From Uncertainty To Success

Recurring Doubts and Reassurances

In our 17 years of home schooling, we ran the gamut of feelings about the topic. So many times I just held my breath mentally and simply waited to see the results of the hard work my husband and I were putting into home school. I asked these questions for so long (and I sometimes still ask myself). After all, circumstances do change and questions are good, right? Have you asked yourself these same questions?

  • Is teaching my children at home really the right thing to do?
  • Are we certain this is the best for our children?
  • Would they gain more by attending the usual type of school?

And we consistently answered ourselves with:

  • Yes.
  • Yes.
  • Not more, simply different gains, and we saw considerable losses possible if we chose to enroll our children in public school.

“Let the naysayers say what they will. Smile and nod if need be. But keep believing in the path you know is right!”

Oh, and the naysayers! Those “helpful” and “concerned” folks who are quite happy giving you advice about how you should raise your children.

  • Why can’t they do their times tables yet?
  • Why aren’t they reading on their own yet?
  • Shouldn’t they be able to do _____ by now?

Those kind of comments are not helpful, not encouraging. They are certainly not wanted. If there are other mom’s out there like me, they’ll understand when I say I’ve already pestered myself a million times or more with those same questions and at least another hundred those “concerned citizens” didn’t even think of. These are my children after all and I do want them to be able to reach those lofty dreams of theirs. Those kinds of comments make a person like me doubt myself even more! And on top of it all, those comments make me feel like no one believes in me except for myself. Let the naysayers say what they will. Smile and nod if need be. But keep believing in the path you know is right for you and your children!

I can’t speak for others, but I can certainly tell you I still struggle against baseless worries about whether I’ve done a good job as a mom and a teacher for my children. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your son who struggled to read as a young learner graduate from his technical college as one of only three honor roll students in his class. There’s no sense of relief quite like that which comes from knowing he now has a great job with an awesome company and can provide for his new wife and their future children. And there’s nothing like the sense of accomplishment you feel when you see the glow of pride on his face when he gets that degree.

Way to go, Noah! You worked hard. You stuck with it. And you got it done right.

Yes, I’m proud of our son who was that struggling reader, that reluctant learner. He’d rather run around barefoot, tramping through the grass or mud. He’d rather hang out with his Granddaddy, drive the tractor and help out in the pasture and garden. He’d rather play World of Tanks or World of Warcraft.

“But in all those “rathers”, there was learning going on.”

But in all those “rathers”, there was learning going on. The games helped with his reading comprehension and typing skills. You can’t play an MMO without being able to chat clearly and quickly with your team, crew or questing party. World of Tanks also helped with World War 1 & 2 history. Tending a garden is biology in study and practice. Fixing and driving a tractor is mechanical study. He always did the seatwork reluctantly but he did it.

Our Glorious Result

What does he have to show for it? A cap and gown, a degree, and a silver cord! What do we gain from all this? The satisfaction of a job well done! So you parents out there who are teaching your reluctant learners at home, keep at it! Don’t give up! You know your child best, after all. Work with their strengths and learn about new ways to overcome their weaknesses. Experiment with methods to incorporate learning from other areas of life. Boxes are for internet shops! Let your child be who they want to be and watch them soar to meet their dreams.

Philippians 3:14 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

14 I keep pursuing the goal in order to win the prize offered by God’s upward calling in the Messiah Yeshua.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.


Graduation 2016 Header – created by Melody Kittles


Encouraging Words

I don’t know about any other mom during this time of the year but I find myself struggling to stay positive and energized. With so many holiday activities and responsibilities abounding, it can be difficult to even put one foot in front of the other! I thought today’s post should be about encouragement. I hope some of these quotes and scriptures will brighten your day.

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.

~John Wesley

Proverbs 3:27 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

27 Don’t withhold good from someone entitled to it
when you have in hand the power to do it.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Do something good today. Make a positive difference, even if it’s a small one. For the me of today, it was being more aware. I offered my help with some chores even though I was working on other things. I’m usually so oblivious to what goes on around me when I’m writing, reading or crafting that I miss some pretty obvious ways I could do something good. Even in the classroom, I sometimes get so caught up in one aspect of the lesson that I lose focus for a few minutes. “Rabbit trails” are fun, but they sometimes take too much away from the actual lesson. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen as often as when I’m working on hobbies.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Philippians 4:8 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

In conclusion, brothers, focus your thoughts on what is true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable or admirable, on some virtue or on something praiseworthy.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Have you decided how to spend the remainder of your life? What positive changes could you make today that would improve your life and enrich the world around you? I choose to participate in things like recycling crafts, art and NaNoWriMo. These are things we can do as a family or singly and things we can also incorporate into the schoolroom. Using crafting and writing, I can make my world a better place by recycling and by spreading good words and, I hope, good ideas.

“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them.
But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.”
Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain

Deuteronomy 1:30 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

30 Adonai your God, who is going ahead of you, will fight on your behalf, just as he accomplished all those things for you in Egypt before your eyes,

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Our family is currently going through one of the darkest times of our lives right now, at least financially. I know it will pass. I know there’s a reason for it. It’s the waiting that’s difficult. Our school lessons are one of the brighter aspects of my days. I truly enjoy that time shared in learning things. When tough financial times occur in a home school family, it’s a great opportunity to teach young ones how to be thrifty and responsible with their earnings. Responsibility is a skill often lacking in today’s society.

“How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Proverbs 16:24 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
    sweet to the taste and healing for the body.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

This one’s a toughie. I don’t know if it’s more prevalent in our area of the south, or if it afflicts small towns or large towns as badly as us, but speaking ill of others is like a plague! It is rare to go through an entire day without hearing negative things spoken about someone. I’m as guilty as the next person. I recognize it and I’m doing what I can to improve my language, especially in the classroom and in our home life. I do not want to pass down a legacy of negativity to our children.

So with that, I’ll stop for today. There are a lot of things in these quotes and scriptures I feel I need to ponder on. I am a teacher of more than reading, writing and arithmetic. I am a teacher of life to my children. It’s an important job and some days, I just don’t take it seriously enough. These scriptures and quotes have encouraged me to keep trying and not give up. I hope others are encouraged by them, as well. Thanks for reading!


Rainbow – photo by Melody Kittles


Study Tip #1

I remember when I was in school how hard it was to convince my mom I found it easier to study with music on. She remained unconvinced. Now, our oldest daughter is experiencing the same thing. I still find that music with a steady rhythm helps me focus and get into a rhythm of my own. So today, I’d like to share some of the instrumental music I enjoy and some of the bands John and our daughters enjoy listening to while they works.

TheShi Recommends

The Proof of Your Love – by For King & Country

Ceasefire – by For King & Country

Car Radio – by Twenty One Pilots (I apologize if I typed their band name incorrectly.)

TheRo Recommends

Clint Eastwood – by Gorillaz

Speak Life – by Toby Mac

Can’t Hold Us – by Macklemore

While the girls and John prefer listening to individual songs, I prefer listening to hour-long music mixes or albums that are mostly instrumental, or done in foreign languages I’m totally unfamiliar with. I find that if I know the lyrics, it’s highly likely my brain will latch on to the lyrics and distract me.

Melody Recommends

Blissful Solitude – put out by one of my favorite YouTube channels, Fluidified.

Aurora 2 chillstep mix – put out by another of my favorite YouTube channels, Pulse8.

Seven Seas album – by Emancipator – one of my favorite ambient music artists whose work is available to purchase!

John Recommends

Animals album – by Pink Floyd

Meddle album – by Pink Floyd

Stereotype Be album – by Kevin Max

Family Favorite

Oskar Schuster – We absolutely recommend this composer. His work is thought-provoking and beautifully rhythmic.

I apologize for the not-so-regular postings. Now that NaNoWriMo is done, I will be able to post on Thursdays as I was doing before. Thanks for sticking with me and reading about our schooling journey.

Psalm 81:3 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

(2) Start the music! Beat the drum!
Play the sweet lyre and the lute!

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.


TheRo learning some basic guitar chords last year. – photo by Melody Kittles