Monday, January 3, 2011

Q and A

Hi, Kim! I got your book for Christmas, and I can't put it down!! I've got so many questions for you!! I'm a wife and mommy to 5 ages 7, 6, 5, 2, and 3 months. My house of 1150 square feet is a total wreck all the time. I never eat or sleep right. I worry that I'm failing in my effort to provide a good homeschool education. And, my husband is having to constantly help me instead of vice versa. All this plus we are trying to sell our house so that we can get into something bigger. But, as I read your book I'm so encouraged!! Here's my 2 pressing questions: 1. Considering the house is such a wreck there's no chance of selling it as is, and it's hard to function well. Should I try implementing as I read or just get through the book as quickly as possible and then go back and implement? 2. Please, please tell me specifically what curriculum you use. I totally have to be very hands on in the curriculum I'm using. Thanks so much for writing this great book!! Jennifer
Hi Jennifer,
There's no doubt you are in a tough place right now. My older mommy quick response is to say, "Enjoy these days, they will pass so quickly! Hold on to every moment with those little children and savor it." But I know that what you really want to hear is how to function so that you CAN enjoy it.

First, drink water. Every time you sit down to feed the baby, drink a whole glass of water. Next, eat protein for breakfast. Make some scrambled eggs for everyone. Eggs and cheap protein and very good for your brain and baby's brain. And the protein will carry you for hours. If you don't like eggs, eat cheese or the left over meat from yesterday or bacon. But get some protein for breakfast. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. Regulating your body with sleep will help you feel like a new person. Regardless of the state of the house or laundry, go to bed and sleep. You will avoid many negative things by just getting your sleep. Tomorrow, things will look better, you will have more energy after sleep and a good breakfast. Then tackle the day.

Second, do not worry about home education when your oldest is just seven. Can he read? Then give him a time of day when he should sit down and read something. If not, then when you are sitting down to nurse the baby, have him bring his phonics book to you and work through a lesson while you are feeding the baby.

How to implement: That will depend on your situation. I can't see your home. I can imagine. I can think back to my days of only little children and what I see is toys everywhere, crumbs on the table, dirty dishes, laundry piles. Wait, I think I still have that going on here. I just have big kids now who can help take care of it all in a matter of minutes. Your day is coming...but then those big kids are big and won't crawl on your lap anymore without squishing you, their hugs are crushing, and their laundry is huge, and they go out the door and drive down the road, and... Can you tell yet that I have a big kid flying the nest next week? And another one in eight months? And another one who will get her license this year? It was just yesterday that...Back to you, Jennifer, go to the back of the book in the Appendix section and start there with the 15 minute plan. Work for 15 minutes at a time restoring order.
Concerning your move and your home sale: Start packing strategically. I learned this trick from Emily Barnes and it is key to changing your home management. Go through each room of your house with three bags and/or boxes. Sort through the stuff and put in either the throw away black trash bag, sell or give away box, or the Keep Box. When you are done with the room, sort through the Keep Box and this time leave in the room only the things that are absolutely necessary. Put the rest in storage for moving or storage until you need it again. Clearly label the box with a number or name. Write on a 3x5 card what is in the box. At the top of the 3x5 card, write the name or number of the box. Put the 3x5 card in card holder box. Do this for each room or area of the house. Write in pencil on the 3x5 card so that as you further sort, organize, and purge you can easily erase things. Now for a warning. If your storage area has mice, don't use a cardboard box. Been there done that. Your storage boxes will be ready for your move, you will be clearing your house of clutter that gets in the way of real life, and you will have your house clear for showing.

Curriculum: Pray for wisdom and talk to your husband about what he wants them to learn. Go to homeschool conferences and listen to the speakers. Pour over catalogs. Get a book about book lists and start buying living books.
I think that Alphaphonics is the easiest and simplest way to get a child reading. After that, I like the Christian Liberty phonics books. They are thorough and my children who have done them have the most solid phonics foundation for deciphering words later on. Buy real living books, I use the Veritas Press catalog and Sonlight catalog as a book guide and source. But there are other book lists out there.
Math: I used Developmental Mathematics for years and still like it. The younger ones have also used Christian Liberty math books and I'm please with that. I recently bought the first Life with Fred book for my 12 year old and think it's fun. The jury is still out there.
History: Veritas Press and the text books they recommend as resources. Some years we do the cards, other years I just assign reading.
Science: assorted nature and science books for the elementary years, Apologia for age 12-13 on up.
Bible: Studying God's Word from Christian Liberty, Veritas Press Bible some years.
Character: Doorposts

Jennifer, I can hear through your words that you care and that is key to success in anything. Keep Bibles handy around your home so that you can easily pick one up and read a bit. Pray without ceasing. Those two things will carry you far.



  1. Thanks for sharing the wisdom! I'm not packing at this point, but I will definitely log that info. for future reference. Enjoying the book! Thanks so much for putting the work into it!!

    Solo Deo Gloria!

  2. I also got the book for Christmas!

    We sold our house in 2009. We put a bunch of boxes/Rubbermaid containers in a friend's basement then some more in another friend's storage unit. It helped a lot though was hard to go through and just keep the essentials. :)

  3. I'm a homeschooling mom of 6, my oldest is turning 12 here in a few weeks ( sniff, sniff). I love your book BTW..I bought for myself after Christmas..anyway about the homeschooling..One of the sayings that I love to repeat to myself daily is "Heaven not Harvard"..that really reminds me what the real focus is for our schooling. God Bless!!!!

  4. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy life (I too have 9 children) to write this book. I have enjoyed every bit of it. It is rejuvenating and inspiring to get new ideas, be reminded of things that I have used in the past and to feel like there is someone out there who is traveling the same road in the same direction.
    Thanks again. Your book and blog is greatly appreciated.

  5. I am a mom of 6 and for the basics of homeschooling Christian Light education really works well for us. Mostly focus on the reading, math and language arts that they have. add science and social studies a little less structured. Price is wonderful, can buy it little by little, christian based, and SOLID. Helped my 2 struggling learners lots. also joined yahoo group for questions as I went along. here is the webpage:

  6. Kim,
    This isn't a comment about the article. I am not sure where to ask a question about the book. On page 99 you refer to classic toys and I was wondering if you could list what you have found to be the versatile classic toys that stimulate creativity and last through the years? BTW, I love your book!Thanks, Rachel

  7. I can totally back up the protein for breakfast - my second-last pregnancy was rotten, I was tired and weepy and unwell a lot. For the last one (baby is 13 days old now) I had steak or some other kind of red meat every second morning and a 2-egg milkshake on the other mornings - no problems with tiredness or not being able to think straight! It has made such a difference I plan to keep it up even though the baby has arrived,

  8. You all make me so very excited to get this book in my hands! I love all the advice!

    I wanted to add in something about the curriculum, b/c I have found one that makes having 4 kids to care for and 3 to educate, so. much. smoother. REALLY makes our day organized, familar day to day and year to year so that it's easy to get into our groove each fall, makes Christ at the center of it all, and keeps our school day short- all while using living books and a very solid academic progression. I enjoy my one on one with the kids using this program instead of combining them...we do everything together already, so this special time is really....well, special! Doing 3 levels and we're still done about lunch time :) It has revolutionized our (home)school!


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