The Blessing of Homeschooling – Networking and Job Experience

This is the final post in the series on the blessings of homeschooling.  We’ve talked about serving others and traveling.  Today, we’ll talk about how homeschooling offers opportunities to network and gain job experience.

The Blessing of Homeschooling - Your kids can network and gain job experience |

There is still a crazy misconception out there that homeschoolers have no social skills.  People on the outside of the homeschooling world assume that homeschooling is isolation at its best – or worst.  However, our experience has been that homeschooled children have MORE opportunities to socialize in QUALITY social situations than their public schooled and private schooled counterparts.

Because homeschooling hours are flexible, homeschooled children and families are able to be at events during hours most children are in school.  Sometimes a public or private school will be able to take a field trip to an event, but it is always a form of crowd control and rarely a time that involves quality interaction with whomever the event is centered around.

On the other hand, homeschoolers tend to go places as families.  There are the occasional homeschool field trips, but most of the time even those are attended by entire families.  The time they spend at the event or venue is usually not only better quality, but also higher quantity.  They have the time to spend truly learning and asking questions; whereas, a school group is on time constraints and is forced to shuffle from one place to another as quickly as possible.

As I mentioned, homeschoolers are good at asking questions.  These questions tend to lead to interactions that often result in more “behind-the scenes” information and opportunities.  For instance, several years ago, we visited a museum in South Dakota during the off season.  Our children were the only children there.  During the tour, our oldest son, who was 9 at the time, was allowed to help the docent by holding artifacts and answering questions.  She catered to our family, and even gave us extra privileges to explore various parts of the museum.

Museums are a great place to start networking.  Many museums have special guests, and if you can swing a membership, you are often invited to members only events where you get to meet important people.  Our children have met astronauts and mountain climbers, authors and entrepreneurs.

So, let’s talk about how cultivate these networking opportunities that can turn into careers  for your children.

First of all, teach your children manners and how to listen.  Teach them at home, and then take them out in public to practice.  Being polite and listening closely will go a LONG way in giving your children chances to meet people and participate in important opportunities.

Secondly, look for opportunities that match your children’s interests (and yours!).  Invest in museum memberships and magazines that will have events that will be of interest to your family.  Save up money to attend a “once-in-a-lifetime” event.  Encourage your children to enter writing or photography contests.  Take them to a variety of historical sites, shops, and restaurants as you travel from one place to another.  These types of investments will often lead to chances to gain knowledge and experience that will further your child’s interests.

Encourage your children to ask questions.  One thing people do not do enough of is ask questions.  It’s important to acknowledge that we can learn from others, especially those who are older than ourselves.  This is networking at its best!  To encourage your children to ask questions, be sure to ask your own questions when on a museum tour or at an events.

Teach your children to volunteer.  Some of the best networking comes from time spent learning a skill and gathering information without expecting to be paid.  You might call it good old fashioned internships or apprenticeships.  You never know when these opportunities will turn into a “real job.”

Teach your children to work hard.  Do everything as unto the Lord – even if it is something menial or boring.  There have been many times my son has been working hard doing something for his grandparents, and has ended up being hired by a neighbor to do the same thing at their house.  His hard work is evident.

I would highly encourage you to take a look at the 10KtoTalent Website for more ideas on how to gain valuable networking and job experience for teens!

I want to leave you with this…

Don’t be afraid to live counter-culturally.  Don’t be afraid to instill work ethic in your children by having them work hard at home.  Don’t be afraid to be different and not look like everyone else.  It will be noticed.  It will be appreciated.  It will lead to opportunities for your children.  But above all, don’t stress.  God has a calling for each of your children.  He fills in the gaps you leave – and you will leave gaps just as there were gaps in your education.  He equips your children (and you!) for the things He has called them to.  Rest easy in His faithfulness!

Coming this MONDAY – a unique way to build your homeschool library!  I love things that are out of the box, and this is definitely in that category!  There are some great digital products available in this year’s Build Your Bundle Sale, so be sure to click below to learn more, sign up for the giveaway, and get coupons!

Build Your Bundle 2015 Pre-Sale

Win Homeschool Curriculum!

I am so excited!  Today through next week, you have the opportunity to win homeschool curriculum from some of your favorite companies and bloggers!
Build Your Bundle 2015 Pre-Sale Graphic

(Note:  The links in this post are affiliate links.  When you click the link, and later purchase, I receive the commission from that sale.  Thank you for considering purchasing from me!)

On May 25, the Build Your Bundle Homeschool Curriculum Sale is coming!  Before the sale starts, you have the chance to put your name in to WIN 3 BUNDLES of your choice AND get exclusive COUPONS!

Here’s how:

1.  Click THIS LINK and enter your email address in the link on the page.

What you get:

  • An ENTRY into the 3 Bundle Giveaway
  • A COUPON to use during the Build Your Bundle sale

2.  REFER FRIENDS to the Build Your Bundle Sale on that same page.

What you get:

  • An additional COUPON to use during the sale!


If someone you referred wins the giveaway, YOU WIN TOO!  Now, that is an awesome deal!  I really, really, really hope its one of MY readers who wins!


Build Your Bundle 2015 Pre-Sale Graphic


My New At-A-Glance Schedule {2015}

Make your day run smoother by using an At-A-Glance Schedule! |

For those of you new to Raising Arrows, let me quickly explain what an At-A-Glance schedule is…

An At-A-Glance Schedule is a rough sketch of your day.  It is not a schedule for the entire family.  It is Mom’s Master List.  It isn’t super structured or binding.  It is a bare-bones approach that keeps you on track without making you feel guilty.

I was looking back at my old At-A-Glance schedule and realized how very outdated it was.  We haven’t had piano lessons on Wednesdays in well over a year!  Ideally, an At-A-Glance schedule would be re-assessed as circumstances change, or at the very least, every year.  It may not need to be changed every year because remember, it isn’t a tight schedule, so you won’t have things like “Baby’s Nap” on there or other things that change often.

This past weekend, I quickly worked through my old schedule to create one I believe will be a good fit for this year.  By the way, when I say “year”, I mean “school year.”  About this time of year, I am going through all of my homeschool materials and resources to see what I need for the upcoming school year, and figure out what that school year should look like.  (I like to be able to share with my readers what the intricacies of our homeschool looks like, so expect upcoming posts that highlight the changes for the 2015-16 year!)

It really is very easy to revamp an old At-A-Glance Schedule once you have the template of your day, so if you can find the time to put together your first one, any that follow will be very simple to make!

{affiliate links included}

Here is a quick guide to creating your first AAG:

1.  Write down the natural rhythm of your day.  If you get up at 8 am, don’t write down a wake up time of 7 am.  If you start school at 10 am, don’t write down 9 am.  This is the REAL routine you follow.  There will be time later to decide if you need to change your routine.

2.  Make a list of the things you would like to do in a day that are not on your “natural rhythm schedule”.  Don’t get crazy, but do get it all out.  This is a good exercise in realizing what things you THINK you should be doing, and the actuality of what can be FIT in to your schedule.  This list is there to help you work through what’s in your brain and start releasing the guilt you have for not doing EVERYTHING.

3.  Prioritize, Plug In, and Cull.  Sometimes all it takes is being purposeful and plugging it in.  Sometimes you have to have the sense to just let it go.  By writing out the things you WISH you had time for and comparing them to the natural rhythm schedule you wrote down in #1, you can see if you really do have the time for those things.  For instance, I would love to get back to sewing, but this isn’t the season for that because there are other things that NEED to be in the schedule.  I can let go of the guilt of not sewing because I know the things I have plugged in are PRIORITIES.

When you have a list of things that truly NEED to be on the schedule, then you can think about where they go.  Again, your AAG is NOT a full-blown schedule, so you are not looking for a place to plug in every single thing, but rather you are making sure there is enough MARGIN in your day to accommodate the things that are truly important.

Margin by Richard Swenson is a good book to help you understand the WHY and HOW of margin in your day.

4.  Write it out, type it out, post it.  I always write a rough sketch, go over it in my head, go over it with my older children and my husband, and make sure it is doable and everyone who has a choice is on board with it.  Then, I type it out, laminate it (with this laminator) and post it.

I always make more than one copy.  One copy is near my “office”, one is on the refrigerator, and one is with my homeschool materials.  (In the new house, my “office” is separate of my homeschool materials.  You’ll notice in this post, my office and homeschool area are the same.)  The reason for this is so that you truly can see the schedule AT A GLANCE!  It’s everywhere you are when you might need a little EXTRA focus.

5.  Tweak as needed.  I know, I know – I ALWAYS say this, but it’s true.  I was an English major – every paper was a rough draft!  Every SCHEDULE is a rough draft!  This gives you permission to change something.  HOWEVER, just because your AAG didn’t work the first or second, or even third time you tried it, does NOT mean it isn’t the “right” schedule for you.  It simply means it is NEW.  If after a week or two of really trying, it still doesn’t work, THEN tweak.

You will find that your day RARELY goes the way you plan, but having an At-A-Glance Schedule will help keep you on a track that moves forward and makes sense.  It is never meant to tie you down or stress you out!

Would you like to take a peek at my new AAG?  You will notice a couple of things:

1.  We are late risers.

2.  I sometimes (not always) rely on audio and video to keep the younger crowd occupied during a section of school that requires me to stay focused on the older crowd (I just put it on the schedule as an option).

I’m also including some links at the bottom of this post that I’ve written about specific items mentioned in the At A Glance Schedule.   These will help you understand more about how our day runs and what I mean by certain sections on the schedule.


Helpful Links:
Morning Chores
Quiet Time with Small Children
Another Take on Quiet Time
Christian Mom’s Guide to Blogging
Table Chores
Schooling the Little First
Easy Homeschool Lunches
Laundry Ideas
Special School
Art & Artist Time
Special Night

What We Are Reading – May 2015

I’m terrible at staying updated with the “What We are Reading” posts.  I was reading while nursing yesterday afternoon, and decided it was high time I just sat down and wrote out a quick post to tell you about the books we are currently reading…

What We are Reading - May 2015 Edition |

(affiliate links included)

I’m currently reading Understanding the Times by David Noebel and I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.

I highly recommend your older kids read these two books before they leave high school!  These are also great books to take you deeper in your own faith.

My 17 year old son just finished Assumptions That Affect Our Lives by Christian Overman and How Should We Then Live by Francis Shaeffer.

(You’ll find my wholehearted endorsement on the inside cover of this book!)

I’d encourage you to have your older kids read both of these books as well, and then watch the How Should We Then Live videos hosted by Dr. Shaeffer himself.  You can watch them for FREE on YouTube HERE.  The reason I recommend reading AND watching is because it will help to cement in your child’s mind the TRUTH.

Blake is now reading Paul Little’s Know What You Believe as he goes through the Starting Points curriculum from Cornerstone Curriculum.  (This is an excellent worldview curriculum that will teach your children to think for themselves and analyze the worldview of everything they encounter.  I had a fantastic discussion with Dr. Quine recently that solidified in my mind his genuine desire to help young people to learn not just WHAT to think but HOW to think.)

Megan, age 14, is also going through this course.  Additionally, she is reading The Victorian Internet and Les Miserables.

She balked at the size of Les Miserables (and who wouldn’t?!), so I asked her to read the first section, and then decide from there if she wanted to continue.  Since she already knows the storyline, reading the first section (about 300 pages), will give her a feel for the language of the book – something I feel is very important when reading classic literature.

My 10 year old daughter just finished The Pioneer Sampler, and has decided to read through the Elsie Dinsmore books.

Our landlady told her that the first two books are rather miserable, but once you move through those, you are hooked.  We own the first 12 books in the set, but I could never get through the first book.  Elsie is in a constant state of distress, and I grew weary of everyone always treating her horribly.  But, Melia assures me they DO get better, so I’m letting her go with it!

My 9 year old son is reading a short Thomas Jefferson biography for school and Misty of Chincoteague (we picked this up at a library sale).

Micah, our newest reader, is working through his Phonics Museum books and starting to try to sound out words in other books and magazines!  He’s our 3rd child to learn to reading using Phonics Museum.  So fun!

So, that’s what we are reading!  What are you reading?

The Blessing of Homeschooling – Traveling

In my previous post, I wrote about how homeschooling gives you the opportunity to serve others in a way that would be difficult to do if your family was not homeschooling.  This post, I want to focus on something a bit more selfish.
Another blessing of homeschooling is being able to travel in off-season, travel with daddy for business and pleasure, and go places you would not otherwise be able to go! |

The first time I really noticed how homeschooling allowed us to travel was on our vacation to the Black Hills in South Dakota in 2007.  We had 5 children under the age of 10.  We were able to stay in a wonderful cabin that was half the price it would have been in season because we were able to go in October.

Homeschooling allowed us many opportunities to save money on travel because we could go in the off-season | RaisingArrows.netThere were no lines to see the sights.  The scenery was gorgeous!  We have precious memories of spending time with our little Emily and the rest of the children.

And we realized we could never have done this if we hadn’t been homeschooling.

Off-Season Travel

As with our South Dakota trip, we quickly learned that traveling in the off-season was the way to go.  This is especially true when you have a lot of children, as it makes the trip MUCH cheaper.

Off-season usually runs from October – March, but depending on WHERE you are vacationing, it might be September – April.  (This is, of course, in the United States. 😉 )  When you look for places to stay, try something outside the traditional hotel room.  For instance, Google: Black Hills South Dakota Rental Cabins.  You will find some great places to choose from that often offer a kitchen and living area as well…saving you even more since you can bring your own food and save on eating out.  Here is the cabin we stayed in: Calamity Peak Lodge.

Homeschooling allows you to travel off-season and get great deals on accommodations |, Emily, Megan at Calamity Peaks)

We also noticed our children end up getting a GREAT education everywhere we go when we travel off-season.  Because the docents at museums are not as busy in the off-season, they are more than willing to give your family a bang-up tour, complete with extras!  Be sure you encourage super-charged manners in your children, and thank the docents profusely for their kindness.

Travel with Daddy on Business

Because we homeschool, we’ve been able to go on business trips with Daddy that would not have been possible otherwise.  Not every family has the privilege of Daddy having a job that allows the family to tag along, but if you do, homeschooling is of great benefit.  Most of our travels with daddy involve day trips, but sometimes we can go on even longer trips because school can come with us!

Travel with Grandparents

My older two children have both been able to go on trips with their grandmother that would never have happened if they were in traditional school.  These trips have been full of memories and fun.  I know neither my children nor my mom would trade those memories for anything!

Travel on Mission Trips & Other Kingdom Opportunities

We have not yet been able to go on a mission trip, but we have been able to do things like help with disaster relief and travel other places we are needed.  I love that we have the ability to serve God in our travels!

Other traveling posts you might be interested in:

Posts in The Blessings of Homeschooling Series:
Serving Others
Traveling – this post
Networking & Job Experience

The Mission Field in Your Home

One thing I often hear from stay at home moms is that they feel they aren’t reaching out with the Gospel of Christ.  They are so busy running a household, they have time for little else.  (Remember my post on What You Need to Know About Being a Mom Many Littles?)  These woman want to be spreading God’s Word, but they can’t find the time, the energy, or the babysitter.  I’ve even known some women who gave up homemaking and homeschooling in order to make a greater impact on their community for Christ.

What these mamas are missing is the mission field right in their very homes!

The Mission Field In Your Home - "Living and Ordinary Life in the Name of an Extraordinary Savior" |

Before you hang up on me because I’m being trite, please listen to these words written to me in an email by a Saladmaster Cookware representative who visited our home last week:

“Your family is truly amazing and I felt I was on very sacred ground being in your home.  I am in homes all the time and see interaction in all sorts of wonderful families but have to say, yours is a real stand-out!  I consider it a privilege to have been among you.”

That blew me away.  Sure we get comments as we are walking down the aisles of the grocery store or in restaurants, but to have someone who had been around us for more than 10 minutes give such an amazing testimony to the Light of Christ IN OUR HOME blessed my busy homemaking/homeschooling mama heart!

My children as a mission field.

The Mission Field in your Own Home - don't miss it! |

My mission field has always been my home.  I care for children all day long, doing my very imperfect best to instill the Gospel of Christ in them.  My intent is to raise them as arrows for the Lord to one day be shot out from our home and carry the Gospel with them.  Thus, the name of this blog – Raising Arrows.

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.”
~Psalm 127:3-4

Often, a mother of young children won’t see the fruit of her labor until much later, giving her the impression she’s not really reaching anyone.  However, a funeral we recently attended gave me insight into what a faithful following looks like at the end of the race…

The gentleman who was being remembered died at 93.  Although he was raised in the church, he did not become a true Christ follower until he was 40.  By that point, he had been married quite some time and had 4 children, but it changed his outlook and attitude dramatically.  However, he lived his life as an ordinary man, doing ordinary things; the difference was that he now did it for and in the name of Jesus.  Because of this, his impact on his world was EXTRAORDINARY.

All 4 of his children are believers, as well as most of their family and extended family.  All of them spoke highly of him and how he ministered to them as a family.  His work in the community was done in the capacity of his various jobs, and he was well-loved by those who knew him.

Once, he counseled Ty not to worry about taking the “right” job, but to do something he enjoyed and work for the Lord there.  He did a lot of work in the church, but again, it was done in the capacity of the gifts and realm of influence the Lord had already placed in his life.

Visitors as my mission field.

The day the Saladmaster representative came to cook us dinner, we all pitched in and cleaned the house.  That was the only thing I did to prepare.  In fact, I’m pretty sure half of my boys had on jeans with holes in the knees.  I had to leave the kitchen several times to change diapers, my 4 year old kept playing with one of the pans, and my 2 year old took off with the 1 pound fat glob the guy brought as a visual to explain how to cook healthy meals.  Perfect it was not.

But, it didn’t need to be perfect.  It just needed to be authentic.

Being a missionary is easier than you thought.

The Mission Field is your own Home - RaisingArrows.netBeing a missionary is a calling all Christians have and it has very little to do with your training or your location.  As a mama, it is about being authentic with everyone you come in contact with from your husband to your children to the mailman to the Saladmaster representative. It isn’t about saying the right thing or looking a certain way.  It isn’t about being the perfect hostess or reaching the most people.  It is about living an ordinary life, doing ordinary things in the name of an extraordinary Savior!

Your life, your home, your testimony - it doesn't have to be extraordinary to reach others with the Gospel! |

So, next time you are tempted to believe you aren’t really doing the Lord’s work, or what you are doing is much too insignificant, remember WHO is doing the work.  It isn’t you.  This isn’t about you.  Be faithful where you are.  The Lord didn’t accidentally give you these children or this life.  It was planned with a purpose.  Work where you are FOR HIM, and let Him do the rest.