I’d love to hear your notebooking experiences and ideas!

Planting cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, and peppers.
Girls Tea with friends for Jenna’s 12th birthday.
Touring Kanati Studios in Myerstown, PA
Archery at Kanati Studios
Snowgeese at Middle Creek Wildlife Management

Helpful Habits for Writing Well #3: Narration

I’ve been sharing four helpful tools I have found that cover a lot of ground in teaching kids to write. Since our family is larger than the average size, these have been very helpful to me in minimizing the number of lessons while still developing the many sub-categories of writing: spelling, vocabulary, punctuation, handwriting, writing style, etc. In my last post, I covered habit #2: copywork.

  1. Reading- Reading quality literature of many genres.
  2. Copywork- Copying the best pieces from great authors.
  3. Narration- Reading or hearing a short story, verse, concept, or idea and expressing it back to someone in your own (first oral, then written) words.
  4. Notebooking– Journaling as a regular habit for life.

Habit #3: Narration

If the idea of narration is new to you, here is a simple description. Narration is hearing or reading a selection of a text and telling it back to another person in your own words. That’s it.

It seems too easy, doesn’t it? I mean, how much can a person really learn from doing something that basic? Shouldn’t there be more involved? Is this really teaching them valuable writing skills?

Does this sound too easy to be “real work”? Before you write this off as too simple of a habit to develop good writers, I challenge you to try it yourself. Read a short selection or chapter from a book and then tell it back in a one page narration. Put this post aside and try it. I have done this myself. Narrating a text myself is what convinced me that retelling something in your own words challenges many parts of your brain. It’s not as easy as you think.

Beginning Narration: Oral

I start this with our kids as soon as they are old enough to form sentences. After reading a short storybook, I ask them to tell me about it. This is informal. They usually don’t even realize that they are “narrating”. I just ask them to tell me about the story. In their eagerness to talk about everything, they readily like to tell their version of the story.

For younger kids, give shorter sections to narrate. It can be hard for them to wait until the end of a book to retell the story. They may need shorter chunks. Read a page or two and ask them to tell what is happening.

This does not only have to be done in response to a reading. Ask them to retell in many ways. Tell about their day in sequential order over the dinner table. Explain the steps involved in a project. Describe a scene or the view from your front door.

As children enter Kindergarten and progress through elementary grades, you can encourage them to develop their oral narrations. For example, some kids want to tell every single detail step by step and need help in seeing the the most important parts and keeping it brief. Others will need encouragement to be more descriptive.

Progressing Narration: Written

After children have been giving quality oral narrations for a period of time and once they are able to write sentences and paragraphs fluently, they can begin written narrations. This often happens beginning in the upper elementary years (3rd or 4th grade), depending on the particular child.

One thing I have done in the past to help my kids transition from oral to written narration is this. I have them orally narrate a story and I type it out word for word as they are speaking. I include everything they say, the “ums” and “likes”. When they are done, I have them read it aloud to me. This helps them not only to see what their narration looks like in written form, but also to hear how it sounds.

As they progress in written narrations, this is a wonderful opportunity to assess their written expression with them. How does the paragraph flow? Are ideas expressed in complete sentences? Are there run-on sentences? Does the writing reflect the main ideas of what was read? If someone had not read the piece the child is narrating about, would they get the same conclusions from what they have written? Are the beginning and ending sentences appropriate? Consider syntax. Are there a variety of sentence structures including simple and complex patterns or do the sentences appear repetitive?

I would discourage assessing their work every time they write a narration. Let them grow a natural habit without the pressure of assessment, building confidence as they perform the skill over and over. Then, after 4-5 narrations, review their work together discussing what is done well and how they can improve.

I aim to have my older kids do one narration a day. Realistically, this does not happen. It is more like 2-3 times per week. Currently, we are reading key sections from Abraham Lincoln’s World by Genevieve Foster.

Image result for abraham lincoln's world genevieve foster

The effectiveness of narration is best observed when done over a long period of time. At the beginning of the year, each of our kids gets a new narration notebook in which to keep all their writings successively. I like to look back through their narration notebooks as they move through the year to see how they are improving. (It’s also motivating to the kids!) Even comparing their work from one or two years prior to see their progress is a great motivator!

The regular habit of narration produces quality writers. Looking for a way to help your child improve their writing skills? Give narration a try. Do it for a year and track their progress over time. You might be surprised at how something so simple can be so effective!

I finally found a sourdough recipe the whole family LOVES. I can’t make it fast enough to keep up!

Two hours before we are ready to go her first Valentine’s Party, she says, “Mom, I’m ready!”
We have a new driver!
We have had some amazing winter sunsets here lately.

Meet Connie

Hi.  I’m Connie and I’ve been married to my husband Eric for 19 years.  We have seven children and are in the process of adopting our eighth child.  My husband is a bi-vocational pastor of a small church so our schedule can get a little interesting sometimes.    I’m learning to walk in joy that is NOT rooted in what is going on around me. 


Video Interview

Connie answers the question everyone is asking homeschool moms, “How do you do it all?!” Being a homeschool mom can feel like holding down a couple of full time jobs! Connie, Mom of 7, shares her passion for discipling their kids and what she has learned to help her get it all done each day.

Did you always want to homeschool? What attracted you to it?

I was homeschooled as child and had a great experience.  Homeschooling allowed me to study and pursue what I was interested and felt called to (especially in the high school years).  I wanted my children to have that experience too!

What advice do you have for people who are homeschooling temporarily for this year? 

Don’t try to make homeschool  look exactly like school.  It’s not possible at home.  Be ok with it feeling a little messy….but do enjoy spending time learning and growing with your kids! Advice from my husband:  Give it a strong try and consider it permanently.  Don’t expect it to go smoothly, especially initially.  Plan for “off” days.  

Advice for new homeschoolers?

I would say don’t feel compelled to say yes to everything.  Learn to pray about your schedule and then follow the LORD’S leading for your family.  It may look very different than the next homeschool family.  Too much (even of really good stuff) is just too much and can make homeschooling feel more stressful than it needs to be.  Feel the freedom to enjoy your children and to go at their pace (FYI…that pace picks up the in the teen years!!!)

What has been your biggest challenge?

 We have a large age range (3-16) and managing all their needs and spending individual time with each of them can be challenging.  The way I think about this has been really important.  The little things….like helping my three year old dress in the morning is time spent with her!  Impromptu conversations while I’m driving with my 16 year old is quality time spent!  It doesn’t have to always look a certain way(although many times I wish it did)!

One of these: Is there something that stands out as your passion with your family/homeschooling? 

Homeschooling allows us to live life with our kids and disciple them.  We try to do a discipleship night once a week with our older kids.  We read an encouraging book together and spend time praying for them.  We also talk about our beliefs and what the Bible has to say throughout our homeschooling day.  

Do you have any favorite hobbies? 

I love to really study GOD’S WORD, to hike, to drink coffee, to star gaze at night, and to read good books.

What is your favorite thing that you do together? 

My husband has instilled a love of soccer in all of our kids….we love to play together.  We also enjoy exploring different parks.  

Any interesting projects or experiences?

We traveled to Texas as a family five years ago.  That was an epic road trip that we still talk about!  Each year we try to plan one bigger family vacation and that has been so fun for our kids.  

Any other questions you think would be good or things you would like to talk about? 

Many times people ask me “How do you do it all?”  My short answer is that I don’t do it all.  There are many things I’m not doing in this season that I hope to one day.  I really rely on the LORD’S strength.  I ask for help.  My older kids have become really really helpful over the years too.  

Connie’s Favorite resources

A Gentle Feast

Mystery of History

Apologia Science

Simply Charlotte Mason

Book List

Parents and Children by Charlotte M. Mason Paperback Book ...
Book Review: The Bruised Reed, by Richard Sibbes : 9Marks
Evidence Not Seen: A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the ...

Favorite Read Aloud Books

The Charm of the Penderwicks (Janie and Betsy and discuss ...
Sir Knight of the Splendid Way - Lamplighter Publishing ...

The Winged Watchman by Hilda van Stockum — Reviews ...
Author Interview: Karina Yan Glaser - Teachers Who Read

Have questions for Connie? You can contact her at Remember, though, moms are busy! Response time may be delayed, but she will try to reply as soon as she can!

Helpful Habits for Writing Well #2: Copying the Best Pieces from Great Authors

In my last post, I listed four helpful tools I have found that cover a lot of ground in teaching kids to write. Since our family is larger than the average size, these have been very helpful to me in minimizing the number of lessons while still developing the many sub-categories of writing: spelling, vocabulary, punctuation, handwriting, writing style, etc.

  1. Reading- Reading quality literature of many genres.
  2. Copywork- Copying the best pieces from great authors.
  3. Narration- Reading or hearing a short story, verse, concept, or idea and expressing it back to someone in your own (first oral, then written) words.
  4. Notebooking– Journaling as a regular habit for life.

Habit#2 Copywork

How do we learn to do anything? We observe someone who is doing it!

In her book Think Outside the Classroom: A Practical Approach to Relaxed Homeschooling, Kelly Crawford writes,

“The grand goal is communication. Learning to communicate well will cover a multitude of deficiencies. How to achieve this? Copy others who do it well. It is the best way to learn almost anything!”

What should a child copy?

Copy passages of Scripture, Aesop’s Fables, poems, short stories or fairy tales, notable sections from each chapter of the fiction book they are reading.

Years ago, I found lists of copywork that I downloaded to our computer. I print them out as needed and put them in folders for our kids to copy daily. These lists are based on the book lists which I highly recommend! I usually choose copywork that coincides with the book that child is currently reading.

How much should a child copy?

A good rule of thumb is to copy one sentence for first grade, two sentences for second, three sentences for third, etc. or according to the child’s needs and abilities as you observe them.

How often should a child practice copywork?

Daily! When you copy the works of great writers as a daily habit for many years, you acquire a sense for how words flow together. You learn to discern the best ways of expressing thought.

What skills are covered in copywork?

I use copywork to teach spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and more. It takes a relatively short period of time for them to complete and teaches them so much at the same time. When I correct our kids’ copywork, this is the time I use to review the following skills.

Handwriting. I think it is important to expect children to produce their neatest work. Keep in mind, however, that “neatest” will vary from child to child. Usually, a parent can easily tell if their child has rushed to get it done or carefully copied the piece. A good practice is to have the child read it back to you. If they can’t read their own work, it helps them to see on their own that others will have difficulty reading it as well.

Spelling. In looking at their work together, we find any misspelled words and circle them. They practice spelling them correctly a few times. This is also a good time to explain spelling patterns or rules that will be helpful to them. I have always thought that the best way to learn spelling (rather than long lists of isolated words) is to learn them in the context of them being used- not only in the context of a random written sentence, but in a written piece. It has been my observation that if copywork is a daily habit practiced for several years, kids learn to spell well.

Punctuation. As I correct their work, we also discuss punctuation. All sentences start with a capital letter, but what different punctuation can come at the end? And how do you know which one to use? How do you punctuate a direct quote? A quote within a quote? When should you use a comma? (Side note: Starting in 4th grade, I also use a Language curriculum to supplement punctuation and grammar skills.)

Vocabulary. What words in this passage are unfamiliar to you? Looking at the context, can you figure out the meaning? How would you use this word if you wanted to put it in a sentence?

Writing Styles. Look at the different ways the author begins each sentence. How does the writer describe different scenes? What descriptive/persuasive/action words are used?

Personal note: Realistically, I don’t go through all of these skills in any certain way, just as needed or as the opportunity presents itself. The simple act of copying quality writing regularly, when practiced over several years, teaches these concepts by itself.

Extensions of copywork.

Cursive. If it is important to you that your kids learn to write cursive, you can require copywork to be done in cursive once they have mastered the initial skills. I like our kids to be able to read and write in cursive so that they can read historical letters and documents.

Typing. As soon as a child learns to type (we use free tools online), they can practice typing a portion of their copywork after they have written it by hand.

Dictation. To really see how well kids can spell, read aloud a selection from something they have memorized or written as a previous copywork and have them transcribe it. This will quickly show their skill level and areas that need improvement.

The thing I love most about copywork is that once the kids learn to write their letters, it is something they can do independently every day. It takes a relatively short amount of time AND they glean so much from practicing it. These are just a few ideas that I have used over the years. I’d love to hear your input and ideas.

Next up, Healthy Habits for Writing Well #3: Narration.

Helpful Habits for Writing Well #1: Creating a Literate Environment

When you think about all the facets involved in teaching a child to write well, it can be overwhelming!! The subjects handwriting, punctuation, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary are just the start. They need to learn the challenging skill of expressing their thoughts clearly in written form. Add to the list the writing process, writing styles… writing a research paper, writing to persuade, writing personal letters… it can feel like a lot!

How can we teach our kids to communicate effectively? There are many excellent writing curriculums out there, but I have also found that there are simple writing habits that can be used regularly to cover a lot of ground. Kind of like a multi-vitamin or an all-in-one. In observing the positive results I have seen from these practices I have become so convinced of their effectiveness that they HAVE BECOME our main writing curriculum!

In short they are these:

  1. Literacy- Reading quality literature of many genres, memorizing, and engaging in conversations.
  2. Copywork- Copying the best pieces from great authors.
  3. Narration- Reading or hearing a short story, verse, concept, or idea and expressing it back to someone in your own (first oral, then written) words.
  4. Notebooking– Journaling as a regular habit for life.
The books we have been reading lately.

HABIT #1- Creating a literate environment.

How can you express something that you don’t possess? Children should have a vast mental “library” of written ideas before they will be able to clearly express their thoughts in written word. I wrote more on this concept in the post Teaching a Child To Read.

Every child should be read to-A LOT! This can happen in small, scattered moments throughout the day, but it should be lathered frequently with pleasure.

We should be reading aloud to our children- A Lot! In addition, as soon as they begin reading on their own, we should maintain for them a quiet space and quality literature on which they can feast their imaginations. This is providing for them a bank, if you will, from which to draw as they attempt to formulate their own ideas about the world around them.

Here are some ideas to help cultivate a literate environment for your children.

  • Read a variety of fiction to them including fantasy, historical fiction, folk tales, mystery, etc.
  • Read non-fiction to them. What subjects interest them? What do they ask about or spend a lot of time doing? Get books on these topics and look through them together.
  • Read biographies. Stories of great men and women of history inspire them to do hard tasks, overcome challenges, and be different.
  • Read poetry. I like to read poetry by poet. When I find a poet I like or that I think the kids will like, I read some of their best poems over and over. Poetry should be read more than once to fully appreciate the meanings behind each word.
  • Memorize together. Memorize Scripture. Memorize famous poems of history, historical documents like The Declaration of Independence or snippets from famous historical speeches. Memorize the planets, books of the Bible, Presidents of the US, states and capitols, planets, continents, oceans, and more!
  • Engage in conversations that make them think. Ask them questions. When they ask the questions, on the other hand, use their curiosity as an opportunity to start conversations that help them express their thoughts and feelings clearly.

A child can only express what they possess. Give them a broad foundation of knowledge and experiences with oral and written language. This will be a great starting place for communicating their thoughts in oral and written form.

Are you looking for help in teaching writing? If you have found a writing curriculum that you LOVE, then continue with what works for you and your kids! On the other hand, if the multi-faceted work of teaching spelling, handwriting, grammar, punctuation, writing form, etc. is adding too much to your plate, know that there are simpler and equally effective tools that can be used to help your children communicate well.

Up next, Helpful Habits for Writing Well # 2: Copying the Best Pieces from Great Authors.

Tea parties and calculators
Sewing Christmas gifts.

Personal Wellness and Homeschooling

Homeschooling can be all-consuming. It’s easy to become obsessive about planning, looking into new, exciting curriculums and enjoying this new-found freedom.

When I started homeschooling, my girlfriends and I would bounce ideas off each other, talk about our schedules, what was working/not working, the beauty of learning at home, giving our kids a wild and free childhood, and spending long hours with them outside.

In the beginning, I was so excited (and intimidated at the same time!) about our new lifestyle…homeschooling WAS my hobby.

This initial excitement is important and maybe necessary at the start. It helps plunge you into a whole new way of thinking and living. Over time, however, and as you progress, the excitement sometimes wanes and the demands of homeschooling can become overwhelming, exhausting, engulfing.

Do you feel yourself slipping into the dark hole of fatigue and monotony? The questions I’ve listed below are questions to ask to help keep yourself inspired, positive, and purposeful.

What’s your Source? Don’t neglect time alone with God. E.M. Bounds said, “To be much alone with God is the secret of knowing Him and of influence with Him.” You can only pour out when you are full. What is the first thing you do when you get a free moment? That is a moment you can run to the Source!

How often do you spend time doing things you enjoy? What hobbies do you have? Make the effort to stop everything a spend time doing something you love EVERY day. After all, what are we teaching our kids if we aren’t modeling our own personal growth?

Are you getting enough sleep? If you are in the temporary season of having an infant or if you are pregnant, make sleep a priority.

Are you taking care of your body? Exercise! Exercise not only for your body, but also for your mind! This recent article Need to Spark Creativity? Go On a Walk inspired me to try to go for a walk every day.

Is your marriage a priority? Don’t neglect your spouse. Make time for each other without the kids. As good as we all believe homeschooling is for our kids, a healthy marriage is much more important.

With what are you filling your mind? Beware of the trap of mindless entertainment. Scrolling endlessly on social media is draining, not fueling. Instead, read a good book. Work on a project. Journal. Watch a good flick with your husband.

Is homeschooling consuming your family life? Keep “academic” school hours during school hours. When you are finished for the day, BE DONE. Move on to living life with your family.

Do you spend time with encouraging friends? Go out with your girlfriends. Sometimes it’s just easier to stay at home, but spending time with good friends is life-giving. Encouraging friendships keep you going on the hard days!

Do you and the kids need a break? Take a day (or more!) off. There’s something to be said for just giving everybody the day off. Walk away for a little. Maybe everybody needs a reset.

What are some things that you do to stay positive and purposeful?

10 MORE Reasons Why Homeschooling Can Be SO GOOD For Kids

In a recent article in HSLDA magazine, the author listed two crucial attitudes new homeschoolers need to have in order to “make it”.

They need to believe 

  1. “We really can pull this off!” and

2. “Homeschooling is good for our children.”

If you’d like to read more about these topics, check out my posts To the New Homeschool Moms Wondering, “Can I really pull this off?” and 10 Reasons Why Homeschooling Can Be SO GOOD For Kids

Here are 10 MORE reasons why homeschooling can be SO GOOD for kids!.

Time to Read. I don’t think it can be overstated that 1.) reading aloud to kids and 2.) giving them lots of time to read- catapults kids towards a voracious appetite for learning. Do you want your kids to love learning? Read to them. Do you want them to grow into a lifestyle of learning on their own? Let. them. read. Give them access to a plethora of quality books, whether through a home library or trips to the local library, and then provide plenty of time for them to read. The flexibility in homeschooling makes it possible to spend large quantities of time reading.

Healthy balance of time with friends and time at home. Rather than being locked in to a certain group of kids for certain time periods daily, homeschoolers own their schedules. Parents can influence their kids’ social lives as they observe their child’s needs. If a parent senses that their child needs more time with friends, he or she can plan more play dates or sign up for more co-ops, classes, or events. On the other hand, if its a busy life season- maybe a move or unexpected health crisis or even the holidays, the parent can block out the schedule and have more quiet days at home.

More opportunities to help people and be involved in the community. Do you know what it means to an elderly neighbor to have trustworthy kids nearby who offer to get your mail or help during the day if needed? Can you imagine what it does for them just to SEE kids during the day- outside playing or walking or working?! Seeing kids out in the middle of the day is a beautiful thing!! Because their schedule is more flexible, homeschoolers also have more chances to volunteer in community activities. These kinds of opportunities teach them sympathy and give them the satisfaction of contributing to a noble cause.

Kids can pursue friendships by choice. We all know there are just some people you click with better than others. Homeschooled kids can be choosy about the friendships in which they’d like to invest the most time. They are not lumped into one group or even one age level. *As a side note, parents have more freedom to discourage friendships that are unhealthy and encourage bonds that are mutually strengthening.

No bullying– No explanation needed!

Current Events. Because our kids are home, we can capitalize on current events locally and around the world. Most recently, the election has been prime opportunity to discuss the voting process and the electoral college. How many electoral votes are needed to win? Can there be a tie in the electoral college? What would happen in that event? We usually do current events in the morning with our breakfast. Resources like World Magazine, World Watch, The Worldview in 5 Minutes, and Voice of the Martyr’s Magazine have all helped to keep us abreast of what is happening around the world.

Free Time. What happens when your school day is shortened by several hours (as it is when you are homeschooled) and you have extra free time? You learn skills. Let me repeat that. You acquire and hone skills according to your interests. You paint. You play imaginative games with siblings. You explore outside. You experiment in the kitchen. You get craft ideas from Pinterest. You look up YouTube videos on how to do magic tricks or how to play a certain song on the piano. You practice your soccer skills. You try knitting.

Meaningful Conversations. Think about it. When do you have the most meaningful conversations with your kids? They are usually not scheduled. They happen late at night or in moments when you least expect it. When parents spend large quantities of time with kids, the chances for meaningful conversations to happen increase.

Length of lessons catered to developmental age and individual needs of the child. Many times lessons have been too easy or too difficult for our kids and I have the freedom to adjust as needed. If a lesson is too easy, I can assign more or give an extension activity. If, on the other hand, a child has spent a good deal of time on math, has only finished two problems, and is becoming frustrated, I have the freedom to sit down, work with him on one or two more problems and call it a day. There are times for plugging away at things, but an exasperated child will not make much progress. It’s better to walk away and try again tomorrow.

Investment in relationships that are life-long. By far, I believe one of the best benefits of homeschooling is the childhood spent investing in relationships that you will have for the rest. of. your. life. Your family. It is not easy to develop close relationships with siblings when you spend the majority of your waking hours separated, with people you will only know in grade school. It’s important to have friends. Being involved in a co-op and having your kids regularly see others in their inner circle helps them develop important social skills. BUT spending a lot of time with family is a long term investment that pays!

I’d love to hear why you think homeschooling can be SO GOOD for kids!

Meet Beth

Beth and her husband live in New Jersey. They have four kids and have been homeschooling for seven years. Beth is in the thick of homeschooling. She has two elementary-aged children. She just added a Kindergartner this year. In addition, she has an active toddler to entertain! She gives honest, but encouraging advice to moms who are starting out homeschooling for the first time. If you are juggling homeschooling and preschoolers, you will relate to this conversation with Beth!

Hi! My name is Beth Kline. I have 4 kids, two girls ages 10 & 8 and two boys ages 5 & 2. My husband is a sales manager for an energy software company. We moved to New Jersey from Pennsylvania 9 years ago and absolutely love it! We are pretty close to the ocean and spend a lot of time at the beach. We have been homeschooling since my oldest was 4 so this is our 7th year. I was introduced to Classical Conversations when I first started thinking about homeschooling and have been involved in our local C.C. community for the last 7 years. 

What attracted you to homeschooling?

Before I had kids, I never would have thought that homeschooling would be something I would be doing. When my daughter was 3 or so, my mom, who was a kindergarten teacher, really helped me realize I didn’t need to send her to preschool, that I could teach her everything she needed to be ready for kindergarten. This in itself felt like a huge step because everyone I knew who had younger kids was sending them to preschool. At the same time, I met a family with 5 kids who homeschooled and they were a really great, well-adjusted family. Most of their kids had already graduated and were in successful jobs. I could see that homeschooling could be done well.  Also, I should mention that my husband and his brothers were homeschooled. Although I don’t really think that effected my decision. He pretty much stayed out of the decision-making process because he knew that it would be my responsibility and he was willing to support me one way or another. He knew how hard it was and didn’t want to put that on me if it wasn’t something I wanted to take on. Now that we are about 7 years into it, we are both so grateful that this is our reality. I feel unbelievably blessed to be able to stay home and be with my kids and learn with them. 

Can you give advice for new homeschool moms?

My advice for new homeschoolers is to keep it simple. Start with math and a language arts program and find great books to read together. As you get a rhythm and understand what your kids need, you can add new things. Simple is better.  Getting outside every day is important for everyone’s sanity. Find a good book list and get to the library. Connecting with a community of like-minded people is vital. It is really important to have people you can connect with and run ideas by and ask advice from who are going through similar things. Be easy on yourself. Homeschooling can have some really rewarding days but there can be tough days too. Giving yourself grace and relying on the Lord for strength is so important. 

My favorite Resources:

I love listening to podcasts in the car or when I’m folding laundry. 

  1. The Homeschool Sisters has been a favorite lately. 
  2. At Home with Sally
  3. Read-Aloud Revival
  4. The Boy Mom podcast with Monica Swanson 
  5. Your Morning Basket by Pam Barnhill
  6. Wild & Free 

I also discovered Nicole the Math Lady around the start of the pandemic last year. Her website has been incredible for my 5th grader to be able to understand math without my help. is my absolute favorite place to buy used books. Anytime I see a book I want to purchase I check there first and they usually have it. I save so much money shopping on this site. 

Two books that I love and pick up often are Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie and Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson. I so appreciate both of these. 

I really appreciate Beautiful Feet Books for history. We are using their early American history curriculum this year. I absolutely love reading real books for history and using stories to capture our imaginations as it relates to the past. This year they updated their reading list to give more insight and different perspectives of historical characters. It has really led to some good discussions with the kids about empathy and compassion for people who traditionally have been left out of history books. 

What’s your biggest challenge?

Right now I have two challenges. The first is trying to school with our 2 year-old. No place is safe and he is so busy! We all breathe a little bit during his nap time and try to get as much done as possible but it’s tough and I don’t really have a great solution. My husband works from home and is on the phone a lot so we have to be extra quiet. And my other challenge is giving a solid amount of time to each kid. The oldest, in 5th grade is thankfully very independent. She works on most of her work by herself and I check it all when she is done. The younger 2 need a lot of help still so it has been challenging to bounce back and forth between them. 

My son just started kindergarten this year and man, boys are SO different than girls! I am learning that he really needs exercise and creative free time. My daughters (especially my oldest) would just sit for hours and we could read and do work without needing too much of a break. He is in constant motion. So I am learning to let him have many breaks. If I think of it, I have him do some laps out in our cul-da-sac before he starts work. I also let him build with blocks or Legos while I am reading so he is still moving but he can hopefully focus a little better. Another tip which I really think helps is I discovered an essential oil called that I diffuse while we are doing work that seems to make everyone a little calmer and more focused. 

What keeps you going?

Coffee! I always have a cup of coffee in my hand. But seriously, even when it’s really challenging, I’d rather have my kids with me than not. I want my husband and me to be the biggest influence in their lives. I want them to learn how to be independent, life-long learners. I love the freedom it allows our family to travel when we want to.  Remembering the overall purpose is really important. 

Some of the chapter books we have read together The Wheel on the School (9780064400213): DeJong, Meindert,  Sendak, Maurice: Books
Old Yeller (text only) Newbery Honor Book edition by F. Gipson: F. Gipson: Books
Where The Red Fern Grows - By Wilson Rawls (Paperback) : Target
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia): Lewis, C.  S., Baynes, Pauline: 9780064404990: Books
The Little House (5 Volume Set) : Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams:  8580001065465: Books
Pollyanna (Sterling Unabridged Classics): Porter, Eleanor H., McKowen,  Scott, Pober Ed.D, Arthur: 9781402797187: Books
Understood Betsy: Canfield Fisher, Dorothy, Root, Kimberly Bulcken:  9780805060737: Books The Trumpet of the Swan (9780060263973): E. B. White, Edward  Frascino: Books
Personalized Literary Classics - The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood |  Signals | HR3222
The Book Trail Heidi - The Book Trail
Caddie Woodlawn (Caddie Woodlawn, #1) by Carol Ryrie Brink

Because of Winn-Dixie: DiCamillo, Kate: 9780763680862: Books

Some picture books we read often:

The Raft: LaMarche, Jim, LaMarche, Jim: 0046594008503: Books
Roxaboxen: McLerran, Alice, Cooney, Barbara: 9780060526337:  Books
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel | Virginia Lee Burton | First Edition The Piggy in the Puddle (Reading Rainbow Books)  (9780689712937): Pomerantz, Charlotte, Marshall, James: Books
Curious George The Monkey Collection 7 Book Set Pack Series (Dinosaur,  Fire-fighters, Visits the Library, Birthday Surprise, Visits a Toy Shop,  Catches a Train, Goes to a Chocolate Factory) (Curious George): Margret
The Berenstain Bears Books by Janice and Stanley Berenstain: A Childre –  TheBookBundler

Some books for our early American history curriculum this year include:

Leif the Lucky: Ingri d'Aulaire, Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar  d'Aulaire: 9780964380301: Books
Christopher de Lotbinière's Rare Books - Parin d'Aulaire's Columbus, 1st  Printing | One Kings Lane
Pocahontas: Ingri d'Aulaire, Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar Parin  d'Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire: 9781893103283: Books

George Washington: Ingri d'Aulaire, Edgar Parin d'Aulaire: 9780964380318: Books
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Phoebe the Spy by Judith Berry Griffin
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (Caldecott Honor  Book): Weatherford, Carole Boston, Nelson, Kadir: 9780786851751: Books

Have questions for Beth? You can contact her at Remember, though, moms are busy! Response time may be delayed, but she will try to reply as soon as she can!

10 Reasons Why Homeschooling Can Be SO GOOD For Kids

What does it take to make it in homeschooling? What’s necessary to make it work for the long haul? Homeschooling is an endeavor that is not for the faint of heart! In my opinion, to make it for any period of time longer than a year, you have to be confident and you have to firmly believe that what you are doing is a great option for your kids. I recently read an article from the Homeschool Legal Defense Association which validates these two premises. In this article, the author listed two crucial attitudes that are necessary in order for new homeschoolers to make it. 

They need to believe 

  1. “We really can pull this off!” and

2. “Homeschooling is good for our children.”

If you’d like to know more about the first necessary attitude, take a look at my last post “To the New Homeschool Moms Wondering, ‘Can I really Pull this Off?‘”

Also, many of these are described in further detail in Why We Homeschool and Why We Homeschool Part 2.

In this post, I’d like to share some of the reasons I believe homeschooling can be SO GOOD for kids.

Shorter School Day The chart below represents what I think is a useful measuring tool based on the needs of kids according to age. I’ve never timed exactly how long our kids do school, but I think this is roughly how it plays out for us. You can easily tell if you are doing too much. The child will be frustrated, constantly distracted, and discouraged. On the other hand, if your child has finished work and is walking around with nothing to do, bothering siblings, getting into trouble, he or she may need more work. Aside from this chart, how do you know if they are really doing enough? When kids have finished their work, they will naturally move on to their interests. For young kids, this is usually play. For older kids, it might be hobbies, exercise, or time with friends.

Leading Them TO THE ROCK : How Long is Your Homeschool Day?

Interpersonal Skills Homeschoolers learn many interpersonal skills every day from people who have much more life experience than they have (their parents) -not their peers. Here are a few of them. Basic etiquette. Accepting compliments and constructive criticism. Listening well. Communicating effectively. Responding to emotions. Respecting others. Expressing an appropriate sense of humor. Self-discipline. Focusing on a task. These type of skills are often caught rather than taught.

Life skills In a home environment, the opportunity for life skills are everywhere. Even for homeschool parents who are not intentional about teaching life skills, homeschooled kids are just there when all these things are happening: cooking, car maintenance, running laundry, daily meal clean-up, paying bills, making phone calls, making a bed, home repairs, using kitchen appliances, managing time, and so much more.

Frequent Breaks Don’t underestimate the weight of this one. Do you fully realize how really GOOD this is for kids?! Even adults cannot sit and focus on something for long periods of time. To be able to complete a challenging lesson and then run around in the sunshine or shoot a bow and arrow or kick the soccer ball, it’s what kids need! After short, frequent breaks, they are able to come back, concentrate and may be even more curious about what is in front of them.

Close Connection to Nature What varieties of trees and flowers are in your yard, your neighborhood? Before our recent move to a new property, we lived in a small suburban neighborhood for 12 years. We went for a walk almost every day. We learned all the diverse kinds of trees and flowers in our neighborhood simply by seeing them every day, through every season, for many years. Every spring, we watched a Mulberry tree on the corner of Sunset Road for signs of ripe mulberries to collect. In autumn, we always looked for the bright yellow leaves of the Ginko tree down the street on Hunter Drive. Several families of cardinals in the hemlocks across the street entertained us in the quiet winter months. When we saw the streets littered with natural debris in spring, we knew the oaks were all flowering. We would never have noticed any of these beautiful displays right in our own backyard except that we observed them every day for several years.

Heroes Who are your kids’ heroes? Because of the flexibility in choosing educational resources, parents can challenge their kids to dream by reading to them or assigning them books to read about great people. Here are some of the heroes that have inspired our kids: David Livingstone, Ben Carson, Leonardo da Vinci, Anne Sullivan, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Cranmer, Frederick Douglass, William Tyndale, Isaac Newton, Abigail Adams, George Mueller… just to name a few! Give them heroes that inspire them!

Habits We all know the value of being able to maintain good habits. The older our kids get and the longer these habits have taken to form in myself and in them reminds me just how crucial it is for us to continue practicing them. Making a bed, personal hygiene, keeping a clean work space, morning devotions, completing a chore thoroughly, writing letters, journaling. To which habits do you aspire for your kids? Habits give a great advantage in life!

Less of the wrong kids of peer pressure. Are homeschoolers sheltered? By its very nature, homeschooling is somewhat sheltering. Maybe you have known a family that over shelters their kids in a way that is unhealthy and does little to prepare their kids to function in the real world. Here’s a question. Can there also be a kind of sheltering that is healthy? A kind of protection that encourages them to function appropriately in all surroundings while cushioning them from the barrage of negativity so common in the school system? I’d believe there is. Because they face negative peer pressure less frequently or at a later age than the norm for kids in school, many of them display a positive self-assurance that stands out from the crowd. I’ve noticed from many homeschoolers that they are unaware in group situations that they are supposed to be “too cool” to answer questions or speak up. They are confident with who they are because they are used to being in an environment, whether at home or in the community, where everyone is treated with respect.

Child comparing progress against themselves, not other kids in their grade. When kids are measured by their own progress instead of “what all the other fourth graders should be doing”, they challenge themselves. They gain confidence instead of losing it.

Transfer of Family Values Each family has their own flavor. Individual parents have certain values that they want to pass down to their kids. In our family, we have taught our kids to do things that we enjoy and value. Here are some things my husband and I love and hope to pass down to our kids. We both love playing music and singing. We love gardening, caring for animals on our farmette, growing and preserving our own food. My husband and I are also very different, in personality and hobbies. He enjoys making things with wood, using tools for any kind of mechanical work, and investing in his growing eBay business. I enjoy reading, knitting, and writing. What unique gifts and interests do you hope to pass on to your kids?

This list is by no means exhausted! But I hope it is enough to whet your appetite. Why do you think homeschooling can be SO GOOD for kids?

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