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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Top Ten Wednesday: Best Blog Designs 2014

Each week we will be highlighting the Top Ten Bloggers from each category of the 2014 Homeschool Blog Awards. We understand the hard work that is involved in running a successful blog. Kudos to all who were nominated, all who made the top ten, and to our winners!

Homeschool Blog Awards #HSBA2014 Winners! at hsbapost.com

This week we are highlighting the 2014 Best Blog Designs!

Best Blog Design

This was your chance to nominate a gorgeous blog design and give a code-and-design savvy blogger a pat on the back for her talent (or give her hired web designer some credit!).

Winner 2014 Best Blog Design

Confessions of a Homeschooler was the winner this year!

Top Ten 2014 Blog Designs

In no particular order:

The Natural Homeschool

Totus Tuus Family and Catholic Homeschool

Beauty in the Mess

Proverbial Homemaker

Teaching Mama


So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler

The Multi Taskin’ Mom

Cranial Hiccups


Best Homeschool Blog Design @hsbapost



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Sara (81 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.

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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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