Thinking About Homeschooling?

Sweet Pea, Mimi, and Noah on our first official day of homeschooling – September 1991.


May 2008 – Noah’s high school graduation and Sweet Pea’s college graduation. Note Noah’s very intellectual pose.

Whenever I mention that I homeschool, I get questions about how to get started, what curricula I use, what to do with little ones while working with older kids, etc. Since the primary emphasis of my blog has been adoption and related issues, I haven’t devoted much time to writing about homeschooling. However, as a mom who is in my nineteenth consecutive year of homeschooling, I have a responsibility to offer what I can to other moms. When my elusive new blog is up and functioning, I’ll have areas devoted to family life, homeschooling, etc., but for the time being, you’ll have to wade through one topic to get to another.

First, if you have questions you would like me to address about homeschooling, please leave them as comments in this post. It may be awhile before I get to them, but I have plans to dig into this topic.

Second, I have to say how funny it was to get eleven comments on the post about my pencil sharpener! I had no idea there were so many moms struggling with the same problem of not having the right tools to do the job of teaching our kids – whether as homeschoolers or as moms helping with homework.

[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

DeeDee, however, got me thinking with her comment (part of it is below):

Paul and DeeDee said…

Lisa, I can’t believe I am actually going to type these words but I am seriously considering homeschooling.
… I really want my kids to have a strong foundation in an education that lines up with our beliefs.
…I have 2 years before Jackson starts kindergarten but I know I need to start researching, any advice on where to start?

Where to start, now that is a great question and I could probably write many posts about it – in fact, I probably will, but here is my first bit of advice about educating children:

Think and pray about your vision and objectives for educating your children. Consider the needs of each child in your family. Consider your needs and those of your husband. Consider the educational opportunities available in your community. If you are a Christian, ask God how He wants you to educate your children. Once you have done this, you may decide not to homeschool at all. Homeschooling is not for every family or for every child…the fact that Dimples attends school is an example of this in my own life.

If, however, you are strongly persuaded that you want to homeschool, the objectives you’ve created can be applied as a filter through which to view the myriad of choices homeschooling offers. You must have an overall vision for your family as well as goals and objectives for individual children.

To give you an idea of what I mean, I can share with you the three objectives Russ and I have in homeschooling our children. To be honest, we didn’t have these objectives 18 years ago; we had a small vision that grew over the years. I suspect that is true for many families, but you still need a vision as you set out on a journey. Otherwise, you may not end up near your destination.

1. We want to provide our children with a distinctly Christian education. This means we want to pray with them, read the Bible with them, instruct them in God’s ways, incorporate Bible study into their education, and so much more. We want our children to know Church History, the stories of great missionaries and heroes of the Christian faith, and our own life of faith as a family.

2. We want our family to be tightly-knit and our children to be not only siblings, but the closest of friends. We want our children to be family-oriented rather than peer-oriented. I’ve written about peer-orientation in the past and cannot recommend Hold On To Your Kids highly enough. Now that our five oldest children are 22, 20, 18,16, and 14, I can say with confidence that this part of our vision is being fulfilled and I give great thanks to God.

3. We want to customize our children’s education to suit their specific needs, interests, and goals. This is the fun part of homeschooling when you get to look at your child and ask yourself, “What are her gifts and talents? How much time (and money) can we devote toward developing this gift?” It is also an opportunity to look at our children’s weaknesses and ask ourselves how we can help them overcome those areas. These may be academic, character, or spiritual weaknesses, but as parents, we want to devote ourselves to helping our children grow past them.

I’ll write more on each of these topics in a future post. Until then, if you are considering homeschooling, or if you are homeschooling without a vision, take the time to think and pray about what you most want for your family and each of your children. Write it all down and then begin to explore how you can accomplish your vision.

Sweet Pea is now in her second year of medical school and Mimi is a senior in college.


This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Chantelle
    October 22, 2009

    Those are precisely our goals in homeschooling as well, though I need GOBS of help in staying focused on them and actually accomplishing them! (I've only been reading your blog *faithfully* for a short time, but already have found so much encouragement from it. Bless you!)

  2. Paul and DeeDee
    October 22, 2009

    Thank you Lisa! I am excited to read about your journey in homeschooling as well! Oh, and the Tapestry conference is on Saturday with your favorite Doctor! I spent all night last night with the other ladies on the Tapestry staff stuffing our folders for the 550 people that are registered to attend! I will try and take great notes for you from Dr. Purvis! I wish that you lived closer to us so that you could come and see all of the people that are raising kids from hard places and flock to see what Dr. Purvis has to say.

  3. darci
    October 22, 2009

    ooh, i'm so excited for more! 🙂 AND..I'm going into our 'city' today and that is where that lovely pencil sharpener is. 🙂

  4. Marissa
    October 22, 2009

    I want a blog entry devoted to keeping two-year-olds from antagonizing their older siblings during homeschooling activities. 🙂

    Thank you so much for FINALLY putting your homeschooling expertise out there. I consider you the leading expert on all things homeschooling.

  5. S. and Company
    October 22, 2009

    Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for sharing! I am eager to read all that you have to say about your homeschooling experience. My children are 4 and 2 and I really strongly desire to homeschool next year when Seth is Kindergarten age. Right now my husband and I are seeking God's direction about whether or not that is indeed His desire for our family. I wanted to ask you, as we are praying and also weighing all of the pros and cons… Have any of your homeschooled children been particularly strong-willed? And if so, how did that affect your schooling? Our son is extremely strong willed (his sister is the other extreme). While I already know that I love teaching both of them, I know that our son is very challenging to parent. I don't know if that is a reason to rule out homeschooling (I hope not!), but I would like any feedback you might have about this issue. I think I remember you mentioning something about one of your older girls being challenging – and something about getting on the "Christian mommy discipline train"…. Maybe the issue is more in looking for parenting resources. Were there any books that helped you get on that train? ;o)
    Thanks for your time! I love reading about adoption and all of your values that show up in your writing!
    Blessings to you!

  6. Laurel
    October 22, 2009

    We started homeschooling in Sept. '90 … so I'm a year ahead of you. 🙂

    Our 3 goals/purposes are exactly what yours are. Our 5 oldest children are 25, 24, 22, 20, 20 … they are best of friends (with each other and with us "old folks") … they are each pursuing their passions … and they love the Lord with all their hearts.

    Because of the inspiration/influence of the many Christian biographies that our children read for "history", 4 of our oldest 5 have traveled the world for missions. I don't believe this would have happened if the lives of these Christian heroes had not been intertwined in our children's "schooling".

    My two youngest are in 2nd grade this year … so I've got a LOT of homeschooling years ahead of me, too.

    mama o f 13

  7. Staci
    October 22, 2009

    I am pre-school years, and don't know if I will homeschool or not, but I certainly admire those who do! One link I really like is


  8. Thankfulmom
    October 22, 2009

    Dee Dee,

    Thanks for giving me the push I needed to start writing about homeschooling. I wish I could join you at the conference! Dr. Purvis is my hero – right up there with Elisabeth Elliot and Deborah Gray. I hope I can meet her one day. She gave me hope when we couldn't find the help we needed.


  9. Anonymous
    October 22, 2009

    This will be a fun topic to chat on. Even though we've homeschooled for 15 years, I think it's an area where you can always grow and learn….I just finished reading a book for homeschooling moms by Vickie Farris (HSLA Michael Farris' wife)…She gives their story and shares how they've made homeschooling work for them, since they also have a large family. The chapter I have left is "Planning a Wedding with a Baby in Diapers." Bet lots of us relate to THAT! *But* here's the biggest challenge I got out of the book…She shares how they came to their beliefs regarding family planning and THOSE things really spoke to me….I'm STILL percolating about what I read two weeks ago…Sometime, let's talk about being open to life, whether through adoption or birth, and how to know God's mind on the matter…Should make for some lively discussion! ;o)

    Lisa H.

  10. Donna
    October 22, 2009

    Wow! What an inspiration!

    Our Blog: Double Happiness!

  11. Jillian and Crew
    October 23, 2009

    The boys came home in Jan at 7/8 ish and 10ish….Ayannah turned 5 shortly after…so we are N E W to homeschooling, I look forward to your insights!

  12. this is us
    October 23, 2009

    I really am excited to see more posts from you on homeschooling! My big question at the moment is how do you motivate kids who tend toward "laziness"? My oldest really has a habit of stopping when something is hard or tedious or frustrating (violin, math, swimming, etc.). She has no interest in challenging herself and this has become our biggest struggle with homeschooling at the moment. She is happy to stay right where she's at without any desire to move forward. I want her to see that it's a deeper heart issue, but I don't know quite how to push through it with her…

  13. Laurel
    October 23, 2009

    Wrote a post about your post tonight … and linked to it.

    🙂 🙂 🙂


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