Tuesday Tips: Do Not Underestimate the Value of Life Lessons in Your Homeschool

Academics are important, but they are not the most important skills we teach our children.

Some of you are nodding your heads, and others are ready to stop reading and call me crazy. No matter which side you are on, hear me out.

Academics are important, and in our home, we strive to make sure that our children have an education that will allow them to pursue whatever options God might be calling them to, which could include entering a four-year university.

However, academics are only third on my list of overarching goals for our homeschool.

  1. To teach my children about Jesus and help lead them to a saving relationship with Him.
  2. To give my children the skills they need to be independent and productive adults.
  3. To prepare them academically for whatever path God leads them to pursue.
Life Lessons in Your Homeschool

What Do You Mean Life Lessons?

In this context, when I say life lessons, I am speaking about learning life skills. This could include any number of skills. For example, cooking, cleaning, making phone calls, setting up appointments, and laundry.

In our home, it also includes our homestead tasks. My children learn to garden, care for their chickens, raise animals, and more. This teaches them skills needed to help provide for themselves and their families, responsibility, work ethic, and more.

Home and car maintenance and repair also fall under life lessons. Car maintenance might be as simple as teaching them to pump gas. I once had a dear friend who owned a car and made it to college without knowing how to pump her gas, which made things very challenging for her.

Life lessons can also include less tangible skills like visiting those who are grieving or sick and sending cards to people who are lonely or going through a tough time.

There have been times when we have been going through difficult family times, and we rarely opened our textbooks. When my grandfather was dying from cancer, and we spent as much time as possible with him, when our town flooded and we focused on hurricane relief work, and the weeks right after our youngest children were born. However, my children learned life lessons far more valuable than we find in textbooks in those times.

How Do You Teach Life Lessons in Your Homeschool?

Sometimes when I hear people talking about something else I need to teach my children, I start stressing about adding another curriculum or one more thing to our daily to-do list.

However, you do not necessarily have to plan life lessons in your homeschool, you certainly do not need a curriculum, and they will lighten your load over time.

Include your children in your day-to-day activities. Have them help you in the kitchen, fold clothes, start the laundry, gather the eggs, or whatever other chores are required. 

Over time, they will do the tasks more and more independently, which benefits them and your home because you do not have to do it all.

As you help those around you or deal with challenging situations, make sure to include them. This will look different for different children and different ages, but children learn so much through being involved.

Resources For Life Lessons in Your Homeschool

If you want a curriculum to help you be more intentional about life lessons in your homeschool, SchoolhouseTeachers.com (aff) has some great electives for home economics, money management, cooking, homesteading, and other life skills.

Do not underestimate the power of simply living life with your children and including them in daily tasks. They will learn skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Tuesday Tips #4 The Importance of White Space for Your Homeschool


What is White Space?


White space is simply empty (or white) space on the calendar, times you do not have plans and commitments. This includes times you do not plan to be ‘doing school,’ going out, having appointments, etc. White space in my homeschool is trying to have more time for school than I have plans to fill it.

Why Do I Need White Space in my Homeschool and Home?


As homeschool parents, it is easy to fill up every available space on the calendar. We plan out coursework for all the subjects, co-ops or activities, field trips, science projects, and more. We often have our days and weeks so crammed full of suitable activities that we have no time or space for life’s unexpected needs or events. We also may not have time to relax and enjoy life.


One day, I was listening to the Read Aloud Revival podcast, and Sarah Mackenzie said, “The sky is only the limit if you are an airplane. You’re not. You’re a human person,”


We have to remember that we (and our children) cannot do everything, and it is not a good idea to fill up every bit of space on the calendar.

We need white space on our general calendar and white space specifically for our homeschool. For example, if I plan to dedicate 8am-12pm each day to school, I might only plan out Monday through Thursday.

That leaves Friday for the projects that took longer, extra help needed, diving into something they are interested in, or taking advantage of that field trip opportunity that pops up.

How Do I Get White Space?


You might be thinking that having white space sounds terrific, but you have no idea how to fit that into your schedule.


Start by evaluating your priorities what things are most important to your family. Next, take a good look at the calendar and see how the things on the calendar line up with your priorities.


Always remember that unexpected things are going to happen. Someone will get sick, the dishwasher is going to break, a friend will need help, or maybe a relative will come to town unexpectedly.

When those things happen, the white space helps you to be able to manage that without having to let go of your other commitments.


Once you have looked at the calendar and your priorities, start brainstorming what you might be able to let go or change. It might be as simple as figuring out that you can combine errands to a specific day in order to have another day home. It might be that the children are involved in many extra activities, and you limited those.

Evaluate, Modify, and Eliminate

Creating White Space in Your Homeschool


Other options might include teaching fewer subjects, combining courses, or using a loop schedule to free up time during the school day.


Sometimes it is as simple as planning ahead and using a crockpot or instant pot meals to reduce the time needed in the kitchen.


It can seem daunting, and the challenge is more complicated during certain seasons of life. However, adding white space into your days will take the stress off you and your children. It will allow you the flexibility to handle the unexpected and to take advantage of surprise opportunities.

Give yourself permission to say no to activities even when you do not have something else scheduled.


Extra Resources to Help Create White Space in Your Homeschool

Simplifying the Urgent to Focus on the Important

Letting Go of Good Things (or Why I Sold Our Latin Curriculum)

Homeschool in the Kitchen

Which Planner is the Best One?

Meal Planning: A Step Towards Sanity

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library, you will get a link and password to the library; we add new items to the library each month. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always, I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in, and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

If you have not tried SchoolhouseTeachers.com, you don’t want to miss this sale!

Tuesday Tips #3 Picture Books Are Not Just For Young Children

Picture Books Are Not Just For Young Children

One day as I sat in a college-level class at Campbell University (Go Camels!), my professor brought out a picture book and began reading to the class. To say we were surprised was an understatement; most of us had not had a picture book read to us since early elementary school.

As future elementary educators, most of us understood the importance of reading to young children. Still, we had not been taught the benefits of reading aloud at other ages, especially using picture books.  

Maybe more surprising than the professor reading the book was how much we all enjoyed it. It made such an impression that I still remember it today, and it has been more than a few years since that day.

The day our professor read that book, he shared the value of reading picture books to audiences of all ages. I have never forgotten that lesson.

Picture Books For Older Children and Teens

What Is So Special about Picture Books?

We often think of picture books as having simple words accompanying the pictures. While some picture books use simple language, picture books often have eloquent vocabulary and engaging stories.

“Generally speaking, you’ll find the best, most beautiful language in picture books.” Sarah Mackenzie, Read-Aloud Revival

The pictures can often help students with understanding the new and varied vocabulary. 

In addition, picture books help students learn to visualize what they are reading and encourage creativity and imagination. 

Reading picture books together can help create a bond and shared experiences without ever leaving home. Children and parents alike can travel to faraway places, meet famous people, and even have adventures through the pages of a book. 

The Benefit of Picture Books for Older Children and Teens

One benefit of picture books for older children is to help create memories and traditions. Our family has several picture books that we read each year for different holidays. We started when they were younger, but my teens still enjoy hearing them each year. One such favorite is Cranberry Thanksgiving.

Picture books can also be a great way to introduce more challenging or complex topics gently. It can give children an introduction to a topic that may be emotionally difficult such as disease, death, or persecution.

You can use picture books to help engage students in topics they might not otherwise explore. Reading those books often leads to them reading other books or researching the subject further.

There are many benefits to re-reading books, and using picture books helps create more opportunities for re-reading because they do not take as long to read as chapter books. (For more information on the benefits of re-reading, check out this podcast from Read-Aloud Revival)

A Fall Picture Book Display

Using Picture Books in Your Homeschool

All in all, picture books are an excellent resource for your family and homeschool, no matter the ages of your children. People of all ages should enjoy the rich language and beautiful artwork provided by picture books.  

How do you use picture books in your homeschool? What are some of your favorites?

Recommendations for Picture Books for Older Children and Teens

Blogging Through The Alphabet with Books!! (Not all of these are picture books but many feature picture books.)

Celebrating Math with Books and Pi: A list of Math Related Picture Books

A Year of Picture Books

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library, you will get a link and password to the library; we add new items to the library each month. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you updated on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always, I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in, and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.