“Homeschool” – “school” = HOME

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Homeschool - school = HOME

“There is no place like home.”
~ L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz

Home. What comes to mind when I mention the word?

For many of us the stereotype of home (and if we’re fortunate, our own experience of it from childhood) brings up certain images:

  • cozy
  • warm
  • unconditional love
  • support when we need it
  • all of our needs met

What about the word school? What comes to mind when you hear it mentioned?

“Monday morning found Tom Sawyer miserable. Monday mornings always found him so–because it began another week’s slow suffering in school. He generally began that day with wishing he had had no intervening holiday, it made the going into captivity and fetters again so much more odious.”
~ Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 

I carefully try not to badmouth traditional school to my kids. I know just how many hardworking teachers and administrators are out there who genuinely care about children and want to help them learn.

And yet I haven’t needed to badmouth it in order for my kids to form a not very favorable opinion of school. Why?

Because books, tv shows, movies, and popular culture overflow with its stereotype, which is that school is:

  • boring
  • a place where you’re forced to do and learn what you don’t want
  • a place where you’re bullied and teased
  • an impersonal institution
  • a culture of pressure and testing

Reading over the lists, which of the two–Home or School–sounds more appealing? Which of the two opens minds and prepares them for true education and for a stable future?


The longer I walk this road with my family, the more I find God calling me to let go of school and embrace HOME. But how?

If your heart cries out for this and your spirit resonates with this message, use these ideas to begin moving in that direction.

1.  Step away from fear.

I’m discovering more and more, in ways I never realized until recently, that the modern institutionalized system of schooling is based on fear. Fear that children will never learn unless forced–that they will always be behind unless you push them, that they are incapable of taking responsibility for their own education, and so forth.

Whether we realize it or not, we take these fears right into our homeschooling.

At first I had this anxiety so embedded in me I could barely recognize it, but now I can tell when fear starts to creep up.

If I’m looking through a curriculum online, at a book, or other homeschool resource and find myself thinking “I really should get this because if I don’t they might not learn xyz,” and if I have that familiar tightening of the throat and the worry rising in my chest, I will close out that browser or put that book back on the shelf then and there.

Fear should never be our motivator, and it’s never from God.


2. Work on “home” at least as much as you work on “school.”


By putting your focus on creating an inspiring atmosphere, learning about nurturing, focusing on our kids’  hearts, and making your home a place your kids want to spend time in.

There are so many practical ways to do this (see the resources mentioned below). If we didn’t have this type of home environment modeled for us in our own childhood, we now have the chance to show our kids that we can learn, grow, and change right alongside them.

3. Focus on loving your child unconditionally.


Sometimes we subconsciously convey to our children that they are “less than” if they haven’t mastered a certain skill, especially if it’s one that most of their peers typically have by the same age.

No matter what educational philosophy we follow, this can only lead our kids to resent both “home” and “school.” When I’m tempted to do so, I go right back to basics and turn my attention to loving instead of judging.

A parent should be a cheerleader, encourager, and mentor–not a scorekeeper, judge, or bully.

HOME. I love the sound of that word.

It’s where I want to be.

It’s where I want my kids to want to be, too.


If this issue is on your heart but you’re not sure where to begin, there are several resources in this week’s Ultimate Homemaking ebook Bundle that can help.

Note: This sale is over, but you can still order these resources individually!

Here are just a few:

CS_ParentingAd_FINAL_Feminine-300x300Discipleship & Discipline: Practical Parenting Help for the Desperate Mom eCourse

by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae

Love the focus on freedom and reaching the hearts of our kids in this resource!

Here are some of the topics covered: How to Raise a “Wild One”, How to Instill Excellence in Your Child, How to Find a Mentor, How to Build a Winning Relationship With Your Child, How to Motivate Your Children to Listen to Your Instruction and Obey Your Training, How to Deal With Your Lies So You Can Parent in Freedom Instead of Fear, and more.

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 10.23.15 AMThe Cherished Home: Protecting What’s Important

by Mary Clendenin

Packed with practical ways to create an inspiring atmosphere at home. I love resources that give me ideas I can implement immediately.

As life seems to get busier, we have to make plans to keep our lives simple and make the most of everyday, and that’s what The Cherished Home is about.

feastcoverFeast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian Year

by Daniel & Haley Stewart

Growing closer to God and each other through celebrating the important festivals of the Christian calendar.

More than a cookbook, Feast! is a how-to guide to organizing your meals around the Christian calendar with 23 easy, nourishing, real food recipes and practical suggestions for simple celebrations.


How do you try to cultivate home instead of school?

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Note: This sale is over, but you can still order these resources individually!

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.


  1. Wonderfully stated!
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Woke up this morning with exactly these kind of thoughts! Fear crept in and immediately I knew that I didn’t need to fear but to embrace my children and stay steady on the path laid out – the one we’ve already been following. You expressed it so well. I don’t think I’ve ever read a more timely post!

  3. So very true. I’m a teacher and what you say about fear is so true. If you feel fear when you move from the traditional when you are homeschooling, just imagine how one feels when the kids are not even yours! And it’s this fear that keeps schools just like they were a 100 years ago.

  4. Yes, Jamie yes! I felt such a burden lift off my shoulders when I read your post, thank you! My 8 year old son is not enjoying Maths at all and I am thinking about taking a break from pushing it , recognising that I am fearful that he “will never learn unless forced–that they will always be behind unless you push them”. Do you think it will be ok to take a break, what if he is never self-motivated to do Maths?!!

    • I wanted to chime in here – I agree that math is important and even if he never becomes self motivated to learn it he should still learn basic maths. Sometimes I find that even if a child (homeschooling now, but have taught before too) hates a subject with a passion, they may need to take a break on the math that you expect is their level, and instead review old lessons and skills. It usually reduces fustration, builds confidence, and sometimes you may accidentally uncover an isolated gap that is making the new stuff more fustrating than it needs to be. They may never start to really enjoy the subject, but the loathing may disappear. I would say take a break and then resume at a lower level, or just skip to the lower level depending on how severe his fustration is at this point. Don’t worry about whether he’s at “grade level” – just as long as he eventually resumes making progress even if it slow. Depending on what math program you’re using, some introduce several concepts before a thorough review, and instead in the future you can slow down and give work that is mixed 75% review and 25% new, then 50/50, etc when introducing new skills so even though problems 3 and 8 were hard and he wants to give up, the others still keep him working and build his confidence. Obviously we hope our kids will love learning altogether but we each have our favorite areas of study, and our children are no different. Hope something in that was helpful!

      • I found that what really helped my daughter who “hates” math is to make it practical. She can do practical math all day long but if I give her a worksheet she hates it even before she looked at the exercises. Part of it was because I was so forceful and pushy and not patient at all when we first began homeschooling (she is my first – always the guinea pig). But she is smart and is a self learner. Lots of play books, games, everyday life like cooking and shopping and she is mastering her math. She finds she likes it more and more now. 🙂

        Ps Jaime, your post is so timely. I took a whole month of to deschool and regroup with my kids. We focused (I specially) on relationship and things are so much better now. I am focusing on loving like the Father loves us. 🙂
        tereza crump aka mytreasuredcreations’s latest post: Operation Write Home CArds and why I make cards for them.

  5. Dear Jamie ~
    I’d like to call you my friend for I feel as if you were chatting with me in my living room, calming my fears, encouraging me. Thank You! I so want to take this plunge but am overcome with doubts. And also the fact that my husband isn’t on board. That’s a biggie. But maybe someday……..
    anyway, thanks a billion for your sweet & powerful testimony of HOMEschooling and for the heart, soul, and experience you share with this online community.
    xoxo, Bree

  6. Thank you for posting this. I honestly believe that every Mom who has made this decision has struggles with this. We all needed to hear your inspiration. Thank you so much! God Bless You!
    Gwen’s latest post: Mom’s Night Out Movie

  7. Brilliantly said! Every thought in my head and on my heart but can’t seem to put into words. Thank you!

  8. I wish I read this years ago! Fear was my main driving factor in keeping my son in school for as long as I did, when in my heart I knew he deserved better. It was not until my youngest son was born with profound needs that I embraced the homeschool lifestyle and was able to trust myself enough to homeschool both my children. It was then I noticed how “working on home” taught so many disciplines and was so beneficial. I was then able to appreciate and learn to love what teachers considered “weaknesses” and turn them around to organize their thoughts and let them learn their own way. Great article and very inspiring!

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