Homeschooling Conversations -Hundreds of Them-


Photo credit: Lillian Rachel

Conversations about homeschooling, hundreds of them!- around coffee tables and the same questions over and over again (and I’ve wondered if there is a book out there entitled, “Questions to Ask a Homeschool Mom and her Children” that everyone has already read), and the looks, and the trying to persuade you to quit (for your children’s sake, and your own sanity), and the words: socialization, find-time-for-yourself, tolerance, really? have all been present every time. And of course I learned the correct answer to each of those questions, actually I had two kind of answers for each question: the simple, for the lady waiting on line in the supermarket or for the couple across our table in a business banquet; and the long one, for the moms that were also waiting with me for the gymnastic training or music lessons to be over.

And people asked all these questions and many looked down at us, and kept their eyes on us (even though they pretended not to be spying into our lives) because they were, in a certain way, expecting us to fail in this life experiment. So let me take a minute to answer the real question behind all those hundreds questions: Why did you start doing this?  To have smarter kids? No way. To have well socialized kids? Nope. So that they would not be “contaminated by the world.” Probably you haven’t realized that sin dwells in the heart of a lovely child, of a dad, of a mom; there is absolutely no need to look for it outside your own home. Or maybe you homeschooled your kids to keep them from all heart-breaking stories? No, no.  The reason to  start  -and persevere- on this journey has to be one that is so strong that becomes part of who you are. And what reason is strong enough to make us wake up early every morning, and help us keep pressing on when our heart faints and the tears run, and we know we have failed, and we just don’t know what lies ahead, but this: to bring up our children in the Covenant of God? Yes, yes! This is the real, strong reason behind the many books on the table, and the planners, and the board on the wall, and the mold growing in the cream-cheese in fridge (on purpose, of course). All these rhythms of life have become ours because we wanted -each day- to feed our children’s souls with God’s Word and hundreds of stories and we wanted to teach them to see the stars, and the ocean, and the Greeks, and the Aztecs, and Reubens, and Frida Khalo all through the light of the Scriptures. All through one lens: Truth. We wanted to live the daily, beautiful, God-given life together under God’s grace, under His Covenant.

And we are grateful, so incredibly grateful for the work of the Spirit in each one of our children and for the many ways in which He has faithfully kept them in His Covenant. We rejoice in our loving God and in His ways. We can proclaim with a loud voice: God is indeed faithful! He delights to keep His covenant. He is a God that loves to save children, families, and bless the generations of the righteous.

It’s already summer and this one will be different. We’ll pack the suitcases of two of our children who will be moving  2626.54 miles away from home, and I already miss them but to know that they are walking in the Covenant of Grace is enough to make my heart swell with gladness and rest assured that God will finish what He started in them -in us, in me-

“Wisdom is an ambitious woman. In Proverbs 8 she describes how she’s a catch. The knowledge to get power, wealth, competence and circumspection is hers, yet she delights to teach from her home. When Jesus says, Wisdom is vindicated by her children, his statement assumes that Wisdom is a homeschooling mom.” Dr. Michael Collender

Under His sun and by His grace,


In Grace, By Grace, and Under Grace -On Raising Our Children –


My Man and I were talking in the car -trapped in traffic-, the tears and fears, and thousand questions were all there. It was 12 years ago, in that car, that we decided we were going to start homeschooling our children (three at the time). This was way too crazy for us to do, we personally didn’t  know any family doing this, we had really no idea on how to start or if it would work or not. What about socialization? And paper work? All those questions -and many more- were in our minds -in our hearts-. But it seemed that we didn’t have any other choice if we wanted to provide to our children an education that didn’t divorce our beliefs with what they were being taught at school. Not one Christian school was around for us to even consider that as an option (even now, there are only a few “Christian schools” that are only “Christian” in name -we live in Mexico City, remember?).

I tucked my children in bed that night, Santiago was 8, Annie 6 and Nico 4 (Isabel only existed in the plans of God at that time). And I kissed them with the kind of kiss that is mingled with tears. We loved our children, and we knew we had to be purposely involved in their education if we wanted to bring them up in the Covenant. That night, in my dreams, the Lord reminded me of a prayer I had prayed over and over in my teenage years, “Lord, I want to serve you full time. I want to be used by you to change the world, to fight for Your Kingdom, to be a godly influence in the world, to reach many, to touch lives.” And you know what? I remember how I cried so much every time I prayed this prayer because all the ideas I had about ministries that will change the world were always doors that were impossible to break through,  no matter how hard I tried to bring them down they remained closed. But this night was different. As the Lord reminded me of that prayer of my youth in my dreams, I knew He was graciously answering my prayer in a much unexpected way: I was given the opportunity to change the world, to fight for the Kingdom, to be a godly influence, to reach many, to touch lives by reaching to my children first.

Morning came and new mercies too. We still had a huge list of questions, fears, doubts, but the direction of the Lord for our family was clear. There was not turning back. And many new mornings came and each one brought new mercies with it.

Today classes are officially over at VPSA (one of the most important ways God answered to my fears!), and Annie and Nico (who decided to graduate earlier) finished highschool and will be joining Santiago in College next Fall. I look back now and cannot see anything but grace upon grace. Every day with them has been a day we started and finished in grace, by grace, and under grace. All our doubts and fears, and questions never conquered us, and not because we were too smart, or too disciplined, or too savvy, or had a great support group and many friends, nor even because we had the kind of faith that moves mountains. Oh no, we didn’t! We conquered the doubts and fears, and questions because we knew we were small and our God big. We took everyday five little stones and faced the Giant face to face, knowing in whom we had put our trust.  We obeyed and we trusted in Him because the well of mercy and grace never dried up.

Today I look at them, two young men and a young lady. And I see how they love each other with genuine love, how they long to be always together, how they support one another, how they enjoy being with our little Isabel. I see them well grounded in love and in the faith. I see them too raising their eyes to the horizon, getting hold of their own Sword and ready to fight Giants and Dragons. They are arrows ready to pierce the enemy. They are blessed warriors who long to build families and have their own quivers filled with children and raise them up in the Covenant of Grace.

And I give thanks to my God, because isn’t that the only natural response to a Grace-filled life?

Now I see Isabel, and think of how her journey will be very different. And because God hasn’t changed His orders for us, we’ll remain in this path. Again I have fears and doubts, and questions. Again I have tears in my eyes as I think of only having one child in our little homeschool. Again I think that this is crazy.  And yes, as my friend Ann says, I have “soul-amnesia.”

This time the encouragement comes not in a dream. The Lord used my son, Santiago, to remind me of the goodness and faithfulness of our God. He recounts the blessings, the answer to our prayers. “Mom, remember how you had no idea how you were going to teach us Logic, and Rhetoric, and Physics, and Algebra? Remember, Mom, how God provided for us an online school -a brand new school at the time- that was clearly an answer to your prayers [and how we found that school! An old catalog handed to me by someone who didn’t know anything about Classical Education and was given this catalog by a missionary when he left…]. Mom, remember this…. remember when… Remember, He will lead you now and show you what to do with Isabel. It will be good.”

So I look back and recount His blessings. And it is amazing how looking back and remembering His goodness, His hand leading us every day, gives us hope for the day ahead. I cling to my Rock one more time and I hold my peace.

It has been a long way, and it was lived day by day, minute by minute. Fully there, and fully aware that if the Lord didn’t build these children up, all we were doing was in vain. This has been a journey of grace and will continue to be so. I have messed things up many many times, I am a woman with many flaws. Many times I get behind in Math, and I’m not happy to do all the hands-on projects, and get -pretty ugly-mad- at them. But God, in spite of all my faults and shortcomings has heard my prayers and my cries and has given us grace to start each day, grace to continue, and grace to finish well. We have planted faithfully and have watered the seed of the Word in their hearts every day, all day, but God, and only God can make each seed grow and give fruit. And He has done so faithfully and I know He will continue to do it in this new stage of our family.

Today I remember this prayer of my youth, “Lord, I want to serve you full time. I want to be used by you to change the world, to fight for Your Kingdom, to be a godly influence in the world, to reach many, to touch lives.”  And I see how God has answered it as I look at each one of our children.

Under His Sun and by His grace,


A Wrinkle in Time – A Few Thoughts-

My 8 yo daughter and I finished yesterday, A Wrinkle in Time, the first book in a series by Madeleine L’Engle. As I mentioned in Goodreads, Sci-Fi is definitely not my favorite genre -and this story has its good share of it- because I find it hard to get immersed in the story, to get lost with the characters, to believe I am in it. However, this was the first time my daughter read this genre and was immediately caught up by the story. As I read aloud to her I could see her full of excitement as if she were traveling through time, from planet to planet along with the characters. She was not looking from afar but felt as if she were part of the story. At the end I can say that we had a great time reading it, and we were able to find many important places to just stop and talk about the truths this story contains, the lessons we must learn and the pitfalls we must try to avoid in life.

Madeleine L’Engle said once, “You have to write the book that wants to be written, and if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” I guess she is right. I wish I were more childlike at times.

If you are not familiar with the story, here is an excerpt from the book description:

“Everyone in town thinks Meg is volatile and dull-witted and that her younger brother Charles Wallace is dumb. People are also saying that their father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors, Meg and Charles Wallace, along with their new friend Calvin, embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time…  A classic since 1962, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is sophisticated in concept yet warm in tone, with mystery and love coursing through its pages. Meg’s shattering yet ultimately freeing discovery that her father is not omnipotent provides a satisfying coming-of-age element. Readers will feel a sense of power as they travel with these three children, challenging concepts of time, space, and the power of good over evil. (Ages 9 to 12)”

Now if you have read the story you can keep on reading (there are some spoilers ahead).

As I was reading I found a resemblance between the planet Camazotz, (a planet in which you may recall all was peace, equality and order, but in which individuality was lost and everyone’s will was subject to IT,  a greater power that controlled all the inhabitants of the planet), and the world in which we live today. Many today have stopped thinking and have bowed down to the god of Tolerance in order to achieve some kind of peace, equality and order.  IT had control over people in Camazotz,  just as Tolerance has taken control over the thinking faculties of people in our day. “Tolerance” has become, in a sense, the IT in our planet. Tolerance is the god many are serving blindly.

The saddest thing is that this god Tolerance has found a niche in the heart of many Christians. They cannot see, they are frozen, they think just as Charles Wallace reasoned, that they can come inside IT and be part of it and not be absorbed into it. We cannot compromise; if we tolerate sin we will soon be absorbed by it. We have not been called to seek “peace, equality and order,” but to seek the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. We, as children of God, have been called to hold fast to the Word of God, to fight the good fight. We must resist. Mr. Murry and Meg won over IT because they fought it thinking differently. As Christians, we know we don’t win the spiritual battles with our minds, but in a sense we do. What we think is what we believe. And we know that what we believe is what we act. Just look at how many times Paul in his epistles calls us to have the mind of Christ, to think, to reason. He urges us not be conformed in our minds to this world, but to be transformed in our thinking. Christians must start thinking accordingly to the Word of God at all times, in all circumstances. If we don’t, we will soon be absorbed into the world. There must be a clear, distinctive difference in how we see things and how the world sees them. We have the Bible as our standard, they don’t.

At the end, in L’Engle’s story, love wins. But it doesn’t win the heart and mind of all that have been enslaved in Camazotz. I liked that. Love wins the heart of the one special person that, from the beginning we knew had to be rescued. Love always finds its way through the deepest darkness into the hardened hearts of men.

Now I must to go, my little one wants to start reading the second book in the series, A Wind in the Door, so here we go.

Happy reading, my friends!



The New England Primer -An Alphabet of Lessons for Youth-


A Wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

BEtter is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure & trouble therewith.

COme unto Christ all ye that labor and are heavy laden and he will give you rest.

DO not the abominable thing which I hate saith the Lord.

EXcept a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

FOolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

GODLINESS is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come.

HOLINESS becomes GOD’s house for ever.

IT is good for me to draw near unto GOD.
KEEP thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.

LIARS shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.

MANY are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivereth them out of them all.

NOW is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.

OUT of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

PRAY to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which sees in secret shall reward thee openly.

QUIT you like men, be strong, stand fast in the faith.

REMEMBER thy Creator in the days of thy youth.

SEest thou a man wise in his own conceit, there is more hope of a fool than of him.

TRUST in God at all times, ye people, pour out your hearts before him.

UPON the wicked, God shall rain an horrible tempest.

WO to the wicked, it shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him.
EXHORT one another daily while it is called to day, lest any of you be hardened thro’ the deceitfulness of sin.

YOUNG men ye have overcome the wicked one.

ZEal hath consumed me, because thy enemies have forgotten the word of God.


This is an excerpt from The New England Primer, 1777 ed.

Last week I shared, A Lesson for Children A-Z, also from The New England Primer.

UPDATE: Trisha left a comment saying that this would be great for copy work, and I totally agree; so why not use this site, Handwriting Worksheets, to make your own pretty customized worksheets. Go check it out! 🙂

Handwriting Worksheet Maker


The New England Primer -A Lesson for Children: A-Z-

We are studying the period of time when the Puritans were establishing the New Colonies in America. And to show my little one how the children were taught, we will go through some of the things found in The New England Primer; and I thought it would be a good idea to share my favorite ones with you. So the next few Wednesdays, bring your children and let us learn together!

“The New England Primer was the first reading primer designed for the American Colonies. It became the most successful educational textbook published in 18th century America and it became the foundation of most schooling before the 1790s.

In the 17th century, the schoolbooks in use had been brought over from England. By 1690, Boston publishers were reprinting the English Protestant Tutor under the title of The New England Primer. The Primer included additional material that made it widely popular and colonial schools until it was supplanted by Noah Webster’s Blue Back Speller after 1790.” (source)


This poem is from The English Primer, 1777 ed.


A In ADAM’S Fall
We sinned all. 
B Heaven to find;
The Bible Mind. 
C Christ crucify’d
For sinners dy’d. 
D The Deluge drown’d
The Earth around. 
By Ravens fed. 
F The judgment made
FELIX afraid.
G As runs the Glass,
Our Life doth pass. 
H My Book and Heart
Must never part. 
J JOB feels the Rod,–
Yet blesses GOD. 
K Proud Korah’s troop
Was swallowed up 
L LOT fled to Zoar,
Saw fiery Shower
On Sodom pour. 
M MOSES was he
Who Israel’s Host
Led thro’ the Sea

N NOAH did view
The old world & new. 
All were pious. 
P PETER deny’d
His Lord and cry’d. 
Q Queen ESTHER sues
And saves the Jews. 
R Young pious RUTH,
Left all for Truth. 
S Young SAM’L dear,
The Lord did fear.
Learnt sin to fly. 
V VASHTI for Pride
Was set aside. 
W Whales in the Sea,
GOD’s Voice obey. 
X XERXES did die,
And so must I. 
Y While youth do chear
Death may be near. 
Did climb the Tree
Our Lord to see.