The Truth about Homeschooling

Can I be honest about something for a minute?

Sometimes homeschooling is the hardest best thing I’ve ever done.  I love, love, love that I get to homeschool my boys.  I am confident in this moment that this is the best fit for our family for this particular season and stage in life.  So, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

But sometimes homeschooling is so hard.  Fellow homeschoolers, am I right or am I right?!

A couple weeks ago, I had these three magical homeschool days…one morning last week I took a picture of us as we sat outside to do our lessons after the boys had made an early morning donut and WalMart run with Val…all of us so happy and flowing together like syrup over a pancake…or the morning when Solomon started sounding our words for the first time and those very basics of reading were just rolling for him (I took a picture of that, too).  

Then days later I found myself in a succession of childhood meltdowns, difficulty with the material we were working, struggling to keep my cool, and me in tears once everyone was down for naps and quiet time.  In fact, I was mentally considering what my quickest “out” from homeschooling would be.  Val sat with me that day as I cried and expressed all my fears and frustrations, helping me regroup and see the overall picture. 

Days later a full cup of coffee drenched my lesson plan book.  Enough said.

There have been days when I’ve wondered why anyone homeschools ever.  And then there are a lot more days when I’ve thought that homeschooling is one of the best things we’ve ever done for our kids and our family.

Because it is easy to see the happy pictures and shiny posts on social media about the magic of homeschooling, I wanted to reach out and share this post.  A balanced glimpse into the reality of homeschool… the highs and the lows…the moments of magic and the days of despair. 

In fact, it was in one of my most desperate moments toward the end of last school year, that I prayed under my breath something along the lines of: “How can I actually keep doing this?!”  And God’s answer came in the next split-second, “By my Spirit.” 

Homeschooling is truly the best fit for our family in this season of life.  It is an incredible privilege and gift.  And yet, homeschooling requires so much.  So much heart.  So much energy.  Sacrifice.  Time.  Investment.  Organization.  And flexibility.  And so, “By my Spirit,” has become my mantra.

This past summer when I needed to plan our next year, I sat on our school table and asked the Spirit what needed to be set up differently in our schoolroom.  And He brought it to mind.  And that arrangement of the schoolroom has made a huge difference.  When it was time to work on the daily school schedule, He showed me how to lay out the day.  And it has flowed so well (most days).  And when I was recognizing how crazy challenging it was going to be to try to homeschool with a two year old in the mix, my husband (also led by the Spirit) offered to help with our two year old on the days he didn’t have to work at the hospital.  So we get our reading/phonics/spelling block done first thing in the morning while Val and Silas do their own thing.  

Because homeschooling is this hodge-podge of amazing and fun and awesome and challenging and hard and difficult moments, because homeschooling takes sacrifice and vision and investment, because there are days I feel like I am tapped out, because homeschooling is a dynamic, evolving experience within our family, I am grateful for the mantra God placed in my heart, “By my Spirit.”  I honestly wouldn’t make it without that as my homeschooling paradigm. 



Solomon.  You are one of the most amazing humans.  You are giving, kind, tender, emotionally intuitive, funny, fun, handsome, and just so awesome to be around! 

You are about to turn five tomorrow…and I honestly don’t know when that happened.  We’ve had all these amazing years and they run together and now all the sudden you’re five. 

You are learning to read.  That feels so grown up to me.  I sit there with you, asking you to sound out words and I realize how old you actually are…you sitting there reading words.  Not only has your learning to read been this milestone to my heart of how much you are actually growing up, it has also been an overall awesome experience!  You just flow with learning.  It is so fun to experience these early school years with you.

You also just flow with life in general.  You have an old soul and amazing sense of humor.  You feel the rhythm in music.  You are so happy spending your time just playing…with Elijah, with Dad, or all alone.  Your room is your own special place in our house.  In fact, it is so special to you, that you keep it very orderly, making your own bed without being asked and picking up toys as you finish playing.

You watch your shows upside down on the couch and are often doing gymnastics-type moves throughout the house.  You love getting to watch a whole movie in one sitting, especially either of the Cars movies or either of the Planes movies. You love bowling.  And playing with your Imaginext figures.  Elijah is your best friend.  And Dad is your next best friend. 

You really only like a few foods: jerky, desert chips, parmesean cheese, bacon, hamburgers, orange juice, crispy pepperonis, fries, strawberries, and donuts.  You also like treats and popcorn.  Your menu is fairly simple and predictable. 

Uncle Vic and Lexie are some of your really special buddies.  They have a way of seeing you and connecting with your tender heart.  I love that they are special people in your life. 

You have a philanthropic heart.  At the beginning of the school year, I asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, and your answer was “someone who gives people stuff.”  That’s who and what you want to be when you grow up!  You are so generous and aware of others that Dad and I make a point to look out for your heart, too, so that you don’t get missed in all the giving and other-mindedness.

I love that I get to know you…and be in the same family as you…I feel like us getting to be mom and son is a particularly special gift…because you are such a special person. 

I love you!

Happy 5th Birthday!!! 


The Gift of an Unraveled Soul

I just completed the second of two weekends at an experiential training that could best be described as an emotional and psychological healing boot camp.  While at the training, I was given the opportunity to basically see my naked soul in a mirror and process all that I saw.  It was intense, raw, unconventional, vulnerable, hard, and incredibly healing.  After just the first weekend, I described to Val that it felt like my soul was unraveling…it felt like a really good and necessary unraveling…all kinds of false paradigms that I’ve lived under throughout my life coming undone...and while good and necessary, it still felt like an unraveling.  And unravelings are never easy. 

I had signed up for this experiential training because I knew someone who had been through it and I had seen her truly change…I had seen her become freer and more confident.  I saw my friend embrace and run with her God-given design in a way that I hadn’t quite seen so fully expressed in her until this point in her life.  I also have this dream of seeing women know their own story and become reconnected to their God-given design, so I signed up for this training just so I could know whether or not I could, in good conscience, recommend it to others as a tool of sorts toward that dream of mine.  I had no idea how God would actually use it to overhaul me. 

The first weekend truly let me see myself in a crystal clear mirror.  My soul.  My emotions.  My patterns.  My false paradigms.  My struggles.  My strengths.  Me.  In a mirror.  The first weekend also gave me some new tools to incorporate into my life as I saw these things about myself.  Over the month in between the two trainings, as I connected with God over these false paradigms, He began to unwind many of them.  Some of these false paradigms I’ve been living under for as long as I can remember, while others had come into play as recent as four years ago.  I began taking them one at a time, praying over the specific one, asking God where it came from, asking Him for His truth over that paradigm, and ultimately asking Him to heal and reset what was false into what is true. 

As I got closer and closer to the second weekend, God begin pulling forward memories that I hadn’t thought of for years.  I knew He wanted me to pay attention, to find themes, to remember where some of my patterns and beliefs began.  So, I did.  I engaged with Him, because this process was way outside my comfort zone and I needed to know that it was Him walking me through every step of the way.  In fact, this training was so outside my comfort zone, so incredibly vulnerable that I considered not going to the second weekend.  But after some encouragement from my friend, and a deep sense inside myself that I needed to see this process through to the end, I went to the second weekend. 

Now on the other side of that second weekend, I feel like I have been given an incredible gift to have been able to go through this training.  God used this training to bring me face to face with some things I desperately needed to let go.  And at the same time, He used it to call me forward and reclaim some of the things I had lost along the way amidst life’s struggles.  In fact, over the course of the last few years due to some deep wounding, I had stopped trusting.  The love and support I felt through this training, combined with the power of the Holy Spirit, dismantled that wall. In the rawness of soul, facing myself as I truly am, as I engaged with God throughout the experience, I found myself reconnected with my design and realigned with who God made me to be. There is nothing like being reacquainted with who you truly are, the false paradigms unraveling, your soul reawakened, your whole self reengaged.

I feel like I am a stronger, more peaceful, more present mom…more self aware, more able to find my calm in the chaos than ever before…and more able to really connect with my kids.  I also feel like I’ve got a new tenderness and love for Val now, too.   Honestly, I feel like I’m a revived woman.  Not just going through the motions of life, carrying all my responsibilities, trying so hard to do a good job, but breathing, loving, present, me. 

After experiencing such a profound impact through this training, I wanted to tell you about it!  This training is for anyone, whatever your background…whether it be traumatic or not.  It’s for men, women, young, not as young…anyone.  However, this training isn’t for everyone at this very moment…it would be something you would have to want to do.  I will tell you this: if you come to a place where you want to see yourself honestly and be realigned with who God designed you to be, this experience is precisely what you want.  The training itself is definitely unconventional, yet it is this very characteristic that makes it so effective.  The best way I could describe the training is that it is like a counseling session on steroids in a group setting done through active learning experiences, direct teaching, open sharing, and personal processing.  I will also tell you that it is possible that there could be parts of the training you may not agree on a philosophical or theological level.  As you face those, discern those for what they are without letting them negate the training all together. If you can do that, this experience could be one of the best tools you ever gain in life.

Also, while the training is led by Christians, the training itself is not a faith-focused training per se.  In fact, the training primarily deals with emotional and psychological healing…and it is up to each participant to take it to the spiritual level if he or she so desires.  For me, because I chose to engage the training on a spiritual level, I experienced a powerful and personal spiritual healing connected to my emotional and psychological experience.  I believe that the deepest healing and lasting change will come when you engage your spirit with the Spirit allowing Jesus to do the work of truly changing you.  However, this is still a phenomenal and powerful experience simply at the emotional and psychological levels!

If after reading all this, you feel a longing in your heart for this kind of shift in your own life, I’d encourage you to check out The Journey Training website (click here).  If you decided to go through this training, you would ideally sign up for “Threshold”  and the “Crossroads” that follows it the very next month so that you go through the experience with mostly the same group of people.  If you have any questions or just want to know more, please contact me (click here).  While I’m not personally affiliated with The Journey Training, I’d be happy to answer whatever I can from my own experience! 

If you ever do sign up to go through this training, please let me know (click here), I’d like to be as much of an emotional support through your process as I am able.  

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Dad and I tell you often that we are so glad you came to our family.  And we really are.  It’s hard to imagine us without you!  We love you so much and find so much delight in just watching you be you. 

You live life so expressively.  When anything good happens (great or small), you will put on this surprise face and gulp air in, “aaahhhhh,” eyes big and filled with excitement.  I love this expression of yours!  You also equally express your disappointment with slumped shoulders and dejected, “aaawwww” when things don’t go the way you had hoped.  It would be impossible to not enjoy you! 

You are busy, active, and very productive!  You go along with me all day as I do chores around the house.  You like to have things to do.  So we do the laundry together and make the beds and do the dishes and then after those things, you also use your toy vacuum to “vacuum” and often enjoy picking up toys. 

You also love to get out of the house.  You love going places.  Especially with Daddy.  Your most favorite place to go is to the pond near our house to feed the geese.  You “go geese” at least once a day! 

You are adventurous in all of life.  Even with food.  You actually enjoy spicy food. Your favorite food is any food on Daddy’s plate.  You share Daddy’s breakfast with him every single morning.  He could make you the exact same thing and put it on a separate plate for you, and you’d still want to eat off his plate!  You just like our food.  We’re sure you’re going to be a foodie…actually you already are a foodie! 

You have a special bond with Daddy.  He is your best friend.  I love watching your connection. I am actually also pretty sure that you believe that the three of us are a unit.  If Dad and I are together, you often find your way right into the middle of where we are quickly becoming a part of whatever interaction we are having. 

You adore your brothers.  You imitate everything they do…the way they play, the words they say…everything.  Elijah and you have a truly special connection.  He can make you laugh so easily.  And he is often so tender with you. This is so special to watch. 

One of my greatest surprises when your brothers started school this year was that you wanted to be included in school.  While dad takes you out most days for the first hour of school, when you come back, we do calendar time and some workbooks…and you actively participate in those.  You’re just now turning two, yet you actively join in with school.  It has been delightful.  You sing our songs and when we do our workbooks, you pull out your coloring books and work right along with us.  You. are. so. cute. 

You’ve been cutting your two-year molars all summer.  So your sleep has been choppy at night.  And while you are adventurous with food in general, your most “eaten” foods have been frozen Gogurts and blue Naked Juice…all summer long.

Your favorite shows are “Elmo” (Sesame Street), “Chase” (Paw Patrol), “Boos Coos” (Blues Clues), and “YackYardins” (Backyardigans).  Sesame street is like magic for you if you ever just need to chill out for just a bit.   You also love “Puppy” (your stuffed puppy that is your comfort object) and “Nee-nee” (binkie).  You are so adorable when you are looking for “puppy-nee-nee, nee-nee-puppy”! 

I cannot imagine our family without you!  You have been such a gift.  You are an incredible little person and I am so glad that I get to know you!

Happy Second Birthday, Buddy!!!