Senior High

 (a Home-Designed)




by its author: Barb Shelton




~ And ~


  Before and After"



~ And ~

   How I Cut

Form+U+la Down

to Size



An article within an article by


Wendy Fulton



~ And ~


More Encouragement

on How to NOT Be Overwhelmed


Yet ANOTHER article within an article by


Amy Beckel



Quick Links

to each of the "articles" on this page:



"Bonnie's Before and After"

by Bonnie and Barb


"How I Cut Form+U+la Down to Size"

by Wendy Fulton


"More Encouragement

on How to NOT Be Overwhelmed"

by Amy Beckel





I made the following statement on the Senior High Form+U+la List in response to one mom's comment that she thought this book would put her on overload...


Form+U+la is NOT

"one more thing to do";
it frees you to HEAR GOD
for your own family!


I made that statement in an extra-large font because it is the main point on this whole page. If you get nothing else out of this article, THAT is what you need to walk (or click) away with.    In response to that statement, here is what another homeschool mom said:  




This [the above, opening statement] is the re-education in my thinking that had to take root to relieve the pressure of "doing it all." Even though it took several years (I'm a slow learner... it didn't have anything to do with the way Barb communicated it), realizing that Form+U+la is not "one more thing to do" made all the difference in my attitude towards high school and what we were trying to accomplish in these last years of homeschooling. It was freeing for us, and I pray that those who read Barb's material will see that up front!


~ Jody; Homeschooling mom of 5 for 18 years; in Nebraska


Some take one look at Form+U+la and get overwhelmed. And once overwhelmed, many won't even read it!  It will just sit on their shelf for years, sadly watching the family slowly burn out, not to mention miss out on much of what God had in store for them.


It's understandable that the book seems overwhelming; it is 425 pages!  But it grieves my heart to hear that people let this stop them from reading it, because I wrote it to FREE God's precious homeschool moms!!!  And to equip them!  I did NOT write it to overwhelm them!!!   I hope you will hear and GET what Jody got, as you will have a LOT more fun during these precious years with your high schooler!  In fact, it may even make it possible for you to actually even experience these years with your high schooler, because many who get overwhelmed just give up and put their kids in school!!!    THIS IS SOOOOOOOO SAD, AND SO UNNECESSARY!!!


I've found over and over that if moms get overwhelmed, it's only because they aren't looking at Form+U+la correctly!  They are seeing it as a list ~ a pile ~ of "to do's" rather than as a buffet or smorgasbord from which they are free to pick and choose as they so desire and feel led!  Actually, even more than a smorgasbord, it is an equipper, a refresher, and a re-focuser! 


Because of how typical I think the following mom and her situation are, I want share some of the  correspondence between the two of us.  She did such a good job of putting words to the feelings that MANY have, but you will also get to see how her heart changed.  In a word, it was by being teachable, but here's how that looks in real life!  (She is yet another mom who had a wrong impression of the book ~ which came from just looking at it...)







I enjoyed your Homeschool Jumpstart Navigator so much, and saw myself over and over in it, but I am feeling a lot of anxiousness; I'm overwhelmed, and confused as to where to start in my situation.  I have 4 children:  9th and 10th grade boys, a 6th grade girl and a 2-3rd grade boy who has a progressive hearing loss.  He needs a bit more work with me as he has been losing his hearing since 4 years old.  He is a great kid to work with.  My girl has been a pretty self motivated student with minimal help.  BUT my teen boys are really challenging me.  For the past two years they have slowly fallen behind.  They "fit the bill" in your book about the hate for school.  This year I peaked and said "I cannot do them anymore ~ this way of homeschooling."


Is it too late?  I do not want to put them in public school.  They would like to go for the social part.  Little do they know how much harder it would be.  They want to be outside (we farm), and doing other things.  (I can't blame them.)  They are so disruptive at home, screwing around, not getting anything constructive done. 


I am totally confused about meeting credits.  I have prayed and prayed for direction, and here I am.  I just was wondering where to start without getting even further behind.  I have the Sr. High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la, but keep looking at the size of the book, the little amount of time I have to read, and am afraid of getting overwhelmed like I did for the Jumpstart book. Please don't misunderstand that your book is confusing; the problem is me and the "I don't know where to start" issue.  Yes, I know the beginning would be good, but do I have time?


A little bit of what I told her (which

might also apply to you) was this: 


Dear Bonnie,


You need to see the book differently!!!!!!!     {{8}}  (big hug!!!!!)  Please read "Overwhelmed by Form+U+la" (the article you are now reading, and to which I am adding Bonnie's part)  which is LONG but RICH and very very releasing, refreshing, and relaxing!!!!!!  But not unless you READ it!!!!!! 
Regarding Bonnie's concern about shortness of time, which MANY share the same concern for, I wrote: "You don't have time to NOT have ~ and MAKE ~ time. Clear your schedule as much as you possibly can, and just start reading, praying, processing, reading, praying, processing... THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS. (I'm not yelling; just wanting to make sure you hear me. )  There's a Jumpstarter right in the front of Form+U+la; that will "buy" you some time. 


I wrote quite a few other things as well,

and so did my list shepherdesses, Teresa and Patti,

and here is Bonnie's response...




(or maybe we should say "During"

because much more is yet to come!!!)



Last night I took a deep breath, got cozy after all had gone to sleep and started reading Formula, and found it so different than I had expected. It was like the book was anointed or something. I couldn't put it down and did not get sleepy.

I was amazed, excited and felt God's grace. I just can't really explain. I went to sleep feeling like I can't wait to get started!  I shared some of it with my 16-year-old and he saw my excitement. He sat down by me while I talked about it a bit, and, before he went to bed, he said, "Thanks mom for being so excited about homeschooling us," adding "You are really cool."  This was my son who had argued and rebelled because he has wanted to go to public school for the last couple years!


I don't understand it all, but am feeling like I have to figure this all out for their sake and my sanity. So I am going forward with enthusiasm and just trusting that somehow God will get me through, and past the feelings of being overwhelmed.  No I don't understand some of the file and notebook ideas, but that will come with more reading and absorbing. I think the enemy just plain had to give me one good jab of fear and feelings of inadequacies.
Anyway, my next step, from what I understand, is reading the Form+U+a book.  I am truly looking forward to re-education and renewing. It is overdue for me. I am just so excited to have finally found a different way and trust I can pull it all together for a very positive outcome. Nothing would make me happier than to see my children passionate for the Lord. Right now they are very much into themselves, but you are right, God can do it.

Again, I thank you. It is difficult to put into writing all I really want to say. I appreciate all you have done, all of you.  (She was also speaking to my two wonderful list shepherdesses, Teresa and Patti, as well.)

I love your humor in your writings. You seem very down to earth and relatable, not intimidating and proud.  I know God has led you for people like me.

~ Bonnie S.; Homeschooling mom


Side note:  When I went to ask Bonnie for permission to use "all the above," she added some MORE good stuff, and I just had to include excerpts from that too!


I just want to share something.  I have been carrying your book around wherever I go and read whenever I get the chance.   A blue highlighter (or any color, blue just calms me), is a definite must for me while reading.  It is like seeing one of God's miracles in action leading me on, motivating and encouraging me.  It is so fun!  Anyway, I know the renewing is already taking place, the burden is lifting because of the new calmness I am carrying. 


Yesterday, I was driving my in-laws to a doctor appointment, about an hour away.  I had their van so it was just a little strange to me.  Traveling 60 miles an hour, a huge semi-truck came through a stop sign right in front of me.  "OH MY LORD!"  All I could do was speed up and gear to the right to swerve around the front of him.  I couldn't even take the ditch because it was an intersection, and I was traveling too fast down the highway.  I got around him by inches, took the ditch a little and got the car under control and drove on.  Yes, my legs and hands shook, but I had such a controlled peace about me.  I know that the Lord was there and gently guided me around the semi.  He would have hit my side and who knows what. 


I pondered all this and I know my peace came from the renewing time from your book.  It is just something you know.  I didn't fall apart, I didn't get angry, I just praised the Lord.  We continued on to the clinic and I had a wonderful 1-1/2 hours to soak up more of your book, with my highlighter. 


Your book does more than you can know.  The "freedom" you mention in your "overwhelm" section begins at an early part of the book.  Then last night at Wed. night church, I shared your book with a friend who just started homeschooling this year.  Her son is 6th grade.  I encouraged her to not waste time like I have.  I told her I don't understand it all yet, but I know it is a "God thing" that I am experiencing.  So she got excited and is ordering your book.  Oh, how many moms are out there tearing their hair out because of lack of knowledge!?! 


Again, thank you, I am grateful.  I hope to someday  hear you speak at a convention.  I listened to your cassette from you and your husband a couple weeks ago. (sixth item down on this page) How wonderful for redemption!


Bless you again!!





To get the benefits, you have to actually READ the book, of course!    Not just skim or glance through it!  In fact, you really shouldn't even look at the forms until you've read everything that comes before them!  And when you do look at them, please read everything I say about each one because:


1) you will see the form entirely differently; the "heart 'n' soul" behind it is very important to getting the point of the form!  And...


2) even if you don't actually use a form, what I have to say about it will probably be helpful to you in some way anyway! And the BEST way it will be helpful is that it will give you a "lighter" impression of it, thus helping to "de-overwhelm" you!


Form+U+la is about a hundred workshops all rolled into ONE book, because I couldn't make a hundred books!  So you have to take it one step at a time, "line upon line," starting at the beginning and moving through it. Most importantly, allow the Lord to speak to you between the lines (literally) what HE wants you to take from it!


If you can not read it this way, you will never get out of it what God wants you to.  And I so want you to get the most out of it!  If you already have it, I don't want it just collecting dust on your bookshelf! I want you to read and be blessed and freed up by it!!!


One mom who "got it" said this to me:  "I bought Form+U+la before my son started high school and I love it this year. I do not use everything exact, but it gives me ideas. Good ones."


To this I say, "YAY!!!  You have the exact idea! And this mindset is the very best antidote to coming down with a severe case of "overwhelmitis" upon reading ~ or even just taking one look at ~ this book!  The whole point is not that anyone must follow my ideas and use them exactly as they are presented in the book. I just give my ideas (good ones! ) for you to use as bouncing-off points!  And then you edit them (the ones ~ and only the ones ~ that will be helpful to you) to fit your and your student's needs.


Here is something from another homeschool mom, Wendy Fulton, that will give some very practical ideas for keeping Form+U+la from being overwhelming...  (She wrote it as a letter to me, but it ended up being an article!)  





How I Cut Form+U+la

Down to Size


~ Literally and Figuratively!




~ An article within an article ~


by Wendy Fulton




First of all, thank you so much for writing your book and for the Senior High Form+U+la List.  I think I might have put my 14-year-old daughter in Christian school had the Lord not led me to read your book. And I have been sooooo blessed by the women on the list.
I was very overwhelmed at the thought of having to begin high school with my children. My heart was racing and I could not sleep. The Lord was so good and led me out of my self-induced panic.
After reading your book, I found I needed to "digest" it. Once I realized that your book was divided into four categories (in my mind), everything became much clearer to me:

1. Encouragement (very enjoyable conversation!)

2. Record-Keeping Sheets

3. Assignment Check-off Sheets (or Completed Class Plans) and Task Analysis Sheets

4. Learning Guides (Curriculum Supplements)

I took your book apart and put it in a three-ring binder. I made one copy of every record-keeping sheet, ACS & TAS, and Learning Guide.
I bought a square storage box at Staples that holds Pendaflex hanging files.  I labeled three Pendaflex files the same as #2, #3, and #4 (above).
In the Record Keeping Pendaflex, I put manila file folders labeled with all the record keeping sheets and put one copy in each folder.
In the ACS & TAS Pendaflex, I put manila file folders labeled with subject headings (Bible, English, Math, Social Studies, Science, Foreign Language, Health/Phys Ed, Fine Arts, Life Skills, Home Economics, and Occupational Education). In each of these folders, I put one copy of the corresponding ACS's and TAS's.
In the Learning Guides Pendaflex, I put file folders labeled for each learning guide and put one copy in each folder.
Now I could *see* everything you did in a condensed, outline-type form. I wonder if everyone who reads the book can *see* that the TAS's are a sub-category of the ACS's (at least, I *think* they are!), and that you could have several TAS's under one ACS.
Of course, I don't try to follow your plan, but I love seeing what you did and finding myself inspired and excited about how God is developing our children's high school years. Thank you for publishing your examples!
Another thought on why some people may feel overwhelmed reading your book:  I think that just as Christians are in different places in their walk with the Lord, so are homeschooling moms in different places. Perhaps for some moms the idea of abandoning textbooks and prepared curriculum all at once is too much to do. Maybe at your website or in your next book(!), you could explain how to *ease* into this idea, for those not quite ready to *dive* in.


[RESPONSE FROM BARB:  The best advice I can give for this is to ask the Lord what idea HE wants you to implement first, and then next, and then next...  There's no one way to do it.  God alone knows what will be the easiest process for you.  He is FOR you; not AGAINST you!!!  As you take on a new thing, it will be easier to let go of the "old"!  God WILL show you if you will just ASK, and then BELIEVE that He wants to lead you, CAN lead you, and actually IS leading you!!!  That's why you're in the place you are now in!!!  ]



Wendy Fulton is the mother of three

girls and has been homeschooling for eight years.

She and her family live in Jackson, New Jersey.

She has graciously allowed anyone to

contact her via email if you have

any questions for her!




But WAIT!!!  There's MORE...




More Encouragement

on How to

NOT Be Overwhelmed!





by Amy Beckel

"List Shepherdess" of SHF-L ~ the

Senior High Form+U+la List


(Click on the

little Form+U+la cover above

to go to the page that explains

this list in detail, and

how to join!)




First I deeply sympathize ~ and empathize ~ with your "Information Overload."    I'm so sorry to hear of your frustration.  I, too, can get way too deep into the *reading* and not enough of the *doing,* and my husband notices that, too!

Long ago, on the shf-l list, I wrote my 3-step, foolproof plan for getting organized and getting more done:

1) Put down the book.
2) Get off the sofa.
3) Get to work.

It sounds as though we have some things in common, so I thought you might get a chuckle over my "plan"!  There are so many wonderful ideas in so many wonderful books. But when we get overloaded, it's time to put them down more often. Can you schedule for yourself just, say, 30 minutes of reading (I'm talking about "outside" reading, like the Messies Manual) a day?  During lunch time perhaps? Then you'd have more time to move through your day in peace, with prayer in your heart, trying to simply "do the next thing" as the Lord gives it to you, not to implement ALL the ideas you've been reading about organizing etc. It can't all be done at once. Here is a wonderful quote I read last night:
"Godly things move along slowly and imperceptibly, but steadfastly. Pray and wait with patience, looking to see whether a door will open. The Lord will arrange things in such a way as you cannot guess."
Make small steady steps to new habits... and pray. Don't be downcast at what is left to be done ~ in the house or with the children.  Keep patiently, prayerfully working! Your commitment comes through very clearly...  I'm so glad you have that urge to press on.
If you are really worried about a Weekly Plan for your son, have HIM plan one. During a long drive, your son can look through the Jumpstart Plan (at the very beginning of Form+U+la) and write down some ideas that he can work on... and HE can put them on a Weekly Plan for himself (with your input, too). And those drives might be a wonderful time for him to read aloud to you, from Form+U+la or from another good book you two can pick out. It is SO great that you two are reading Barb's book together.

May God give rest and peace to your heart. Keep pressing on and up! 





Amy Beckel is the mother of three children,

two sons and a daughter, and has been homeschooling for 10 years,

(as of 2001)

She and her family live in Vancouver, Washington, and, for a couple of years,

Amy was one of the list shepherdesses of the Sr. High Form+U+la List,

without whom this list would have ceased to exist during the

time she so faithfully served! 

Amy has graciously allowed anyone to contact

her via email with any questions

you might have for her!




[Back to Barb again. ]   Many (if not MOST) homeschoolers just don't feel they are "qualified" to make decisions about their children's educations.  In fact, this is one of the MAIN reasons they are overwhelmed by my book.  A big part of my ministry is releasing "prisoners" ~ homeschoolers who are "prisoners" to the system ~ into freedom that they can make such decisions just because "God said so" and wants to help them DO it. He's the Master Curriculum Consultant!  Once you realize the full weight of this task is NOT on YOU, the feelings of "overwhelmedness" will greatly diminish.


Textbooks alone overwhelm.  One way to ease into "less text/workbooks" is to continue using them in as many classes as you feel you need them ~ or rather as few classes as possible. There will probably be a class or two that you have some ideas for ~ that's where to start!  Start weaning yourself (your kids) by coming up with creative alternatives for a class (or subject area) your child is interested in.  Then build from there.  There's not really any certain way to do this; it's just a matter of interest and how you feel led.  But you have to be FREE first, or you will not be able to feel led!  You'll just be BOUND!


A dear sister-in-Jesus shared something several years ago that deeply impacted me...  She said that we often view as a burden something that God is actually giving us to refresh us and lighten our load! If that is happening with you and Form+U+la, please ask God to transform your view of it.  Jesus said:


"My yoke is easy;

 my burden is light."



So if anything feels heavy, it's not of or from God!  And taking any and all such burdens to Him needs to be a way of LIFE for any homeschooling mom!!!


I will close with the words of a homeschooling mom who was talking about Form+U+la with friends on a message board. She said: 



"Barb Shelton

has a lot to say. Take it

in a bit at a time, and

you will get it."





With a great big hug,




Click on each of the smaller book covers throughout the article to go to comments on or reviews of Form+U+la and the Sr. High Form+U+la List Clicking on the one at the very top of this page will take you to the catalog write-up of the book on the Sr./Jr. High Resources page.






Article Chart   /   Main Lobby


Catalog Main Page


Resources for Sr./Jr. High

(Form+U+la is the first item on this page)







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