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Does living debt-free sound impossible?


Read 7 Keys to a Financial Plan that Works in the  September issue of TOS magazine. 


  TOS September 2012


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September 26, 2012

Homeschooling while Potty Training?



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


The baby is really fussy. The 2-year-old is potty training. The preschooler is whiney and getting into messes. The kindergartner wants to do a puzzle with you right now. The 2nd grader wants to be timed on his math page. The 4th grader needs help with division. The 7th grader wants to compose a complaint letter and is asking for your guidance. The 10th grader is baking a new recipe and needs your help deciphering it. The one in college needs to be driven to class. And, all this took place within a few minutes of time. This was taken from a journal of a real live day in our home a few years ago. When we have days like these, our perception of progress may suffer.


When our perception of progress is based on outside (or our own) expectations, then our own reality will look grim or not match up. But if our perception of progress is based on a more eternal view, and we realize we are teaching and training for our children's life in eternity, then our daily progress with them will look heavenly no matter how small.


We are blessed to be all together, learning new things, and taking one day at a time. Whether that day is all about potty training, training in discipline, or training in history, or everything all at once, we can rest in the Lord's strength. What is the key to getting through these days of "small beginnings"?


Keep our focus on what God has for us and not on what others are doing.


Keep our eyes on our own child and not on what other peoples' children are doing. 


Keep our eyes on Jesus when it is too much for us.


His mercies are new every day for us; but are we availing ourselves of all God has to offer? Every time you take that child to the bathroom; every time you nurse that baby; every time you explain that problem again, every time you wake in the middle of the night in response to a cry; seek God. Pray. Worship. Look up. Ask for His wisdom that He freely and liberally gives to all who ask.


God's Word is the real key to peace of mind and the well-being of our soul and spirit, but you must feed yourself or you will starve spiritually. There is an abundance of good food waiting for you.


"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3


". . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." Zech. 4:6


"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him" Lamentations 3:21-25.



TOS Senior Editor






Are you teaching a younger learner in your homeschool? has lesson ideas for even the littlest ones in your home. Some of my fondest teaching memories are the times spent reading, playing, and doing hands-on activities with my toddlers and preschoolers.


Do you want to have hands-on lessons for your younger children? Ditch the Desk is chock-full of hands-on activities for wee ones. Young children learn and remember more through play than other ways of teaching them. By using hands-on learning on topics your children are interested in, you will be igniting a love for learning within them.

Do you need ideas for art activities? Everyday Easels has engaging art activities to help your beginning learner focus on fine-motor skills.


One of the best gifts we can give young children is exposure to good books. In our Read and Play section, you will find activities to go along with a book selection. You can bring a book to life by reading it and doing high-interest activities together.


Do you need some guidance in finding books to read based on reading level? Matt Glavach has four levels of reading lists with high-interest books from the youngest reader to the older reader. Even for your pre-reader, you can build language skills and reading comprehension by reading books to him that are above your child's reading level.


Do you need some hands-on history pages? Cathy Diez-Luckie has a study on a different historical person each month. The coloring page is suitable for all ages, and you will also have some brief lessons to use with the color page. This month, Cathy is highlighting Betsy Ross. Next month, she is highlighting Pharoah Narmer. She tries to cover a broad spectrum of history with her lessons.


Come play and learn with your little person at! It's as easy as Point. Click. TeachNot a member? Join for $1 for your first month.


Tami Fox

Director of Marketing

The Familyman

Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries  


Let me begin by saying, my wife is way smarter than I am. Sometimes I wish I could just have her sit down with you and talk. She knows so much more about homeschooling and life than I do (I still know more about RVs!!!).


One of the things she often tells other homeschooling moms is not to look at homeschooling as something we add to our lives but just as a natural part of our lives.


Is that not brilliant??!!!! She's right on the money. That makes the potty training dilemma . . . not so much of a dilemma. Instead of asking, "How can I homeschool my kids while potty training?" the statement becomes, "Homeschooling and potty training can go hand-in-hand because they're both just part of my life." It's not an interruption, but just part of school as much as it is a part of life.


Can you get as much school done when you're potty training? Maybe not . . . but that's OK. Maybe potty training is part of the lesson for awhile. Daughters watch and learn how to be a mom and siblings help a younger brother or sister learn a new skill and cheer them along the way. Those are valuable lessons.


That truth, by the way, applies to all those things we look at as "interruptions" . . . sickness, character issues, house tasks, toddlers, elderly parents, teenagers . . . everything. It's all just part of life. And everyone knows that life is the best teacher and the best classroom to learn in.


Be Real,



PS. I also know more about old TV trivia from the 60s and 70s than my wife.


PPS. I'm speaking this Friday at HEART Homeschool Group in Sycamore, IL. Starting time is 7 p.m. If you live in the area and want a good dose of encouragement, you'll want to be there. Contact info.





Struggling with getting food on the table?


Do your budget and lack of time affect your families' meals?


Could you use some practical homemaking tips?


Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on Thursday, September 27th, at 7 p.m. EDT!

(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT)  


Home Economics and Bulk Food Preparation

with Malia Russell and Molly Green


Plus a vendor workshop presented by Janome America. Join their online communities for more information about their premium sewing machines, sewing tips, projects, and lessons at and

Check out all the details at   


Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1000 available! 




What's Your Job Description?
Six important duties of parents, as found in Scripture, with questions and Bible verses. Free through September 30! 

Relational Homeschooling  

Diana Waring
Diana Waring



Diana is not contributing to The Homeschool Minute this week, but she wanted us to tell each of you "Hi!" and let you know she'll be back next week. In the meantime, you can check her website at to see what's new with Diana these days.





Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is a list of writing prompts for your preschooler. You'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in


Raising Real Men  

Hal & Melanie Young



Potty Training. Wow. You know, we may actually be out of that stage. Our eighth is three, safely trained and so far, there's not another on the way.  Hard to believe! As we look back over more than 22 years of diapers and potty training, there are a few things about potty training boys we sure wish we'd known earlier!


Lots of boys really don't care whether they are clean or dirty or wet or dry. Find something they do care about, whether it's raisins or gummy bears, and remember, it's not bribery if you are giving them treats for doing good! Keep telling yourself that, anyway.


Most boys would far rather keep playing than stop what they are doing and go to the bathroom. Make the treats better than playing. It's cheaper than diapers. One particularly recalcitrant trainee of ours got a star every time he went. Five stars could be traded in for a Matchbox car--and we made money on the deal when we saved on diapers!


Enlist some help. If you are potty training and homeschooling, you've got more than one child, and it's just not going to be like the first time. You are never going to remember to remind them in time. Well, hardly ever! Instead, get help. In our house, the potty trainee gets one treat for number one in the potty and two treats for number two. The one who reminds them to go gets the same treats! Suddenly, they never forget to go to the potty! Note: We don't let our boys help them in the potty, though, that's for parents or big sisters.


This isn't a race. Seriously, in a couple of years, no one will care. Not one single college asked when our boys were potty-trained. Not one! If little Priscilla at church potty trains two years before your Marmaduke, it doesn't mean a single thing. Well, except maybe her mom has more free time than you do.


They will eventually get it. Maybe not when you would like. In fact, probably not, but eventually they do get it. Relax. Now that our children are all growing up, we just aren't in a hurry any more. We've seen how quickly they grow up and leave home and we just don't mind nursing, or diapers, or baby talk. Yes, those days are long, but the years are all too short!


Hal & Melanie Young


PS. For more on combining homeschooling with babies and toddlers, see our workshop, "Homeschooling a Houseful: Diapers, Playdough and Microscopes.





Do you feel organized and happy about housework? 

Mom and daughter
Learn some new simple ways to organize 
your cleaning schedule by reading: 
 in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.


Creation Revolution     


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go fossil hunting? Imagine being the one to find the smallest fossil tracks of vertebrate footprints ever found . . .

Read about it in the article Smallest Fossil Footprints.

Contest Corner 

For the month of September 2012  


Rainbow Sentences App from Mobile Education Store


Mobile Education Store designs apps to assist elementary-aged children build language skills. In the beginning, the company created apps to assist children with high functioning autism, but it became apparent that these apps could be used with any child building the foundations of language. 


We were given Rainbow Sentences for iPad for review. Rainbow Sentences is useful for helping your student understand the Ws of writing--who, what, when, where, and why. Using color-coded visual cues, this app is useful for beginning readers and writing right up through mid-elementary-aged students. (. . .)


Three levels of play are offered, each one adding more parts of speech to the next. The way the app works is by presenting a picture, with a sentence describing what's happening in the picture. The scrambled words of the sentence are below the picture, with blanks to form the sentence above the picture. With a simple slide of the finger, your student moves the words in the word bank below up to the appropriate place in the sentence above. (. . .)


Read the rest of the review at this wonderful Schoolhouse Review Crew blog, Ben and Me.


You can win this App!



Email Deb ( with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Rainbow Sentences" for a chance to win* the App for your homeschool!



Schoolhouse  Free Apps


*Disclaimer and Legal Notice:
The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the September Contest Corner contest running from 
September 1, 2012, to September 30, 2012. 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
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