Our Home is not a School

OK, I know what you may be thinking – it’s HOME school, but when I first read that phrase “Our Home is not a School” it was so amazingly freeing! You see, I, like many homeschoolers starting out, was doing just that – trying to make our home a school.

Our Home is not a School - a Freeing Reality

I will never forget our first year of homeschool. I bought supplies, boxed curriculum, art supplies, wall charts and even desks. I really did everything I could to make our dining room resemble a classroom. I even had our daily schedule up on the wall because, you know, if you have a schedule everything goes as planned, right? Yeah, not at all!

So here we were in our first year of homeschool and I have the kids dress nicely so we can take our “first day of school pictures.” I wrote their grades on the card stock and had them pose by the front door. The irony would be that not even one week later, I already decided to bump our daughter up into 1st Grade with her brother! So much for a solid plan!

First Day of Homeschool Pictures

About 1-2 months into our first homeschool year I started feeling absolutely overwhelmed. We weren’t keeping the schedule I set forth, the boxed curriculum wasn’t meshing well with our kids’ special needs, and even trying to keep up with putting charts and things on the wall was just so overwhelming. That’s when it hit me – our home is not a school.

In trying to make the “perfect homeschool” I modeled it after what I knew about school – public school. School with strict schedules, wall charts, assigned desks, even a teacher standing up front and teaching. When I look back now I can laugh, but at the time I was distressed that it wasn’t working out for us!

Why do we try to make our homeschool look like school? Many of us do what we know, and that means modeling a teaching style that reflects that of a classroom. Our home is not a school, though, and although I don’t think there is anything wrong with perhaps modeling your homeschool that way, it’s important to know (particularly for newer homeschoolers) you don’t have to go through all that!

Our Home is not a School - Desks not needed

When I took a step back and realized what I was doing, I was able to turn it around and take a more relaxed approach to homeschooling – one without strict schedules or feeling like a failure if I didn’t put up the alphabet chart. We have a homeschool now where we don’t even use desks but rather sit together as a family. We use the dining table when we’re writing or doing art projects. We also go outside once in a while to learn in the midst of God’s beautiful creations.

One of the biggest advantages in homeschooling is the flexibility, and when we’re able to let go of that mentality that homeschool has to be this strict concept of teacher and students, we can see the bigger picture. Your bigger picture may be very different than mine or your friends’ or other homeschoolers, and that’s the best part! Be encouraged! You can find what works best for you and feel accomplished knowing you’re doing what is best for your family.

What is one of your favorite advantages in homeschooling?



Emilee Roberts (6 Posts)

Emilee is happily married to her best friend, Joey, who is a 2x cancer survivor and Disabled Veteran. She is a full-time, homeschooling mom to their 3 special needs kids who amaze, inspire, and humble her every day. In addition to blogging she is a freelance writer and mompreneur with a crafting/sewing business with the same name as her blog Pea of Sweetness.

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When The Perfect Homeschool Plans Go Awry

I tiredly glance toward the clock as we finally close the last book for the day. My body feels weary to the bone, longing for my sheets. “Mommy, can we snuggle now?” the little voice asks.

Everything within me wants to say no, but my mouth forms a small, exhausted smile as I nod my head. Just for a minute, sweetie. Mommy needs to rest too.

We crawl into her bed and the next thing I know, I’m jolted awake. The house is dark and quiet. I silently move the stuffed animals to the side so I can slip out of her bed. As I linger for a minute, I kiss the sleeping beauties on their foreheads and gently stroke their hair, my heart aching for the moments I know I missed.

When the perfect homeschool plans go awry ~ encouragement and hope for the tough times

This year has not gone as planned.

This year, I’m working full time outside the home. I never intended to do that. But when the husband calls and says the Office Manager resigned and we don’t have any potential new ones, and what should we do until we find the right person… we both already know the answer to the question he hasn’t yet asked.

“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'” Genesis 2:18

So my kids and I pack up their books and we set up a mini classroom at the office. It might sound noble, but this is not ideal.

history at the office

Not coming home after work to cook dinner and do laundry and finish school lessons.

Not working 40+ hours a week and calling babysitters when there’s a work deadline and my children learning how to be quiet even when they need me because I’m on the phone with a client.

This is not what I envisioned.

This was going to be the year of fun. Field trips. Hands-on messy science projects. Filling the freezer with delicious baked goods. Caving. Biking. Exploring. Quality time.

But, God knew. This whole time. He knew.

And even during this busy-ness and exhaustion, I can see His hand in our lives. I see His mercy, His grace. I’m in awe that He brings beauty and glory right in the midst of our brokenness.

Through this, we’re learning good habits. We have to get up and get ready to go every single morning even though we’re tired. We have to stay caught up on schoolwork even though we’re busy because tomorrow might be even busier.

We can now clean the entire house in three hours, because often, three hours is really all we have.

3 hours to a haven at home

This season is tough. But it’s also an honor. I believe that God is allowing us to be put through the fire so we can be refined.

And when the school year – or anything else in life – goes awry, we can find peace and joy in knowing that God has a plan. When we trust in Him, we can rest in knowing the end results will be glorious.

“I will bring the one–third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” Zechariah 13:9

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

three crosses at sunset

If your own homeschool year isn’t going as planned, what’s giving you hope and comfort as you work through your current season?


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Davonne (17 Posts)

Davonne Parks is a married Christian homeschool mom who began teaching her children at home in 2009. She blogs about cultivating a heart for motherhood, as well as organization and simplicity, at DavonneParks.com. Davonne believes that some of life’s richest moments happen when we embrace the beauty of imperfection as we extend grace to ourselves and others. She’s written two eBooks, “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms” (free to her blog subscribers) and “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.”

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Homeschooling Confidently


The beginning of a new school year – it’s an exciting time for homeschoolers, especially those fairly new to our ranks! Welcome! You are probably all anticipation for your adventure to begin, or maybe you’ve already started. Whether you’ve been making your plans for a long time, or have just recently decided to make the leap, you are probably looking at this school year with a mix of emotions. Everything from eager excitement to nerves and jitters; and from idealistic confidence to worried self-doubt. We’ve all been there!

Homeschooling Confidently ~ Encouragement for new homeschoolers

Homeschooling Confidently

You will love homeschooling! But I’m not gonna lie – there will be days when it’s hard to find your motivation, mornings when that big yellow bus drives by and looks like a good option, and times when you are overwhelmed by the task you’ve taken on. There are so many options, and so many decisions you’re called upon to make, and so many different directions you could go… how do you choose? How can you be confident that you’re doing a good job? Let me encourage you with something I’ve learned that helps to stave off the second-guessing –

Knowing WHY you homeschool helps you figure out HOW to do it!

Think about WHY you made the decision to homeschool. Knowing why you do it will help guide your decisions about HOW to do it, and encourage you to stay the course on the days when you are tempted to throw in the towel. After all, you probably aren’t homeschooling because you want to recreate a school setting in your dining room, and using the same textbooks and methods the public school down the road uses. It’s more likely that you want a relaxed and nurturing environment where your child can learn at their own pace; and that you want your child surrounded by resources and influences that reflect and support your family’s values rather than be boxed in by some artificial standard or timeline.

If you homeschool because:

  • you believe the family is the best setting for learning, and value the relationships: Prioritize the relationship over the workbook. When kids know they are loved and safe, they will learn. Look for ways to spend time together, enjoying each other’s company, and learn together.
  • you want your child to have a customized education: Choose curriculum that suits their learning styles and abilities. Don’t feel you have to teach the same period of history or same branch of science ‘everyone else’ is doing. If your kid is gifted in some areas but struggles with others, customize their studies so they can work ahead and be challenged in their areas of interest and ability, while finding the best way to help them with the skills they need in math or in reading, or wherever their struggles lie.
  • you want your kids to have the best education possible, and to become lifelong learners: Teach them how to learn, and provide them with tools and skills so they can learn about whatever they are interested in. Don’t be afraid of the subjects that you struggle with or that are beyond what you think you can teach (How will I ever teach Algebra? High school chemistry?) especially if high school is still several years away! You can be a student alongside your child, or you can find tutors, co-ops, web-based classes, etc to help out. Be an example of continuing to learn and finding delight in it!
  • you believe that God has called you to it: Know that God will also provide what you need to get the job done.

Homeschooling is an awesome responsibility, but no one is more qualified than you! You are the expert on your child, you know them best, and you are more committed to their success than anyone else. You can do this! Be confident that although you may be choosing a different curriculum or style than others, you’re choosing what’s best for your child, and enjoy the adventure!


Kym (7 Posts)

Kym is in the middle of her 17th year of homeschooling her four kids, two of whom have graduated. She and her husband of 27 years are Canadians transplanted to Maryland. Kym loves coffee, history, and homeschooling, and you can join her for coffee break at her blog, Homeschool Coffee Break.

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