How to Get Your Homeschool Year Off to a Good Start

Hello Safe Haven Family,

I was just sitting here thinking about all of you, and I decided to share a post from my blog about getting your homeschool off to a good start.

Here are 10 steps to setting the right tone in your home to homeschool successfully.

  1. First of all, it helps to start with the right mindset. We are homeschooling, not doing school at home. I call it “Family Schooling”. We are learning how to do life well. The most important thing we as Christians should do is pray about our agenda and plans. Ask the Lord what He would have us do. He knows our children better than anybody. He knows what they need. Take some time to ask Him and some more time to listen to what He might say about what your children need to learn today.
  2. If you are brand new and your child is doing preschool, let them play! If your child is only 3 or 4, you probably don’t need a curriculum. Read some good picture books to him/her. Let the child lead you in what he wants to do. If he doesn’t have something in mind, offer some choices, such as coloring, playing with play dough, playing with magnetic letters, singing the ABC song, counting teddy bears or something colorful, watching something educational. If your child is a boy, he may not want to write anything. Girls are more likely to want to try to draw something or write letters or numbers. If she wants to write, start teaching her to write her name and names of family members. Keep it informal and light with no pressure or expectations of perfection. At this age, just let him have fun trying new things and exploring the media, such as colored pencils, crayons, markers, paint, clay, etc. Don’t expect professional looking pictures or products. Show appreciation for anything they make. Realize that all of these skills are difficult and unfamiliar for your little one. If you have a hard time remembering what it’s like to learn something new, try this little exercise. Write a sentence with the opposite hand from what you’re used to using. If you’re right-handed, use your left hand or vice versa. Then you will be able to relate to the effort your child is putting into learning new skills that you are trying to teach them. Lots of things that they play are using their fine motor skills, like pushing a small car around, building with blocks, coloring or drawing, putting a puzzle together, etc. And cleaning up can also use fine motor skills, such as putting crayons or colored pencils back in a box or putting any toys in a container, etc. Cutting and gluing is fun for them and helps with developing fine motor skills, too.
  3. Remember that boys are different from girls. All children are different from each other, but we can make some generalizations that can help us to not expect things that make learning time a chore and drudgery instead of enjoying the process of discovery and experimentation. Don’t expect boys to want to color or draw or do craft projects. You can try some and see how he reacts. If he likes  them go ahead and do more. But if he wants to get down on the floor and play with cars and build with blocks, encourage creativity and storytelling as  he plays with them. Let him have lots of time for free play. But you might want to ask him what he is building or what he is playing with his cars or action figures.
  4. For many boys, handwriting is extremely difficult and even painful. They sometimes squeeze the pencil too hard. Boys may have a difficult time making the figures go where they want them to go on the page. They may struggle to make a letter look the way they want it to. So don’t push. If you micromanage the early days of handwriting, you may set your son up to hate handwriting. Then the skill and practice is even more distasteful and unpleasant for both of you. Wait until he is ready and his fine motor skills are more developed. This may be months or even years. Start out doing small bits of writing such as teaching  him how to write his name and names of family members and familiar small words.
  5. Don’t hover, push or micromanage the work your child is doing. Make sure he understands what he is supposed to do, and then step away and let him do it on his own. Stay nearby in case he needs help, but let him make the learning and practicing the new skill his own.
  6. Do take advantage of teachable moments. If your child asks a question, explore it with her and see if there is an extension of that subject that would be of interest to her and add to her pool of knowledge. If you don’t know the answer to the question, sit down with your child and do research on the internet to find the answer.
  7. Don’t think that you are behind. Don’t compare what your child is doing with what another child is doing. It’s okay to get ideas of things to try, but don’t be dismayed if your child is not ready for that skill or subject yet. The only people you have to please or be accountable to are yourself and God.
  8. Remember what is important in this process. The big picture is that we are teaching our children to be loving, kind people of good character. When issues like disobedience, anger, rebellion, impatience or even perfectionism arise, we need to deal with these issues before we move onto actually accomplishing the book work or project that he is working on. We need to be careful of our own attitude while dealing with these attitudes in our child. Remember to be patient and kind and in control of your own emotions. Don’t take it personally if he doesn’t want to do the work or he doesn’t like the subject or he finds it difficult. Sometimes you may need to put the school work on hold while you talk to your child or just hold and hug and snuggle him. Always pray for wisdom, understanding and discernment to know what is going on in the heart and mind of your child.
  9. Keep the main thing the main thing. Your relationship with your child is more important than finishing school work or learning a new skill. If she has a difficult time with the assigned work or cannot seem to grasp a new concept, she may not be ready for it yet. Put it aside until later. Then come back to it later on and try it again. Keep the heart of your child. Or if you have lost connection with your child, use this time with her to show your love and affection toward your child to get her heart back.
  10. As your children interact with siblings and other children, watch the way they relate to others. Children tend to be immature and selfish. Help them learn to be less selfish and gradually more mature. This can be a very long process and take many times of intervention and correction and teaching and discussion. You may even need to role play how they should deal with situations that come up during play times. This requires lots of patience on your part and the willingness to step away from things you would rather do. It is not the most pleasant part of parenting, but it needs to be done and is one of the most important parts of homeschooling.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         I hope these tips help you get off on the right foot or help you have the best year yet. The most important thing is that we let the Spirit lead us. Then we know that we are doing the best we can for each child the Lord has blessed us with. I pray that God blesses each of your homeschools and families this year.



Happy Family Schooling

From our family to yours!

Safe Haven Homeschool Newsletter for September

Greetings Safe Haven Family!

Happy September! 

How are you all doing? Are you feeling happy because the temperatures will be getting more reasonable soon, depending on where you live? Or are you looking forward to the changing colors of autumn? Or are you struggling with the idea of starting it all over again – the school year, the routine, the attempts to bring order to the chaos that sometimes result in anger and resentment in you and your kids?

Or is it a combination of emotions that you’re experiencing – some good, some bad, some ugly.

The economy is certainly causing fear and doubt in the minds of many. The culture war appears to be going poorly for those of us who believe in biblical values and morality.

But remember that as darkness gets darker, the light shines brighter. The drag shows for children are shining a light on the level of depravity that popular culture has sunk to and the truth that people can get used to anything and start to accept perversion as normal and tolerate destructive behaviors in the name of being virtuous.

Also remember that God is in control. And He has spoken good things over His people. He gives us a future and a hope. He is coming to our rescue.

In your homeschooling, in your family life, in your finances, in your relationships, God has solutions for every problem. He is aware of what is happening with you. He is concerned about what concerns you.

I pray that you will see God during this time and feel His arms surrounding you. I hope that you will spend time with Him in two-way journaling and listening prayer and hear His voice. He will speak to you in these quiet times and give you solutions, wisdom, direction, and peace that passes understanding. He may give you strategies and ideas and inventions that you never thought of before. Make time to be with Him to unburden your heart to Him and to listen to what He says back to you. Then write down what He says.

Teach your children to do this, too. My oldest son and his wife do two-way journaling every day. They are thriving spiritually and relationally because of it. I have seen a transformation in them since they started this practice.

I like to get out in nature to spend time with God. I feel more connected with Him as I admire His beautiful Creation. My kids are very observant of nature, too, and know a lot about different plants and animals. They see a new specimen of plant or animal or cloud or whatever and then go look it up. I think this is the best form of learning.

I try to make learning fun and meaningful. If they are interested in something, I encourage them to learn more about it. I provide books and classes and technology they need to research for themselves. I also make sure to point them toward the Creator of all of these fascinating things.

My kids have thrived with this kind of education. They are curious. They love to learn. They have become lifelong learners.

No matter what is happening in the world, God is still on the throne. None of this takes Him by surprise. We can take our burdens and cares to Him knowing that He hears us and will answer our prayers. He is the only one who can turn things around. And I see signs everywhere that He is using people all over the world to expose evil and mete out justice to the perpetrators.

The illegal raid on Mar-a-Lago is being exposed as a political hit by the FBI and the fake president, who claims he knew nothing about it. But the story behind the story is that this whole thing will come back to bite them. The American people are seeing how corrupt and dishonest Bidan is (misspelling on purpose). The FBI and the DOJ are being exposed. And legal precedent is being set that will allow the classified documents that other former presidents took with them to be seized and inspected. Just imagine what will come from that! HiIlary’s 33,000 emails, Uranium 1, the impeachment hoax, etc.

They didn’t mention finding anything about “nuclear secrets” that they feared he might have. It may have had something to do with the DOJ wanting information about Trump’s dismantling Obama’s Iran nuke deal. Paul Sperry says on Telegram: “Who would be most interested in securing that information? The architect of the Obama deal who’s now busy in the West Wing hammering out another sweetheart deal for Iran: Jake Sullivan. He is Bidan’s national security adviser. Who is Sullivan’s spouse? The counselor (top aide) to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who personally ordered the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate to allegedly find and seize “nuclear secrets.” His aide’s name is Maggie Goodlander. Coincidence? Don’t bet on it.”

The American people are awake now as are millions of people around the world. They are not letting the status quo continue in their governments. They are protesting and forbidding their leaders to keep stealing and laundering money and raising taxes over false narratives like climate change (or whatever they’re calling it this week). The globalist agenda is being called out for what it is, and the people of the world are uniting behind a different agenda. One called, “Get rid of the globalist elites”.

If you are looking for good sources of information (truth) for yourself and your kids, here are two sources that I highly recommend.

Prager U
Theresa Griffith at Someone Believes in You.

There are lots of other good sources, but I’ll just give you those two for now.

If you want to know of some others, hit reply and I’ll send you some more of my favorite sources of true news.

And if you need prayer, hit reply and tell me how I can pray for you.

Which reminds me, I have a Facebook group called “How Can I Pray for You?” If you’re there on Facebook, please join us there. We would love to pray for you.

Lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh! Luke 21:28.

This is a good thing. It’s called REDEMPTION. So don’t fear. He is near.

Resting safely in His arms,

Penney Douglas, B. S. in Ed.
Safe Haven Homeschooling


Psalm 107:30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven.

Copyright © 2022 Safe Haven Homeschooling, All rights reserved.

Teens Unleashed: A Book Review


If you have teens and you homeschool, or if you have pre-teens and want to be prepared for the teen years, this book is for you! You don’t even necessarily have to homeschool to glean a lot from this book.

The author describes how she went from trying to control everything her kids did in their homeschool program to letting go of control and allowing them more autonomy. She realized that her requirements of her children were based on her fears and lack of understanding. She said, “They were all templates that just did not take my kids’ needs, learning styles, interests, and natural talents into account.”


She talks a lot about unschooling, but this book is good for all homeschool parents (actually all parents) because she also talks a lot about parenting and getting to know our kids. She also emphasizes freedom and exposing our kids to all kinds of experiences. She encourages us to discover the passions of our children.


And a great quote from her to describe her role as a facilitator instead of a teacher is,


“Like a band instructor, I don’t play the instrument for my kids. I show them how to play their own instrument.” 


And speaking of quotes, she has included many great quotes from educators and experts on unschooling and on best educational practices. People like Peter Gray, Charlotte Mason, and John Holt. 

If you are looking for a book to help you motivate your teens to develop their skills and discover their passions, this is the book you’re looking for.

You can find it here.

I hope you find this helpful!

Penney Douglas, B. S. in Ed.

Safe Haven Homeschooling

How to Get Your Kids to Do Their Work Without a Fight



It starts with relationship. We need to build relationship with each of our children. We need to spend time with each one getting to know them. We need to win their hearts, tie heartstrings, through the way we treat them, the things we do for them, the things we do with them, etc. We need to make sure they know how much we love them.

Then from there, we can lead them to the Lord. If they see us as kind, loving parents, they will be more likely to see God that way. As they grow in maturity and in their personal relationship with God, they will desire to please Him, and that will transfer over to pleasing their parents. We teach them what the Bible says about how children can please God. Children, obey your parents. Honor your father and mother. We teach them the commandments, and their behavior and attitudes start to line up with the Word of God.

This leads to our children wanting to obey, for this is right. So when we ask them to do their schoolwork, they are more willing to do it, out of obedience.

Now, we need to do our best to make the work as pleasant as possible and make sure that what we’re requiring of them is truly beneficial to them. We should not give them busywork. We should not load them down with more work than they are really capable of doing. We should think about how we would feel if we had the assignment that we are giving to our child. We should focus on real-life learning.

We should make sure the skills are taught when they are ready to learn them. We should make learning a lifestyle so that it is natural and not forced.

Homeschooling shouldn’t be difficult or tedious. Make learning an adventure. Get excited about the topics that your children are exploring. Find out what they’re interested in and provide materials and resources for them to go deep into the topic.

If they are studying and reporting on a topic that really interests and excites them, they are not going to fight you about doing it.
So build a strong relationship with your kids and make learning an adventure, and you will not have to fight your kids to get them to do their schoolwork.

This post was first written for my Facebook Page called Kingdom Homeschool Mom



It’s Pentecost Here at Safe Haven


It’s Pentecost!

Let’s pray for a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit during this Pentecost.

The 120 disciples waited in the Upper Room for the promise of the Father. They didn’t know what they were waiting for. I’m sure they were surprised when they heard a loud wind inside of the room. And can you imagine what they thought when they saw fire on top of each other’s heads? Then I’m sure their minds were blown when they heard others speaking in other languages. And what must they have thought when they started speaking in other languages themselves?

I heard about the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit when I was in my teens. I was afraid of it at first. Gradually, I learned about the benefits of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. I heard of the gifts of the Spirit and the power for evangelism.

It took a couple of years of prayer, alone and with others, for me to finally receive the baptism.

I finally got over my fear of what others would think of me. I had been so self-conscious that I didn’t want to be embarrassed by sounding or acting strange.

It happened when I was a camp counselor, and I saw young children receiving the baptism and speaking in tongues. An altar worker had me read Isaiah 43, and I suddenly knew that God had called me by name, me – Penney! And that He would be with me through anything and everything for the rest of my life. I was filled with a kind of love I had never felt before. I felt love for everybody, even the people I didn’t like. I went around hugging everyone. That was not like me!

 I finally got over myself and just yielded everything to God, and I received.

Now I’ve been Spirit-filled for many years.

And I’m feeling like I need a fresh baptism of the Spirit. I need a boost of the power and love I felt the night that I received the baptism.

I don’t know if you’re feeling it too, but if you are, let’s pray together for a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.

We need to be people of power and love during these times.

The world needs God’s power to turn things around and rescue us from the violence and fears on every side. And He fills us with power to save and deliver and to work miracles.

Pray with me this week for a fresh baptism. I’m going to set a time every day this week to pray specifically for this. I’m going to pray at 7:00 PM every day.

Let’s receive all that God has for us.

Hit reply and tell me if this resonates with you and you decide to pray for this, too!

Praying for power in the waiting,


Safe Haven Homeschooling