Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Inspiration

"The preschool years are not the time to teach reading or math.  We should use life's most impressionable years to teach life's most important lesson-how to be happy!"
-Linda and Richard Eyre

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My husband and two little boys once went to the grocery store and came back with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  They made me close my eyes so I would be surprised.  When I looked at my husband in gratitude he shook his head and told me our 4-year-old had asked to buy them.  He thought they would make me happy and then I wouldn't get frustrated with him anymore.  

Being a mother has not come easy to me.  I lose my patience and lose my temper.  I overreact and criticize.  I watch my husband being goofy and attentive and slap myself on the forehead thinking, "Argh, that's the way I need to be!" It is time to step back from the busyness I've created in my life and make my four little boys one of my highest priorities.

When my oldest was younger we participated in an unofficial Joy School where parents prepared and taught lessons and activities for their preschool-age children.  It was a wonderful experience for all of us.  At the start of new school years everyone I knew asked if I would be putting him into preschool. With very little question, I decided not to enroll him into a structured preschool class.  There would be decades of structured school environments ahead and I wanted to give him the chance to simply be a kid for as long as he can be. 


One of the mothers from our class wanted to start an actual preschool.  Her focus was going to be heavy on learning to read, teaching math skills, learning foreign language words, and other extremely school-centric lessons.  While my oldest loved letters and learning, I didn't feel like he needed to feel pressured to learn those things so soon.  It was hard to say no, but I'm still proud for sticking up for what was right for my boys.

And so, this is how we got started on our homeschooling journey:

Using the quiet of afternoon naptime with younger siblings I focused on precious life skills kids need to always find optimism in life.  The purpose of this blog is to share how we continue working towards that goal each day.  Starting out, that looked like this:
  • Use the book Teaching Your Children Joy by the Eyres as our base.  Packed full of activities and divided into 13 sections, we worked on an activity a day, making our way through the book at laid-back pace.  Occasionally we supplemented activities from other books and websites as well.
  • Working through a variety of preschool curriculum workbooks, but with a fun, low-pressure pace.  Some phonics, some math patterns and counting, a lot of motorskills activities.
  • Art, playtime, games, and more.  A wonderful opportunity for me to get down to children's level and play without interruption.  The kids need that, but I need it, too.  
  • Storytime.  My husband and I both love to read.  It touches me deeply that our boys show such an intense love for books and stories.  Their creativity and imaginations are strong and I want to continue building a connection between a story on a page and the way that they play. 

I want to always see my boys smiling and happy.  I want them to not feel like they have to shower me with flowers so I will be nice to them (although that's not such a bad life-lesson, is it ladies?).

It has been 4 years since we started out on this journey, with many ups and downs, but our decision to homeschool is solidified each day. There's a lot to tell since those early days, but my guiding principles are still the same...

 We have precious little time to show our children they are the center of our lives,
 to be close to them and to build the confidence they will need
 in the future to find happiness within themselves.

Look for joy in what they are doing every single day!

Want to learn more about Teaching Your Children Joy?


  1. And it took your decision to say no to my preschool, and a few other things we'll not mention, for me to realize how true this is! Thanks for helping me learn to have fun with my kids while they're young!

  2. just ran in to check emails quick! Don't have time to read right now, but gotta say, "Love the aprons!!!" I'm gonna have to come back later. There just isn't enough time in the day. Good thing I'm a quick typer!

  3. Oh, Michelle! We are so similar. But, I'm sure that some of the words that came out of my mouth tonight, you would never say! Luckily, I'm very good at apologizing. :) And forgiving. I least I model that behavior well. I just wish I didn't have to. I wish I had the patience to begin with. It is so very sweet & heartwarming,yet kind of a wake-up call all at once what he said about the flowers. I read a Parenting book called "Regret Free Parenting" that was really good about looking at your kids the way God sees them. I think that if I could always look at my kids the way God sees them, I would have less of those "stressed out" moments. And I'd take more time to see the good and just be (completely, without distractions)with my kids.

    I look forward to seeing what you guys are doing in your Joy School!

  4. I love those ideas. Honestly, I think our children take their cues from us so if you are joyful, they will find joy too.

  5. Enjoy your flowers:) and schooling your precious boy at home in a relaxed way. Thanks for linking up to the NOBH

  6. It's great that you're participating in the Joy School. It's a great program for preschoolers before they start kindergarden. I homeschool my daughter as well. I think it all starts at home.
    Wishing you a great weekend,
    Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

  7. I found you via Weekend Wind Down and just wanted to let you know that I struggle with the same thing. Our family did joy school 1 year and I homeschooled my daughter for preschool and Kindergarten. But, now, I feel as if I am neglecting both girls as I am always so busy. I wish I could pay someone to cook & clean so I could just PLAY with them.

    Anyway, nice to "meet" you. :)

  8. Thanks for sharing with NOBH! It's so sweet to read of your little one bringing you flowers.

  9. You did the right thing in my opinion. We try to cram too much into their heads too early and then by high school they are sick of it and I think that is one reason we have such a high drop out rate. That and we pressure them too much. My gosh, when I was in school alegebra and geometry was in high school. Now, they teach it even earlier. I had a hard enough time in high school so I imagine it must be daunting to a younger child. I am a new follower from the blog hop and I am following thru GFC, Facebook and RSS Reader. I would love a follow back on all of those when you get the chance. Thanks so much for your help and have a great weekend!


  10. Hi Michelle! Nice to meet you!

    I'm hopping by and following you from Lots of Loving Hop! Please come by my blog to visit..

    You can follow me back at

    Looking forward to getting to know you.. :)

    BTW.. love your post... I have a 17month old girl.. and I really get you..


  11. I love how you have practical goals in mind! I have a 16-month-old daughter that I find myself sometimes getting too busy to play with... I'm a new follower, thanks for linking up to NOBH! :)

  12. great post!
    New follower via gfc
    id love a follow back if you have time! Thanks!

  13. Love your hear for your kiddos...and the goals you have...
    Thanks for sharing,
    ~Kara @ The Chuppies/NOBH


It's so nice to hear your ideas! Thanks for taking the time to share.


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