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by MaryAnn Carver
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Keep Going!
MaryAnn Gaver
Column Host
MaryAnn Gaver

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

—1 Corinthians 15:58 (NASB)

After months of homeschooling through a long, cold winter, I think that all of us could use some encouragement to keep going and to keep teaching well. As we head into spring, how can we stay focused and motivate everyone to keep working hard even if the end of the school year still seems nowhere in sight?

First, I think it’s comforting to realize that it’s not just kids who get weary at the end of the year, but that parents also struggle to remain diligent. So, you’re not alone!

Some people find that planning a fun field trip or day off can be helpful and rejuvenating. I think it’s good to set apart some extra time with your spouse and plan something that you will both look forward to—whether it’s a picnic, a night out, or simply time to sit and talk. I find encouragement in the Bible and enjoy taking walks with my husband, Jay.

All of us want to do the best possible job in teaching, so let’s stay strong in the months ahead. Just like a runner in his final lap of the race—keep going and look to the goal of finishing well!

MaryAnn Gaver and her husband, Jay, have been homeschooling their twin sons for eight years.

Does Your Homeschool Need Roadside Assistance?

If it feels like your homeschool has sunk into a springtime rut, then it is time for some roadside assistance!

  • Pray for God’s refreshing. Trusting God for a renewal of energy and strength for the homeschooling journey to which He has called you is a move in the right direction.
  • Do not forget to take the children for a few “roadside rests.” Have a picnic in the park. Go for a walk in the woods. Hunt for signs of spring. Be sure to take along your nature notebooks!
  • Stretch your legs occasionally. On a warm day, have math on the back porch or reading in the tree house. Start an outdoor study on gardening, insects, or bird watching.

Use your imagination. With God’s help, you can keep on the road and finish this school year well.

by Diane M. / Gallipolis, OH

Strength for Today

We start out our year working very hard. I love to be half finished with our annual schedule by Christmas break. (This rarely happens in all subjects. If we come close, I feel good.) Then, when long winter months with cold mornings or sickness slow us down, I don’t feel so pressed.

Also, instead of looking at our schedule as a solid block from January to May, I break our winter into segments and count down: January–February (followed by a little family holiday at the beach); February–March (followed by spring break). Then it is smooth sailing to the end of May.

Most importantly, I try to be concerned with only today. I ask the Lord to anoint me just for today. At the end of the day, if I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to (I rarely do!), I try to rest knowing it was enough, anointed, and therefore fruitful.

by Chris M. / Virginia Beach, VA

Taking It Outdoors

When my youngest turned 2, it became difficult to school my other two children. No matter how I tried to keep my 2-year-old occupied, he interrupted us, tore up the house, or both. Then I found a small, quiet, fenced-in neighborhood playground. Some days we do some schooling there. I sit at a picnic table and work with my daughter while my son plays with my 2-year-old. While we eat lunch, I read aloud to all three. After lunch, my daughter plays with my 2-year-old as I work with my son. My little one has a blast and is ready to take a nap after all the fresh air and exercise. My older kids love the uninterrupted individual attention. And my house is not a mess!

by Carol R. / North Hollywood, CA

Treasure the Moments

To find the motivation to end the year well (or even the week or day!), keep the big picture in view. In all likelihood, you will never again have more time with, or influence on, your children. You will never regret for a moment the time you have been able to spend with your children. You will never again have such opportunities for being the godly influence that you are uniquely qualified to be. Don’t waste time stressing about the little things. You may be crying with tears of frustration in the midst of the day-to-day efforts to homeschool. But remember, someday you will cry tears of gratitude and joy at the precious young people God has used you to help fashion-mixed with tears of sorrow that this treasured time of life is over!

by Valerie G. / Simi Valley, CA

Looking Back In Order To Move Forward

I believe that looking back at how far we have come in a year can provide encouragement and motivation to keep going. What about celebrating the halfway point in your math book or your spelling book? Maybe you could celebrate each chapter completed. Be creative. How about a stop for a slushy on the way to piano lessons the day you complete unit 10 in your science book?

Looking back can also help spark change for the future. It is a whole lot easier to “finish the race” if the extra baggage has been left behind from the start. Try not to overload on outside activities. Set your priorities and then choose only activities that match your top priorities. If you find yourself wanting to add a new activity, stop, look back, and check that priority list!

by Barbara H. / Montgomery, TX

Share Your Tips

This column is designed to feature teaching tips, encouragement, and advice from homeschooling parents.

Dads, let’s hear from you in our Sept./Oct. 2010 issue! What advice would you give to a father who is new to homeschooling? Send us your advice in 150 words or less. Submissions may be edited for space. Mail submissions to:

Attn: Parent to Parent, HSLDA
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134

Or email us (include “Parent to Parent” in the subject line) at

Please include your name and address. Submission deadline is 6/15/10.