Living History

When learning history as a young child my interest went as far as my desire to do well on the test. The events and times seemed so disconnected and irrelevant to me.
Now, I love history much more than any other subject. Now I understand that history is simply a story, THE story, of the human experience.

History is full of stories of men and women with dreams, fears, and ambitions just like me.

Now I see how these stories really do connect to me. Now I understand why learning history can help me better understand myself and help me better appreciate my own heritage and legacy.

This is why I consider the study of history valuable in efforts of raising and educating future leaders.

My kids and I are currently learning about WWII and next month will be reading and learning about the Civil Rights Movement.

I use historical fiction often. I like how it gives a much more personal perspective of historical events and time periods. When reading the stories of people in history it helps them better consider the human impact of the events we learn about.

(this Scholastic article, Why and How I Teach Historical Fiction, has great thoughts and resources)

For the last 3 years we have been reading through American Girls book series in chronological order. All my kids, ESPECIALLY my boys, have really enjoyed them. I complement our reading with documentaries and other books on the topic, both fiction and nonfiction. We just finished Molly’s series (WWII) and next month will be reading Melody (Civil Rights).

With the more recent historical events we are learning about now we have the exciting opportunity to learn from people who actually lived through them. Next month we will also be working on an Oral History Project with other homeschoolers in our area. My boys and other middle and highschoolers will be interviewing residents living local retirement homes, learning more about their childhood and their life.

In preparation, my boys will also be interviewing their grandfather who lived during the Civil Rights movement and who’s dad served in WWII. It will be an amazing opportunity for them to learn from their grandfather and others what it was like to be a young black boy in the 50’s and 60’s.

This project will be a great way for them to learn to value history in a different way as they listen to real stories and the struggles of real people. It’s a different way to really engage and relate with the source. I am looking forward to their questions and reactions as they learn more about such challenging times people in our country experienced, and the way it changed real people.

My older sons have interviewed their grandparents before. I know that as we do this again they will continue to reap the benefits of learning to engage and attentively listening to the stories and wisdom of older people. In the long run it will help them value the legacy being left behind and appreciate their heritage.

Interviewing grandparents is always a great history project. I used this list of questions to get my younger kids thinking but the goal is always genuine curiosity and natural dialogue.

It never fails. No matter how my day is going, when we end with bedtime stories, it makes up for everything else. 

I love the way a story brings our family together. Some stories do a better job at connecting us in spite of the age difference between my children. 

This week we started reading Charlotte’s Web. My younger children are loving it. I am especially thrilled that my 5-year-old is engrossed in the story, in spite of the limited pictures in the book. During the time we were reading my 3 year old started singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” LOL So cute!! 

Reading through the book is also reminding me of the many benefits there are in reading fiction, for the older ones and for me. 

It’s a welcomed break from the realities of life, the news, and daily commitments. 

Yesterday, we journeyed with Wilbur the pig as he suffered through loneliness and expressed his need for a friend. Someone to connect with. After much pleading from my kids to “keep reading” we finally meet Charlotte, Wilbur’s new friend. 

This will be a great lesson for all of us on the importance of friendship and our intrinsic need for it.

Reading books together is my favorite way to make memories and learn together.

Isaiah and his dad leave to the 8th grade father/son trip this morning.

They will spend the weekend with other men and their sons from our church in W. Virginia. Their plans include hiking in a cave, in the mountain, even swimming in a water hole. So exciting and adventurous. I KNOW there will be so much laughter and great stories they will share with us this Sunday. LOL

The point of this time spent is also so the dads can share memories from when they started high school, advice, and wisdom.

The next few years for these boys will be so critical in their journey toward manhood. It will be full of joys and also trials and challenges. A weekend like this will help strengthen the relationship between Isaiah and the most important man in his life, his dad. He’s is going to need this in the years to come. The times when he needs correction, or when the life comes at him fast and he needs reassurance and direction, his relationship with his dad will be essential.

I am so filled with joy and happy for BOTH of them. This trip almost did  not happen. I’m thankful to the Lord that it did.

Can you believe I have 2 teenagers in my home?! I can’t!

As we move into this season more my prayers are gradually changing. When my sons were young boys my focus throughout the day seemed like it was always making sure they stayed alive. The balance then was allowing them the space for fun and adventure without hurting themselves or others. I was constantly yelling “slow down”, “stop running”, or “use your words”. My guidance and direction were to keep them safe and training them to be considerate and respectful.

Now that the boys are older, the game is quickly changing though the dynamics are somewhat similar. I still want to give them space to have age-appropriate fun and adventure in ways that are safe, respectful and God-honoring. The difference now is that I HAVE to train them to learn how to have better judgment and make decisions from their OWN godly convictions.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine about the complexities of parenting in this season. She now has a son in college so I have much to learn from her! After talking to her about how she navigated through these years with her son I gained much insight. Much of the things I am learning in this season are also helping me parent my younger children:

Allow them the opportunity to make mistakes often. 

Protecting my children is a natural instinct. I am learning, though, that there is wisdom in recognizing the times when it is best to step back and NOT shelter them. There are valuable lessons learned from difficulties and challenges and ESPECIALLY from the ones that come as a consequence of our mistakes. Life and experience are amazing teachers. I must trust God and know that He is in control and not be afraid to step back.


Get out of my comfort zone and connect with the parents of my children’s friends.

Accountability is important at any age. Though it usually feels awkward and is not something I always feel like doing, I must make the effort of connecting with the parents and making sure we are on one page. We must not shy away from asking questions. My son was recently invited to a home he had never been to before. Among other questions, I asked the parent if they had firearms. It felt so uncomfortable but I am so glad I asked. Later, I read this article that perfectly expressed why this is one question a parent must not hesitate to ask.

This is especially important as our children get older and more independent. We must open the lines of communications with the people they are connecting with, children and adults.

Make time for fun.

I have to intentionally make time to have fun, laugh, and connect with my sons. This one is not difficult but is so essential and easy to miss. My interactions with my boys HAVE to be more than giving instructions and correcting behavior. I have to make time to converse, listen to their stories, be interested in their world, learn about their friends. When I nurture an intimate relationship with them, it makes it so much easier to lay down rules and address more serious concerns. It’s much easier to listen to someone you trust and love. A relationship is paramount in this season.

I’ve always said that God has used parenting as a way to minister to my own heart more than ever. Parenting teenagers is teaching me to have courage and trust God more than ever before. In the end, it reminds me of a truth we forget often, He is the ONLY One in control.

What things have you learned as you’ve parented your own teenager?


Have you considered homeschooling your children and aren’t sure if you’re cut out for it?

homeschool not for tests but for life quote

Many parents want the benefits of homeschooling but don’t get past some of the stereotypes of homeschooling, and simply dismiss the idea.

We fear the unknown. My goal in this post is to shed light on some of the main objections or comments I have heard from other parents. You will also find below links to support groups and local events that will help you get started.


Common Questions to Homeschooling

What About Socialization? 

Let’s think this one through. What do we really mean by “Socialization”. Are we saying that if we educate them at home our kids won’t learn how to act like kids their age? Is the fear that they won’t “fit in” or will be considered “weird” and “different” by their peers.

If that actually happens, I wouldn’t have a problem with any of it. I DON’T want my kids acting like other kids their age. Yes, I want them to be different and stand out. With the way things are going in our culture now, if I’m raising my children to fear the Lord, they will stand out.

I think what many of us actually want is for our children to be social. We want them to know how to shake a hand firmly and look people in their eyes when talking to them. We want our child to have compassion for a child that’s being bullied at the park and have the courage to stand up. Yes, we all want our kids to know how to play with kids their age. Isn’t it awesome if they also learn how to have the patience to play with younger kids. What if our children are social enough to value a conversation with the elderly neighbor.

Homeschooling is a great way to make our children social, compassionate, patient, leaders. Our days are full of opportunities to fellowship and do life with people of all ages. I think making our children social is the least of our concerns.

I’m Not That Patient

I hear this one all the time. My answer is the same all the time. I’m not patient either. I homeschool, not because it comes easy, but out of obedience to the Lord.

Some people deal with difficult bosses or coworkers. We don’t think, “I’m can’t work, dealing with a boss is too difficult”. Instead, people find ways to work through their difficulties.

Homeschooling is the same way. Because I know that this is what the Lord want for my family and I see the benefits of educating at home I know I have to work through the difficulties. There ARE many days I lose my cool. Many mornings I can’t get through the lessons. So many times I feel like I’m failing them. I pray through them, seek advice and support, but never give up. The stakes are too high!

I Don’t Have a Teaching Degree

Legally, in Ohio, you don’t need a teaching degree to homeschool your children. I think the real question behind this one is, “Am I qualified”.

First, there is no one that knows your child better than you. That alone keeps me motivated. Thankfully, there is an endless amount of curriculum and resources available to help you get started. You can match them to your child’s learning style or interest. Depending on what you need you can find some that are all-inclusive (in terms of subjects), free, online or not, live-stream, and more.

Programs I LOVE and have used often:

  • Headsprout – Amazing reading program! I especially love it for boys. They have a program for early reading and one for reading comprehension.
  • Schoolhouse Teachers – You can find all subjects here for preK-12th. You will also find great resources for the family and parents.
  • Skrafty Homeschool Minecraft Classes – Use minecraft to teach different subjects. My boys have really enjoyed some of these.
  • Starfall – Great reading program online. FREE
  • Cathy Duffy Homeschool – Find reviews of ALL SUBJECTS and hundreds of homeschool curriculum. This is a great place to start as it will give you a bird’s eye view of what is available.

First Steps

The first thing I would tell you to do if you are just thinking about homeschooling this coming year is to read through the laws and requirements in your state. A great website to start with is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

Next, I would tell you to reach out to someone you know who is already homeschooling. There are great sites and FB groups online where you can find articles and people who can answer your questions and share resources and ideas.

Here are a few resources to get you started:

Ohio Homeschooling Parents – A FB group of more than 6000 parents in Ohio. Some of the admins are homeschool parents who are also certified teachers.

Christian Homeschool Family Picnic – A family picnic on August 8th. Games, food and fun. Will get the chance learn “How to get started in Homeschooling in Ohio” and ask questions. Will also meet representatives of different local co-ops.

Home Educating Families Meet-up – Meet homeschool families, find encouragement, and support.

I would love to be of any support, also. Please feel free to comment below, ask any questions, or even send me a private message.