Heart of Dakota Blog

A Practically Perfect Homeschool Life

A Heart of Dakota Life
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

A Heart of Dakota Life

A Perfect Homeschool Life

It’s that time of year again!  Time to start my homeschool year and to make the perfect plan that makes all my dreams come true!  I put on my rose-colored glasses and put pen to paper to plan all I hope my homeschool year will be. My year begins to unfold before my very eyes. I write lofty goals, as I envision my perfect homeschool year. In my mind, I wake up well-rested to sunshine and blue skies. I shut off my alarm before it even rings – I’m just that excited to start my day!  My Bible Quiet Time and prayer time come next, as I prepare my heart and mind for all the day may hold. Then, I wake my children cheerfully, throw open their curtains, and whip up a healthy, homemade breakfast they adore. While the breakfast is bubbling and baking away, I skip downstairs to run 4 miles on my treadmill. We all happily arrive at breakfast punctually at the same time, showered and looking just so, chores all complete, and ready to greet our day!

A Practically Perfect Homeschool Life

I love to dream of my ideal homeschool life, but there is only one problem! It’s just not practical. In fact, the perfect day is pretty rare, and lofty out-of- reach plans just leave me feeling like a failure. So, I have traded in my perfect homeschool life for a practically perfect homeschool life. And you know what? I’m a whole lot happier!  I put pen to paper with plans that are practical, yet full of most of what I really want them to be.

When I know I will be teaching the next morning, I try to get to bed on time. I pick a start time that is early but not so early I can never really start on time. My alarm must be set, or the reality is I might not wake up. I do wake my children, quickly, with a hug and a kiss, but then promptly head downstairs for a strong cup of coffee.  A quick Bible time, a 1 mile jog on the treadmill once and awhile, breakfasts that are sometimes homemade and sometimes healthy but probably not both, prayer in my shower, and all of us arriving at breakfast about the same time with most our chores done – that’s perfect for me in a practical way.

Enjoy Planning Your Practically Perfect Homeschool Life

Rather than planning your perfect homeschool life, why not enjoy planning your practically perfect homeschool life? Make goals, but try to be practical about them. Set a schedule, but be practical by including margin for unplanned interruptions. Try a routine, but be practical by adding some wiggle room in it knowing it probably won’t go just so. Include some healthy goals, like getting enough sleep, having some healthy meals, attempting to exercise, etc., but be practical!  These things probably won’t happen daily.  Do the same with your homeschool subjects and with your children. Plan practically rather than perfectly. Take 2 weeks to do 1 week of plans to give grace to both you and to your children as you figure out your new guides. Most of all, plan for God to ultimately make your plans each day – after all, His plans are best, and they ARE actually perfect! It just makes good practical sense to follow them.

In Christ,


This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Leeza


    If love to talk more about our homeschooling experience thus far; we are into our third week and, while we were off to a great start, we are sort of waning now. I feel like I might need to make adjustments to their levels but I don’t know if I should just give it more time. It went from being fun and exciting to more of a chore. I have to say it’s probably my fault: I am either not helping them enough (because I want them to start being more independent) or I “hover” over them too much. They say they lie it, but I feel life I may be the one ruining the beauty of the curriculum. Any advice?

    1. Leeza

      *I would like to talk more about…..

    2. I’m glad to hear you had a great start to your homeschool year! As your year progresses into more of a routine, it is normal for emotions to even out. As a homeschool mom, I love teaching my children! However, my excitement is always highest at the start as I begin a new year that is full of promise. My children are the same, and it sounds like you and your children are as well. I think it is really important to have real expectations for our homeschooling. It is simply not possible to live in a constant state of inspiration, and that’s okay because there is joy in the discipline/routine things of homeschooling as well.

      So, my first helpful tip has to do with Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on the matter. Charlotte Mason differentiated between inspirational and disciplinary subjects in school. She stressed the importance of both being necessary, as well as the importance of alternating them throughout the school day. I try to do this, and I have loved the results! Here is a post in regard to that…


      My second helpful tip has to do with Carrie’s intentional design of Heart of Dakota guides. Carrie has made sure to include “T” teacher-directed plans, “S” semi-independent plans, and “I” independent plans once children are more capable of working independently (starting with Preparing Hearts for His Glory and up through U.S. History II high school). I take these letters as my cue of when to be fully teaching and present (“T” boxes), when to teach a bit/help/’hover’ and then walk away (“S” boxes), and when to walk away totally and give my kids space – once they’ve initially done the boxes for the first week or two (“I” boxes). As a former ‘hover-er’ (my oldest son did refer to me as that once or twice back when), I realize the importance of giving space when necessary to my children. Especially as they turn 11 years old on up through the teenage years, they do need some space to call their own.

      The letters are super helpful. They ensure that the child who only wants us by his side all day must still learn to take on independence successfully. For this child, the “I” boxes are especially important. The letters also ensure the child who is fiercely independent must still learn to let us teach. For this child, the “T” boxes are especially important.

      Finally, my last tip is to do all of the plans. The balance of hands-on work, project-based work, seatwork, parent-led discussions, written and oral work, etc. – keeps the day fresh. If a child is not a hands-on learner and fusses about art or history projects, don’t omit the projects. The brain needs intentional body movement in the day, even if the child prefers seatwork. Likewise, if a child is not a seatwork/written work learner and fusses about written work, don’t omit the written work or make it oral work instead. Being able to communicate in written form is a necessary skill in school and in life in general. Sometimes we are tempted as moms to omit things we think are not as important, and often it is the very things we are omitting that make the day varied and keep it exciting. Once you begin omitting/tweaking, a child thinks he can argue or talk his way out of things he’d rather not do. The guide is not a buffet for a child to only choose what he feels like doing. Much like we don’t let our children eat only dessert at a restaurant buffet, we don’t want to let our children treat their guide like a buffet. Balance keeps the day fresh!!!

      Hope these tips help!!!
      In Christ,

  2. Leeza

    *like it
    I feel like….

  3. Angela


    This was really a helpful post. I feel that in the past I have had these lofty goals my family could not achieve and would feel like a failure when we did not meet them. This, of course, would lead to me feeling overwhelmed and tired each day. This year I am going to schedule some “wiggle room” as you have said and set smaller achievable goals for us this year. As I look over my plans for this year, I feel that these simple steps could really make a dramatic change in my family’s homeschool. Thank you for the post!

  4. So glad I’m not the only one who has had lofty goals that were pretty impractical and pretty out of reach, Angela! I put quite a lot of ‘wiggle room’ in my day this year. I tried to put realistic times for things with each of our sons and me in mind. For example, my youngest son, Emmett, loves to make homemade hot chocolate or lemonade mid-morning for everyone. This used to upset me. He’d disappear from his schoolwork, and there he’d be making hot cocoa. But, everyone really LOVED his hot cocoa, and it really WAS about then we were needing a break! So, I put 10 minutes in for him to make hot cocoa and another 10 minutes after that for us all to get to meet at the kitchen table for it. He lights candles, sets out sprinkles and whipped cream and marshmallows, and even is thinking about using different creamers for different flavors of hot cocoa now! He did this the first 2 days of school this week and loved it. The third day, today, he announced he needed more time for his map coloring and would be unable to make hot cocoa. He is learning he can use his ‘wiggle room’ in our schedule just like I can!!!

    We just finished our 3rd day of homeschooling, and it went ‘practically’ perfect. Yes, the electrician came and we didn’t have lights for awhile. Yes, we lost a book we needed. Yes, we somehow spilled maple syrup all over the inside of our fridge. BUT, we had wiggle room enough and a more down-to-earth attitude to still enjoy our practically perfect day. We don’t expect perfection, and in that, we can enjoy most of our homeschool days to their best potential. I so hope you have a practically perfect homeschool week coming up with your wiggle room and adjusted more achievable goals, Angela! And I will do the same!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    In Christ,

Leave a Reply

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




Sign up today to get Carrie’s latest Teaching Tips along with the latest news from Heart of Dakota!