Homeschool To Do List, Part 2

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After posting My Homeschool To Do List last week, blog reader Betsy responded with:

“I wish I could read/learn more about how your typical day-to-day lives went when you were homeschooling…what this approach ‘looked like’ on a day-by-day basis!”

It sounds fun to share some of our homeschool memories with you from time to time, so here goes! But, first, let me offer a disclaimer. Please remember that as I share these stories I am not offering my family as an ideal homeschooling family. We are sinners in need of God’s grace. We had triumphal homeschooling days and ones with short tempers and selfishness. One of the keys to a triumphal life is getting up the next day and trying again. That we all do by the grace of God.

I believe that education divided into single subjects often doesn’t fit the way life really is. Connections are an integral part of life. When we began to live according to our new homeschool to-do list, we usually combined several items on that list into one activity.

Our homeschool adventures happened far and near. We had days when we stayed at home and read books and studied a little grammar and watched documentaries and learned about God’s creation and did creative writing projects and used our math books and all that because after all we were homeschooling. However, by keeping our eyes open to opportunities around us, we were able to homeschool away from home, too.

In 1996 the teachers at our church were invited to do classes at a Bible class teacher workshop in Texas. Just a few days later our youth group was to do construction projects just south of the border in Mexico. It was decided that we teachers would take the materials we were sharing in Texas and use them to teach a Vacation Bible School in Mexico. Ray and I decided that our family would participate in both activities.

Bethany and Mary Evelyn helped me to prepare the materials beforehand, both for my workshop classes and for VBS. Our family traveled to Texas with the other teachers and a couple of their children, which gave them good time for fellowship with folks of a wide age range–from child to grandma.

Our children acted in skits we demonstrated at the workshop.

Mexico -- John, Mary Evelyn, Bethany at Workshop
John, Mary Evelyn, and Bethany at the Workshop

They had fellowship time with the others who went.

Mexico -- John with Friend
John and a friend find a piano. John always finds the piano!

After we arrived in Mexico . . .

Mexico -- Ray, Bethany, Mary Evelyn, and John at Hotel
Ray, Bethany, Mary Evelyn, and John in a Hotel

John spent his days with the youth group who worked on building a house, while Ray, Bethany, Mary Evelyn, and I helped with the VBS.

Mexico -- Bethany with Children
Bethany, Girls, and Bubbles
Mexico -- Mary Evelyn with Children
Mary Evelyn with Students and Their Glitter Fish
Mexico Ray and Charlene with Friend
Ray and Charlene with a New Little Friend

The theme for VBS was Creation. Here are some students with their egg carton “boats.”

Mexico -- Boys with Boats

Here the children perform a program “dressed” as things God made.

Mexico -- Creation Program

In Texas we demonstrated how to make a puppet stage from a refrigerator box. A teacher from near the border said they couldn’t get refrigerator boxes because poor people there used them to build houses. In Mexico several members of our family visited in the home of a lady whose house was made of cardboard. One of the things that excited the children who came to VBS the most was getting to have brand new boxes of crayons. We certainly wouldn’t have learned those things at home in Tennessee!

So, in two exciting weeks, our children had opportunities to:

  • Be faithful to Jesus.
  • Care about others and show it in concrete ways.
  • Love the church and build it up.
  • Help others come to know Jesus.
  • Know how to have fun.
  • Learn as a lifestyle.
  • Know about God’s creation.
  • Learn about the cultures of the world.
  • Learn to communicate.

Wow! Nine of our objectives in one two-week trip! So, did all that count for school? Of course! My philosophy is that you can’t cover everything when you homeschool because, after all, the universe is everything! You can’t cover everything, but you can count everything!

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,
to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 24-25




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  1. So much wisdom here! Two of my favorite quotes are “you can’t teach everything, but you can count everything!” and “one of the keys to a triumphal life is getting up the next day and trying again.” These are things that the Lord has taught and reviewed with me so many times. I love how yours and Ray’s first step was to come up with a list of your objectives for homeschooling. That way, you could know what was your goal, and why, and thus not waste time laboring over non-essentials.

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