20 Best Tips
Teaching Textbooks

Paperwork and Tea Time

Just when I think that I’ve managed to get into a good routine with our school year, we start a new year and there are all sorts of fun, new things to throw into the mix. While our oldest {7th grade} is working a bit more independently in her schoolwork, an added benefit to me {oh, that is SO tongue in cheek} is keeping up with all of the paperwork and correcting. The older the kids get, the paperwork seems to grow exponentially in some areas.

grading papers

I so love paperwork. {Please, note the sarcasm.}

This school year has managed to absorb even more of my overall time {more planning, grading, reviewing…}, but it’s all a good thing. Really, truly. There are days that I feel a little bit overwhelmed. Sometimes a few more than I would care to admit.

Slowing Down and Focusing

One thing that I’ve started to do with the girls this year is have a weekly tea time. They each have their own special time with me – one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. The main intent was to review schoolwork, talk about assignments, and make sure we were on the same page with things, but it has really been such an added blessing to our week.

tea cup

While we do get all the paperwork covered, it has been a time where we can chat, share things that have come up during the course of the week, and just enjoy being together. Essentially, it’s a time to be intentionally focused 1:1 on the child in front of me and connect with the heart inside.

One thing I’m learning through all of it is to just slow down. It’s a season where I am having to put a few things aside in order to focus on what is important and needs my immediate attention.

And that’s a good thing.

But don’t think those little boys running around the house want nothing to do with mom. Now they are wondering when their tea hot chocolate days are going to start.

I really wouldn’t have it any other way.


Do you have focused 1:1 time with your kids? How do you carve special time to share with your children?

10 Gifts of Wisdom by Sally Clarkson – a new ebook

There’s a new ebook available from Sally Clarkson – 10 Gifts of Wisdom. I’m currently reading one of her other books, Mission of Motherhood, and highly recommend anything by her. (Yes, I love her that much). She truly is a HUGE encouragement to mothers everywhere – homeschooling or not.


10 Gifts of Wisdom by Sally Clarkson

Her new book, 10 Gifts of Wisdom is now available on Kindle and  TODAY ONLY is just 99 cents!! It is in ebook format only at this point and will be $4.95 after the sale ends.

Here’s a little more about the book {via the publisher’s Amazon blurb}

Every parent wants their child to grow into a gracious and competent adult. Gratitude, perseverance, generosity; these are just a few of the social and spiritual skills children need to gain before they leave home. Yet few parents today have a clear vision for how to cultivate those traits in their children. What does it look like to form character? How can a mother train her child’s heart to be excellent and good? The 10 Gifts of Wisdom answers those questions.

In these pages you will be inspired, instructed, and empowered to give your children the foundations they need in order to build a life of strength and meaning. This book presents ten gifts of character and wisdom that every parent can give their child before they leave home. A hands-on guide to character formation, is crammed with practical suggestions, personal stories, and encouragement for moms in the thick of child training. But this is also a book of vision, offering moms the inspiration and comfort they need as they seek to form children with excellent characters, strong minds, and loving hearts.

Discipleship and Discipline for the Desperate Mom

And in case you missed it earlier, Sally Clarkson is also the one that teamed up with Sarah Mae to teach a four-part Discipleship and Discipline course. Their course was live-recorded, so if you missed their initial webinar, you can still take part in this fabulous class. You can re-watch segments of the program at any time! Find out more about that here.

Enjoy and be encouraged!

Snippets of Doubt

While I often talk about what we do during our homeschool time – the fun, the silly, and the learning – there are many days and nights that I feel snippets of doubt creep into my heart. Even though it may seem to others that I am secure in who I am, I struggle along with many in questioning my abilities and allowing fear to hold me captive.

Stuggle and doubt in homeschooling

This most often happens in the wee hours of the night, when sleep eludes me, but things spoken by others come back to my mind. Questions plague me. And usually they aren’t encouraging.

Doubts that we aren’t doing enough academically. Belief that I am a poor mother. Feelings of inadequacy.

And the list goes on.

The dark of night and the surrounding silence makes those words seem much louder and somehow more true, even though they are not. It makes it difficult to distinguish them for what they really are – lies.

My heart races. My eyes blur with tears.

Then the fog in my mind begins to clear as a still, small voice quiets the words that are trying to choke out the truth of who I am as a wife, a mother, a teacher to my children, and a child of God.

Verses and songs come to mind and I quietly repeat them. Over and over again. Declaring TRUTH over the lies.

  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
  • “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
  • “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2

Declare God's truth over lies

    What verses do you dwell on to speak truth into your life? Can you leave one today and encourage another today?


    Jolanthe Signature

    Your Encouragement Matters

    A few weeks ago I came across a post from Michael Hyatt called “A Tale of Two Coaches” that really applies to each of us as teachers and parents. While the topic isn’t anything earth-shattering, it was something that stuck with me {the window to the post has been open in my browser since I read it}.  It’s given me a lot to mull about over the last bit and consider in my approach to my children – and others for that matter.

    Hyatt tells of how his golf game was effected by two different friends that he played with. One was always an encouragement – his gentle, reassuring voice gave Hyatt the opportunity to play his best games, instilling confidence in him and his game.

    The other friend was an excellent golfer {even better than the first}, but rather than gentle encouragement, his mannerisms and actions belittled Michael, causing him to play at his worst.

    Your Encouragement Matters

    There are days when it can be so hard to find an encouraging word in the midst of the craziness. Days when biting words are on the tip of your tongue in response to bad attitudes and frustration.

    But our words matter to our kids.

    Your words matter

    We can gently encourage our children in an area they are struggling with or spew words that will cut and damage little hearts and stick with our children in the days to follow.

    While my goal is obviously to be an encouragement to our children in all I say and do, the reality is – well, reality. It doesn’t always come across that way and things come out of my mouth with a sharp intent. Words that I wish I could take back, but I can only offer an apology. Once our words are out – they aren’t easily forgotten.

    Rather than focusing on what our kids are doing wrong, we can focus and encourage what they are doing right. {Believe me, I know this can be hard sometimes}.

    Have you ever noticed a difference in your child’s demeanor when you encourage rather than focusing on the wrong? Shoulders lift. Faces smile. Hearts are softened.

    When grace and encouragement are given, it can make a world of difference. This obviously isn’t a new concept – but it has been something that I have been reminded of lately and thought someone else might need to hear it as well.

    Do you struggle with this area and holding your tongue at times? What ways have you found to specifically encourage your kids – even when it’s tough to do so?

    Jolanthe Signature

    Do Not Give Up

    There may be day or two that I watch the bus go by and {for a split second} contemplate flagging the driver down. Usually though, that’s when the driver is bringing kids home from school. {grins}


    image courtesy of Microsoft

    Not every day is perfect in our homeschool time. We get frustrated with each other and lose our patience. Some days there are tears as children claim they cannot do what is being asked of them. Some days there are tears from me and I wonder if I can do what is being asked of me.

    Can I encourage you? Do not give up.

    Yes, there are moments when you might be pushed to the brink of frustration, but there will also be moments like this…


    This moment just makes my heart soar. The boy who fights me endlessly about reading, voluntarily picked up a book to read to his younger brother. To further knock me off my feet, he announced that the book was full of onomatopoeia. {I may have almost fallen over when he said that word – unprompted!}.

    Can I encourage you? Do not give up.

    Yes, there will be moments of frustration and moments when you may want to pull your hair out.

    But the sweet moments that you catch your children in together, moments having a little one snuggled on your lap, hearing first words sounded out, and watching those ‘lightbulb’ moments in your children – those are priceless moments.

    Homeschool Encouragement quote

    Homeschooling will have ups and downs. You can do it – and I’m here to encourage you along the way.

    You, momma, are doing a great job. Hang in there.

    Do not give up.

    Jolanthe Signature affiliate button


    Time 4 Learning – combining technology with education to make learning fun for kids!

    For the Record, There are Times I am Desperate

    In the early stages of being a mom there were moments that I sincerely wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into. The children that I had prayed for and loved to death could one minute be a source of joy and in another moment seem to be draining the very life from me.

    There are many days even now when I just want to hide under the bedcovers and sleep a little more. Maybe pretend that we don’t have to do school. Or that I am a mom and need to be responsible for anything.

    Days I feel overwhelmed with all of the things that need to be done and the time that seems to so pass by so quickly.

    I am blessed beyond measure to have dear friends {some near and some far} who are encouraging in every little way to me – praying with me, helping out in tangible ways when needed, but most of all just being a friend and providing hope and encouragement in much needed moments.

    A whisper of ‘hang in there’ to a fervent prayer for wisdom in a circumstance.

    Motherhood can be overwhelming at times and as moms we need to pull together and be willing to offer help to other moms {younger or older!} and not be afraid to ASK for help as well. It can be daunting, but I guarantee that many around you have been in a similar place and can offer hope to you where you are now!

    Will you trust me in this? Please?

    From my heart to yours – You are a wonderful mother. What you are doing DOES matter!! Please remember that – and know that there are others who want to come alongside you and be an encouragement, but more than anything, we have a God who loves you so dearly. He sees you and you matter to Him more than anything!

    Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

    Two amazing ladies that I am blessed to know in real life, Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae, have teamed together in writing a book called Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. If you grab one book this year to sit down and read – and encourage your very soul, make it this one!!

    The book is written as a back-and-forth letter writing between Sally and Sarah Mae and is so very full of encouragement, hope, and lessons to learn and implement. Letters from a new mom needing insight and understanding and replies from the perspective of an older mom with wisdom.

    New mom or seasoned mom, there is a little something for everyone. If you are a mom who has been through the thick of it, consider purchasing a copy of Desperate to share with new moms you know and encouraging them in their walk.  If you would like to start a small study group and read this book with other moms in your area, Desperate Mom has put together some free resources for you to use.

    Today, I want to leave you with this short clip from Sally Clarkson. If anything, play it over and over and take each word to heart!