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"I can't tell you how much I look forward to each one. They are chock full of great advice yet such a manageable length that I can easily digest each one. And I don't think you could find a more perfect mix of contributing authors than Nancy, Deborah, Todd and Ruth. I love how each of them brings his or her own perspective on the same topic. . . . Great nuggets of truth and a perfect balance!"

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"I want to thank you for the encouraging and informative articles in The Homeschool Minute. I know that God is blessing you for taking time to share with others. There is strength in numbers, even if you can't see their faces, or squeeze their hands with understanding. Thank you from the bottom of my family's heart."

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The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine


When You're Weary                                     February 2, 2011

Greetings!Nancy Carter Picture

When you're weary, it's very important to go to the right place for encouragement. Sometimes well-meaning folks will unintentionally make things worse by telling you that homeschooling really is "too hard" and perhaps you and your kids would benefit from a break from each other.  Perhaps sometimes others will make you feel like a big fat failure because everything seems so easy to them. I think that's why Todd is always telling us to "be real". When others are weary, they don't want to hear from the one who has it all together. They want to hear from the friend who has shared her own struggles, but has found a way to keep going.

I've learned that when I'm weary, I don't really want someone to fix me, what I really need is comfort. Just the other day, I was having a really hard time. I had prayed about it and I was doing my best to rest in God's grace, but I have to be honest, Satan was throwing all kinds of self-condemnation at me. I was trying to do the whole "renew my mind" thing, but I was so flustered I couldn't even decide where to start reading in my Bible. So you know what I did? I went to my refrigerator. During our Schoolhouse Expo, Deb did a presentation that included a chart called God's Freebies. It's on page 5 of this powerpoint. She has a great list of what we need and the wonderful gifts that God gives. I can't tell you how much that list has been a comfort to me.

And when I start to beat myself up for even struggling, I think back on Zan Tyler's presentation about Life in the Fiery Furnace. In her workshop, she reminded me that trials don't always come as a result of what we are doing wrong: sometimes they come as an attack because of what we are doing right! And Deb had another presentation where she talked about how life is kind of like a cake. The individual ingredients might not taste good by themselves (think flour, baking soda, etc...), but God knows what our life needs and has a recipe that's going to make a masterpiece for His glory.

Although you all may think I rave about the Schoolhouse Expo just because I serve on the Expo Team, I can honestly tell you that God even surprises me with how He knows what our guests need to hear and brings the right people with right presentations at the right time. I know that many people were blessed in many different ways, but I can honestly tell you that the encouragement and messages that I heard in October have really helped me to weather the hard times. By the way, you can purchase individual MP3s of many of the October sessions in the new Homeschool Dollar Store or  you can buy the whole Celebrate Homeschooling Expo To Go so you can actually watch the presentations at your convenience or download the audio portions for your computer or MP3 player. And I'll let you in on a secret, you can still download the handouts from October on this page.  Shhh. . .

Deb and Zan are both going to be back for our May Homeschooling with Heart Expo. Plus, we've got a lot of other fantastic speakers including Dari Mullins discussing S.T.R.E.S.S. and the Homeschool Mom. If you're feeling weary, I just want to encourage you to go ahead and get your ticket for this Expo. I think it will be a blessing to you. Right now, the tickets are under $20 and you get lots of extra goodies.

But first of all,  take your troubles to God and give Him room to work. He loves you so very much and cares about every detail in your life. Nothing is too big or too small for him.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified . Isaiah 61:3




P.S. Here are two other links that might be an encouragement to you. Know that we love you at TOS and are praying for you.



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Deborah WuehlerMercy Every Minute
Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor

We just had our monthly homeschool group meeting last night. I have so looked forward to each meeting that I don't think I've missed many at all in the last 15 years. Why? I am highly encouraged by the other ladies in my group. Women have come and gone over the years-all leaving lasting impressions on me in one way or another. Some impressed me with their contagious joy, encouraging me to laugh more, smile more, and see the positive in all things. Some impressed me with their excellent teaching skills, revealed in their organized files and smart students, and I have been encouraged to work just a little bit harder in all things and not get lazy. Some have impressed me with their godly convictions, and I have been encouraged to keep my focus on eternal things when I can't seem to get my eyes past my temporal trials. Some have impressed me with their transparency and blunt honesty, encouraging me to be open and honest that we might comfort each other with the same comfort we have received from the Lord.


The opposite of encouragement is discouragement. Over these nearly 20 years I have been homeschooling, I have been discouraged many, many times. I realize it is when I have listened to and almost believed the "accuser of the brethren," Satan himself, whispering things like: "Other parents have poured more into their children's lives than you have. Anyone else could teach better than you teach. Those women have it all together; look at you, you're falling apart! Your children are falling apart. You aren't godly enough, smart enough, organized enough-you should just quit."


This is why we need each other. We need to hear voices of truth telling us we can do this; we are the perfect mother/teacher for these children; God will give us what we need when we need it; God will reward our obedience, not our ability. We may not all have the same talents-some of us are skilled musicians, some mathematicians, some cooks and some tow truck drivers. All are needed in God's kingdom to raise God's children. Together, we all make a beautiful picture of what homeschooling looks like as God pours out His gifts on us and through us and to our children.


And, when discouragement hits, and it will, choose not to listen to the liar and accuser, and choose instead to listen to the living God and His living Word. The Word gives a breath of fresh air, fresh perspective, and fresh courage to continue on.


As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?

hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Psalm 42:1-5


Putting my hope in God with you,


~ Deborah



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Todd Wilson The Familyman
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries

When you're weary-where do you get homeschool encouragement? When you're WEARY? Are you kidding me? You're always weary! Weary and homeschooling go together like . . . road kill and rigor mortis. That's why we need each other to make it through in one piece.

That's why the Bible says more than once, "Encourage one another." We need to hear from our spouse, family, and friends, "You can do it . . . keep up the good work . . . you're doing such a good job . . . oh, I know it's hard, but you can do it!"


Unfortunately, we've taken those encouragement verses as "discourage one another." We don't mean to, but so often we offer our advice when all a friend needs is our understanding. We give non-verbal cues of disapproval when what someone needs is our smile of empathy. We Christian homeschool parents are quick to dole out  "godly instructions" when we should say, "I understand."

Yes, you need to have sources of encouragement for yourself . . . but there are others very near you who need your word of encouragement TODAY.


Dad, can I speak to you right now? Your wife needs your encouragement today. She's weary, at the end of her rope, and looking for a way out. She needs you to be her knight in shining armor, to shoulder more than your weight in responsibility, to smile in her direction, to thank her for her daily sacrifices, to lift her up in prayer, to remind her of your goals and purpose, to cheer her on, to tell her, "You're doing a great job . . . you're going to make it . . . you can do it."

Go do it!


Be real,

P.S. We have all kinds of encouragement products for homeschooling moms and friends, like encouragement cards; homeschool cartoon books; the most encouraging book on the planet, "Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe"; and a book for husbands to show them how to encourage their homeschooling wives.



Pawparazzi® Pawparazzi® are all the rage in the world of plush, collectible toys! Their unique personalities (artists, writers, actors, and more!) allow young girls to express their creativity and use their imaginations to explore the world of these pint-sized pets. Meet Salsa the Singing Sensation, and all the pets, at 

It's Just Common Sense
Ruth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist
Debbie Strayer, Homeschool Consultant

Homeschoolers, as a group, are very hard on themselves. We love our children and are willing to stay up late, get up early, school when we're sick or when they're cranky. We read, pray, share, and listen, all in pursuit of providing the best education we can for our precious charges.

Seeking to do your best can be tiring. I know that I was often tired and in need of refreshment in the midst of homeschooling. But here's what I discovered as well. I could pour myself out as an offering for my family, because I knew the God who called me to homeschool would be faithful to refill and renew me to continue the task. Tiredness wasn't a symbol of failure. For me, it was a sign of the passion God had given me for homeschooling.

Don't find fault with yourself, or think you are tired because you aren't doing things right. You may need to make a few adjustments, but don't add condemnation to your thinking. Trust Him to provide rest when you need it. When the opportunity comes to put your feet up, take it, knowing that the rest you receive from the Lord refreshes and renews you to continue the journey.

~ Debbie

Read more from Debbie at


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Molly Green, Econobusters

The LORD is my strength and my shield;

   my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

My heart leaps for joy,

   and with my song I praise him.

Psalm 28:7


Of course, the best place to turn when we are weary is to the one who provides us with the strength we need to carry on. I enjoy visiting and reading pertinent verses in a variety of translations. It's super simple to do a keyword search on the specific issue or feeling you may be struggling with. You can also browse the topical index and find something that hits close to home. There is no greater source of strength than the Word.


Sharing in the struggles and successes of fellow homeschool moms is also a great source of encouragement. You might consider taking a few moments to read and comment on some blogs at Who knows? You might make a new friend! If you haven't checked out the freebie section of the Schoolhouse Store, you really should. It's full of free, encouraging resources.

~Molly Green


While every effort is made to ensure that the recommended sites are family-friendly, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and its writers do not own the sites recommended. Content and advertising can change without notice. Please exercise caution when viewing websites and review all websites before allowing your children to visit them.

Calling All Cooks!

As a mom, do you find yourself getting bored with seeing the "same old, same old" on your dining room table? Although it is comforting to know exactly how to prepare those old faithfuls, do you ever wish for something new and different?

Meal preparation is something most of us are responsible for daily, and the TOS team thought it would be fun to include a menu (plus recipes for each entree) in a new column titled Lunchroom! The "same old" to you could be "new and different" to someone else! Therefore, would you share your menu idea with us?

You're not limited to lunch ideas; a simple menu for breakfast, lunch, or dinner would be welcomed enthusiastically. Ideally, we'd love to have an excellent photograph of the prepared dishes or at least one photograph of your favorite dish among the items within the submitted menu, but that is not absolutely essential.

What is absolutely essential is a generous heart (yours) and an investment of 15 to 30 minutes to type up the menu, ingredient lists, and instructions and send them to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's managing editor at this email address We will be waiting eagerly to receive your menus so that all of us can discover fresh ideas for the new year!

Contest Central  

For the month of February, 2011

The Listeners-Tales of Young Americans Series


The lives of slaves depended on circumstances beyond their control. They had nothing to say about whom they would work for or where they would live. They never knew when they might be separated from their children or their spouses. Hoping to learn their fate, they sent small children to hide near the windows of their masters' homes to listen.


The Listeners is the story of three of those children. Bobby, Sue, and Ella May have to help work on the plantation and they each have their jobs, but when the night gets quiet and the master and the mistress start talking in the big house, the little ones have the most important job of all-they have to listen. They listen for their futures and they listen to find out what may happen to their parents. The children find out they will be getting a new overseer, and they are happy because the one they have is a cruel man. They bring this news back to the family. The family isn't so sure that this is good news or bad. (. . .)


As with all the titles in the Tales of Young Americans Series, this is a beautiful, moving book. It perfectly conveys the message that the lives of the slaves were not their own. There was no easy, carefree childhood for them. The Listeners portrays a difficult time in our nation's history in a stirring manner for children. This book is not to be missed and would be a perfect addition to any Civil War study.


Read the rest of the review here. Win this book for your family!



Email Deb with your name and mailing address and the subject "The Listeners" for a chance to win* this book!



Homestead Blogger
*Disclaimer and Legal Notice:
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the February Contest Central contest running from February 1, 2011, to February 28, 2011. You must be 18 years of age or older and follow all rules to participate. Entering the contest constitutes full and complete acceptance of, and a warranty that the entrant has read, understands and agrees to, all contest terms and conditions, including without limitation all of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC Contest Rules ("Official Rules") and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Writer Guidelines
 and Terms and Conditions for Submitting Queries. All Official Rules apply. Entry also constitutes full consent and unlimited permission for Company to print, publish, broadcast and use all intellectual property and personal information submitted as part of the Contest entry on the Internet and in any and all Company publications in accordance with the Rules. Entries become the sole property of Company and will not be returned. Employees and independent contractors of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, Contest sponsors, individuals or entities furnishing Contest prizes and their family members may not participate in this contest. Company reserves the sole, discretionary right to determine contest winners and to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest or the Rules at any time with or without notice or cause, subject to applicable law. See Official Rules for details.
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

For a full copy of the Official Rules, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine: Official Rules Request, PO Box 8426, Gray, TN 37615