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Homeschool Diplomas, Writing for 100 Days, '3 Under 3'

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, November 26, 2007

==========================================================
The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
==========================================================
Vol. 8 No 91 November 26, 2007
ISSN: 1536-2035
==========================================================
Copyright (c) 2007 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net
==========================================================

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

=================
IN THIS ISSUE:
=================

Notes from Heather
-- Homeschool Diplomas
Resource Review
-- Writing for 100 Days
Reader Question
-- Three Under Three
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

=======================
Notes from Heather
=======================

An article from HSLDA (below) made me smile this week. How
often I hear from new homeschooling moms -- and even 'veteran'
homeschoolers -- about uncertainty regarding preparing the actual
paper certificate (aka diploma) that verifies their child's
completion of a high school education.

I liked this quote -- it really sums things up.

"When you boil it down, a diploma is simply a written document,
signed by someone in a position to know, certifying that a person
has completed a given program."

If YOU are the authority -- the one 'in the know' -- about your
high schooler's accomplishments, then why look for some other
'higher power' to issue a diploma? As long as your state allows
it, and most do, you've been given this authority. Don't have
and doubt about it!

Here's a link to a company where you can have fun ordering a
fancy diploma certificate to present to your son or daughter upon
graduation:

http://www.homeschooldiploma.com/diplomas/high_school_homeschool.php

Better yet, if you have Photoshop software you can use this free
template from A to Z Home's Cool:

http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/articles/060303.htm

I'm pretty excited about graduating my first this coming June!
Since he doesn't want an open house, I'll probably splurge on
something fancy. ;-)

Blessings,
Heather

---

Employer Questions Homeschool Diploma

Jacob Harden was thrilled to get the job at Iowa Telecom, but he
became somewhat concerned when someone from human resources asked
him to verify the authenticity of the high school diploma his
parents gave him. He was told they routinely do background checks
on all employees to verify their education, and they had some
questions about his diploma. His parents offered an explanation,
but it did not resolve the issue.

It sounded like Jacob's job might be on the line, so his parents
asked Home School Legal Defense Association for help.

HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff quickly sent a letter to the human
resources department. He identified the parents as members in good
standing of HSLDA. He explained that Iowa parents - and those in
all states - have legal authority to issue high school diplomas
when their students complete their program of secondary education.
He explained that no "accreditation" or state "approval" was
required. Since typically only parents truly know if a homeschool
student has completed his program, only parents can legitimately
issue a diploma.

When you boil it down, a diploma is simply a written document,
signed by someone in a position to know, certifying that a person
has completed a given program. Woodruff suggested that the parents
would be happy to supply a transcript to substantiate the diploma,
if necessary.

After receiving the letter, the human resources department spoke
to Jacob and told him it took care of everything. They would need
nothing else.

It's no wonder Iowa Telecom wanted Jacob. He had nearly straight
A's in his home school program, served as a page for the Iowa House
of Representatives, and had a 3.7 GPA after two semesters at his
local community college.

The most common employment-related scenario that our members
encounter, when there is any issue at all, is an employer who
really wants to hire a homeschool grad but is not sure how to
approach the diploma issue. When an employer really wants the
employee, however, it's not difficult to convince them there is
no legal impediment. And it's the performance of homeschool grads
already in the workforce that makes employers want more.

Congratulations to the homeschool grads (and their parents, of
course!) already in the working world whose excellent record of
diligence, honesty and reliability has paved the way for the
coming grads.

---

This article can be found online at the following link:
http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/ia/200711200.asp

---

Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

==================
Resource Review
==================

Writing for 100 Days - by Gabriel Arquilevich
Review by Karen Lange

Need writing ideas for the high schooler? This book might be just
the thing to get the creative juices flowing. It contains 100
lessons and is divided into four sections: Composition, Fiction,
Poetry, and Writing in Action. Short lessons provide helpful,
solid, writing and grammar information followed by exercises to
put things into practice. This book’s format is friendly enough
that a self-motivated student could work independently with some
feedback from an adult.

The brevity of the lessons and exercises are some of the things
that appealed to me when using this with my own kids and with our
homeschool co-ops. The lessons keep the kids from getting bogged
down with too many rules of writing; they provide a refresher and
make their point quickly in an understandable way. Although this
book is geared toward 8-12th graders, many of the lessons are
appropriate for and could be adapted for the younger student as
well.

Writing for 100 Days opens with an Introduction for Teachers.
Here you will find an explanation of its unique features and help-
ful teaching tips. This intro discusses its use in the classroom,
but also offers tips for homeschooling families. (And, naturally,
as homeschool parents, we are quite capable at adapting most any
curriculum to suit our students’ needs!)

The Composition section opens with a brief overview of punctuation
and word usage. The lessons progress in this section and include
more punctuation, good writing construction, and a writer’s tone
and style. The Fiction section covers character development, plot
and setting, dialogue and point of view. Poetry covers all the
basics such as haiku, sonnets, limericks, free verse, and more.
The Writing in Action segment covers real everyday writing such
as business and personal letters, speeches, an intro to journal-
ism, advertisements, keeping a journal, and much more. The book
closes with additional assignments, a few writing games, and
an answer key.

The lessons include appropriate examples to further guide the
student in the right direction. There are brief but helpful
tips, notes about common pitfalls, and encouragement sprinkled
throughout. The combination makes the experience pleasant for
both teacher and student. I believe that with a good balance
of instruction and encouragement, any student can develop and
improve their writing skills. This book can aid in that process.

One writing exercise in the Composition section tells the stu-
dent to imagine that they’ve won a million dollars. It places a
few conditions on winning the money, such as having to spend it
all in one week. An assignment like this can spark ideas in the
most reluctant writer by providing an interesting topic and
making them think. Some exercises also encourage peer review
and collaboration, which can be a good thing in the right bal-
ance. This, too, is easily adapted to the homeschool setting by
getting feedback from parents, other family members, or fellow
co-op students.

The most obvious way to use the book is to follow the lessons
chronologically, building on the concepts taught. But, you can
also feel free to jump around from lesson to lesson, section
to section as I did sometimes. Much depends on your student’s
ability level and your writing goals for your students.

I found this book to be an essential tool to engage students of
all writing abilities. The exercise ideas made great non-intimi-
dating writing assignments. The key here, I think, is the
manageability for both teacher and student. Ready-made lessons
and exercises that are actually interesting, all the while
exposing the student to the basic tools needed for good writing
and communication. This is by far one of my favorite books for
teaching kids basic composition and creative writing. I highly
recommend it!

---

Karen Lange homeschooled her three children K-12. She is a free-
lance writer, homeschool consultant, and creator of the
Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op for teens. Visit her
website at http://www.hswritingcoop.bravehost.com


===============================
Last Issue's Reader Question
===============================

"Hi everyone -- I'm the mother of '3 under 3' and am consider-
ing what option to choose in a year or two when my oldest (boy)
is ready for preschool and kindergarten. I live in a small town
where the school is apparently very good and most of the teachers
are Christians (one major concern of ours is based on current
public school curriculum's atheistic bend). I'd like to home-
school, but we're hoping for at least 4 kids eventually and I'm
just getting a taste of how busy life is! Having my son out of
the house a few hours a week is looking mighty tempting! What
say you -- let him do the first few years in public and then
start homeschooling -- or go straight to homeschool? Thanks for
the replies." -- Katherine B.

=========================
Our Readers' Responses
=========================

"Hi Katherine -- it is my opinion that if you give valuable time
over to the public schools, that's time away from your bonding
with your son. As a homeschooler for my two children from birth
(my oldest is in 4th grade this year), I am so glad I kept them
at home from the beginning. It gives you the chance to pick up on
your child's learning style and your teaching style from the very
beginning. Keep him at home and you will be more prepared when
the more intense learning time comes. You can do it -- pray and
take some breaks. And remember that at this age lots and lots of
reading stories out loud, talking about basic math in the things
you do everyday, and walks in nature to talk about God's creation
are really all you need to do! Who wants to give those precious
times up to a school? Best wishes for your family!" -- Sandy

---

"When your children are young, thinking about a few hours to your-
self is very tempting. Every stage of life has its challenging
times. My 3 oldest are 14 to 18 months apart in age. We had 3
under 3 at one time and I can remember having the thought that
this is temporary and they will go to school in a few years - one
at a time -- and I can focus on the next oldest each year until
they are all in school -- and then I will have the day to do the
things I need or want for myself (to read, clean, take classes,
enjoy a quiet house).

When we started homeschooling, I had 3 daughters - 5,4, and 2,
and was expecting our 4th in November of that year. My husband
had a temporary disability for 6 months of that year. I registered
our oldest in two different public schools. I just couldn't see
how I was ever going to get my oldest to school and cart the
others around the school system schedule or sending my babies to
someone else to raise -- and the conviction to begin homeschooling
would not go away.So, we began homeschooling in July in antici-
pation of taking the month of December off for our new addition.
I am so thankful I followed God's direction. I love being with my
children. Our schedule is flexible, my children have retained much
innocence, our family is closer, our children have had a real
childhood (not growing up too fast), and I was the one there for
the majority of their 'first' experiences in life.

If the desire to begin homeschooling is in your heart, follow it.
I would think it would be easier to start from the start than to
pull them from the school later. Following God's plan for your
life is always the best advice. He will give you peace in the
midst of '3 under 3'. Enjoy each moment of the different stages.
I suggest spending time in prayer and the scripture for God's
direction in the path He chooses for you and your family. When you
get your direction, follow it." -- Cindy

---

"What is right for one family may not be right for another, but
if I had to make a choice, I would rather keep my kids at home
for the early years and then send them to school later, even if
life at home is very busy for a while. That way I've had a chance
to teach them my morals and attitudes, and they'll be a little
older and more able to evaluate what comes their way (everything
from curriculum to peer pressure)." -- Martha in Utah

---

"In your question you say that life is getting busy and having
your son out of the house of a few hours is looking tempting.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that having him in school
is probably going to put more stress on you than not. Not sure
of your particular school system, but in our corporation, trans-
portation for Kindergarten is only provided one way, unless they
are in all day Kindergarten. Another thing to consider is that
if you are going to send him to government run schools you will
need to be involved pretty heavily to ensure that things are all
'above board'. This will entail classroom parties, field trips,
teacher meetings, etc;and most schools are now sending homework
with students... even in Kindergarten! Plus, since you have 2
other children, you will need to either take them along or find
a sitter.

Teaching preschool or kindergarten is very easy. Read, read,
read, and read some more. :-) Most everything else will be
picked up by just being with you. Talking about the colors...
what shape is that?; counting toys as they are put away, etc.
Instead of trying government school first and then pulling him
out later, you would be better off to try homeschooling first."
-- Martha H.

---

"My personal opinion is, if you're only going to homeschool a
portion of their schooling, I'd do elementary, and for sure,
middle school.

My view is to keep them home while they're young and keep build-
ing a solid foundation for them. Once they get to high school
age, and they've had a foundation, you can start pushing them
out of the nest little by little, and begin to acclimate them
to life away from the home and mom and dad. They're still coming
home at the end of the day. By the time they're 16 and 17 they
need to start making more life choices on their own, but I'd
rather they make mistakes while we're still available to back
them up than just toss them out at 18 and hope they make it!

This is not to say that we've completely ruled out homeschooling
through High School, but if we do, it's likely we'll take advan-
tage of Secondary Op stuff at the local community colleges vs.
a High school if possible." -- Diane

---

"Katherine, I have done it both ways -- I have older children
who once attended school, and younger children who will never
see the inside of a school building. In our experience, it is
much more difficult to homeschool a child (from their point of
view) after attending public school even for one year.

Some children may not react the way ours did, but the ones who
had been to school expected busy work and entertainment, wanted
a devoted tutor for 6 hours a day, and already had the mindset
of 'I don't need to knowthat yet -- I'm only in ___ grade!'
With my littles, now 6 and 4, they're willing to try anything;
they love to learn at any level, they think math is the cool box
of stuff that lives on the top of the bookshelf, reading is some-
thing they beg to do -- I hardly ever have to force them or insist
they do something to do with school, because they like it.

By the way, public or even private school is never just a daily
vacation for you. ;-) When they get home with homework that takes
an hour or more; when you have teacher conferences and phone
calls; when you have to have discussions with parents who think
your child did or does something wrong -- on top of fundraising,
assemblies, classroom parties, etc., you may see that sending
them to school wastes your time, not saves it.

I just re-read this, and it sounds very negative, and I'm sorry
for that -- I don't think public school is a horrible place per
se. But, if you are going to homeschool, and think that will be
your ultimate decision, do yourself a favor and keep it simple --
and start out that way. Early elementary takes very little time
each day to teach at home, and some parents skip early formal
learning in favor of a more holistic approach -- just living life,
learning to read, hanging out and encouraging natural curiosity
can be enough until middle elementary. Good luck, and God bless!"
-- Anne

---

"My son went to public school until the middle of his 4th grade
year (a good school) but then we brought him home. The only
regret I have is we didn't have him home from the beginning -- I
feel like we missed out on so much together. Good luck with
whatever you decide." -- Laurie

---

"I think it is great that you are thinking about your options now,
planning ahead of time. Ultimately, the decision is between you,
your husband, and God. That being said, I have some firm convic-
tions on thesubject, so I'll share a few thoughts for your consi-
deration.

I have 6 kids - two older teens (adopted), a 6, 5, 3 and 1 year
old, and I'm expecting our 7th in May. This is just so that you
know that I understand how busy life can be. When we first
started homeschooling the older two, (after they had been in
public school for 3 and 4 years) I had times when I struggled
with keeping them home. Other moms I knew sent their kids off
to school, and had the day to clean, cook, work on hobbies,
volunteer, or whatever. At times it looked appealing. At the
same time, I was hard at work trying to undo the damage of several
years of public school. Both kids had lost their love of learning.
The older one did as little as possible, and neither one enjoyed
learning for the sake of learning. I was also concerned about
the curriculum used. In math they were taught that the process
was more important than the final answer. In many (most?) public
schools now, 'diversity' is taught beginning in kindergarten,
teaching children, for example, that families may have one or two
moms or dads. Sex education is also often begun in kindergarten.
If you do choose to send your son to public school, you would
probably want to be very involved in the classroom, (I'd recommend
being in the classroom at least once per week), which can be diffi-
cult to arrange with 2 or 3 younger siblings. In addition, you
may find your 'busy-ness' increasing. In addition to your home
schedule, you need to factor in preparing lunch and getting a
child out the door every morning, field trips, parent teacher con-
ferences, other events at school, etc.

On the other hand, if you keep your son at home, life will continue
on in a familiar pattern. Your attention is focused on the activi-
ties ofyour home. Young children do not need a lot of formal
instruction at age 5 or 6, and actually do better without a lot of
seat work. Your son will continue to learn from you, as you go
about your day. Read a lot to the kids, talking about the words
and pictures. Talk about letter sounds throughout the day. Work
on puzzles; build with blocks and other construction toys. Talk
about colors and patterns. Sort socks. Count anything. Offer
time to draw pictures, play with playdough, and explore other
sensory activities such as a rice and bean box with cars to drive
or small toys to uncover. Have your kids help with simple cooking
tasks. Offer ample time to play outside and take nature walks.
Stop to watch bugs, look at tree roots; explore your environment.
Limit, or better yet, avoid, TV and videos. In essence, allow
your children to learn as children learn best; by playing, explor-
ing, doing, participating with you in a lifestyle of learning.
This does not add another layer of complexity to you life; rather
it is a continuation of the teaching you are already doing.If
this sounds interesting to you, I'd recommend you read several
books by Raymond Moore - 'Better Late Than Early' and 'School Can
Wait'. You may also find this website helpful:
http://www.educatingforsuccess.com/lifestyle.html
You love your children and know them well - have confidence that
as you pray and discuss with you husband you will make the decision
that is best for your children and your family." -- Laurie

---

"I've been there too with feeling that a little time out of the
house for any of my childern would be a great and wonderful thing.
I decided because I live in a small town (and most of the teachers
profess to be Christians) to put my two oldest in public school.
Now, 5 years later, I pulled them out and started schooling from
home this fall. My suggestion is that if you EVER want to home-
school your kids you will have an easier transition (in my opinion)
to never have them step foot in the public school. It's been a
tough season for us and I am looking forward to the day they stop
raising their hands to answer a question from me!" -- K.

---

"Good for you for being so involved in your child’s education. I
understand where you’re coming from. I have three children, 9, 4,
and 18 months, and we’ve recently found out that God is blessing
us with another in June. Trust me, this was a shocker -- we were
done at 2! Haha, God has different plans for us. Although my kids
aren’t as young and close in age as yours are, I can relate to the
busyness of every day. Adding homeschooling to a day of young
children, cooking, cleaning, laundry and such, sounds daunting.

My advice would be to seek God’s guidance. If you and your husband
feel that He is leading you to this decision then rest assured that
He WILL provide you with everything you need to succeed.

I was not up for homeschooling when God first introduced the idea,
but He kept after us, gently reminding us, and changed my husband’s
heart toward homeschooling. It has been the most incredible
blessing. We started my oldest at kindergarten and we’re now in
our 5th year, my daughter joining in this year with reading, etc.
Believe me, there are days when I think to myself, 'This would be
so much easier if I were to put them on the school bus'. But I
take an easier day and make sure I’m getting my quiet time regu-
larly and God renews me and strengthens me again. Plus, I know
that I would miss my kids tremendously if they were indeed gone
all day every day.

Can you perhaps find a friend to swap a few hours with here and
there? Another thought -- we homeschooled for the first year to
'try it out'. The first year is a true learning year and can be
stressful if you have too high of expectations or demand too much
of yourself and your child. It's a good learning year. This
took a lot of pressure off of us and our decision. Plus, seek
out other homeschoolers in your area. A good support group
makes an incredible difference! I will pray for you."
-- Jennifer C.

---

"Katherine, if you begin homeschooling now, you can gradually
adopt the homeschool lifestyle; but if you start public school,
you will be facing major changes and adjustments -- first when
your child starts school, and again when you bring him back home.
Your children are young enough that you can ease into homeschool-
ing stress-free. Sending your son to school will not make your
life less busy. School activities add excessive burdens to
families' schedules, and dictate their time -- not only during
the school day, but evenings as well. You will be helping a
tired child with homework, and the only time you'll be together
will be when both of you are tired and stressed out. You will
be cultivating your relationships when both of you are at your
worst, and when you are focusing on school work, not on each
other. The school will get the best hours of your child's day.
You will very likely have far more discipline and character
issues to deal with because of negative influences from school.

Even Christian teachers have no control over selection of curri-
culum; the state and federal education agencies, and textbook
publishers are the ones who control public education. You can
be confident that those entities do not have the same agenda for
your children as you have, and they can do their greatest damage
during the early years.

It is my personal opinion that classroom learning is ineffective;
private tutoring/mentoring is by far the best method for any
child." -- Mary Beth

---

"One thought I've had for many years is that I've heard lots of
moms say that they have never regretted homeschooling. I have
heard many moms say that they have regretted placing their chil-
dren in publicschool.

I would encourage you to keep your babies home with you. I'm
not sure what the compulsory age in your state is, but in PA
it's 8 years old or second grade. If it seems too overwhelming,
don't begin any formal table-time until that compusory age.
You'll be surprised at how much your child 'picks up' by just
being with you, reading books, helping in the kitchen, talking
while outdoors, playing in the park, etc. Children do not have
to be formally schooled at the age of 4 in order to compete in
society today. Early education is not always the answer.

Hopefully none of the answers you receive here will invoke any
guilt, because that is not my intention. I only have 2 boys so
I can't relate to 3 under 3. I did have 2 in under 2 years.
We had 2 bottles, 2 cribs, and 2 sets of diapers for quite some
time. It was exhausting. Today, they are each other's best
friends. That would not be the case if I had sent my oldest
off to school when my youngest was 3 or 4. I am so grateful
for the lifestyle we have and that I can be with my boys so much!
I feel like God's calling me to homeschool the boys was the best
gift he's ever given me. My boys know me so well and I know them
better than any teacher ever would, Christian or otherwise. You
know that feeling as you are looking at your babies and they are
playing or giggling? I STILL get that feeling and my babies are
9 and 11!

Please pray about what God's plans are for your babies and let
Him guide you. He surely will. It's the best job I've ever had!"
-- Lori L. in PA

---

"I read your letter and felt that I must reply. I also had '3
under 3' and then had 1 more making it '4 under 4'. This year we
have 3 seventh graders (age 14 and 13 year old twins) and a fifth
grader (age 10). Life has been pretty interesting over the years.
There have been times when I felt overwhelmed with all that I had
to accomplish. I felt that I must encourage you to do what you
really feel is best for your children, no matter how hard it is.
Every minute you spend training and teaching them to accomplish
things on their own is time well spent. You would be amazed at
just how much a very small child will do to 'help'. When my kids
were 3, 3, and 4 they loved direction to accomplish something that
really helped out. They would spend a lot of time scrubbing my
shower and bath tub. They loved to hand scrub the kitchen floor,
walls, and cupboard doors with a bowl of soapy water and a sponge
or washcloth. They liked to make everything look 'pretty' for
Daddy. They would 'help' sort and fold laundry, too. Dusting is
another harmless job.Now that they are older they accomplish
these tasks on their own. Many people have commented over the
years at how good my kids are. I believe that their 'good'
behavior is due to spending lots of time with parental direction.
This enables them to be 'good' when I am not present. They have
become good people because they have been molded and shaped to be
good. Whenever things in life get difficult, I tell myself, 'You
potty trained 3 kids at once -- you can do this too!' Don't get
overwhelmed thinking about the future. All you can do is be the
best 'mommy' today. Enjoy your children. The overwhelming days
really do pass.The kids do get bigger. I am here to say that
you can homeschool many children close in age.Be sure you always
take time out every day to love them and thank God for trusting
you to raise them.You'll go through many stages of growth and
change over the years with your children. Eventually, you will
look back and fondly remember how hard it was when they were
little. I never thought that I would have fond memories of those
times, but I do." -- Alisha

---

"My friend introduced me to this newsletter just last night and
I'm enjoying it sooo much. I love to read everyone's advice and
I enjoy sharing my own. So here goes! I'd like to tell you that
God will tell you clearly whether to send him or keep him home
for the first couple of years. Here's what God told me...

I too was overwhelmed with having a little one at home when it
came time for my oldest (son) to go to pre-K 4. In Florida, we
have something called VPK (voluntary pre kindergarten). The state
will pay for 3 hours of instruction, Monday - Friday 8:30-11:30,
at a participating school of your choice. I was blessed with a
Christian school just 1 mile away. I recommend starting the child
at age four, for a reduced amount of hours (3-4) per day, on a
five day per week basis. As a child psychotherapist and mom, I
believe it prepares the child 'gently' for kindergarten. It
gives him one full year to practice on a mini scale the consistent
behaviors that he will use in kindergarten... regarless of whether
he's home educated or not.

It was a HUGE blessing both for my son and I. Here's why: Like
you, I knew that homeschooling was going to be a part of our lives,
but the question was when? Caring for my marriage, home, and the
baby was already a challenge, so it was a welcomed relief to have
my son learning outside of the home. Because I was still in the
'grind' of baby stuff with the other one, I knew for sure that I
could not give him the proper structure, consistency, 'beginner's
curriculum' and exposure to what school was... so three hours per
day, Monday through Friday, was a welcomed blessing. The three
hours flew by for both of us!

Besides all the academic stuff, it taught him to be a student and
accept instruction from a teacher; it taught him to wake up Monday
through Friday for school, and that Saturday and Sunday he was off;
it taught him to work independently, stand in line, and follow a
structured day. He was focussed on age appropriate materials and
was very proud of what he was learning. And it gave me a short,
but sweet, break too! These things may seem simple, but I wasn't
able to offer this type of consistency because of the little one
at home. Developmentally my son was itching for this next step.
It was a great fit for both. And to my amazement, he was reading
by the end of pre-K!But now what do I do about KINDERGARTEN?

My husband and I prayed and fasted all summer and God clearly told
us to put him in our local public school for kindergarten. I
wasn't excited about that answer to my prayers for the same 'anti-
Christian' concerns that you have.But he went one more year for
kindergarten and he got a good feel for his new role as a student,
developed his reading and math skills, and enjoyed the social
component of classmates. The first month of kindergarten was
difficult because the day was now 6 hours of instruction, five
days per week. At first he looked worn out, but after 5-6 weeks
he bounced right back.

Now this year he's in first grade and we are homeschooling! My
baby is now four and she's off to pre-K for three hours per day.
For me, it has worked very well to bring my son home once my
daughter was ready to go off to pre-K.Honestly, if I had another
baby at home as you do, I may have waited a bit longer to start
the homeschool process. My girlfriend has three boys: 6,4, and 3.
She still has the older two in school and is praying about home-
schooling once the baby goes to pre-K. It's whatever brings peace
to your home.

I must tell you that at first I wanted to do it all and be super-
mom. But through prayer, I found that there were many ways of
approaching this homeschool vs. public/private school issue.
Each one of us can handle our God-given loads differently, and
I chose for this season of my life to be gracious to myself by
not overloading my responsibilities. Sounds like you have three
stair step babies and are all too familiar with the load that
comes with the blessing of three young children.

If you feel like you're putting another thing on your plate by
committing to homeschool your son, then maybe you too should be
gracious and gentle on yourself. Dr. James Dobson from Focus on
the Family says that the years between birth and four are the most
physically challenging for young moms. If you sense a sigh of
relief coming on when you think of your four year old being at
school for a few hours, that's perfectly acceptable. Some moms
dread the kid leaving their side and some moms welcome it. Just
pray and be willing to hear what brings you peace& a sigh of
relief, not what 'supermom should do'.

I must tell you, my daughter doesn't bounce happily out of bed
in the morning wanting to go to pre-K. Quite the contrary. But
again, I had to show her what consistency looked like. After 6
weeks she adjusted and is fine. It is what works for our family
right now. You see, as a first-time homeschool mom, it brings
peace to our house that she be out of the home in an environment
that is conducive to her learning needs, yet at the same time
affords my son and I the wiggle room to figure out this whole
homeschooling thing. Again, the key is being gentle with our-
selves, creating an environment of peace, and leaving margin on
our family's 'to do' list. Lord willing, we will send our daugh-
ter to her Christian school for kindergarten, too. It just works
for the dynamics of our home life right now.

My sister-in-law lives next door and she homeschools, too. We
both took this approach of sending our four year olds to pre-K
and kindergarten at a local school (you're blessed to have a
public school full of Christian teachers!). Now she educates
her 14, 13, and 6 year olds at home, while sending her 4 year
old to pre-K.Consult with your husband, pray and choose what
brings the family unit peace. Remember, if your decision brings
you stress -- your son will inevitably sense it. Homeschooling
can incorporate fun, flexibility & discipline. But I find that
it just doesn't work right when the teacher (moi) is stressed.
God will lead you!" -- Cristina in Florida

=========================
Answer our NEW Question
=========================

"Help! How do you stay motivated? We are trudging through 1st
grade math. Will a digit or place value ever be understood?
What happened to my patience?" -- Christine in VA

---

Do you have words of encouragement or practical advice for
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