Family Perspective and Breathing Room
July 28, 2021
Mercy Every Minute
Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor
I Can’t Breathe!
To be honest, these last two months have been so busy that I sometimes feel like I can’t breathe! And this is supposed to be summer break! The only thing breaking is me under the weight of my schedule! All good things are happening, but do you ever have times when they are all happening at once? I feel like I need some serious breathing room.
Some moms consider downtime being on a retreat or a vacation without the normal responsibilities. Some moms breathe easier when their children are all tucked in bed and they can “have a moment.”
Whether you enjoy a vacation or just get to breathe for a few minutes, I want to suggest a way to multiply your peace and even have a reserve for the time when everything is back full swing. It’s pretty simple: give God the first of your downtime . . . kind of like a tithe of time. If we honor Him in all of our planned times first, He multiplies the peace in our hearts as we face all the busy and often stressful “up-time.”
You may need to plan that breathing room right into your busy schedules. And when you bless the Lord with the time He has provided for you, then you will find peace and joy even in the midst of heavy storms.
Let me give you some perspective:
Remember when Jesus slept on the boat during a storm and the disciples wondered how He could sleep? Jesus knew He was Master of the storm, but the disciples didn’t. If they had known Him, they would have been sleeping, too!
Spending that first bit of any downtime in getting to know your God will bring great faith that He is Master of your storms, and you, too, can find rest.
So, what we learn here is that rest not only comes during downtime, but you can even find rest in the midst of heavy storms as you put your faith in God. Take any amount of downtime you have and get to know what manner of man this is—your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 8: 23-27)
Breathing with you,
Check out some more articles that will give you and your family the right perspective:
Consider a Family Missions Vacation by Mary Jo Keller
Engage and Love Scripture as a Family an Interview with Sarah M. Wells by Bonnie Rose Hudson
Journal Writing for the Homeschool Family by Amelia Harper
My Tough Love Message: Please Relax!
I’m sorry to dump on you, but I’m feeling a little cynical and snappy. I’ve written about ten thousand articles about enjoying your family and relaxing. That’s about all I tell homeschooling moms. “Relax and enjoy your children because they’re going to be grown and gone before you know it,” I say. I travel all over the country telling homeschoolers to relax. When moms email me and describe their homeschool situation, I say, “Relax.”
But sometimes it feels like nobody’s doing it! Homeschoolers are tired, frustrated, and worn out, causing their children to hate homeschooling and everything they hold dear. They need to relax, but something tells them to push harder, plow through, and do more.
The truth is they don’t need to do more; they need to relax.
But they don’t listen. Oh, they nod in agreement, and say, “Yep, that’s what I need to do . . . right after I do this, this, and this . . . and that and this . . . and then some of that . . . and I have to finish this.”
And all that makes me think, “What’s the use? I’m wasting my breath.”
Because even if I tell them and you (like I do in every single article I write) to relax, many of you won’t.
You’ve been duped into thinking that relaxing is ‘bad’ and doesn’t fall into the real school schedule. So you say things to your children like, “If we work really hard this week maybe, just maybe, we can take off next week.” Then many of you proceed to miss out on the important stuff while plowing through the unimportant stuff.
Whoa, did I say, “unimportant?” Yeah, that’s what I meant to say. Unimportant.
Again, I’m sorry for dumping on you. Just ignore me, and go back to ‘doing school.’ Work hard; be diligent; mold young minds; make sure you get it all done; and don’t rest until it’s finished . . . I gotta go be a dad.
I’ve got issues.
. . . in living sound! https://www.bibleinlivingsound.org.
Make Room to Breathe
“That’s what my husband said!” she said in disbelief. I had to tell my dear friend the truth. She blankly gazed at her printed homeschool schedule for the coming year. I know she had labored hard to craft every amazing educational experience that she felt would enhance her children’s lives. It was her second year of homeschooling. I could tell she was carrying the pressure to succeed and the tightness of fear while secretly doubting she was doing this homeschool thing correctly.
“There is no room to breathe. You have every moment scheduled.” I gingerly spoke the words that had been said to me so many years ago by a dear homeschool veteran who dared to speak into my life.
I know what this moment felt like for her. There are so many fantastic educational opportunities, and I felt like a failure as a homeschool mom if I “deprived” my child of an activity. I realized it was my fear of failure that motivated my action-packed-schedule-with-no-room-to-breathe.
I took a deep breath and began, with my husband’s help, to evaluate each activity by asking three questions—
Does this activity bring our family closer to God or farther apart?
Does this activity prevent my husband and me from nurturing our marriage?
Does this activity bring our family closer together or farther apart?
If you want to know what a person values, look at their checkbook and see how they spend their money. Equally, it can be said, if you want to know a person’s priorities look at their schedule and see how they spend the moments of each day. Does your homeschool schedule reflect the priorities that you hold dear?
I shared all of this with my friend. She thanked me for having the courage to speak truth into her life. She gazed once more at her homeschool schedule for next year and smiled, saying “I think my husband and I have some evaluating to do.”
I smiled and thanked God for the homeschool veteran in my life too, who gave our family some room to breathe.
“. . . meaning you’re putting family first and sometimes that means adding more breathing room into your schedule . . . not overdoing it in homeschooling or life in general.”
Beth Mora, creator/teacher-on-camera for Here to Help Learning’s Homeschool Writing Program (grades 1-6) and homeschool conference and women’s events speaker, loves to blog at Home to Home. She serves up HTHL’s Writing Tip of the Week for those teaching their kiddos to write. Everything she does, whether laughable or heart gripping, is done to honor One. God’s grace is the salve that has healed her own life and is what she offers liberally to others.
Pillar of Future
Dan Beasley – The Future of Civics
Homeschooling families have long been known for their engagement in civics, especially the lawmaking process. This civic involvement during the resurgence of homeschooling in the late twentieth century paved the way for homeschooling as we know it today.
A 2020 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania showed the number of Americans who could name the three branches of government increased to an unusually high 51% amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This may not seem like a high number, but it shows stark improvement compared with merely 39% in 2019, which matched the previous high-water mark in the last ten surveys conducted since 2006.
Currently, many state lawmakers are debating what the future of American civics education ought to include. And, as you might imagine, the debate is getting political. But one thing that homeschoolers know from both history and experience is that the home offers an ideal environment to provide robust education in civics.
Raising children to know and understand their rights and duties as citizens and all the processes that affect those rights and duties (especially when accompanied by hands-on experiences) will help improve civics literacy for the next generation. So happy homeschooling, civics instructors!
As a HSLDA staff attorney, Dan Beasley assists individual homeschooling families and advocates for homeschool freedom in the courts, legislature, and court of public opinion. Dan is also a homeschool graduate and homeschooling dad of four. http://www.hslda.com/
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is now available for FREE online! Click the graphic to read it cover to cover!
Congratulations to Sunny Simons from Mesa, Colorado, who won our May giveaway!
for the month of July
The PHONICS Road Level One Curriculum Set
Schola Publications Inc
This is a fantastic phonics program. The author, Barbara Beers, knows what she is doing. It is very step-by-step, and she explains exactly how to teach not only phonics but also spelling.
This program has many features to it, and it’s very parent- and child-friendly. In the beginning, it may look a bit overwhelming because there are so many resources included; however, I’ve found it is best to read over the parent materials, watch the beginning videos, then dive right in. I am incredibly pleased with how easy it is for me to use with my two middle children.
The books included for the early reader include a very neat feature. They do not have pictures. Instead, they have places for the child to draw their own pictures to match the story! I think this makes the books a little more special to the child. It also helps them learn to pay close attention to details they might otherwise not catch.
This is an excellent program for teaching phonics, and it has the added benefit that all the materials can be reused for multiple children. This makes it very cost-effective for families!
This is part of a review for the The PHONICS Road Level One Curriculum Set. Read the full review on our site with much more information about using this in your homeschool.
Go to the contest page of our site where you can ENTER TO WIN the The PHONICS Road Level One Curriculum Set.
Try out a mock trial case for free! Homeschool Court’s resources explain our judicial branch in detail and are perfect for a mock trial, government, or civics class (grades 4+). Go here, and use coupon code TOSWint20 to receive 100% OFF the Teacher Case Summary: Dog Bite at the Dog Show (digital)! (Value: $9.99.) Includes all the student materials in grayscale, along with ideas to help students prepare, jury instructions, and the outcome of the actual case on which the mock trial is based.
You can find this and other freebies in our Annual Freebie Directory at
Take Cover! We Have an Enemy
As Christians and homeschoolers, what kinds of wars are we fighting and why do we fight them? Be encouraged about what we face as Christians and homeschoolers. Deb Wuehler addresses the wars that are of particular concern to us:
- War Among Ourselves
- The Good Fight of Faith
- The War for Our Children
Discover what is really at the center of contention and find encouragement in truth.
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