Persevering Through Tough Times

We homeschooled our children from 1991 – 2011 – before we even owned a computer! Back in the day, I would read homeschooling magazines, read the ads, mail in my orders, and I paid by check!


I want to share my story to encourage today’s homeschooling families, not to give up under difficult circumstances. In 1995, my husband (the bread winner) sustained a serious traumatic brain injury, was in a coma for a week, in ICU, and spent a month in a rehab hospital. He returned home unable to work, then to work part time and finally after five years of ups and downs, he was able to successfully work fulltime. Though the medical bills were paid by Worker’s Comp, and we received $200 a week for a year, it was an overwhelming crisis. The Lord met all our needs; we never missed a mortgage payment, our monthly bills got paid. Looking back, I do not know how this was possible. But nothing is impossible with God.


I was tempted to put my son in public school and my daughter in daycare so I could return to work fulltime to support the family. But I felt that the children had had enough upheaval in their lives, they did not need any more.


It was my homeschooling friends who provided prayer and support, loved my children, and watched my children when we had doctor and therapy appointments. I tried to maintain a “normal” routine. After five years, Wayne was able to work fulltime in a new career (much to the amazement of doctors). Then I felt more like a “normal” homeschool family.


Looking back, I know I learned more than my children did. Now that they are adults, I have precious memories of reading to them, teaching them, working on projects for homeschool science fairs, international nights, art shows and traveling to activities and events. We called ourselves the Road Scholars.


No, we were not the “perfect” homeschooling family who made the front cover of Homeschooling Today magazine. You are probably not either. The Lord does not call us to be perfect as the world sees it; He calls us to be obedient and trust in him.


June O’Donal

Denmark, Maine


After homeschooling her two children in 2011 June began writing a series of historical fiction with a Christian message called the Fryeburg Chronicles geared for homeschoolers – discussion questions at the back of the Book. Each book examines a political or moral problem which occurred at the given time period. She presently has five books published covering the time periods from the American Revolution through the Civil War. She is currently working on Book VI which focuses on how medicine was practiced in the 1870’s, the writings of Karl Marx and Charles Darwin. If “she lives long enough” she hopes to write a ten book series ending with 9/11/01. Books are available wherever books are sold.

How to Discover if College is the Best Fit for My Future

By Connie Overlock


Within each of us is a dream just waiting to burst forth and blossom into reality. For some, it is a dream that has been growing since childhood. For others, it is a dream that is just taking shape in their imaginations. Some haven’t decided yet what that dream may be. For many, dreams change as they get older.


Whatever your dream is, you need to decide if college is a good fit. So you may find yourself with these questions: How do I make my dream a reality? How do I figure out what my dream is? Will I need to further my education in order to make my dream a reality?


For starters, it’s never too early to start looking to the future. Take advantage of your middle and high school years by exploring the many different possibilities that are out there. You just might discover a passion within you that you  never knew existed.




Volunteering not only looks great on a resume and sets you apart to potential employers, it helps fill a need in your community. Local libraries, food pantries, animal shelters, nursing homes, and other non-profit organizations all have needs and don’t always have the funds to hire employees. Even some local fire departments allow students as young as 16 to volunteer. Volunteering can help you discover new interests or abilities that you didn’t know you had. My daughter volunteered in Sunday School, Children’s Church, and a local Good News Club. From there she went on to work as a summer missionary for CEF and has since decided to take some classes that would help her focus on        ministry to kids. Volunteering may lead to a career or it may help you decide that you want some additional education to pursue this new found interest. For more on the topic of volunteering, read Make Volunteering a Part of Your Homeschool by Michelle Collomy.



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The Power of a Book

By Sarah Buchwalder


My nine-year-old daughter is an almost compulsive reader.  Dinner time is family time, but while she eats breakfast and lunch, she has to have something in front of her to read.  (Which is fine by me, because reading is the ONLY thing that has kept her in her chair long enough to finish a meal over the years….)  Yesterday during lunch, I noticed her re-reading – for probably the hundredth time – a picture book from her second-grade year: Brother Hugo and the Bear, by Katy Beebe.  This particular book has been on our shelf since we started homeschooling.  We generally adhere to the classical method outlined in The Well-Trained Mind, and the book was recommended as one among many enrichment texts for second grade (in which students become familiar with the medieval period).  My older daughter dutifully read Brother Hugo when she was seven and put it back on the shelf.  When it was my younger daughter’s turn to read it, it didn’t return to the shelf for a long time.  Often it was next to her bed, thrown on the sofa, or piled on the coffee table; sometimes it was left on the kitchen counter, or the front steps, or up in the treehouse.


If you’ve never run into this picture book, it’s a sweet and humorous little story that introduces children to the history behind illuminated manuscripts.  Based on a snippet in an actual twelfth century letter, from an abbot of the monastery at Cluny to the prior of the Grande Chartreuse (in which he asks to borrow some of the works of St. Augustine because “the greater part of our volume was eaten by a bear”), the reader learns a little bit about the monasticism of the Middle Ages and a little more about what it would have been like to work in the scriptorium.

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Your Stake in a Maine Legislative Session

As homeschoolers, we have a big stake in what happens in Augusta during any Maine Legislative Session. During each session, Homeschoolers of Maine (HOME) works to advance your rights as homeschoolers, or to protect your rights from attempts to pass laws which would interfere with your ability to do what is best for your children.


To understand why we do this, we only need to think about why we educate our own children instead of letting the State educate them. What drives us to, in effect, go back to school ourselves so that we can more effectively teach our children? What is so important that we are willing to deprive our family of a second full-time income? Why do we take on the extra work of teaching academics to our own children - a job most parents in our society decline.


For one thing, we know we can give our children a good education because we can custom-tailor each child's studies to his or her needs.


Our children avoid a lot of peer pressure and possible bullying that are common in institutional school settings. As a result, they are more likely to become self-sufficient and even leaders as adults.


For Christian parents, home-based discipleship without a constant message from the public school that God is irrelevant is the most important reason.

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Creating High School Course Descriptions

By Patricia Hutchins


For those of us who are homeschooling our children through high school, or those of us who are

looking ahead to those fun and exciting years, here is a friendly reminder to be working on

course descriptions for each high school course!


In contrast to a high school transcript, which is a one-page document briefly listing course titles,

credits, and grades, course descriptions are paragraph-length explanations that include details

about the course. Each course should have its own course description. Here are some of the

particular pieces of information to provide in a course description:

  • the title of the course
  • the year the course was completed
  • a list of texts or materials used
  • a few sentences describing what was covered in the course
  • an explanation of how the grade was calculated

(Also, a piece of general advice - create a header that includes your student’s full name and place

it at the top of every piece of paperwork that may be submitted to a college, university, academy,

scholarship committee, or workplace.)

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