Hoping Against Hope

Testimony of learning to hear God better, living by faith, trusting God to take care of our family of 10. We hoped against hope that God would provide for us, and He did! He did miracles for us! This is a part of our Journey of Fire. You can read more about our story in my book “Refined by Fire”.

Dear Struggling Homeschool Mom, I See You 2

How do you get it all done?

That is the question!

I think this question has been asked way more than “To be or not to be?”

Especially among homeschool moms. Don’t you agree?

Let’s look at some of the things we have to do:

  1. Educate our children,

2. Feed them,

3. Take care of babies and toddlers,

4. Clean the house,

5. Referee arguments and fights,

6. Read aloud to them,

7. Buy groceries,

8. Do laundry,

9. Take care of husband,

10. Stay friendly,

11. Pray and spend time with God,

12. Take care of ourselves,

13. And much more…

Hence, the question – How do you get it all done?

Well, the answer to that question is – you don’t. At least not all at the same time, and not perfectly every time. Unless you want to wear yourself out and make yourself age faster than you need to. Type A moms, stay with me here. We are not perfect. We are not all-powerful. We only have so many hours in a day. And some things really can wait. Not the toddler who’s about to jump off of the table. Or the teen who needs a ride to work. But other things are not urgent, not necessary, and not worth stressing or struggling over.

Even if you have a personality that is driven, and you like to see everything spotless and in its right place and done at precisely the right time, you must admit that life rarely turns out that way. Especially when you have kids. Especially when those kids are babies or toddlers.

As a mom of 10 kids who has homeschooled all the way through, I have found some tips and tricks that have helped me maneuver the MANY trials and tribulations that come with having everybody at home ALL the time.

  1. Keep things simple.
  2. Relax your expectations.
  3. Make your expectations known to your children.
  4. Enlist the help of your children.
  5. Enlist the help of your husband and other family and friends.
  6. Keep God in the center of all you do and spend time with him at the beginning of each day.


  1. First on the list is “Keep things simple”

So how do we do that? One thing that helps is to prioritize what is truly necessary to accomplish each day. Make a list of the things that would really bother you or cause distress or put someone in jeopardy if you didn’t get them done. 

These will be things like daily laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and HOMESCHOOLING.

Then make your schedule for getting these things done.

I have used many of the strategies that I learned from FlyLady.net.

For cleaning, I have used Flylady’s Zone strategy, which is to choose one zone to work on a day. You can assign a different zone to each child to get more done. Our chore time was part of our school day. We started the school day with chore time. Each child had an assigned chore to finish, and then we started school. We also had 10 minute “Clean-ups” sometimes, where we would all go crazy on cleaning for a 10 minute burst and get as much done as we could during that time. We would set the timer and get busy.

For cooking, use a slow cooker or an instant pot. Find simple, quick recipes.

Make a list of meals for the week and a grocery list at the same time. Try to plan and shop for a week at a time. Some people cook and freeze meals for a month at a time. That was not something I ever wanted to do, but it works great for some people.

For reading aloud to your kids, you can do that while the littles are taking a nap. You can even do it while nursing the baby. You can also do it while they’re eating a meal. It’s a great thing to do instead of letting them watch TV or play a video game. You can read to them at bedtime. Reading aloud was also a part of our school time. I chose books that went with the topic we were studying and read them aloud to the kids at the appropriate age level. Sometimes I had two books going at a time for the different age groups.

For homeschooling, make sure you are not requiring too much busywork from your kids. Think hard about what they really need to learn to become successful in life. Find curriculum that enables your kids to be independent learners so that they don’t need so much support from you. Don’t make them do every subject every day. Use loop scheduling. Realize that it’s impossible to learn and memorize EVERYTHING and totally unnecessary. Determine what is absolutely necessary for their future wellbeing and get books, resources, documentaries, classes, and materials that will teach them those things. Make school time fun so that they develop a love of learning. That will make your job a lot easier.

There are lots of other things you can do to simplify, but I hope these ideas will spark your own imagination and help you to make life easier and less stressful for yourself and your kids. 


  1. The next tip is to “Relax your expectations.”

OK, I hear you, Type A moms. You think I’m telling you to be lazy, don’t you? I’m not, I promise! I’m just asking you to be realistic in what you require from your kids, your husband and yourself. I never want to be a drill sergeant mom. I don’t think any of us do. But the temptation to start yelling and getting impatient with our family is always there when we see all that needs to be done and everyone sitting around doing nothing. Am I right?

What kind of effect does that have on our relationships with the rest of the family? Not good, right? And I think relationships matter way more than a clean house or getting projects accomplished. I’m giving you some good advice here, so listen to me. 🙂

As moms, we are the thermostat of the home. So we need to try to maintain a comfortable “temperature” for all. If we are feeling frustrated and stressed out, that’s going to affect everybody in the house. 

Something has to give. Either we have to relax our expectations of how clean and tidy the house must be, or we will continue to be frustrated and angry and no fun to be around. We have to let go of the desire to be the perfect family with perfect kids, or we will be constantly thwarted and disappointed by the reality of imperfect kids, husband and family. Even we moms are not perfect, and if we expect ourselves to meet the standard of perfection, we will be sorely disappointed and dismayed. 

Standards and expectations are under our control. Nobody else can set your standards and expectations. It’s up to you to decide what is acceptable, what is possible, and what is best for everyone in your family. You should not try to keep up with the Joneses or Better Homes and Gardens or Martha Stewart or Marie Kondo or even Flylady! You can get ideas from them, but you should tailor your plans and goals to what suits you and your family. 

Think about your minimum goals for how clean the house must be, how much the kids can help, what tasks are your responsibility to accomplish each day and what tasks are your husband’s responsibility. Have a family meeting to make your plans together. Make a list of everything that needs to be done daily, weekly, or monthly – inside the house and outside the house. 

Then figure out ways to get the homeschooling done in the most efficient but effective way. Set reasonable goals for the amount of time each child should spend on their school work each day. Have the older kids help the younger kids with their work and read to them. Don’t expect your kids to work the same amount of time that kids in public schools have to. And please don’t expect them to do every page of every book in your curriculum. Once they have mastered a concept, let them move on to the next concept instead of repeating and repeating something they have already learned. 




These are just the first two tips, and, as you see, I have four more to offer. Where can you find the rest of these tips and more? You will be able to get them in the book I am writing called, “Dear Struggling Homeschool Mom, I See You”. I am close to finishing the book, so be on the lookout for my announcement of when it will be available on Amazon.

Other chapters in the book are called:

  • How Do I Spend Time with God When My Kids Need 100% of My Time?
  • How Do I Get My Kids to Listen?
  • How Can I Get My Kids to Get Along?
  • Will My Family Ever Support My Decision to Homeschool?
  • What About “Me Time”?
  • Should We Have a Date Night?
  • How Can I Get the Rest I Need?
  • How Can I Homeschool on a Tight Budget?
  • How Do I Lead My Kids to the Lord?
  • For Those Whose Lambs Have Gone Astray

My first post about this new book is here on my blog. It’s actually the entire first chapter of my book. You might want to read it, too, to receive some encouragement for your homeschool life.


Safe Haven Newsletter for January 2023 – News and Views

Safe Haven Newsletter for January 2023

Welcome to 2023! Yay! We’re done with 2022.

Our new year is starting out a bit discouraging, but we refuse to be downcast. There are just too many good things that God has done for us to let the devil’s plots and schemes against us get us down.

We are holding onto the hope that God has good plans for us to give us a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

The news is not encouraging if you get it from the usual sources. But if you know what’s happening on Twitter, you know that A LOT of corruption is being exposed. Elon Musk is letting the truth be spoken on Twitter. Freedom of speech has been restored there. The truth about Covid and how it was used to control and manipulate people and steal their freedom is coming out. We have found out that the FBI and CIA have censored Conservatives and interfered with our elections. We learned that Twitter censored information that was true but went against the U.S. government’s agenda. They removed tweets and accounts that exposed Hunter’s laptop and called it “Russian disinformation”. But the laptop has been proven to be authentic. And they knew that.

We also now know that Google, Facebook, Reddit, Amazon, Instagram, WhatsApp, Microsoft, Netflix, YouTube, and more social media and online payment systems engaged in censorship and canceled anyone whose opinion went against the government’s narrative.

Watch this video of President Trump’s speech about banning federal agencies from colluding with Private companies to stifle Free Speech.

If you haven’t read any of the Twitter Files, you really ought to check them out.


I realize that all of the topics I just mentioned do not seem like good news, either, but the good news is that the deception and manipulation are being exposed!

And Twitter has been cleaned out of the corrupt, morally bankrupt people who were running things. FBI and CIA agents that worked there have been exposed. I know of at least one agent who was fired. I think more have been let go. Twitter has been very influential in shaping opinions, thoughts, and emotions. It has actually been a weapon used against all of us.

Speaking of morally bankrupt, have you heard about the family-friendly drag queen shows? An oxymoron at the least. Can you believe that moms actually take their children to these events? The woke crowd has gone too far.

But now for some truly good news, there is lots of proof that President Trump is still our Commander-in-Chief. I know it sounds crazy, but research Derek Johnson’s work, and you will see facts from the Law of War manual that prove that President Trump is still the leader of our military forces. Derek talks about how the National Guard is federalized so that they are sent to other states and even countries, when normally they would only stay in their own state. President Trump is the one who federalized them. And it’s still in effect. I know an Ohio guardsman who was recently sent to Iraq. That’s not normal. And many important executive orders that President Trump instituted have been extended by Biden. They are orders that concern foreign election interference and human trafficking and the penalties for those activities.

There’s a thing called Continuation of Government that is happening now. We are in a military operation. The Biden administration is fake, and President Trump is still in charge – at least of the military.

Biden has never mentioned Space Force and they never mention him. He campaigned on the promise to shut down Gitmo, but he hasn’t done it. In fact, they are expanding their facilities. Why do you think he hasn’t been able to do what he wanted to do? He could have revoked all of President Trump’s executive orders, but he hasn’t. And those EO’s will have dire consequences for Biden himself because of his election interference and human trafficking offenses, among other things.

The left thought they “got Trump” again and subpoenaed him to come before the J6 Committee. But the Committee withdrew the subpoena, and now they’re finished. There was talk of arresting Trump, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen now. If they do, it won’t work out the way they want it to.

Did you know that Overpopulation is a myth? Do some research on the subject, and you’ll see that it was based on faulty assumptions from the beginning starting with Thomas Malthus’s work. He made some false assumptions about human population growth and was not aware of future advances in food production. You can find out more in this article. You can draw your own conclusions from that. One is that they had better stop their depopulation efforts!

~~~~Homeschool Corner~~~~

On the homeschool front, did you know that homeschooling is still popular? The numbers are still up from pre-pandemic levels. Many parents found out that they could do a better job than the schools. Some parents found out what the schools were teaching and decided they didn’t want their children exposed to that. You can read more here.

In this new year in the middle of the school year, now would be a good time to take stock of how things are going in your home school. This would be a great time to pray about the plans you make for the rest of the school year. My friend, Jessica, talks about making a vision board for yourself and your children. If you want to know more about how to do that,

In our Intentional Homeschool Planning Community, we will be talking about prayerfully seeking God in 2023 for your homeschool, your life, your family, and your community. You can join us for 30 days for free to see if we’re a good fit for you.

We also have a Christian Mom’s Book Club that we are offering to moms who desire support, prayer and building friendships. The book topics we will cover will be on parenting, personal growth, homeschooling, etc.

And if you are looking for a prayer book that is geared toward Homeschooling and Parenting, check out my book, Short, Powerful Prayers for Busy Homeschool Moms. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited.

As you are doing your assessment of your homeschool, if you find that things are not going as well as you would like, check out my book called 5 Steps to Becoming a Great Homeschool Parent or my other book called The Basics of Learning and Homeschooling. They are also free on Kindle Unlimited.

I pray that you and your family have the best year yet. I truly believe that the best is yet to come, in spite of the way things appear at the moment.

Enjoy this video and remember to roll with the punches and LAUGH!


Love and Cheer,

Penney Douglas, B.S in Ed.

Safe Haven Homeschooling


Inspire Your Children with Missionary Biographies

Heidi Baker – missionary to Mozambique

I love missionaries! I wanted to be one, but I had 10 children instead.


But I wanted my children to know about these wonderful heroes called missionaries. So I read lots of missionary biographies to them during our homeschooling. I thought I would share with you the ones that made the biggest impression on my kids and me.


Missionary Biographies by YWAM – Christian Heroes Then and Now


My favorites that we have read together


  1. Mary Slessor
  2. Lillian Trasher
  3. Hudson Taylor
  4. George Muller
  5. Adoniram Judson
  6. Gladys Aylward
  7. David Livingstone
  8. Amy Carmichael
  9. Brother Andrew
  10. Jim Elliot


Other Faith-building books we’ve read and loved


  1. Rees Howells Intercessor – by Norman Grubb
  2. John G. Lake – by Kenneth Copeland Publications
  3. The Miracles of Smith Wigglesworth – by Dr. Michael H. Yeager
  4. God’s Generals for Kids – by Roberts Liardon and Olly Goldenberg
  5. God’s Generals for Kids – Smith Wigglesworth – by Roberts Liardon and Olly Goldenberg
  6. Visions Beyond the Veil – by H. A. Baker
  7. Always Enough – by Rolland and Heidi Baker


Gratitude Books to Read Aloud



Favorite Books about Gratitude
  1. Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco – 5-9 years old
  2. My First Gratitude Journal by Creative Journals for Kids – 5-9
  3. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts 5-8
  4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – YA
  5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – YA
  6. The Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor – 7-10
  7. The Thank You Letter by Jane Cabrera – 4-8
  8. What is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack – 6-8
  9. Thankful by Eileen Spinelli – 2-6
  10. White Bird by R.J. Palacio – 8-12 – A holocaust graphic novel
  11. Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming – 4-8
  12. The First Thanksgiving by Jean Craighead George, illustrated by Thomas Locker – 4-8 
  13. An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott
  14. Thankful by Elaine Vickers – 4-8
  15. Sincerely Emerson by Emerson Weber 4-8

The Things I’m Grateful For by Arnie Lightning – 4-9 – Activities


Christian Books about Gratitude


  1. The Blessings Jar by Colleen Coble – 2-5
  2. I will Rejoice by Karma Wilson – 4-8
  3. Ronnie Wilson’s Gift by Francis Chan – 4-8
  4. I’m Thankful Each Day by P.K. Hallinan – 2-5
  5. The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Lucado – 3-9
  6. Glory by Nancy White Carlstrom – 5-8
  7. Growing Grateful: Live Happy, Peaceful and Contented by Mary Kassian – Devotional for Mom
  8. Gratitude and Listening Prayer Journal by Penney Douglas – High School and up