Letter 1 – Learning Not School

Letter to myselfAfter over 19 years of homeschooling, I have reflected on a few things …  I would love to share what I have learnt and wish I knew when I started homeschooling ~

Join me in a new series ~ “Letter To Me

Dear Nadene,

Starting homeschool is going to feel like you are starting a school, but it will not be the way it ends.

You will have the dedicated schoolroom, the desks, books, and files. But, eventually, your schoolroom is simply the study and craft room, and school takes place everywhere.  You will still enjoy decorating your study and create a peaceful place to work and be creative. 

White tile with sponge and clipYou will never stand and teach at that whiteboard you purchased!  Your kids will draw and practice spelling on it and it will be a good display board. You will use that nifty white tile whiteboard you made for each kiddie and it will do the job all the way to graduation!

You will buy a very expensive curriculum – no, actually three, one for each child – with all the bells and whistles, and feel secure in the knowledge that you will cover everything …  And it will KILL your love to teach!  It will be too much!  You will actually fall asleep while reading aloud because it is just exhausting!  You will try again the next year and promise to “make it work” and it will be just as stressful. But don’t worry!  You will save money!  Homeschooling will cost a fraction of the cost of good private schooling.  In the next few years you will re-use those purchased curriculums over and over and over again (yes, three times), and they will be worth every penny spent!  You will learn to stretch out a program to 18 months instead of following the schedule and you will love the extra margin of time for all the fun hands-on activities, crafts, projects and scenic stops along the way.

Finally, in your third year, you will teach all three kids on one new core curriculum. It will be compact enough to fit into a small suitcase, which will be important because you will all travel around South Africa for a year and a half.  During this time, you will finally find your own rhythm and pace, and forget about “school-at-home” but create a lifestyle of learning.  And you will learn not to judge a curriculum by its size, but by its content!

By your fourth year, you will create your own curriculums.  They will be a perfect fit for each child because you will tailor-make them according to their learning styles and delight-directed interests.

You will begin school very strict about everyone’s timetables, demand neat work, excellence and results. In the end, you will keep it simple, give everyone more freedom and only diligence will be your focus.

You will fail … and it will still be okay.  Regardless of the days of distress and nights of silent tears, this is a journey of great joy! 

This is a great blessing in your life! You spend your life with your children and will know them intimately and enjoy them.

Above all, you will learn to trust in the Lord.  He will never fail you if you keep trusting in Him.

Blessings, Nadene

References to curriculums:

Sonlight A wonderful curriculum, I used when I started my homeschooling.  Just type “Sonlight” in the search bar for all my other Sonlight posts.

Footprints on our Land   A South African literature-based homeschool curriculum


19 thoughts on “Letter 1 – Learning Not School

  1. Hi Nadine, i’ve come across your web page and curriculum today, I’m intrigued, delighted and less nervous now Three years ago, God has, as i jokingly describe, it “dumped the idea in my spirit to home school my two children now 7 and 10 years old. That’s the last thing i wanted to do I started praying about it and God has finally made it posssible. Also, my children are really strong in character, but i had enough of the bullying incidents at their school. The past month i was gripped with and very doubtful to take the leap of faith, but i decided i’m homeschooling my two kids and i’m relying on the Holy Spirit to lead me. I will definitely buy some of your packages. I find the deschooling scary, but i understand the importance of it although i’m just not sure what to do during deschooling? However, I am really looking forward to this new journey.




    • @Racquel Rousseau, thank you so much for sharing your starting journey into homeschooling. It is always daunting making big changes, and all the decisions and choices ahead may also seem overwhelming. Take your time together as you adjust. There is really no rush to begin academics. Simply find an awesome book and start reading aloud together. (Roald Dahl books were our kids’ favourites at your children’s ages!)
      May I gently encourage you to follow your heart and take the time to discover what you and your children each prefer. You may feel more secure following someone’s package, but don’t be afraid to tweak or adjust it to fit your family. Take more time and extend the curriculum’s schedule. Look for the spark of interest and try to find ideas and activities to feed and stimulate your child’s delight. When you feel stuck, spend time with the Lord and ask Him to show you the situation from His perspective. He is always full of hope and peace!
      Wishing you all a wonderful adventure! Blessings.


  2. Pingback: Letter 26 – True Skills | Practical Pages

  3. Dear Nadine,

    Thank you again for your commitment to this blog….so many times has it been an encouragement for me…..like this post. We are in our 6th year and I started out not buying the “perfect” curriculum and not setting up a schoolroom but just journeying with and enjoying my children….but as they entered their teen years I brought in the schedules and workload of what I thought we had to accomplish and I am not enjoying it….I feel like I have lost my peace and my faith. This post brought the tears anc desires to just let go…but to be honest I am afraid….perhaps I have forgotten who is in control….so thank you again for always sharing, uplifting and encouraging. I hope I find the courage again to let go and restart how I did in the beginning…..I feel all we are called to is love….


    • Called to love is our highest calling! Navigating those high school years becomes tricky. It is hard to maintain freedom and creativity, and yet also meet all the credits, subjects and graduation requirements in the prescribed time — this is difficult to balance. Wishing you every blessing as you follow your heart and find the wisdom and balance you and your children need. Blessings!


  4. I loved your letter to me. Yes, it was for you, but it really resonates with me. I’m a fifteen year veteran of the learning lifestyle. It is such a beautiful gift from the Lord. The words you wrote made me chuckle as that is exactly the experience! Thank you for your insights. Keep up the good work you do!!


  5. Dear Nadine,
    thank you for this post. it encouraged me greatly. I have 5 daughters, three oldest 14 (twins) and 12. two young ones 5 and 14 months. I hope that when I get a second chance to homeschooling with the younger ones it will go better than with my older girls. I have so many regrets, unused curriculums and unfinished tasks. I thank the Lord that I will be able to do things differently with the younger ones. But by reading your post I’m glad that I can change things with my older girls now and make their journey a better one from here onwards.


    • @Dawn, the joy of second chances … and I often remind myself that the Lord makes all things new. Breathe and release all those regrets and move forward in peace, rest and simplicity. Not everything works … and that is fine. Blessings for this year.


    I think I’ll write a letter to myself too looking back over my journey.

    Only last night my partner and I were talking as he discovered the house we renovated for 8 years, sold ten years ago, shot up in selling price three-fold. And yet, as he pondered and perhaps regretted selling, I made it quite clear I had no regrets.

    I was so enthusiastically and passionately telling him how boring it would have been to stay in that one spot doing the groundhog day life. And this coming from a girl who initially wanted to raise my child in the one house forever and create memories of a place called home. NOT ANYMORE!

    We would not have homeschooled, we would not have travelled, we would not have met so many people from all walks of life, cultures, religions etc. We would not have learnt some hard lessons, we would not have enjoyed each other’s company everyday, we would never have had time to keep animals and gardens and make and create things. We would not have camped by the river banks or flit about the country three times over in a roof-top tent, nor lived on an Alpaca farm nor lived in cabins surrounded by sand dunes. Oh the list just goes on for me. If we had stayed put, 9-5 jobs to keep paying the mortgage, child in school, same community (although lovely) and same friends year after year after year. We still have many of those precious old and new friends in our lives so nothing was lost by moving but so much was gained.

    And the homeschooling is another story all together. No regrets at all.



  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one who fell asleep during read alouds! 🙂 We are going to start our 7th year of homeschooling next week. My kids work at their own time. I do use a curriculum but only part of it. I get a lot of freebies online and make up my own grammar and essay questions for them. We’ve become much more relaxed. It’s all about tailoring to each child’s specific strengths and skills and working more patiently with their weaknesses.


  8. Love this!! I could relate to each part of this.. though, when I started,we didn’t have money so I learned to use what we had available. Still what I tend to use!!!


    • @vicki, thanks! There is so much available for free on the internet and in our libraries that it is possible to homeschool on a tiny, or even a “non-exsistent” budget! It is one of the main reasons why I give pages and downloads away for free here on Practical Pages!


      • Thank you so much for that!! They are a great resource!! I actually just left a fb post where someone was complaining about the expense of resale homeschool materials. It was kind of ugly.. I didn’t respond- but I think I will now and link your page.. Blessings, Vicki


  9. Hi, Nadene! I have been following your blog for about a year, and I have always enjoyed your posts. This one, however, brought me out from lurking to commenting. ☺ I find your insight in this post exudes wisdom, providing hope and encouragement. Thank you!


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.