P is for Patience

ABCs of Homeschooling - Copy

P is for patience. Many people say that they could never homeschool their children because they don’t have enough patience.

What they don’t realize is that you develop patience as you homeschool your children. It’s not something you must bring to the table; your desire to help them learn is what helps you develop patience. You’ll find that when you rush them, they don’t learn more quickly; instead, you and they get frustrated.

As you mature in your parenting abilities, you’ll find that patience becomes your best friend. It makes your day run more smoothly. And the patience you demonstrate will teach your kids about patience, too.


Looking for homeschooling advice and encouragement from somebody who’s been there and done that for over 25 years? You need The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling!

O is for Outdoors

ABCs of Homeschooling - Copy

O is for outdoors. When I was a schoolgirl, I lived for recess. Those 15 minutes on the sunny playground were a brief and much-appreciated respite from the boredom of the classroom.

Homeschooled kids are fortunate to be able to go outside far more often than schoolchildren; in fact, much of their learning can be done outside, whether it’s sitting on a blanket reading, or catching and observing insects or worms before letting them loose again.

While there are health benefits to being outside, such as gaining Vitamin D from sunshine and being able to breathe fresh air, there are also emotional benefits of exercise and play, which create endorphins that help our children feel good. How fortunate homeschooled children are to be able to enjoy the outdoors during the week instead of just on weekends!


Now available: the 3rd edition of Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers, completely revised and expanded. Check it out!


N is for Nuisances

ABCs of Homeschooling - Copy

N is for nuisances. When you homeschool, the nuisances of daily life become magnified, because instead of taking time away from housework or other household activities, they interrupt your work with your children. All it takes is a badly timed phone call from a long-winded friend to completely throw off your careful explanation of fractions that your child was just beginning to understand.

Try to control nuisances ahead of time by screening your calls, or by asking family and friends not to call just to chit-chat in the mornings, or the afternoons, or whenever you tend to work with your children on their studies. Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your front door if you have to. Nuisances eat up valuable time; don’t let them!


Why should you teach your child to be frugal? Because it’s great preparation for the future: learn more in “Teaching Children to Be Frugal.”

M is for Mothering

ABCs of Homeschooling - Copy

M is for mothering. At times, I got so caught up in teaching my children math and reading that I became more teacher than mom. I had to learn that I’m always a mother first.

This means that when a child becomes impatient with a concept, instead of firmly repeating the lesson, it’s wise to take a good look at the child and consider whether he’s had enough sleep, or if he’s coming down with something, or if the concept is just a little too advanced for him right now and should be postponed for a few weeks or months, instead of thinking “But the curriculum schedule says we need to do this lesson this week!” Never be afraid to let your mothering instinct override your teacher mindset.

(Will your children be tech-savvy? Learn more: “Children, Computers and Time.”)

L is for Location

ABCs of Homeschooling - Copy

L is for location. There’s a saying in real estate: “Location, location, location.” It means that no matter how beautifully built and decorated a house is, if it’s located next to a garbage dump, it’s not worth as much as a house with a park-like setting.

Location is also important when homeschooling your children. They won’t learn as much or have as much fun if they’re forced to sit in the same spot day after day to “do school.” Try varying your routine. Spend time in the park watching birds, at the grocery store weighing vegetables, in your basement finger-painting, and out in your neighborhood on a rainy day checking puddles for frogs. A variety of locations can make homeschooling more interesting and fun for your children…and you.

(Just out in print: the 3rd edition of Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers, completely revised and expanded. Check it out!)