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     The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine


September 14, 2011      


I stink at maintaining balance.    


Deborah's  Picture   

Some of you have it all together (totally not fair!), but I stink at maintaining balance. I can easily be overwhelmed with homeschooling, working part time, mothering full time, and ministering all the time. I have lamented to my husband, "I can't make it all happen. I can't be all things to all people. I just can't do it anymore." My husband has learned that it is ineffective to say, "Yes, you can!" or "If only you would do such and such . . . " because he's got a ton on his plate, too. Instead he says, "I understand. Let's see how the kids can help or what you can let go or delegate." And sometimes it's my own fault. Ouch. These overwhelming times are when I need the Lord's ear as I pour out my heart to Him, and then He gives me peace and direction. I often find the solution once I've gotten past the emotion and stress of it all.  


If you are a homeschooler, you are going to face days or weeks like these. Don't let them deter your determination and conviction about homeschooling. Some quit for these very reasons. If you are feeling like quitting, then perhaps it is time to seriously re-evaluate how much you are trying to cram into one 12-hour day. You don't have to do all subjects every day. You could do the basics Monday through Thursday, and then do your science or history or creative writing (or whatever is the straw on that curriculum camel's back) only on Fridays, or twice a week-but skip something else. If you have a co-op or field trip, take it easy on the schooling those days or skip it altogether. Make simple meals and let the kids help you cook.  


Maybe you have lots of little ones and you are the only one to make it all happen. Check out Malia Russell's tasks for little ones. Kendra Fletcher also has great ideas for working and schooling with young ones. Some days, you will juggle things all day and feel like you got nothing at all done of importance. Let me reassure you, having those babies home where they belong with you is more reward than having a spotless house and a checked-off list.  


And if you are still in the dumps, take a day off to rethink things (the kids will love that), put some praise music on and study that devotional you've been pushing aside, and rest in the assurance that your obedience to God and His Word will bring eternal rewards whether you can see them today or not.  


Don't quit. Keep them Home Where They Belong. Pray for strength and direction. And purpose to praise God especially when you feel like you can't do it anymore. He dwells in the praises of His people and wants to strengthen us in our weakness with His glorious power.



TOS Senior Editor  


P.S. We are having our 10-year anniversary Schoolhouse Birthday Bash; I'd love for you to come and visit with me personally at these events. Both are free and fun-I'd love to chat with you there!


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Hey from Gena   Gena Suarez 

Gena Suarez, Publisher of TOS  


Maintaining balance. That's just funny to me (in a happy, light kinda way). I'm a homeschooler who works from home on my laptop constantly, all the while belting out homeschool-related (and other) orders to my kids. I'm sure there's lots of "balance" to be found in my life, and someday I may figure out what that is and have it all together. Today is not that day. That said, I do know that we are to maintain our lives in an orderly fashion, to be prudent and wise, and of course to be disciplined ourselves if we think we're going to model this for our children. And I do try. In some areas we're okay, like keeping (most of) our appointments and making sure the important chores get done. What more should we balance? 


First, I guess one would have to ask, "Okay, what do I personally want to balance?" Is it the school day? Is it relational time balanced against hard-core academics time? Is it that fine line to keep, making sure hubby's needs are met, too? I know of homes where the kids are just the EVERYTHING (sun, moon, stars), and it's crazy to me. The dad is left to fend for himself and kinda sits outside the family circle almost. The kids get it all. It's easy for us moms to get into the daily "let's get it all done" routine, but there are others to consider too (like Dad!). What else is there to balance, our meals? Our laundry? The number of pets we have? That's all up to you, and really between you, your husband, and the Lord. Consider making a few changes to bring more balance to the home where you can, as you can, but remember the priorities: the Lord, family, and friends who may need your counsel and fellowship. In fact, the first thing to bring balance to your home-the highest priority-make time to read God's Word. Don't starve yourself or you can't walk.


Don't go overboard and sweat the small stuff or you won't ever be able to sleep properly, and then you'll wake up every morning looking like a troll. This is what I do sometimes! Do you want to be a troll? NO! Remember, your Heavenly Father is with you; He has called you to this home and life, and you are obeying His call: taking care of your husband, your children, your home itself, all the schoolwork and field trips and appointments and meals, not to mention the escaped pet again and the potluck dinner at church you still need to figure out. Man, that is a ton to balance, and my friend, NO one is going to do all that perfectly. So just walk. As they say, it'll all balance out in the wash. (Oh, that reminds me-need to get one of the kids to do a laundry transfer-no clean towels AGAIN . . . ever!)





Psychology. It's the study of God's grandest creation - the human mind. It's also the most worldview-challenging class your children will take in college. Are they prepared? Whatever you think about psychology, the time to deal with it is now. Finally, there's a Christian perspective.   




 TOS Birthday Bash!  


 The Old Schoolhouse® is celebrating with a Birthday Bash in September, and we would love for you to join us! Stayed tuned to THM for complete details, and be sure to watch for our BIG Birthday Bash announcement on September 20th! Save the dates and join us for a time of celebration where YOU receive the gifts! 


Schoolhouse Birthday Bash  

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September 22 - 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EST)   

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THEN . . .  

Join us for a special live event on September 29th! We are having a webinar party with our new columnists, and we will have freebies, door prizes, and an evening of homeschool encouragement!


Meet-and-Greet with the TOS

Family  of Columnists

September 29 - 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EST)


Registration is FREE and limited to 1000 live attendees. You can sign up at this link




Creation Revolution

How many different languages can you name?  Most of us can name at least a dozen or so.  Did you know that the Bible has been translated into 2,200 different languages?


Continue reading The Origin of Languages.        


Todd Wilson The Familyman
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries

"I stink-you stink-we all stink at BALANCE!"


It's true; we're all prone to being unbalanced. Since that is the case, the important thing is to make sure you're unbalanced in the right direction . . . or the one that will cause the fewest problems.


For busy husbands and dads, I would say that if they're going to be unbalanced to make sure they're unbalanced toward family. If they have to drop a ball in the great juggling act, they should drop it in the work/career department. Like you, I've met plenty of men who have been unbalanced toward work and have regretted it. I have never met a dad who was unbalanced toward family and regretted it.


So . . . for homeschooling moms, I'd say to make sure you're unbalanced toward the relationship with your children. If you have to fall short, fall short in what you teach them, NOT in how much you enjoy them. It's easy for children to make up in the information category, but it's almost IMPOSSIBLE for them to make up in the relationship department.


For some of you, that will be reassuring; for others of you, let that be a warning.


So go ahead and be unbalanced; just make sure you're unbalanced in the best direction.


Be real,



P.S. Actually, what I just wrote isn't being unbalanced . . . it's the way God intended life to be lived.




TeacherGeek activities and components allow students to become innovators and problem solvers
while applying math, science and engineering concepts. Design and build amazing vehicles, launchers, hydraulic arms, wind turbines and countless other inventions. Free documents guide students through hands-on adventures. Visit to watch videos, download documents and learn more.

It's Just Common Sense

Ruth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist 


Debbie Strayer, Homeschool Consultant  


As a teacher by profession, I learned to teach by a schedule, diligently plodding through the scope and sequence. I often felt like the old video game character that marched through the corridors of a maze, munching dots as he went until he ate them all. Sometimes my goals seemed to have more to do with covering skills than with how my children responded. For me, an understanding of balance is the same way. Just doing what I think makes sense is less important than meeting the particular needs of my children. As their Creator, God knows them intimately and has a custom-designed plan for them. For me, balance came about by making my priority following God's plan for us throughout the day.


Balance implies positioning demands so that no one thing takes more of your time or priority than anything else. Like the idea of giving every subject an equal amount of time each day, balance suggests that all demands are equal in weight and importance. The balance of a traditional approach to teaching may not be the balance you need to teach your children at home.


There are several important things to balance when teaching at home. First, spiritual development is at the top of most people's list. A balanced homeschool life involves taking time out of your day to pray with and for your family. Modeling a spirit-led life does not mean you throw away your schedule, it just means you give God permission to interrupt your plan. A second priority is the healthy emotional well-being of your children. Each child needs to know he is loved and cared for and that, as part of your family's team, he has things to contribute to help it run smoothly. Cooperation with schedule, caring for others, and following Mom's and Dad's lead regarding service help each child find his place of worth.


The last thing to balance is academic and intellectual growth. Make time for the things you have chosen to do for school. Working together, taking advantage of real-life learning as much as possible, and incorporating things like read-alouds into your daily routine give academics an important role, but not such emphasis that stress becomes your daily companion. With the balance of spirituality, the rhythm of family life, and an eye to see teaching in light of real life, you can find the balance that lifts burdens and carries them together.


~ Debbie




The Five Fathers of Music is a wonderful music history program about the great composers Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Gershwin.

With biographies, poems, teaching games, testing games, worksheets, and listening activities, it is a hands-on, visual, and auditory program for reading age up to eighth grade. 



Want to hook your kids on science? Dive Into Your Imagination and teach English, Science, and Character with dolphins, sharks, clownfish and other exciting sea creatures! Bring the real Ocean into your classroom today with DVDS and books by Annie Crawley founder of  


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Contest Central  

For the month of September, 2011   



Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy




Our family receives more materials for review than we sometimes know what to do with. Oftentimes, we'll just skim the pages to get a general idea of the curriculum's general usability and quality. If it makes the basic grade, it's good to go. If it's superior, sometimes we'll even adopt it into our own homeschooling program. We found something superior. It's a beautiful book on astronomy from a totally Christian perspective, called Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy, by Jay Ryan, and our family is so impressed with it. Why? Because we're learning! And we're on the edge of our chair doing so.


The author quotes ancient sources throughout the entire manuscript, tying in centuries of knowledge and understanding. For most people today, the sky has lost its appeal. It's gone flat. Our culture has no time, no desire to study astronomy the way scholars have throughout the ages. What happened? Where have the deep thinkers gone? Astronomy is fascinating; it opens up new worlds--literally! It explains time and dates, light, seasons, and dimension. One important aspect of this book is that it puts to rest the various "pagan influences" in astronomy. It incorporates biblical explanations and sends old superstitions packing. (Read the rest of the review here.)


Win this book for your family!



Email Deb with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line "Signs and Seasons" for a chance to win* this book!



2011-12 Schoolhouse Planners  

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