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Hello From The Harried Homeschooler

By Christine Field

I am the joyful mother of four children. (See Psalm 113:9) My brood consists of Clare, age 12, Caitlin, age 11, Grace, age 7, and Daniel, age 4. Our second daughter is a list-maker/note-taker. She likes to keep journals and records of things. One morning, not long ago, she chronicled the sins of her little brother, Daniel. She handed me the list with a flourish. "See?" she said. "This is not normal behavior!" I kept my mouth shut with the desire to tell her that her list-making was not typical either, but I held my tongue. Her list read as follows:

In the first two hours of our school day, Daniel:

1. Said three swears.
2. Blew his nose on a towel.
3. Pulled his pants down two times.
4. Sprayed cooking spray on the floor. (Wheee! We went slipping!)
5. Sprayed shaving cream on a towel in the bathroom.
6. Goofed up the computer.

In our home, this is a fairly typical school day. Life in a busy household with four imaginative, active children can be a challenge. They will try anything as an experiment. Like the time Clare taped twenty magnets to her feet to see if she could climb up the refrigerator. Or the time Daniel smeared white glue on the front window because he wished it would snow. But I wouldn't miss the blessing for anything else in the world!

Before children, I had never heard of homeschooling. We didn't even think we would ever be parents. After dealing with fertility issues, we adopted our first child. To prove the fertility experts wrong, our second child was born to us seventeen months later.

With two children in diapers and bottles, I felt the Lord's whack on the side of my head to make some changes in my life. I left my career after eight years of practicing law and became a full time mommy. (I like to say that now I am “a recovering lawyer.”) It was at this point I began to read about homeschooling. The seed was planted in my heart.

When the first two got a little more manageable, we adopted two more, this time from Korea. We are also still active foster parents. The children in our lives are the delight of our lives, the sunshine in our days and the reason for our joy.

They are also the reason why my house is frequently a mess, my papers are disorganized, my eyes are tired and my laundry is piled much too high. I am in the trenches of homeschooling and I am the harried homeschooler as I seek to play the many roles and meet the many demands in my life.

It is only by God's grace and constant intervention, with the solid support of my husband, with a support system of fellow homeschoolers, with open and loving communication with my children and with a well worn sense of humor that I persevere. Nothing else in life has brought me more satisfaction. No human endeavor has been the source of greater joy.

A half dozen principles are essential to my survival as a harried homeschooler. I want to do more than survive. I want to see my family thrive! Give some thought to these ideas:



1. Do you know why you are homeschooling? Articulating and writing down your vision for your family and your homeschool can be an important experience. On the inevitable bad days, it serves as a lighthouse to keep your homeschool ship on course.

2. Are you and your spouse on the same page? The decision to homeschool and the decisions relative to that should be united, prayerful decisions. Take some time to get connected on these issues.

3. Are your children under your authority? You can't teach a child who won't listen to you. Expend the energy now to work on discipline issues to spare even greater heartache later.

4. Do you have organizational systems in place so your home runs fairly smoothly? It's hard to function when you can't find a pencil, the school books, clean socks, or the dinner menu. Being structured about cleaning, cooking, chores, and clutter frees you up to focus on relationships, training, and loving your family.

5. Do you have a support system? Mom needs to have fellow travelers to sympathize with, to use as sounding boards and resource persons, and as shoulders to cry on. Find a support group and be prepared to give as well as get support.

6. Do you know that everyone goes through tough times, crises times and even burnout? If you can hang in there, most things improve. No decision about your children is so crucial that it must be made today. Take a deep breath, take some prayer time and take your time in making these life changing decisions.

Homeschooling is a joyous journey. Don't get so harried that you fail to treasure the time. Do more than survive -- THRIVE!

Christine M. Field, The Old Schoolhouse’s Resource Room columnist, practiced law for eight years before becoming a full-time mommy for her four children.  Her husband serves as Chief of Police in Wheaton, Illinois.  She is a freelance writer and the author of several books about homeschooling, adopting, and more.


Copyright 2002.
Originally appeared in Fall 2002. Used with permission.
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.


 Read CBD's Interview with Christine Field

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 Books from Christine Field

Help for the Harried Homeschooler : A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Child's Education with the Rest of Your Life
Help for the Harried Homeschooler : A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Child's Education with the Rest of Your Life

Homeschooling 101: The Essential Handbook
Homeschooling 101: The Essential Handbook

Homeschooling the Challenging Child: A Practical Guide
Homeschooling the Challenging Child: A Practical Guide

Life Skills for Kids
Life Skills for Kids


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