How We Homeschool With Ten Kids

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

This is how we homeschool:

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First, let me tell you that we have routines, not a schedule based on time. We get up and eat breakfast. We pray together, put on our spiritual armor, and say The Lord’s Prayer together. Shawn, the oldest, leads the others in this while I take care of the two babies. Then he supervises the 6 oldest while they do their chores. We use to help us make the chore assignments each week. It has been the best chore organizer we’ve used. I put the information in one time, and then each week we print out what Chorebuster puts together and the kids don’t get mad at me; they blame Chorebuster for the chores they get. Each of them gets 2 or 3 chores each day. They set the timer and try to get everything done in an hour. I spend time on the computer during this time sometimes. At other times I help with cleaning. Then we come together, and I read aloud to the oldest 6.

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I read from the Bible or from a living book that we’ve been reading. Right now we’re reading the second book in The Kingdom Series by Chuck Black. The boys really like it. The girls like it, too, but Patrick, in particular, really likes it. It reminds me of Pilgrim’s Progress, but it’s easier to understand.

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I’m also reading a book about 12th century Korea called A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park. It is a well-written book that is making us want to keep reading on and on. We love to read books that get us so involved in the story and so fond of the main character that we just have to find out what happens next.

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Some days, we will do a lesson from Heart of Wisdom’s Adam to Messiah. I also have a unit study on Israel that we’ve started. We work on it sometimes. One week I read the assigned readings from the Daily Bible in Chronological Order every day, and it happened to be in Psalms. I really enjoyed reading those comforting words out loud each day.

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Every day is the same, but different. I try to be led by the Spirit in what I read and speak to my children each day during our school time. Sometimes we discuss prayer needs that I’ve come across through email and Christian news online and needs of family and friends, and then we pray for them together. We used to make everyone pray, but that took a long time, and we had to really prod some of the younger ones to pray, so we changed our policy, and now we just allow anyone who wants to pray for a certain need to pray for it. Our together school usually lasts about 2 hours. Sometimes we discuss issues that have arisen and caused strife between certain children during this time. At other times, I have praised individual children for character development that I’ve seen in them and things that I’m pleased about in their behavior.


By the time we finish together school, Daddy is home, and we switch gears to welcome him home. He gets a big welcome with lots of little children yelling “Daddy’s home” (usually led by Emma when she hears the garage door start to go up) and running to him and hugging him. Some of us bigger ones run to him, too, if possible. Then he tells us what happened to him that day. This teaches them to honor their father. Twins Starting apple unit 028

Then most of the kids scatter to their separate rooms and activities. On alternating nights, Daddy takes the older kids to the YMCA where they lift weights and run and walk and generally get some good exercise. On the other nights, Shawn and I intend to do Geometry, using Life of Fred, but we haven’t been sticking to that plan very well. I think he’s getting antsy enough that he will press the issue soon and we’ll get cracking, so he can move onto Algebra 2, which we think he will like a lot better than Geometry. The younger kids do Math Mammoth. They do the pages, then bring them to me if they have a question and to check the problems when they’re done. The two next oldest kids use Teaching Textbooks which they can do on the computer, and is self-checking.

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Science for us is everywhere. I have lots of books about science topics in our personal library. I also check out science-related books from the library. They like to watch nature shows and are drawn to nature books. They find things outside and study them on their own quite often. I can’t wait until we can move to the country and these kinds of occurrences can happen more frequently. Surprisingly, they did find a snapping turtle on the street in front of our house smack dab in the middle of a manicured-lawn neighborhood the other day. So no matter where you live, I guess nature happens!

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We discuss Creation Science versus Evolution quite frequently. I have done some online Science courses through Cindy Rushton’s classes with the younger children this year. We did an online class about water from with Kelsey and Morgan.

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The other areas get covered by copywork and reading on their own and writing on their own. My girls do lots of writing without any direction from me. My boys are another story. I have to look for things to motivate them to write, such as letters to friends, lists of things they want, lists of things to do, etc. I use the Getty-Dubay Italic curriculum to teach them handwriting. I absolutely abhor teaching handwriting. The process turns me into a monster. So I let Italic do it. You can also find these at Rainbow Resource Center.


We also do lots of lapbooks. They are my babies. The kids aren’t as crazy about them as I am, but it’s the best way I’ve found to make them write some information about a topic on a page. My favorite lapbooking sites are,, In the Hands of a Child and We do some notebooking, too, with the same results. I have to make my kids do them, and they resist, but they do like the results. Don’t ask them, they won’t tell the truth. I know they really do like their notebooks and lapbooks. They just don’t like being told that they have to do something.

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That’s about it. They learn a lot about raising young children. They have each learned a lot about the stages of development. They learn a lot from daily things that happen to us and our loved ones. We discuss politics and spiritual ideas openly, and I know that even the younger children are picking up important principles and truths from listening to our discussions.

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The older children read to the ones “assigned” to them at bedtime. I didn’t really assign them; it just kind of happened. They have Bible storybooks that they read to them and other books, too. I have to stay in my room to get the babies to sleep each night. Katie usually does late night kitchen clean-up.

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We try to have family movies that have a good family theme from time to time. We love to make lots of popcorn and all sit around together watching a good, wholesome movie. Unfortunately, Emma manages to make a big mess of the popcorn every time. One night, when the movie was over and we turned the lights on, I discovered Emma asleep with her feet inside one of the popcorn bowls. Our family movie nights are educational in what they teach about sharing, cooperating, being together as a family and the importance of bonding. Oh yeah, and how movie theater ushers feel when they clean up after a movie.

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That’s all I can think of for now. I believe that

Education is a Life

as Charlotte Mason said it. And our life is about getting to know God and learning what He wants us to learn, so we can be ready for whatever He has for us in the future.

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So this is how we homeschool with 10 kids. See how much easier it would be for you!


This post is from a couple years back – from my old blog.

But I thought someone might be interested to see how we endeavor to homeschool and get everything else done each day.

God’s Children Are Tattooed in the Palm of His Hand!

This one made me cry! God led me to these scriptures many times during our Journey of Fire. I hope you will be blessed and helped by this today.

God really loves you so much. Just believe it and let Him cuddle you.

David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]

This is one of my favorite Scriptures:

“Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted. But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me” (Isaiah 49:13-16).

God says I am engraved in the very palm of his hand! The Hebrew word means “tattooed”—that is, indelible, inerasable. He cannot stretch out his hand without being reminded of me!

Dearly beloved, I want to assure you: You may go through trials and sufferings. You may be far from what you wish to be in the Lord. But you can know one thing more than anything else: You are a delight to him!

I write to you with a confidence and knowledge in my heart that, although I have not arrived, he has made me a part of his remnant. I believe with all my heart I am a royal crown, a diadem in his hand, a delight to his soul. He is not mad at me—he delights in me!

Listen to this wonderful promise:

“I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place . . . . Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!” (Psalm 31:7-8, 19).

God has given you all you need to be free and victorious. He sees your condition—and he cares. He cuddles you as you call on him and he is ready to come forth to help you that moment.

Read this devotion online:

Journey of Fire – the Beginning

I had just sent Gary an encouraging email at work about how God is working behind the scenes. Even when we don’t see anything good happening, He is quietly doing things for us and working things out for our good. I was still sitting at the computer when I heard the door open, and I looked over and saw Gary walk in. My workaholic husband home in the middle of the day? I asked, “What are you doing here?” He looked kind of sheepish and said, “They let me go. I’ve been laid off.”

My first reaction was a bit of panic, but then I felt this excitement well up in me. Now he could pursue his business full time, and he wouldn’t have that pesky old job with all of its trials and problems getting in the way or taking up his time any more. I said, “Yay, you’re free!” I think he was kind of shocked at my reaction, but he looked relieved that I responded that way.

I had been wanting him to be able to work from home for a long, long time, and now he would get his chance to do that. And he would be his own boss. The problems he constantly had in the workplace wouldn’t be an issue any more. The more I thought about it, the happier I got. I felt like celebrating!

But then he started working on his business in earnest. He worked out in his office for long hours, trying to develop a good business plan. It was a difficult, tedious process for him to learn all the things that were needed in a business plan, such as long-range predictions, costs, equipment, estimated income, profit, all kinds of things that were way outside of his area of expertise. He studied and wrote and thought and worked all day and night for many days and nights. He had a business partner, Alesia, who still worked at the place he had worked. She and her husband were working on things, too, but the financial matters and business plan were all in Gary’s lap.

He was busy out in his office all the time. I really didn’t see him any more than I did when he had a job. Maybe even less. And he was stressed out. He was trying to make the best business plan he could because he was going to present it to a bank to try to get a loan. He had to make it shine. He didn’t have the problems with fellow employees that he had at the workplace, but now he had the fear of failure and the burden of so many people depending on him to do a good job on this business plan.

While he was out in his office sweating over his business plan, I was inside the house trying to take care of six children, ages 1-10, cook, clean, do laundry, buy groceries, and generally be Supermom who needed no help from anyone. Unfortunately, I did need help. I just never asked for it. I thought I should be able to do it all and do it well. All by myself. Like a little 3-year-old, that’s what I said. I can do it myself.

But I started thinking, now that Gary’s home, maybe he can help me some. Then I started getting mad at him when he didn’t read my mind and start helping me when I started thinking that way. So our relationship became a little strained. I was mad at him and he didn’t know why, and he was so caught up in trying to get his business plan done that he really couldn’t focus on our relationship anyway. And I was tired. My baby was still nursing, and he was a very demanding little guy. I had so much to do to take care of my own family, but somehow I kept getting roped into helping other people with their kids: homeschooling, tutoring, keeping them out of trouble, doing homeschool assessments, etc. I had a hard time saying no to anybody when they asked for help, and I kept trying to help out with finances in what little way I could through tutoring and assessments.

In the middle of all of that going on, we had to decide what we were going to do when his severance pay ran out. We had an inkling that God was giving us a chance to live by faith. We weren’t sure, but we thought He might be calling us to step out and take Him at His word and let Him be our sole Provider, with no other source of income. We prayed about what we should do about Unemployment, and we felt that Gary should go get it, so he went to the office to inquire about it.

When he got there the caseworker had a fit when he found out how many kids we had, and he told Gary he was going to get everything he possibly could for him. Gary came home with food stamps, Medicare, etc., and I felt very uncomfortable about the whole thing. I had a feeling we were supposed to just rely on God, but I wasn’t sure, so I let it go.

In the meantime, I was really feeling impressed that I needed to learn to hear from God better. So I started asking the Lord to help me to hear Him better. The first thing I heard in my spirit that I knew had to be from Him was when He said, “Go buy yourself a new dress.” I knew it had to be God and not my own inner voice for several reasons. I hardly ever wore dresses at that time. It’s not very convenient to wear a dress when you have a nursing baby. I didn’t want a new dress. And I didn’t want to spend money on anything besides bare essentials at a time like that. That voice telling me to buy a new dress was not my own, that was for sure!

Planting Butterfly Seeds

Butterflies are among the most beautiful and delicate of God’s creatures. I love to see them flit through the air on their wings of gossamer.

I would love to see more of them than I do. I don’t have my own home yet, so I can’t plant my own butterfly garden.

But I can do some things to attract them. I can have plants that I know they like in planters outside.

Well, today we planted some unusual plants that a special butterfly lays its eggs on. These plants are considered weeds by most people, and they are getting more rare because of weed killers, thus endangering the butterflies whose caterpillars subsist on them.

If you haven’t guessed yet, the plants that we planted today are milkweeds.

The butterfly that lays its eggs on the milkweed is the Monarch butterfly. I really love Monarchs.

I went out looking for Monarch caterpillars the other day, but I didn’t find one. I did find a milkweed, and on that milkweed was a big, fat seed pod. So I brought the seed pod home to show my kids. We didn’t have that kind of milkweed in Illinois. But this pod was like the ones I saw as a child growing up in Ohio.

I didn’t have any real plans for this pod – just thought I would show it to my kids.

As time went on, they kept asking me about it, and I could tell they wanted to tear that thing open. I thought, “Hmmm, that might not be a bad idea. Let them see what’s inside.” See what a brilliant teacher I am! 😛 It’s a good thing I have such bright students. They keep us on the learning path.

So today we split it open and saw beautiful, orderly rows of seeds all tightly wrapped around a feathery center. I had never before noticed how orderly and systematically they were arranged inside of a milkweed pod.  Or if I did, I had forgotten.



We started peeling a few of them off and noticed how the straight smooth feathery pieces became fluffy and curled as they dried out. The better to fly on the breeze with, my dear.


And the seeds were attached to these little feathers.


So then I had the brilliant idea of letting the kids take the seeds outside and let them fly. And we would plant some in our garden, too. We probably won’t be here to see them grow. And the next person to live here may not appreciate milkweed growing up through their patio, but we’re doing our part to try to replenish the food plant of the Monarch butterfly caterpillars.

We’re hoping for a good crop of Monarch butterflies!

The kids had so much fun!



Examining the pod and the seeds

Then each of them took some “feathers” with seeds on them.

And held them up and let them go. Off to hopefully plant themselves somewhere that would be hospitable to milkweeds.

Then my children flew and twirled and spun and danced and ran in the breeze like newborn butterflies fresh from the chrysalis.

Planting Milkweed Seeds from Penney Douglas on Vimeo.

P. S. Just don’t tell my neighbors what we did.

P. P. S. At least we didn’t plant dandelion seeds. Oh yeah, I guess my kids have done that. Many times.

The Grace Card Giveaway

If you’ve been encouraged by the quality of new Christian movies, such as Facing the Giants and Fireproof, then you’ll want to see this movie produced by another church Calvary Church in Cordova, TN, called The Grace Card.

It is excellent, judging from the reviews I’ve read and comments I’ve read about it.

Speaking of reviews, there is a great review and a GIVEAWAY of the movie at a blog called One Big, Healthy Family.

Check it out and enter to win. There are 6 ways to enter, and I just did the last one by telling about it on my blog. I really would like to win it. But if you win because I sent you, please tell me. I promise I won’t be jealous. I will be happy for you. I promise!