Homeschool Oasis



 Q's & A's


In-depth Description




for the

 Homeschool Course:




Created and offered by


Barb Shelton of Homeschool Oasis



Click HERE for an Intro to Barb





This Homeschool Course is sponsored by

Online Bible College


(Click on the logos to go there.)  


Check out their excellent FREE Bible

study courses at their website ~ perfect

for use by homeschoolers!

Triune Biblical


An evangelical, interdenominational community

dedicated to the preparation of men and women for the manifold ministries of Jesus Christ and His Church.

To count as a course that "qualifies" a parent to homeschool in Washington State, the course must be at or sponsored by a post-secondary (after high school)  institution. OBC is that institution for this course.





Clickable Index ~ of all the questions & topics on this page

Where is this course taken?


What does the course consist of?  Where is it described in full?


Good grief!  Why is there SO much to read on this page!?!?!


Who is the instructor or creator of the course?


How much will the Course cost?


Isn't that expensive!?!


Should I do this with someone else ~ or alone?


Can my husband or someone who's going to be helping with our homeschooling take this course with me ~ and not pay?


How do I know which resources to get?


What if I don't feel I need a particular resource, or want to substitute something I have on hand or would prefer to do?


Where do I get all the resources?


Why do I have to read high school material if my children aren't there yet?


Where should I start with the materials?


In what order should I do the course?


How long should this course/season take?

What if a link doesn't work?  (Does that mean I don't have to read or buy that resource?)


I already know what I'm doing, I just don't qualify any other way, and I don't want to have to take a whole course to get qualified.


I really need to take this course, but can't afford it.  Can I take it for free? ~ or have you figured out a way to make it cheaper for me? 


Do I really need to take this (or any) homeschool course?


Is your course the "only" or the "best" way to do a homeschool course?


Does the Certificate of Participation stand up to the law since technically we aren't yet certified until after we complete the course?


What about the Declaration of Intent to Homeschool form?

What's the best way to sign up to homeschool?  Not for this course, but to homeschool ~ as in signing up with my school district?


This is a lot of stuff to do; how will I possibly have time for this?


What if I start feeling overwhelmed?!?!


Is this the same course as the one you had before?


I would prefer to pay for the whole course at one time; can I just pay one blanket fee for the whole course, and not have to deal with getting everything individually?


What if I already have enough college and/or am a teacher?


Do I need to have this course finished before starting to homeschool (or moving to Washington)?  Or can I be "in process" when we start (or move there)?


What's the Certificate of Completion about?


What do I need to do to get a Certificate of Completion?


What if I don't want a Certificate of Completion?  (Actually, please read this even if you do want one.)

For Washingtonians only.



Encouragement as you embark on this season!


Plan to Invest in This Season.


Communication With Your Family Is a Must! 


Encouragement and Insights from Course Participants


Encouragement to do this NOW:

Expect the unexpected!


Concerned about your kids not learning enough?  ... Enjoying your kids!


Have I been doing it all wrong? ... Is it too late?  ...  Guilt?!?!?


Major shifting of priorities.


Learning how to learn ourselves!


In closing... 




Q's & A's





Q: Where is this course taken?


Right in the comfort of your own home!  It is a correspondence course, so you do not go anywhere to take it ~ as in the course is not presented in a classroom or conference setting.  You purchase the materials ~ which is most of the cost (and this can be just a few at a time) ~ and do all of the course work at home!  ...  or at Starbucks...  or at the library...  or in a quiet room at your church...  or wherever you want!




Q:  What does the course consist of? Where is it described in full?


The full description is presented on the Homeschool Course Description page.  You are welcome to pop on over there to take a look at that, but you'll want to thoroughly read this whole page too at some point soon, and before signing up for the course, as many questions that will form in your mind as you look through the Homeschool Course Description page will be answered herein.  Plus what you read here will make that page make more sense.    (It's kind of a "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" thing!)  But having at least a basic idea of what's there will give you a point of reference for what I'm talking about here on this page in all the Q's and A's!  




Q: Good grief!  Why is there so much to read on this page!?!?!


Because there's that much to say!  Consider it reading a booklet, not just a web page. 


If, after reading all this and taking the course, you can tell me what, on this page, I could take out, I will gladly do so! (Assuming I agree!Every single word is here because it's something I felt you needed to know ~ things that will help you know whether or not this course is for you ~ or in answer to what others have actually asked, or indicated they needed to know because of something that was asked or said. 


For example...  One lady wanted a refund on the part of the course she had purchased (the $15 registration fee) because she didn't realize she would need to purchase materials for the rest of the course.   ...   Another woman was angry at me because she had not done the responses to the resources, and felt I should give her a Certificate of Completion anyway!  ...  I had actually fully explained both of these aspects, but they had simply chosen to not read them ~ because they just didn't have time; they wanted to get the course done quickly and out of the way.  So, "note to (your)self":  If you are wanting a get-it-done-quickly course, THIS IS NOT THE ONE FOR YOU.  This course is for those wanting to bring about change in their hearts, homes, and relationships, who are truly seeking the fruit and blessings God has in mind ~ and in store ~ for them during these homeschooling years.


[Especially for Washingtonians:]  It's not a quick fix or solution to the need to get qualified ~ in Washington State, in particular, either. As you'll see, I provide a Certificate of Participation for those circumstances it may be of help, but at this point, in Washington, we are not required to state how we qualify to homeschool, so if your Declaration of Intent to Homeschool form requires that, please know that it is not actually required by law to give that information.  And it is best that you not give it.  Instead send in this form that is actually the one set forth by Washington's Homeschool Law.


And a final note regarding the "ton of stuff to read" aspect, consider being the one who had to think it up, explain it, organize it, format it, figure out what to put on which pages, decorate it, create all the hyperlinks, connect with sponsoring and providing resources, and upload everything (many times over as edits and changes were made) ~ in addition to just designing the whole course itself. I have given this, literally hundreds of hours.  Yes, hundreds.  There isn't even one little punctuation mark, margin, or letter in all this material that didn't get here by my "putting" it there.   ...   And all you have to do is read it. 




Q:   Who is the instructor or creator of the course?


Me.  Barb Shelton.  I created it, though I only wrote part of it.  So, by "creating" it, I mean that I designed the overall format, decided on what all to include in it, and wrote/created all that is part of it from an organizational end ~ like this page you're reading, the Course Description page, the sign-up form, the Course Syllabus, the Certificates of Participation and Completion, and several of the workshops, books and CD's that you'll find in the course.  (You'll see which things I wrote, and which others wrote in the Course Description, linked above.)  Plus I approached the sponsoring institution to request that they sponsor it.


And if you're wondering what business ~ or qualifications ~ I have to teach/create/offer such a course, here's an intro to me:   Intro to Barb Shelton - the creator of Homeschool Oasis' Homeschool Course for Parents.


(And if you think of anything else I should add, please email me and let me know!  ...  However, if one of your questions is what I have in the way of college, I do not plan to answer that.  My answer is contained in this section that you'll find on this page.)




Q: How much will the Course cost?


The total prices vary according to the ages of your children:


If you have children in both age groups (11 and under, and 12 and up), you'll be getting everything,  

    which will come to about* $346.                            


If you have children only in the 11-and-under group, it will cost about $291.


If you have children only in the 12-and-over group, it will cost about $321.


(If you end up figuring it out yourself and come up with a different figure, please let me know!!!  The math end of things is not my fortι. )



 * One variable is the type of Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la you get. The e-book is $15, included here; the hard-copy book, in best condition, is $30. So the course would cost $15 more if have a 12-year-old or up and you get that.  (All of our prices include shipping.)




Q: Isn't that expensive!?!


Short answer:  No, it's actually not.    ...  Long answer:  Let's jump in and look at this money aspect...


Most of what you're paying for is materials, so most of what you are paying is for stuff you are going to keep ~ material that you will use and glean from over and over throughout your homeschooling years.  You will be building a library that will be of value to you ~ and to your high schoolers, as they use them in their high school studies.  And someday your grown-up children will use them as they homeschool their children (your grandchildren!)  This is actually ~ joyfully ~ coming to pass in our family even as I type!!!


Plus...  what you are purchasing in this course is actually going to be a huge part of what you will need to homeschool your children, from tiny tots all the way through high school!  You will be adding in and using other books you have around home or that you find and want to buy, of course, but this is everything you need to set up, organize, and document your overall homeschool experience, plus many many real-life, non-burdensome learning activities for your kids.  More specifically, you will be able to use much of it with your high schoolers as part of their actual education. 


The "homeschool norm" is to buy curriculum ~ which can easily (in fact minimally) cost $150 per subject per child.  Once you finish this course, you will realize that you do not actually need much formal curriculum, except here 'n' there if you so choose to include it.  So you will actually be saving MUCH more money in the long-run than what you'll spend on this course.


Here are a few thoughts and ideas that I hope will help:


You may be able to find some of the resources "used" at a homeschool store. Keep in mind, though, that buying directly from the authors actually helps to support their ongoing ministries and keep them going.  Buying used curriculum just reimburses someone in part for what they paid for it.


Ask any homeschooling friends (or even mere acquaintances) if they have any of the resources for the course that you could borrow from them.  (Many of the items are new products, though, so this isn't very likely for quite a few items.)



Consider this verse:  "Why spend your money on foodstuffs that don't give you strength? Why pay for groceries that don't do you any good? Listen and I'll tell you where to get good food that fattens up the soul. Come to Me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake."  (Isaiah 55:2)  This course is FOOD for your mind, heart and soul.  Is it possible that God may have already provided for you to take the course, but you've spent it on other "(food)stuff" ~ curriculum ~ "that won't do you any good"?  Many moms have told me they wish they could get my stuff, but they just can't afford it ~ because they just spent hundreds of dollars on text/workbooks. 


If so, consider selling some of your curriculum text/workbooks, and then refrain from buying anything new until you're done with this course.  As I said, what you would pay (or have paid) for even just one or two subjects for just one child is typically enough to pay for the entire course!  (Several moms told me they did this!)  The benefit your entire family will reap from the money being spent on truly educating Mom first and freeing her up will far exceed any academic benefit of the text/workbooks.  It's much more important for Mom to get her foundation established and her vision set!  Then, if you still feel you need some textbooks later, God will provide. 


Pray, believing that the verse "My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus" applies to you TODAY!     I assure you that indeed it does apply to you, and probably even more than it ever has because this arena is so dear to God's heart, and is so foundational and pivotal for the future of your family!  I'm not saying that curriculum has no value, nor that I have all the answers that only the Lord can give you!  But I am saying that if you come to the Lord with your ears wide open, He will provide for your true needs.  


Ask God to provide in unexpected ways.  We once got an order for a large number of books with this note:  "Praise God!  My husband was laid off and my parents gave us an early inheritance!"


Since this is a season, you don't need to get everything at once; you can (and should) take your time.  Perhaps set aside a certain amount a month to spend on this ~ how much depends on how long you want to take to get through it.  Since all of our prices include shipping, and since all Lifestyle of Learning products are digital, you won't be paying extra (through those two) by placing orders in smaller increments.


If this course is something God is calling you to do, then it is a need, which it says in the Word He will provide. So look at it from that angle, and see what creative and even miraculous things He will do to provide the resources for this need as well.  


Much that's contained in this course is actually being given to you free of charge.  Whether you sign up to take the course and receive a Certificate of Completion, or not, much herein will not cost you one cent.  There are many additional resources that will take you much further and deeper, and that you'll need to purchase if you want a Certificate of Completion, but you can go leaps and bounds with just the free materials. 


"The servant is worthy of his hire."  We LOVE what we do and are delighted to serve homeschoolers! We just need you to be willing pay for the goods you are receiving that we have put a price on. The only way the expenses to create and maintain our website, office expenses, and continuing to print our materials is through sales via our online catalog.  I have to get a new computer every three or four years because I actually wear them out!  That's just the money end.  I have put in (literally) thousands of hours creating the website and CD's, and writing the books and articles. 


What it really boils down to this:  What are your priorities?  And your beliefs about education are going to totally determine what your priorities are. 




Q: Should I do this with someone else ~ or alone?


When facing something as big and as potentially unsettling as this "season," it's natural to want to have someone do it with you. But God may be asking you to embark on this alone.  In my finite wisdom I can see a few reasons why...
One is that He wants you ALL to Himself!  That's simple, yet profound. So you're not really alone in this at all!  You will get to know God in a much deeper way than you have ever known Him before!  There's no reason to be afraid of this ~ other than a healthy "fear of the Lord."  God is totally approachable.  He wants and even invites us to "approach His throne with confidence"!  This is His idea; not ours!

God often calls us away ~ even (if not especially) from our dear friends, and/or from others walking the
same path, to better able to hear His voice ourselves


His desire is for us to be free to respond to what He shows us along the way with no concern for the thoughts of others ~ He wants it to be just between you and Him.  

Another reason is that He wants you to learn to hear His voice, to go to Him with your questions and confusion, and to not hear ~ or rely on ~ any other voices. Marilyn Howshall's wonderful book called Secrets of Solitude (part of the course) will be helping you get this concept rooted deeper in your heart.  I Will Be Found By You and Spiritual Discernment and the Mind of Christ both by Francis Frangipane are also excellent.
My encouragement is that, "if today you hear His voice ~ calling you to homeschool, calling you to enter a "season of re-education and renewing of the mind," calling you to mend relationships within your home ~ or whatever you hear Him calling you to do ~ or to not do ~ don't "confer with flesh and blood"; just OBEY.


Besides, you will find very few homeschoolers who are willing to go down this path of doing such a season.  Most are content to get their curriculum and call it good.  Though things are seldom truly good in their homes if that is all they do.  We can't ignore the Lord's priorities and still bear His good fruit.
That said, I am providing a Facebook forum for those taking the course.  However, because of "all the above," there will only be minimal discussion there.  One of the main reasons I'm setting it up is to have a place to give you updates on the course, which will inevitably come. 


If God leads you to connect with others (already in your life), that's fine!  I just wanted to encourage you to jump in without feeling a desperate need for anyone other than the Lord Himself.




Q:  Can my husband or someone who's going to be helping with our homeschooling take this course with me ~ and not pay?


This is a different situation from the one above.  In this case there's another person who will actually be helping or working with you in the education of your children.  I will answer this one option at a time:


Husband - Yes.  I'm happy to let you and your husband take the course without paying any extra!  And if he does all the course work ~ which needs to be documented in his own Course Syllabus ~ then he can have his own Certificate of Completion at no extra charge.  But again, ALL reading, listening to CD's, and Course Syllabus work needs to be done and documented separately from yours.


Your teen-age kids -  Yes.  I'm happy to let your kids take the course without paying any extra!  And if he or she does all the course work ~ which needs to be documented in his/her own Course Syllabus ~ then he/she can have his/her own Certificate of Completion at no extra charge.  But again, ALL reading, listening to CD's, and Course Syllabus work needs to be done and documented separately from yours.


Your Mom or a relative who's going to be helping with homeschooling, who doesn't have children of their own they'll also be homeschooling - Yes.  I'm happy to let this person take the course without paying any extra! And if she does all the course work ~ which needs to be documented in her own Course Syllabus ~ then she can have her own Certificate of Completion at no extra charge.  But again, ALL reading, listening to CD's, and Course Syllabus work needs to be done and documented separately from yours. (In Washington:  This person does not need to have their own Certificate of Completion to help you since you, as a parent, are "causing your child to receive home-based instruction.")  


A friend or relative, helping with your homeschooling or not, who has children of their own they'll be homeschooling - No. They need to purchase the course on their own.



Q: How do I know which resources to get?


 Here's how I have broken it down:


All resources with a blank box:    next to them are required for everyone to read/do, no matter what the ages of your children, tiny tots through high school.  This happens to be most of the course. 


If you have children in only one of the two categories ~ "age 11 and under" or "age 12 and up" ~ you will see a set of 2 boxes ~ one checked, one not ~ connected to any resources that only those in one age category or the other ~ are required to get or read.  So, for example, a parent with older children only, age 12 and up, none 11 or younger, would need to purchase, for example, the High School How-to Workshop Duo, whereas a parent with younger children (age 11 and under) would not.  Conversely, if you have only younger children, age 11 and under, you would need to purchase "Real-Life Homeschool Learning & Organizing Tools for Younger Children," whereas a parent who only has children age 12 and up would not.  These differences are clearly presented this way:


          for age 11 & UNDER  ...  for age 12 & UP    



Or if the converse is true, then it looks like this:


          for age 11 & UNDER  ...  for age 12 & UP  



And if you have children in both age categories, you would obviously need to get all the resources.  (Thus the higher price ~ explained in the How much will it cost? section on this page.)


Other than the few, above-explained exceptions, everyone purchases and/or reads the rest of the materials.




Q: What if I don't feel I need a particular resource, or want to

              substitute something I have on hand or would prefer to do?


It would take me more time to check out (a) substitute resource(s) than I am able to give.  There is just not any way that I would be able to know whether or not the many people taking the course ~ or one person in particular ~ truly need a certain resource or not.  If you want a Certificate of Completion from me, which states that you completed this particular course ~ meaning all of it, in its entirety ~ you simply need to take the (whole) course. 


So I need to request ~ and I do this very kindly and gently ~ that you not even ask me to consider and allow a substitution.    (Thank you!!)




Q: Where do I get all the resources?


First, there are many articles that are completely free.  You'll find these here at Homeschool Oasis, many others at Lifestyle of Learning websites, and others at various websites.  Every one of them has a link in it taking you to the place it is residing.  (And if a link doesn't work, see the next question down!)


The resources you'll purchase for the course are at three online resource locations:  Homeschool Oasis (us), the Lifestyle of LearningTM ministry, and a few are at Arrow Publications.  (Banners below.)  Links are provided for all of these right within each of the resource titles.



                   (This is us!)                                        





Q: Why do I have to read high school material if my children

                aren't there yet?


The saying "Without vision, people perish" is as keenly true for homeschooling as it is for anything!  I have seen soooooooooo many people bale out of homeschooling when their child(ren) reached high school, and, with few exceptions, it was for "lack of vision."  Now ~ when your children are younger ~ is the time to develop that vision, and not just in you, but in your children as well!  (And if already have high schoolers, then you need to get very focused and get "visionated" very quickly!)  


If you are homeschooling only as a "stop gap" measure because you/they have had problems in the public school setting, then you are not doing it for the right reasons.  And that's one thing that I'm hoping will change as you proceed through this course.  Again, the answer is to get God's vision.


There is SOOO much more to this than simply escaping the troubles of the system.  Or perhaps you are already convinced that homeschooling is the way for your family ~ all the way through ~ and that's good.  But I can assure you that if you are not well-founded in the why's of it, you will easily flounder and lose your commitment because of all the pulling the world will do on you!  You need to be totally solid in this, and now is the time to do so; not once you're there.  And not once you've gotten caught up in a load of curriculum or entangled with a burdensome program ~ even though these will give you a temporary, though not true, sense of security.  Plus, getting your vision established (root word: "stable") now will be greatly instrumental in you being able to pass this along to your children, and eSTABLish them in this vision as well. 


I'm not requiring you to read any of the how-to materials for high school if your children are younger, but there is much I want you to read long ~ many years ~ before you get close to actually doing high school. 




Q: Where should I start with the materials?


First, pray, asking the Lord that question.  He wants to lead you through this as much as He wants to lead you through anything else in your life.  (If not more so on this!)  You might want to read through all (or several) of the resource write-ups and, as you do, ask God to highlight the one you are most in need of right now, at this point in your life.  Right now.  Where you and and your kids are at.  Then wait on Him. 


You will probably not hear an audible voice, but as you look down through all the resources, I believe something will stand out to you ~ no big deal; your heart will be drawn to something.  This is very likely the place the Lord would have you start. 


Here are a few tips:


Even if you don't sense anything, know that there's no "best" or "right or wrong" place to start. 


Don't just assume it would be best to start at the beginning of the list or syllabus and just go down or through it, unless that actually seems right to you.


God may want one person to start by getting their home in order, as in better organized, either physically or in their daily routine, because He knows they (or their spouse) will have a much easier time receiving and learning everything else when their environment is in (better) order.  Or...


He may start another in the area of relationships with their children because that, in His eyes, is most desperately in need of attention.  That would make sense because that this area is at the very heart of "true education"!


If you live in a "hot" states regarding the law, you may want to start by dealing with some of the legal issues involved in homeschooling.  You may want to start with this CD:  God vs. Caesar:  Obeying the Governing Authorities and/or by reading this article:  Obeying the Law, Testing, and Qualifying to Homeschool - (Both are by me, Barb Shelton.)


Or you may feel led to begin with a resource of a seemingly ~ or overtly ~ more spiritual nature.  However, you will find as you go along that this thing called "homeschooling" is really not separate from your "spiritual life" at all, but rather is a direct outflow from it!  So there will be many seemingly "non-spiritual" things that will start taking on a more spiritual "feel."  For example, getting your home in better order may be the most "spiritual" thing you can do!  Maybe activities of that sort have never heretofore been a joyful thing for you.  As you learn to hear from the Lord, and walk with Him, taking on concerns that are on HIS heart for you, to your joy, you will find joy start to bubble up in the doing of them, even if the activity, book, or focus has not, up until now, seemed to be particularly "spiritual" in nature!  To God, everything is spiritual!!!  So the sooner we can de-segregate the activities of our lives, the more we'll start seeing as He does, and experience more freedom and joy in the mundanities of Life!


Mmmmmmmm!!!!!!   :-o   

Q: In what order should I do the course?


First, be sure you have read the section directly above.  (You shouldn't be skipping anything on this page anyway!)  Then, be assured that nothing you read ~ in whatever order ~ is going to do you any harm or set you back in any way!  Every aspect of this course will only open your eyes further, expand your thinking, and all of it, in one way or another, will draw you closer to the Lord. 


So if nothing stands out to you, just start at the top and work your way down!  (Or at the bottom, and work your way up!  Or...  )  Whatever you do, you can't go wrong!  Feel free if, as you proceed, you want to skip around and do it in a different order!  It's impossible for me (or anyone) to give you a specific order in which to proceed through the resources.


Having put much thought and prayer into this course and how people should proceed through it, and in what order, I have come to the brilliant conclusion that there is just no "one best order" in which to do it because the Holy Spirit is doing different things in different lives.  It would be like me coming to you and saying "I am wanting to make some major changes in my home; I need to clean, rearrange, do some repairs, get rid of some old furniture (and get some new), and do some major remodeling; so which should I do first and in what order?"  You couldn't possibly give me an answer to that because you don't know what in my house is most in need of what, what's working and what isn't, or what needs remodeling and what's fine as it is. 


All I want – the only thing that will work – is for each one to pray, and then follow God in what they think He is saying. It may very well be that He will use this course as an exercise in learning how to hear His voice – areas I'm still growing in, and will until the day I go to be with Him in Heaven where all things will finally make sense!


It's going to be different for everyone, and there is no right or wrong way to proceed!  I do know it will be difficult to proceed peacefully through a season of renewing of the mind when things are not functioning smoothly around you or if you are not at peace inside.  You may need to get some things right with God and/or within your home and family relationships.  And if you don't know how, many of the resources in this course will deal with these very things. 


Just don't allow yourself to get "stuck" at any point!  If you find that one resource you start on isn't really "speaking" to you, that you're not quite "connecting" with its message, feel free to put it down and come back to it later.  It will make more sense later, when you're at a different place.  Trust the Holy Spirit to lead you, even if you feel very incompetent about hearing Him.  Plus, realize ~ and accept ~ that you'll never reach "perfection" or a perfect time to do this, so don't wait for either!  We procrastinators and frustrated perfectionists can easily get thrown and kept off-course, can't we?!?  And those of us for whom it is difficult to make a decision (you should see me at a restaurant!) can too easily be prevented from even starting!  Give yourself maybe a week or two to get a handle on a few "external" things, need be, and then, by the grace of God, move into the "meat" of the season.  As they saying goes:  Just DO it! 




Q: How long should this course/season take?


Good question. Again, no one can give you a specific answer as it's really up to you.  One thing I do know is that it won't be a matter of mere "days" or even just a few weeks.  This is a season you are entering.


If you have babies or toddlers, plan on it taking longer to go through this season than you might like it to.  But rest in the fact that God knows your needs, your ability to read and absorb, and your time availability.


The more deeply embedded your roots ~ your heart and your thinking ~ are in "the system," the longer it will take for everything to "sink in," unless you're unusually good at "letting go" quickly.  I'm not, so it took longer for me.  Plus I didn't even know I was in such a season!  So, of course, no one gave me a roadmap of resources to take in, as what I am giving you here, because most of the resources weren't even written back then!  Most of the authors were still learning, growing, and experiencing ~ probably even mudding through and figuring out ~ everything themselves!


I want to share with you the thoughts of one mom who went through this course/season.  It is obvious that God was doing a very good work in her!


     "I just wanted to say how much I am thankful to the Lord for your ministry. My husband and I had such a different view of homeschooling when we decided to do it. I have been reading Wisdoms Way of Learning and [much of your material] and I can feel a slow metamorphosis happening in my heart. What started out as just a thought that homeschooling would be a cheaper and "probably" better choice for our family, has turned into conviction and a passion in my heart to raise my children in the admonition of the Lord, and the choice to homeschool even if we had the money for private school. There is so much information to take in, it's a slow process, but a very exciting one. There have been moments of sadness over how off-track our parenting and home have been, but the Lord is full of grace and mercy, He is a patient loving teacher.  May God bless you and keep you.


~ Chris M.



I love her second-to-last sentence:  "There have been moments of sadness over how off-track our parenting and home have been, but the Lord is full of grace and mercy, He is a patient loving teacher."  People don't usually even realize just how deeply embedded their roots are in "the system" until this process begins!  And as Chris said, it can be a slow process.  So don't try to speed it up, but at the same time, don't allow the discomfort you'll most likely feel slow you down either.  Just plow through it with the grace and tenacity the Holy Spirit will give you!


As you proceed through this season, you may feel anger or fear rising up, and/or a churning unrest, confusion, or a combination of these.  But please do not allow the enemy to rip you off at this point by believing the lies he will feed you that you don't need or have time for this.  That's where the enemy tries to ensnare, frustrate, and overwhelm many moms – because of how pressed for time most of us are! This is especially true if you have younger and/or many children, or if you have many commitments outside your home.


Ask God to show you the way that will work for you ~ how much time to spend where. He alone knows your needs, and "the whole picture" of your life.  You certainly don't want to neglect your family or your home. But the problem is that, in the name of not neglecting their families in the areas of home life, many end up unintentionally neglecting them in the area of "soul life" – overburdening their children with a supposedly (but not truly) "educational" burden that Jesus never recommended or intended, robbing them of the delight in learning and joy of life!  I assure you that this will take much more time to UN-do than it would have taken you to put yourself through a "season of re-education" now ~ in which your mind and heart will get renewed, and your children thus directed in the way the Lord wants to take them rather than having to spend a lot of time attempting to un-do and re-do!


As much as you may want to try setting a "finish line" for this season, either for your own sake, or your family's, at this point you really have no idea how long it will take.  So it would only be a wild guess at best; a false hope at worst.  You might give them a minimum such as: "We can plan on this going on for at least 3 (or 6 or 10) months" ~ depending on how focused you want to be on it, how much help they are willing to give, and how fast of a reader you are.  Remember, there are many variables


I do hope you will let it take longer than just 2 or 3 months to go through the course.  It's a season, and you will get much more out of it if you take your time doing it.  (Look for more in-depth coverage of this topic further down this page.)  So let it take as much as it needs to take.  It will go deeper if you are applying it to your real life, not merely reading about it.  As you go, and as you grow, you will find yourself walking in more and more wisdom, grace, understanding, and freedom ~ which can't be forced.  Let God lead, and follow Him through this.




Q:  What if a link doesn't work?  (Does that mean I don't have

                      to read or buy that resource?)


Ha ha, very funny.  I know you didn't actually ask that last question, but I'll answer it anyway, cuz you probably (maybe?) wanted to...   There will most likely be a link here and there that doesn't work.  Pleeeeease do not just ignore it!  I do not have time to go through the hundreds of links all the time to find out which ones are and aren't working; I am relying on you to let me know when you find a broken one.  And when you do, what I need you to do is  email me ( and let me know know about it.  Tell me the name of the page it's on, and where the link is supposed to go.  Giving me the actual URL (web address) of the broken link makes it MUCH easier for me, so if you can copy and paste that into your email to me, I will feel very very loved by you and will give you a huge hug next time I see you!!! 



Q: I already know what I'm doing, I just don't qualify any other way, 

                 and I don't want to have to take a whole course to get qualified.     


One mom basically wanted me to give her a stamp of approval to homeschool without taking the course.  I will share what she actually said to me, and will interject my responses as we go:


        "I don't believe I need all this material. I am not trying to be rude or harsh or anything close to that. What I am getting to is I just want the right to teach them and I don't believe at this point a lot of these books will help me get there. What I want are the books that the law requires for me to get this certificate."


The first thing I want to address is her statement that "I just want the right to teach them." ...  She already has that right.  And, at least at this point in time, most states in the U.S. protect that right.  Note I did not say that the states give us that right.  It's not theirs to give.  This might seem like a technicality, and this woman might even realize the same, but I want to make sure it's understood by all ~ as a foundational truth to what we're doing here.


Next I want to address this statement:  "I just don't qualify any other way, and I don't want to have to take a whole course to get qualified."  ...  First, God has already deemed her qualified, but that's not really what she's saying.  In other words, she wants me to give her a stamp of approval without doing what's required.  And it's pretty clear that she feels I owe this to her.  So I will address this by simply saying this...  The main purpose and intent of creating my course was not to certify parents, but to deeply educate them as to what "true education" is and how to seek God for the particular application of His truths for their precious families.


Next I will address this statement: "What I want are the books that the law requires for me to get this certificate." ...  There is no particular set of requirements from the state; the state requires only that an instructor put together what they see as being a good course, and then have that sponsored by ~ or at ~ a "post-secondary" (after high school) institution. That is what I did. Having homeschooled for 24 years, these are the resources I feel the Lord has led me to include in this course.  If you don't agree, there are several other courses you can take instead, a list of which can be found here.  I'm not going to argue ~ or get into a discussion about what should and shouldn't be included in a (my) course.  If you were to create a course, it might look entirely different.  This is what I have come up with as being needful and helpful.

If I'm going to give a person a "Certification of Completion," I need to know that they have completed everything that *I* have set forth as being needful for truly home educating their children and renewing our minds in the arena of education. I do understand what this mom is saying, but there is just not any way I can tailor the course for each individual.  ...  This mom continues:

        "I am myself in a Bible College for the past year and have read not only the Bible (5 times), but

         many books concerning the study of the Word, and now I am in a online College Course as well.

         I believe with all my heart that it is Christ that is the Center of all things.  I have studied the Word

         and know what the Father wants of me. I have no problems with my faith or my walk with the Lord.

         And know quite well that my life and how I live it will teach my grandkids the value and morals

         they need. The Lord has gave me a revelation to my salvation and took it one step further at the

         cross my salvation was there but so was my old self nailed to that cross. I must always be in step 

         with the Spirit to be able to keep in step with the Spirit. I teach my children about The Father and

         our purpose."


It sounds like this woman is already on a good track and has a lot figured out, but I need to back up...  Many people are well-versed in Bible knowledge, have much wisdom, knowledge of the Word, and are tremendous prayer warriors, yet they have made no connection (whatsoever) between that and applying it to their relationships within their family or to how they view education. 


What my course will do is help people connect their spiritual walk and with their understanding of education. Those already walking closely with the Lord will gain as much from this course as one who is not.  Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing which aspects a person has understanding in, and which they don't.  So all of it needs to be done by anyone who takes my course.  I believe that even the parts you don't feel you need would be a tremendous blessing and edification to you as they are presented in a different light, and you will be encouraged to apply all this to the area of education. 

                  "If all of this [material] is required, there are other courses that I can go to."


First, yes, it is all required.  And second, it might very well be that another course would be a better option for this gal. People have differing needs, priorities, and focuses. My purpose in creating the course that I offer was not just to "qualify" people to homeschool under the state.  You are welcome to find another course, a list of which can be found here.

        "I believe it is our God-given right to teach our children, but I also know that I must follow the laws of the land. That is why I want to know what I need only to get certified by the state. I see that you have a program that goes a bit further than that, and was wanting just what it will take for the state part. I find that some of this is to do with my personal relationship to the Lord and nothing to do with what the state is wanting from me."


First there are no separate parts; it's just all one course, and the state has nothing to do with the particulars.  Again, the main purpose and intent of creating my course was not to certify parents, but to deeply educate them as to what "true education" is and how to seek God for the particular application of His truths for their precious families.



Q: I really need to take this course, but can't afford it.  Can I take it for free?

                 or can you figure out a way to make it cheaper for me?


The underlying assumption here is that, because someone has a need, someone else (in this case, me) is obligated to fulfill it.  Here is an excerpt from "The Cost of Ministry-Focused Business" by Marilyn Howshall of Lifestyle of LearningTM ministries:



       It is common for Christians to believe that Christian material ought to be free or very cheap simply because people need it and want it. If we look at this assumption logically, it means that someone having a need or a want constitutes an obligation that someone else provide it. This thinking is simply not true. There may be many things we both need and want, but that does not mean that it is right to expect someone else to provide it for us at their expense. Indeed we have many needs and wants for this ministry, yet we are not expecting anyone to provide them to us at their expense.  …  Indeed the Gospel is free. Anyone is free to study, learn, grow, and press into the Lord … However…  The materials we produce and the hundreds of hours and dollars it costs us to produce them are not free, and cannot be free."


~ Marilyn Howshall



You can read Marilyn's full explanation of the philosophy underlying their ministry on this page.  Their ministry, by its nature, has different elements to it, and operates differently from ours in some ways, however, the basic truths in what she says above are universal, and that's what I'm hoping anyone in need of some new thinking in this area will get.




Q: Do I really need to take this (or any) homeschool course?  


(The following was excerpted from my article "Help! I Need to Homeschool, But Have NO Idea Where to Start!" here at my website. So if you've already carefully read that, you can just skip this section.)



Homeschooling will be a waste of much precious time and resources, not to mention (but I will) ineffective if you approach it with a closed heart and mind.  It is imperative that you be willing to shed old ways of thinking. Until you do, God will not be free to breathe His new life into your life. I assure you, though, that not only is it well-worth the effort, it is the only way out of any frustrating situation you are currently in with your children. I know families who have made drastic and wonderful changes that resulted in transformed children and parents, but they had to start with this heart-and-mind-set.


True education is about growing the whole child: his mind, yes, but also and primarily his heart, soul, and character -- these are his real, most fundamental "true educational" needs. If left unattended, or way down at the bottom of your priority list ~ academics usually being right at the top ~ all other efforts are in vain.


Here are a few of the hundreds of comments I have received from homeschool moms: 



"I can't thank you enough for getting me

started onto a different (from the traditional, binding,

burning-out norm) path of homeschooling!"


"I have avoided so many pitfalls that my homeschooling friends

 are now stuck in and are having a hard time getting out of!"


"What a joy and relief to have started out on the peaceful,

tailor-made path God has for my family!"



This could be one of the most exciting adventures you have ever undertaken!  God's ways are not easy, but they are more rewarding and joyous than we can possibly imagine!  This course will help you get onto a path of finding out what this means for you and your family.



Q: Is your course the "only" or the "best" way to do a homeschool course? 


Of course I'd like to think it's the best, not from a prideful angle, but because it's how I believe the Lord led me to create it, and I know the freedom and fruit it will (therefore) bring to those who truly enter in and let the truths presented in it take root in their lives. 


The ideas herein didn't originate with me.  I only wrote some of the resources; the majority are by others.  And then as for the idea of such a season ~ it's been amazing how many people have told me how similarly the Lord has led them.  God's heart is always to lead us out of ways that are binding us, preventing us from walking in and enjoying what He has in store for us, and into ways that will bring us more joy and freedom than we thought possible.


I was spending so much of my time hand-feeding my ideas, a few at a time, to moms, that I decided to gather it all up into a "whole picture" framework.  What pushed me into put it into a more "formal" format is that here in Washington state, one of the ways to "qualify" to homeschool is to take a course that is sponsored by a post-secondary institution.  I must insert here that I personally don't feel that parents truly need to "qualify" to homeschool ~ God already qualified them ~ and I have written about this (and more) in an in-depth article called "Obeying the Governing Authorities, Testing, and Qualifying to Homeschool." It's pretty radical, but really, it's "radical" only because our culture has veered far from God's purposes for and ways of "educating." 


This course is what I see as being good and needful from what I have observed and experienced ~ and lacked ~ in my early years of homeschooling.  The Lord leads His children individually, but I could get only so "individual" in my suggestions for this course because I'm ministering to many moms with many different needs.  But if you draw close to the Lord, He will minister to you in your particular needs, as He knows you and what you need.  However, to issue someone a "Certificate of Completion" I need to have a uniform set of requirements for all to complete.  I am unable to take the time to work with each of the many moms who will take this course/season and personalize it for each of them.  I trust that the Holy Spirit, working and ministering and speaking between the lines of everything that's read, will do all the personalizing.  


There are several other courses offered in the state; I have not ever taken one of these, nor have I ever researched what they teach.  All I know is that I wanted my course to be one that would not encourage people toward "doing school at home."  I don't know if that's what's taught in other courses, but you won't find it here.  I believe that educating our children within the context of their real lives and their real relationships is "the real thing."  Real education.  School is only a cheap ~ or rather, very expensive ~ imitation.  Why imitate the imitation?!?!?  And pay money to do so?!?!?  Doing "school at home" only overwhelms and burns out ~ both moms and the kids!   


My hope is that all homeschoolers will put themselves through some sort of a "season of re-education and renewing of the mind," whether they think they "need" it to "qualify" to homeschool their children or not. They will save themselves much heartache, disillusionment, frustration, disappointment in the lack of good fruit in their lives, and money!



Q: Does the Certificate of Participation stand up to the law since technically

                 we aren't yet certified until after we complete the course?


It might.  And it might not.  It totally depends on who you are in contact with ~ especially in your school district ~ and how "pro" or "con" homeschooling they are. This is part of why I would not put myself under their jurisdiction to begin with. I would kindly and politely inform them that I am currently taking a course, and here is my "Proof of Participation," but it would not be in the form of requesting permission from them, or asking them to approve.  I would simply be informing them.  But, again, I wouldn't feel obliged to even do that as the law (here in Washington State) does not require us to tell how we "qualify" or provide proof of it.




Q: What about the Declaration of Intent to Homeschool form? 


Here is a simple Declaration of Intent to Homeschool form that is in compliance with WA's homeschool law.  Please take a look at this.  (Click on this mini form to see the full-size one.)  If the form you get from your school district looks much different from this ~ and asks for more information ~ feel free to contact me, and I will help you figure out what to do about it.  (If you are a member of HSLDA, go directly to them.)




Q: What's the best way to sign up to homeschool?  Not for this course,

              but to homeschool ~ as in signing up with my school district?


If, after reading "Obeying the Law, Testing, and Qualifying to Homeschool," you still feel the Lord would have you do this ~ and it is truly between you and Him ~ my suggestion, when you go to sign up, is to first call the office of the Superintendent of the school district in which you reside, and ask them to mail you a copy of the "Declaration of Intent to Homeschool."  Carefully look it over, and if it requires you to tell them anything other than the names and birthdates of your children and your name and address, please email me, or better yet, send me a copy of the form ~ ALL of it ~ and I will take a look at it.  If you are a member of HSLDA, I will probably refer you to them, but I'd like to be aware of what's specifically going on in my area (since I'm the one who ends up being asked about it), so bring me into the picture at some point. 


Some school districts go beyond what the law actually dictates, and you should not give them any more information than what the law requires. You don't even have to tell them how you qualify. But many school districts don't know that.  Or they do know it, but still ask for more info than they are legally authorized to ask for. 




Q:  This is a lot of stuff to do; how will I possibly have time for this? 


It may be that your schedule is already so maxxed out that you can't even imagine how you could possibly fit this course into your life.  Maybe you have no idea what you could possibly cut out. This is where it will take prayer and a major overhaul in your lifestyle, beginning with an open heart and mind ~ open to what God wants you to do, and to what He wants to do in you, specifically in shifting priorities and changing your focus. 


He may lead you to make some changes in the arena of commitments, and show you where to start whittling these down.  If saying "No" to requests outside your home is hard for you, it's likely the Lord will be doing some work in you there.  Just because you are asked to do something doesn't mean that God is leading it.  As He gives you vision for what your home life should look like, it will become increasingly clear to you that some outside-the-home things will have to be laid down. 


Your reason for starting or keeping any activity that you keep should be because it is part of His vision for you and your family, not because you just couldn't say "no" to a request.  Do not feel bad saying no to things He is not calling you to, because saying yes to things God doesn't want you doing is actually saying no to things He does want you involved in ~ specifically, your family, and getting it whole, healthy, and connected.


With the many loud voices calling for your attention, you will need to focus ~ and stay focused ~ on hearing His voice in this area, and wait for His answers, which may be very different from what you might have thought they would be, or what you had hoped He would say.  "God's ways are higher than our ways; His thoughts higher than ours."


Here is how one homeschool mom ~ Susan Hitchcock, the mom of six boys and pregnant as well at the time ~ who was taking my course made time for it:  (She shared this on a homeschool forum.  Here's a picture of her so you can put a (sweet) face to all her writing that she has so graciously allowed me to use here!)




      "Our house is quiet every day from 1 to 3pm, and it is worth ALL THE EFFORT it takes to do it!  My six boys all share the same bedroom, but during this time, we just use the bedroom for nappers, and other spots in the house for quiet time. My 18-month-old and 4-year-old are napping. My older boys are reading/looking at books quietly.  They are allowed to draw after one hour if they would rather do that than read a book.
       I use this time for study, reading, writing, and thinking time. I'm taking a WONDERFUL course right now through Barb Shelton called a "Season of Re-education and Renewing of the Mind."  I use this time to read and study the course materials.  This course is helping me renew my mind in regards to home education, and in turn, allowing me to build the higher principles of God's ways into my children. Mostly the Lord is using this course to draw me to Himself and embrace my own journey towards solitude ~ which is the only way we can truly educate our children. 
       If the quiet time was not established, I would not be able to take this important, life-changing course!  I see the quiet hours as a means of refueling MOM, and also as a stepping stone in teaching our children to embrace a life of quietness and solitude. Jesus often retreated to a quiet place. If we train our children at a young age to 'enjoy' QUIETNESS, then they will eagerly embrace the discipline it takes to develop their own life with God, and the conviction to LISTEN and WAIT for His specific call and purpose for their life as they are in the Word and prayer.

      Our society is SO entertainment crazy!!!!  So ADDICTED to noise!!!!!  So filled with ARTIFICIAL means of HAPPINESS!  AND SO plagued by the disease of BOREDOM. When we deliberately wean our children from the lure of these UNNATURAL and FALSE substitutes for true peace and contentment, we do them a GREAT service and facilitate their being equipped for the Master's use!  I HIGHLY recommend the quiet time of the day for that purpose.




It may be that you will need to regain godly control of your children before being able to do this.  That's what part of this course is all about.  Be ready for a complete overhaul in how you relate to your children if that area is at all lacking.  Come to Him open and empty-handed so that HE can fill you and your home with Himself and His heart, and mould you and your relationships into ones that honor Him and each other.  You don't have time to not tend to this!  This is the most important work that you do as a mother.




Q: What if I start feeling overwhelmed?!?!


If, at any point along the way, you start feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to not give in to fear or fatigue, but remember this verse, which happens to be one of my favorites:  

"Come to Me all you who labor and are weary and

heavy-laden (over-burdened, overwhelmed), and I will give you rest.

My yoke is easy, my burden is light. Learn from Me for I

am humble and meek..."   (Matt. 11:28)


If/when we start feeling overwhelmed, it's often because we are starting to "come into the light" and realizing ~ probably for the first time ~ just how far we have to go, and just how "off track" we have been.  At least in an area that's important to God and to us.  But remember, God never shows us this ~ or anything ~ to overwhelm us; only to get us into the position of realizing our need to trust Him for our whole lives.  He wants us to rely on Him to not only show us where He wants us to go, but to get us there, and in the manner and speed at which He wants to take us there. 


We need to be led by the Holy Spirit; He will not overwhelm, and He knows exactly how to lead each of us, and what we need when, and in what order. So if we are feeling overwhelmed, we may be getting ahead of Him. And even just one step past Him can throw us into this unsettled state.  


It may be that this feeling of unsettledness isn't just from getting ahead of Him, but from realizing where He wants to take us and where we aren't.  Marilyn Howshall, as you will soon find out in the Lifestyle of Learning resources, calls this feeling "disequilibration."  Things that we once held dear, and that provided a degree of security to us, start falling away, or at least coming down off of a pedestal, and things that we have heretofore not seen as important start rising up before our eyes, causing our hearts to quake and feel very unsettled.  Fear can easily set in at this point, and the urge to flee ~ anything to get back to a place of comfort.  But now is not the time to run...


Embrace that unsettled feeling ~ "take every thought captive" ~ and let it compel you straight to the feet of Jesus, the open arms of the Father, under the wings of the Holy Spirit ~ the place God has been wanting to get you to.  This is where we will find rest and peace, not from fighting with the struggle itself.  Saying "Yes, Lord" to everything He is leading us into ~ and out of ~ is the only thing that will get us to the next step, and the next, and the next...  until finally one day we are out of Egypt, and Egypt is out of us!  So don't avoid the struggle.  It has to happen if we are to get set free ~ it's part of the process.  If you need to rest, then rest.  But know that your true, lasting rest will come only from surrendering to Him, to His leading, and to His plan for you.



Q:  Is this the same course as the one you had before?


To any of you who knew of ~ or even took ~ my course "before" (prior to now), I have made many major changes, including:


I have added many new and updated products of my own, as well as many wonderful new Lifestyle of LearningTM resources.


More of the content of the course is appropriate for ALL parents, no matter what the ages of their children. 


The Course Syllabus is now online, so you have the option of doing it right on your computer!  If you prefer handwriting, you're welcome to print it out and write your responses instead, however, if you print it, you will need to scan your finished syllabus, and email it to me as a digital (on-computer) document.  (I do not want to have to store, deal with, or dispose of many-paged documents.)  As you will see, two versions of the Syllabus are available; both are digital, but one is for those who will be typing right in the document; the other is for those who will print it out and then write in it.




Q: I would prefer to pay for the whole course at one time; can I just pay

    one blanket fee for the whole course, and not have to deal with  

       getting everything individually?


That's a great idea, and I will work on providing that sometime in the future for the products *I* have produced that are part of the course.  However the rest of the materials are through other ministries, so I will not be able to provide a "blanket deal" for those. 


As for mine, what you're requesting is going to take a good chunk of time to do, and there are many other responsibilities that require my time and focus first.  Even just designing and setting up this course has taken hundreds of hours.  With all that I have going on in my life (which is correctly prioritized,) I am doing well just to get the course itself set up and keep it going.




Q: What if I already have enough college and/or am a teacher?


Michael Farris, founder of HSLDA, and a popular homeschool speaker, was once asked by a reporter if his wife had a teaching degree and was therefore, in the reporter's eyes, qualified to homeschool their children. Mike's response was "Yes, she does have a teaching degree, but fortunately she has been able to overcome that handicap and is capable of actually homeschooling our children."  That might seem like merely a humorous response, but it is actually very true!!! 


One of the ways to "qualify" to homeschool in Washington state is to have one year of college. Another is to have one hour of contact a week with a certified teacher.  Therefore, if you have a year of college or are a certified teacher, you are covered legally.  The problem is that this will give you a sense ~ a false sense, I firmly believe ~ of security about your ability to homeschool your children.  Stay with me here, because I don't want you to misunderstand what I'm saying...  


I am NOT saying that, just because you are a teacher or have [any amount of] college under your belt, you are automatically not capable of doing a good job of homeschooling!  What I am saying is two things:


1) What it takes to truly educate your children has nothing to do with college! 


2)  In fact, I personally feel that much of what ~ and how ~ you learned in college is actually a hindrance to your being able and free to operate as God would have you in the homeschooling realm.  The more worldly-wise education you have, the more you think that's what education is! 


The fact is that what it truly takes to homeschool ~ as God would have you ~ is probably already in you, but very deeply buried in worldly thinking.  That's why a huge part of this course involves UNdoing and DISmantling of old thinking so that what has been "buried alive," so to speak, the good stuff He put in you, can be unearthed, rediscovered, and come (back) to life!!! 


I have often observed that college-schooled teachers feel that, because they have a degree (or someone has had some college), they don't need to put themselves through a season of re-education.  This grieves me.  They are actually doing their children and themselves a huge disservice.  In fact, and please forgive me if this sounds insolent, but in some (I'd even say many) ways, those who are college-schooled are in even greater ~ or at least just as much ~ need of going through a season of re-education than those who have never gone to college.


So it is for any and all homeschoolers that I have designed this course, if not especially for those with college degrees who need some UNdoing to take place in their thinking before they are totally ready for God to do the new thing in them.  All parents are "true teachers" whether they know it or not, but the more formal education we have, the more unearthing it may take ~ depending on our view of our own education and the education system.)


Here are some encouraging words from one homeschooling mom, Claudine:




I was led to this course by needing a qualifying course here in Washington. I was also burning out on school ~ if I wasn't already burned out!  I wanted to get started right away, because I could see there was a lot to this course, and as Barb said, I don't want to rush through it. But I couldn't get the books right away, and so have been feeling pressured, as my daughter is turning 8 next spring.


However, after I bought a few books of the course, and started reading them, and want to read more and more, I got to looking at some of my old college papers. I looked up my transcripts on the web, and I have 46 college credits! Just enough! So now I can relax and do this course in whatever time I want to take with it.


It's a course I do need, but I doubt I would have taken if I hadn't thought there was a "legal" need to. Now I'm so interested in it, that even my husband said I ought to take it whether I need to legally or not.   :-)

~ Claudine





Q: Do I need to have this course finished before starting to

               homeschool (or moving to Washington)?  Or can I be "in process"

                  when we start (or move there)?


The answer to both forms of this question is the same, so I lumped them together...  


We have to start with the foundation undergirding the answer to this question...  One thing that many parents mistakenly misunderstand ~ or just don't realize ~ is that they are the ones who "own" their children; not the state.  Let me re-word that:  Your children belong to YOU, not to the state. This concept is being challenged in many places around the world and right here in our own country.  (In case you missed it in the news, here is a prime example.)  But the bottom line is that if God called you to homeschool ~ if it is your conviction that you are to homeschool ~ then you must obey God over the state, no matter what their homeschool law is.   


When you register for the course, you receive a "Certificate of Participation" which is for you to use in the event that you absolutely have to show it to someone, (more on that in the following section), but most people don't end up needing to show it to anyone because Washington's "Declaration of Intent to Homeschool" form doesn't (or shouldn't) require that you indicate how you qualify.  But if you do need it, you will have it.  (If nothing else, you can take it out every so often ~ or mount it on a wall ~ and just admire it.)


If you have just moved here, another option is to just not sign up with a school district until you've finished the course as they will probably not know you're there unless you tell them.



(What I'm sharing, by the way, is not "legal advice" which I'm not qualified to give; just my thoughts, from one homeschooler to another, and since I have often been asked these types of questions.)



Q: What's the Certificate of Completion about?


If you want to earn a Certificate of Completion from us, you are welcome to do so.  However, I need to make it clear that I'm not saying you ought to or have to. The Certificate of Completion that I issue (after you have finished the course) signifies that you have completed the work I have set forth as requirements; it does not mean that you are "certified."  I say this only because a homeschool mom commented that, after taking my course, she would be a "certified homeschool teacher." 


In reality, my course would qualify her ~ in the state's eyes ~ to homeschool.  However, whenever I say this, I must add that in God's eyes, you are already qualified. So this is just a hoop we jump through for the state ~ and you would do this only if it is your conviction to do so.  See my article "Obeying the Law, Testing, and Qualifying to Homeschool" for my thoughts on the whole issue of how we as homeschoolers relate to "the law."  (This article is required reading for anyone taking my course, and you can read it now or later, and still be able to check it off.) 


In Washington state, one of the options for "qualifying to homeschool" is to have "completed a course in home-based instruction (homeschooling) at a post-secondary (which means "after high school") institution."  See my article entitled Washington's homeschool law article for more about this.  My course is one of about ten courses offered in this state that satisfy this option of qualifying to homeschool.




Here is a reduced picture of the certificate.  (Click on it to see a full-size 

version of it.  Click your back button to return to this spot on this page.) 





Q: What do I need to do to get a Certificate of Completion?


To receive a Certificate of Completion from us, you need to enroll with us, complete all the reading (books and articles), listening (workshops, audio recordings, and CD's), assignments (like reading this whole page that you're currently reading, for example), the "Thoughts/Responses" and worksheets in the Course Syllabus, and after all that is completed, email or snail-mail a copy of your completed syllabus to us. 



Q: What if I don't want a Certificate of Completion?

            (Actually, please read this even if you DO want one.) 


You don't have to get one.  It doesn't matter to me whether you do or don't.  I have simply made it available for those who want it.  I know there are many Christian (and Washingtonian) homeschoolers who do not share my views regarding the law.  (which you will read about in my article "Obeying the Law, Testing, and Qualifying to Homeschool.")  They will seek out some course to satisfy that option of the law.  I felt there may as well be a course that will move them going in the direction I'd like to see them head.

       If you are not interested in earning a Certificate of Completion from us, you are totally free to just pick and choose whatever looks good to you from my suggestions as if they were a smorgasbord and do it your own way, in your own timing.  But many who do not live in my state ~ and thus are not doing this to satisfy any state requirements ~ are just as interested in pursuing such a season. In fact, I highly recommend you do so.




Q: For Washingtonians only:


As has been stated, one of the four ways to "qualify" to homeschool in our state (Washington) is to "complete a course in home-based instruction at a post-secondary institution."  Many years ago, when I was first considering creating such a course, I checked with Washington State's Dept. of Public Instruction office asking if there were any stipulations or requirements for either the course or the sponsoring institution.  Not that it mattered to me personally, but I figured at least one person  taking my course would one day ask.  There were not. They said the requirements for a course were to be determined by the instructor ~ and the sponsoring institution, if they cared to be part of the process.  So I designed this course totally independent of the state or any school system.  Online Bible College (OBC) is my sponsoring institution.


A further note:  I took my course to a local community college to see if they would sponsor it, and what I fully expected to happen did happen...  which was that they told me I would need to take out all references to God for them to be able to sponsor it.  I told them that, since God was the foundation of my entire life, was my whole reason for homeschooling, and was therefore the foundation for my course, I would not be able to take God out.  Needless to say, this was not one of the most comfortable situations I had ever found myself in, but it did end with a cordial (on both parts) parting. 





Encouragement as you

embark on this season!


These are not technically questions, but much of what's here was

written in response to questions, plus the thoughts presented herein will prevent

many questions from arising, and will take you far in successfully

navigating your way through this course!





Plan to Invest in This Season 


There are three primary things you'll want to plan to invest in this season:  your whole heart, a good chunk of time, and some money.  Let's take each of them one by one:


A GOOD CHUNK OF YOUR TIME:   The bottom line is that what we value is what we spend our time on.  Those with younger children have less elective time, but they do have elective time. Ask the Lord to direct you in showing where you can do some "rearranging" to make the most of the time you do have available, or how to actually create time by spending the rest of your time in a more productive manner.  I share practical ideas for how to do this elsewhere, so I hope you'll implement the "how to's" immediately, so you can start reaping the benefits.


MONEY:  Any money you have to spend will be well-spent on resources that are going to edify and encourage you. You don't need to be in a hurry.  If you have a high schooler, getting a Jumpstart Plan (at the beginning of Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la, right before section one) set in motion will free you up and take the pressure off for them to be doing something .    


As you invest some of your hard-earned money, keep in mind that many of these authors are homeschoolers themselves, and homeschool pioneers who have gone before you and done all this ground-breaking work for you.  They are "servants who are worthy of their hire," and by supporting them, you are making it possible for them to continue in their ministry to homeschoolers.  Without their having taken the time to put all their knowledge into readable, hearable form, you would be on your own – as we were when first starting out!  There was a grand total of three homeschool books when I started my search for knowledge in this area many many years ago!  (31 years, as of this writing, in Autumn of 2013.)  I would have given my eye teeth and possibly even my firstborn to have had the wealth of resources available now!!!  So realize you are not just "buying books" and "spending money," you are supporting the ongoing ministries of homeschool servants.


Also realize that you'll be saving yourself hundreds of dollars by not having to go through a curriculum company. The bundle you'd spend there (or at a Christian school) in just one or two months is no more than the money you will be spending on the many enriching resources in this course that will more than adequately equip you to do the job yourself!  You'll still probably end up using a few text and workbooks, but not nearly as much as what you thought you'd need before you allowed God to start changing your ideas about education and learning!  If, after reading and processing all the suggested resources, you still feel you need closer guidance, that's the time to go to a company that offers curriculum guidance all along the way.  But my humble opinion – my strong and educated hunch – is that you won't need them...


Why?  Because more often than not, once the fears and misconceptions have been exposed and dealt with, and an understanding of the learning process and how to best facilitate it in your children has been gained, you will be quite able to "stand alone," not needing a prepared curriculum program.  Yes, really!  Remember, our goal is not to imitate school; school is actually an imitation of the real thing:  LIFE!  And at home you have an opportunity to experience real life!


In fact, once you start gaining vision, you'll likely find that the total textbook (for all subjects) approach will only bind and "cramp your style."  This is assuming, of course, that you are firmly planted in and standing on the solid ground of Jesus Christ with Him as your Curriculum Guidance Counselor! "Let your [homeschool's] roots grow down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love, and draw up nourishment from Him." (Colossians 2:6b - Living Bible)


And lastly, you'll want to invest...


ALL YOUR HEART into this season.  The saying "Anything that's worth doing at all is worth doing well" applies to this as much as anything!  And I would add that, if it's worth doing at all, putting your whole heart into it is what will get it done well.  Here's an excerpt from Wisdom's Way of Learning that will help turn your focus to the right place.



"The condition of my heart was the main contributing factor to the role that studying played in my life. I had been broken in spirit, and was as completely yielded to the Lord as possible, more so than I had ever experienced. Becoming teachable was what gave this season so much power to transform my life. This is all God needs: A heart that approaches Him with a poor spirit willing to be corrected on every preconceived idea about life--even treasured, time-honored, traditional ways of thinking and doing things. Without this attitude of repentance operating in the student's life, what results is knowledge gained that simply serves to 'puff up' [1 Cor. 8:1], lacking in power to transform the individual. Even the best method of education, God's Word, cannot produce in an individual what God has planned for him without a surrendered heart walking in true faithful obedience."   


~ Marilyn Howshall


What Marilyn is referring to here as a "season" was what the Lord took her through, on her own, completely unique and tailor-made for her.  It was not the same as what I suggest here, though there is some overlap and similarity.  This "season" will actually look/be different for everyone, even if the same resources and tools are used, just because each of us is in a different place, with differing needs, pasts, values, and experiences.


I have a wonderful example of a mom who invested her whole heart into this season ~ into JESUS Himself, really ~ Susan Hitchcock.  And here is what she shared with me:  (I left all of her all-cap words and exclamation marks just as she put them! 



        "The LORD is soooo kind and merciful and compassionate and good in EVERY WAY!!!! Last night, I just WEPT AND WEPT AND WEPT before Him!!!!!!!!!  I cried out with all my heart to KNOW HIM!!!!!  One thing I reminded Him was that I ONLY wanted ONE THING from Him but was confused as to HOW to delight myself in Him so HE COULD give me the desire of my heart!!!!!  I'm praying much about HOW to find all my good in Jesus alone!!!! How to make HIM my complete joy and rejoicing!!!!  I told Him that I only DESIRED ONE THING: intimacy with Him!!!!  Take EVERYTHING ELSE that is artificial, BUT GIVE ME Your altar, oh Lord!!!!  Your INTIMATE PRESENCE is my sustaining JOY!!!!!!!!"   

~ Susan 


Don't let yourself fall into the "checklist mentality"; let every bit of this season – every resource, every tool, every prayer, every trial, every situation – sink in and take root.  It may be that some of the material won't apply to you; if so, that's fine.  Don't worry or feel bad about that.  Just read through it quickly and then keep moving on.  The Lord may bring you back to it later.  It may be that you won't need it until later, but having at least quick-read it, you'll know where to come back to when you do need it.


Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to and teach you between the lines of what you read and listen to.  "Let God have His perfect way in you" and "study to show yourself approved of God."  You and your family will be SO much the richer for it!  


Remember, we are living in a culture that has pretty much all of its values backwards from God's values!  So, by merely living in this culture, we automatically have those values imbedded in our hearts and minds! It takes some DOing to UNdo that thinking!  Some serious and intentional investing!




Communication With Your Family Is a Must! 


Before embarking on your "season," the very first step is for you and your spouse to come into agreement on what your plan for your "season" will entail, including his involvement.  You will need to be in harmony with your spouse about this, with him (or her) being aware of what's going on so they'll know what to expect and how the two of you will work out and agree upon operating during this season.


Once you have your plan set up, hold a family meeting to fill the kids in on what will be happening, their part in this, and what to expect.  Explain what you are doing to any children who are old enough to understand. By that, I don't necessarily mean they understand everything you are doing, but at least understand about your forthcoming new lifestyle in general.  You might want to make the meeting special in whatever way is meaningful for your family – like a special treat, communion, etc. Or just an enjoyable and relaxing time together.


A few ideas that might help:


Would your spouse and/or an older child consider taking over making dinner at least one or two ~ maybe even a few ~ nights a week? 


Or maybe he/they would take care of ~ or help more with getting ~ younger kids to bed in order to give you more time?   


(Quick Side Note:  People ask me how I have accomplished what I have, and I can only say that "my husband" is most of my answer!  This couldn't have happened if he was not on board, which has meant much open and honest discussion of our goals.)


You may need to lower some of your housework standards (unless they're already "substandard" ~ like mine were), or delegate a bit more responsibility to older children.


If you have a favorite show, pastime, or hobby, would it be worth it to you to sacrifice some of that to "redeem" more time for this season?  I have watched very little TV (we opted to not have cable for the very reason of not wanting our time to be consumed by it), which has indeed been very "worth it."


With the prospect of seeing good (and better, and more) fruit in your marriage and children, your husband and hopefully your family will be happy ~ or at least willing ~ to help more than usual.   


My Home Organization Workshop Duo ("Creative Flexible Home Organizing" and "Papers and Records and Files ~ OH MY!") and my "Real-Life Homeschool Learning & Organizing Tools for Younger Children (age 4~12)" CD both have many practical tools that will help with getting your home, your children, and their and your lives in order, which will, in turn, be of tremendous help as you embark on this season.  Having your home in better order ~ schedule-wise, relationship-wise, and stuff-wise ~ will bring about a peace and settleness in the home (starting with Mom's heart!) that needsto be at the foundation of Mom entering such a season.  Plus it will help you get better connected to your family – which will further free you up emotionally for your season. 


Let's look at that word: redeem. It means "to give or surrender something of little or lesser value in exchange for something of great or excellent value."  Redeeming has become the theme word and the norm for my life! It doesn't usually feel good at the beginning of the process (or often along the way!), but I assure you this will be worth every little (and big) sacrifice you make!  You can't surrender more to God than He will give you. 


So, to "redeem the time" in your home, you're going to need to communicate with your family, or it will be easy for misunderstanding and resentment and tension to develop.  This is entirely unnecessary and completely avoidable.




Encouragement and Insights from Participants in This Course 


I have received some wonderful comments from people taking my course that were encouraging to me, but I know that sharing them with you will be an encouragement to you as well, as you are beginning this journey.


Most of the moms who share started out in pretty much the same place! But God, in His merciful, gracious way, brought them to new place ~ a place of freedom and joy! So here is some fellowship and encouragement for you if you are lacking in this area! 


This first "heart-sharing" one is from Pam, a mom who went into the "season" with an open heart, which is why she got so much out of it...


Dear Barb,


I want you to know how much I am learning and being stretched, and changed by God because of my working through your course. I appreciate your honesty in telling your readers, up front, that this course may prove to be painful, and difficult; exposing ugliness and lack of understanding in our own lives, that we may not have been aware of. One of the major things that God has been speaking to me throughout these last almost two years, is DIE TO MYSELF!  What a bitter, yet sweet road to go down. 


As I humble myself and put God and others first, He has been faithful to be all I NEED. Thanks for all that you have put into developing this course. I am thankful that you did not make your course a quick, wham-bam, hurry up and get it done type of course. I'll admit it is taking me longer than I would have liked to complete it, but I have learned SO much!  I would not change these miles traveled for anything!  


I just finished reading The Great Escape, and I have had confirmed again in my mind that home is the only choice for educating my children. Homeschooling is a hard road to travel; no doubt about it!! But God tells us in His precious Word, to "enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it." Matthew 7:13"


About a year ago when I was reading my Bible during quiet time, this verse jumped off the page at me even though I had read it many times before.) God spoke assurance to my heart, that even within the homeschooling realm, the gate that I had chosen to enter by (A Season Of Re-education and Renewing The Mind) was indeed a small gate, but one that would lead to life. God reveals to me more with each passing day of this journey; that only as I personally drink deeply of Him, and acquire His wisdom and knowledge, will I then be able to impart anything of eternal value to my children.

So...  "let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  (Hebrews 12:1)  All praise and glory belong to our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus. 


~ Pam Ickert; homeschooling mom of 4 for 5 years; WA





Here is the conversation between me and another mom, Sharon:


[Sharon:]  "...I am reading everything I can find to make sure I do the best job I can and so I came here..."


[Barb:]  I admire you reading everything you can, but would also suggest that you not feel you have to read everything there is out there to get what God has for you. There is MUCH out there, and you will hear many conflicting philosophies. I suggest that when you start "connecting" with a message, and you know it is GOD, you stay focused there long enough to really get roots and get solid in it rather than flitting around all over the internet trying to get "well rounded." Of course, I hope you'll stay at my website for a while (and for good) because I have seen so many "crash and burn" thinking they're headed toward "the best" only to find out ~ often too late ~ that what God had in Mind was really quite different ~ and cheaper ~ and easier ~ and more conducive to moving into His plan and purpose for each individual child.   :-)


[Sharon; 3 months later :]  I first visited your site three months ago.  At that time I was on a quest for the best curriculum and some sound homeschooling info.  I was not ready for the message of Lifestyle of Learning at that time and ordered (lots) of expensive stuff to help me design great studies for my three daughters (ages 12, 11, and 9).  We began as I still was seeking knowledge, and things were okay.  The problem was, I wanted far better than okay. I began to hear comments like, "I thought this was going to be fun and different from regular school."
The best thing I had done after finding your site was to end up at the Wisdom's Way of Learning list.  I thought I had signed up to read the comments of a bunch of well-intentioned but misguided kooks. It is so humbling to look back at the pride that I began this with. I thought my spirit was ready to listen to what the Lord had to say to me, but it was not. I was definitely not in submission to His will, but He is so gracious. I kept thinking I would unsubscribe from the list, but I didn't.  I just kept reading.  Then, on occasion, I would go back to your site and explore a little more to supplement all the books I was reading.
Gradually, the Lord began to change my heart and to open my eyes. I have since ordered and read Wisdom's Way of Learning, and as of today I am mailing my first order to begin your Season of Re-Education...  I am so excited.  (I am ordering a little right now and hope to order the rest when we get income tax back.  I had a few of the books and I am starting with them. I am also continuing to read the articles at your site.)
I just wanted to let you know that sometimes it takes some of us a little longer than others to get the message but I am so thankful that you leave that message out there for us to ponder. Much of my problem was (and still is) in submitting my will and my plans to the Lord and I know that the Season and the reading I have recently done will help me monumentally to keep my eyes where they should be. 

I am so ready to begin my Season!  I feel so much that the Lord is calling on me now to surrender areas of my life that I have held on to for years, even as I told him to take them. I am realizing that he will not pry my fingers open to get to what I am "offering" Him of my life, that in order to surrender I have to open my fingers myself. It's so silly that we hold on so hard anyway, since nothing that we have is ours anyway. The website and the books are just the tools He is using to open my heart and mind so that he can use me.  

God bless you for all that you do, for the help you make available in lighting our paths so that we can draw closer to the Lord and work his purpose in our lives, leading our children to the paths he has chosen for them.  





Here's a letter from another precious mom, Trisch, who was obviously being stretched by God in ways she never expected!  (This was written many years ago, as you'll see by her comment referring to when her oldest will graduate ~ in 2005!!)




Dear Barb,


I had skimmed your comments about "qualifying" etc. and the law before on your website. I had felt, in the past, that we should do what we could to comply without doing more than truly required. Of course, I live in a state where ALL we have to do is keep attendance records that no one in 9 years has asked to see.  (And my husband is quick to point out that they are learning 365 days a year, so with only 180 "required" we're ahead by far. )
Well, I have started my "Season of Re-education and Renewing the Mind" and although I was starting in the learning to hear God and get your children's hearts sections, I finally read, thoughtfully, your article again. This time, my heart was challenged.  My husband and I talked about it.  And ~ YIKES!  I'm being s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d again!  Finding more "fear of man" there ~ more pride (ugh!).  I WANT to look "good" and "successful" ~ after all, I was a GOOD regurgitator!  (I was valedictorian of my small class of '59 and attended college for 2 1/2 years!)  Everyone that knows me from "way back when" (including my parents! ) just naturally expects that my daughters will just ooze academia! So, anyway, just wanted to THANK YOU (again!) for being willing to "stick your neck out" in that area. 

Anyway, I'm actually enjoying this time, even though it is stretching me ~ and I thought I had come so far already!  If anyone ever says to you, "Well, God has had me on this journey for awhile, so I don't think I need this or that book or booklet" ~ tell them about ME!  You'll be getting an order probably in a month or so when I have more money to order some of those little booklets I just knew I didn't need!  (Like " Home Education Myths," the one about whether the state even should HAVE authority over our education by Karl Reed). I had read the Moores' books way back before homeschooling (we are one of those "knew we were going to do this before we even had children" couples!  :-) ), and thought I didn't need to reread them slowly...  but I've changed my mind!
And your "Foundation of Homeschooling" workshop!  Wow!  Your statement to the effect of if we get fearful thinking of not using something ~ that shows we have a dependence on it ~ oooh!  You're really making me think! 
Just wanting to keep encouraging you ladies, and to tell you if others say, "Well, I don't need to read that one ~ I KNOW all about those myths!"  Oh, you THINK you do!  I am more and more amazed at just how much the "humanist/ feminist" mindset is really in our thinking!  God is redeeming my thoughts toward my calling as wife, mother and home arts engineer at this time, too!  We have just swallowed a BUNCH of GARBAGE over the years...  We need to CONSTANTLY be in the Word, renewing our minds to His way of thinking!
Thank you again for being willing to do this and not wait until 2005 (when my oldest would "graduate" as well!) to write your stuff!


~ Trish R.; homeschooling mom of 6 (soon to be 7) girls for 9 years; in Indiana





Encouragement to do this NOW:


"If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart."  Countless homeschool moms would have spared themselves SO much agony and wasted time and money had they had only pressed in to hear God's gentle voice speaking to their heart to seek and hear His will for them regarding the education of their children when He first called them to it.


Many moms begin to hear His voice, but then just jump headlong into curriculum, thinking they have heard God!  He may have been leading them, but His desire is always for us to learn from Him first, not follow a Christianized version of the world's (heavy) ways of educating ~ which aren't really even truly educating, but merely bringing "school" into the home!  Now ~ right at the beginning ~ is the time to get your thinking straight, because "As a man thinketh, so is he."  Translation for homeschoolers:  "As a mom thinketh [about education], so doth their education become!"  Whatever you think education to be, that is what you will follow!  So it's much better to get your thinking straight now, before you have invested hundreds of dollars, hours, and tears into it.  (And if you're one who has done that, you know what I'm talking about!)  Make sure you are following God's way of approaching education.


Here is a note from a mom who "got it" early on, and is going to enjoy the fruit of her "getting it" for all the years she has her children at home with her... 



       Thank you for being so encouraging about the whole season of homeschooling. Our children are 4 and 1 so I am just beginning this exciting journey. I am so thankful to have found you at the beginning of my journey. I didn't know where to start and this has touched my heart so strongly that I know it shall be a great beginning to whatever God has in store for us.  Thanks again.  I have so much to read!!!  I can't wait.


~Tammy H.


And here is a quick, short-but-sweet thought for any of you who feel that the situation you're in ~ of parenting and training children ~ will last "forever":  It may seem like you will have kids underfoot forever, but let me tell you that the day comes all too quickly when they will be gone, as we now know with all three of our children being out of the nest!!!  You only have one chance with your children!  Don't squander these precious years with a "trial and error" approach!  You don't have to make the mistakes that others have made!  God has something better!  Let Him lead you to the "place of no regrets"! ~ which is HIS way!





Expect the unexpected!


Here are a few more thoughts from several homeschooling moms on this path:    



      "I have been working on "A Season of Re-Education and Renewing of the Mind" for about a year now. When I started this season, I thought I would be finding out how to fix what wasn't working in our homeschool. Through all of Barb's (and others') resources in the course, God is helping me to understand what true education is all about. The Lord is doing a work in MY life, so that I can do His will for our family. Praise God!"


~ Pam I; Homeschooling     

mom of 4 for 4 years; WA


We often start out with certain expectations, but as we move along the path God has for us, we start seeing something quite different!  Be open to the possibility of this happening, no matter how far you feel you have (or actually have) come in and with the Lord. 





Concerned about your kids not learning enough?  ... Enjoying your kids!


One mom said:  "I'm a little worried (ok, A LOT worried!) about not doing anything with my children for any length of time since that's basically what we have been doing for the last two years due to burn-out," and here's how Joan, a homeschooling mom in Wisconsin, responded...


Truly, you have not done nothing for the past two years! ... Your children have been learning in spite of what you've done or not done.  So you might as well learn to start enjoying them. Collect the excellent books that Barb recommends as you can afford them. But don't put off following the Spirit in living daily life with your children. That must not wait.  (AMEN!!!! from Barb!!!)


I guess I am starting to think less about doing, and more about being. God has shown me that part of my job as a mom is enjoying my children. They must enjoy me, and they must know in their hearts that I love to be with them.  I can honestly say today that I enjoy my children as much as my friends. 

Face it, "schoolwork" (as the world knows it) is hardly a tool to knit hearts together. And I find that I must keep searching daily:  How can I knit our hearts together today?  Maybe I'm selfish, but for now, that's my key purpose in life ~ to be a family whose hearts are knit together.
Follow the Spirit today. How would He have you enjoy your children today?  How would He have you be so that your children enjoy you?  Surely that must be the path to follow in for today. What is "school" ~ even homeschool ~ if it is not a real part of you? 


I hope I have encouraged you a smidgen, not discouraged you further. Barb has a phrase that spoke volumes to me: REDEEM YOUR FAMILY.  Isn't this a biblical thing to do?  As Barb shared, redeem means "to make good, " or "to take something of little or no value and replace it with something of great value."  Beg God to give you a vision for what can be so that you can get on the right path. Don't allow fear to stop you.   ...  Do it, you have everything to lose!  Let God work in your family for good. Seek Him and what He would have you do.   


~ Joan    





   Have I been doing it all wrong? ... Is it too late?  ...  Guilt?!?!?


Another mom said:  "What is God going to tell me? Have I been wrong in homeschooling all these years?"  As we learn to hear God's voice better, we will likely recognize many things we've been thinking and feeling our whole lives as being the outright lies that they are.  God can't redeem anything until the "old" is revealed, admitted to, and exposed to His healing grace and transforming power!  He never condemns!!!  So if that feeling starts creeping in, resist and reject it in the name of Jesus! 

She went on:  "Will He have me put them in school?" ...  I (Barb) can't imagine that He would bring you out of Egypt only to send you ~ or your children ~ back in!  (However, that's not "the word of the Lord" ~ just my opinion!)


And she continued:  "Have I just let it go too far?"  To which I would say:  "Is there anything too difficult for God?"  Of course the answer is NO!!!!  God is in the REDEEMING business!  It is what He does!!!  It's Who He IS:  the Redeemer!!!  He has redeemed too much absolutely hopeless-appearing junk in my life for me to think that anything is too hard for Him!  You will just need to keep drawing closer and closer and closer to Him so that you can hear His voice as He leads you through this wilderness one step at a time. He knows how weak we are!  If He didn't know how to lead particularly weak people, I wouldn't be here!  Or have any good stories to tell, or any encouragement to give!

Debbie C. responded to the "redeemed" thoughts above:


      This just had me in tears! God is using all these posts to move and shake me! How do you deal with the sometimes overpowering guilt that comes along with these issues?! I know the enemy uses it to drag us down, but how can we (me) get set free from it?  Thanks to all you sisters who are being so transparent & letting God use you!


~ Debbie    


Take any guilt ~ and its first cousin, Fear ~ to Jesus' feet and let His blood cover and His grace transform them!  Instead of continuing to struggle, we need to stop struggling and surrender our will to God. "When I was a child, I thought like a child..." but now it's time to grow up ~ into the full stature of what the Lord has for us.  Hannah Whital Smith said, in A Christian's Secret of a Happy Life:  "We are only one repentance away from experiencing full peace."  I love that!!!  We don't need any more "knowledge" ~ we just need to obey.  NOW!




Major shifting of priorities.


Here's what another mom whose priorities were undergoing a major shift shared...




       "I began to get the idea that not only would it be okay to have fun with my kids, but that it was my job!!  I was supposed to enjoy them!  I began to see them as souls, rather than (merely as) little people to feed, clothe, and read to.  This was the light for me, and perhaps I've been hearing it for years, a tape here, a speaker there. But I struggled so hard ~ wasn't I supposed to "make sure they obey" as my main job in life?  I gave up that thinking, so to speak, and decided to try to communicate to their hearts instead. And I find that it is fruitful! 


If our hearts are not "together," I am just wasting time. I am no better than the public school teacher whose kids stare out the window for hours on end.  What's the point? So instead of books (even all that good literature that I used to shove down their throat!), we try ~ or rather, *I* try ~ to make sure that we are meeting spiritual needs with one another, and we try to enjoy life, whatever that means to us.  
I don't want you to think we don't do anything like schoolwork ~ we must, in order to enjoy life!  They must know handwriting, reading, research, math skills, etc.  But it all has to come when they need it, not when I decide to start shoving it down their throats!  We keep track of what we look up because it is interesting to us. We decorate our pages and put them in a notebook because then they are pleasing to look at.  We share what we find with each other. We minister to people outside our family by letters and other ways as we are able."







Learning how to learn ourselves!


One last comment from Susan Hitchcock:


God is doing so much through this course, Barb, that sometimes I feel my head is going to explode because I'm thinking so much!   


I've really learned so much about HOW TO LEARN from your course!  It excites me because I truly think I'm going to be that HOMESCHOOLED MOTHER that Marilyn Howshall talks so much about!    Eager and excited to learn right along with those kiddos! ... THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! 


~ Susan   


So, as you can see, this course is at least as much about becoming learners ourselves as it is about homeschooling our children!





In closing... 


I hope that everything I've shared here gives you a better idea of what to expect as you proceed through this season, and how to prepare for it, in your home, but also and especially in your heart and mind.  God's ways are higher than our ways, as are His ideas of what He views as being needful to happen ~ in your life, with your unique children ~ during such a season. 


I so appreciate the vulnerability of these ladies in allowing me to share their thoughts with you.  I hope that all of this has been an encouragement to you as you proceed ~ or consider putting yourself ~ through this course.  Remember, a season of tilling, planting, sowing, and nurturing must always precede the harvest.












All of Barb's

resources are available to

purchase at our

Online Catalog!