Just Another Homeschool Blog? Not Quite.

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My husband and I attended the NCHE convention this past weekend, an event we look forward to all year. Not only is it a weekend away without kids, we thoroughly enjoy listening to the speakers and browsing the book fair.

Okay, I thoroughly enjoy listening to the speakers and browsing the book fair.

My husband enjoys the first few sessions and browsing the book fair the first 5 times though, but after that you’ll find him outside wandering the streets of Winston-Salem, NC and I’m on my own.

But this year at the convention, I became blatantly aware of the fact that we are not your typical homeschool family. There were the obvious differences, for example most homeschool families have at least 5 children and they’ve got it all together, the kids are all perfectly behaved, and play a variety of instruments. Or so it seems to me.

Our family, not so much.

We have only (as someone at one of the vendor booths made clear) have two children, we don’t play any instruments, and most days it’s a struggle to reach the end of the day without sacrificing a life. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but you get the picture…our house is complete chaos 99% of the time.

So those are the superficial differences that anyone can see. The differences that were made clear to me during the convention go much deeper. I realized that all of the speakers were stay at home, homeschool moms. I am a work full-time outside of the home, homeschool mom. The Enemy taunted me, saying that my kids are suffering because I’m not with them enough, and that I won’t be able to keep up this double life much longer, that my homeschool is about to come crashing down around me.

I realized that these women had been devoted Christians most or all of their lives, and now they are passing on that legacy to their children. I am merely 2 years into my walk with Christ. I am constantly learning and messing things up. There is so much about my faith that I don’t know, and yet here I am trying to teach my children to love and honor God. Satan taunts me, saying I’m a hypocrite and that it’s just a matter of time before I screw up enough and he has a clear shot at my children.

He’s constantly telling me that I’m not equipped for this lifestyle.

These wonderful speakers also have fabulous husband who are usually involved in ministry. They are the spiritual leaders in the home, just as the Bible commands. They work hard outside the home and return each evening striving to lead their families closer to Christ. I have a fabulous husband who works from home, loves his children, and takes care of all the household chores.

He also happens to be an unbeliever.

He doesn’t have any religious affiliations, which leaves me as the spiritual leader in our home. This is something I’m just now coming to terms with. More on that later! As I listened to these speakers, I could feel that familiar tinge of discontentment rising. Why couldn’t my husband be more like that. The Enemy was shouting that our marriage would never last, we could never overcome these differences.

The last day of the convention, I began to feel a different pull on my heart. I felt God speaking this time. He was telling me to be still, to remember that He called me to this life. He called us to homeschool three years ago and has equipped us each step of the way.

I had to understand that He is leading me so that I can lead my children.

I also had to realize that the husband He gave me is a wonderful person who does so much for our family, that I must show my husband Christ through my life each and every day, and the work that goes on in the heart of another is His work, not mine.

And maybe the most important thing God impressed upon me was that it’s okay to be different. We don’t have to look like the typical homeschool family. God has put us where we are for a reason and we must be able to figure out our purpose.

He put the idea for the blog in my mind and in my heart.

He spoke to me and said “Heather, you aren’t the only one who struggles in these areas. There are single moms, divorced moms, widowed moms, other moms with unbelieving spouses who are also struggling to balance work, homeschool, and leading their families. Satan is screaming lies to them too! Link your lives together. Help each other through your challenges, but be real.”

The idea for the blog actually came from my husband, but I fully believe it was God speaking through him.

“But I am not a writer,” I told him in the car on the way home.

The next morning, I woke up with a feeling of God saying “Trust me, I will give you the words.”

So here we are.

Upside Down Homeschooling. Because our lives have been shaken up. We are stretched to the max.

But we are always, always sustained by His grace alone.

Has your life been shaken up? Are you stretched to your breaking point?

Are you upside down homeschooling?

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Heather Bowen

Heather is the founder and owner of Upside Down Homeschooling. She is a homeschooling mom of two little girls. Heather and her husband, Andrew- author and founder of Project Conversion, have been married for nine years. They reside in southeastern NC and have recently joined the Catholic Church. Heather is a nurse by trade, but left her nursing scrubs behind in October 2012, to become a full-time work at home mom. She is a professional blogger and speaker. You can also find her blogging at FrugalHomeschoolFamily.com. She and her husband will also be launching CatholicFamilyResources.com later this year.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Heather!

    I love your blog! I only had time just now to read the most recent post, but I’m planning to come back and read more. I’m glad that you realize it’s the Enemy who is discouraging you and telling you that you can’t work full time and homeschool, that you are too disorganized, and so on. I’ve homeschooled for 15 years, and I still feel disorganized and crazy! :)

    Thanks for visiting us at Hip Homeschool Moms too!

    Blessings,

    Wendy

    • Heather Bowen says

      Thanks for stopping by Wendy! I think feeling disorganized and crazy just goes with the homeschooling territory! ;) Thank God for grace!

      In Him,
      Heather

  2. says

    Hi Heather,

    Thanks for sharing your new blog! You are absolutely right that God knows His plan for you and he will help you get there no matter how impossible it may seem. I have so much respect for single and working mothers since I feel like I can barely manage each day without going insane (my husband’s overseas for the year so I’m going it alone) and can’t imagine adding a full time job on top of that. It is amazing though how the Lord can strengthen us to meet the demands required!

    • Heather Bowen says

      Hi Cari! Thanks for reading my blog and for your encouraging words. I agree with you- God strengthens us when we are at our weakest, we just have to trust Him. Have a great week!

  3. says

    ((Heather)), I am blessed to be a stay at home, homschooling mom with a believer for a husband. Like you, however, my life is often ‘crazy’ and upside down. I always feel out of step with my peers and ‘not good enough’ no matter what we overcome nor how well my sons do despite profound learning challenges. My friends would have no idea how isolated and alone I often feel because we are so different from everyone. Thank you for your lovely, warm, and encouraging post. Today, I don’t feel as alone as I usually do! Bless you.

    • Heather Bowen says

      Carol Anne- (Hugs!) Thank you for your kind words. Always remember, it’s okay to be different. Seriously- these women that we look at and think they have it all together usually really don’t. :)

  4. says

    Hi, I just found your blog and am enjoying it so far. Thanks for being so open about the difficulties you’ve encountered; I know that not every homeschool family has it altogether, but it sure can feel that way sometimes! I’m not very organized and horrible at keeping up a schedule.

    I look forward to reading future posts. Have a great day.

    • Heather Bowen says

      Hey Savannah! Thanks for stopping by! My husband would tell you that I am the most unorganized person in the world, however just the other day I had someone say that they “wished they were organized like me”. LOL. She was seriously misled! Just keep in mind, we are just what we need to be for our particular families. What works for one, may not work for another. :)

  5. says

    Loved this blog post….and loved all the honesty that you exude!! We only have 2 kids(and homeschool), too. I always say we don’t fit into any homeschool mold, and I always feel like a square peg among round holes. Nice to meet another square peg!

    • Heather Bowen says

      Mimi- You have definitely met another square peg!!! ;) Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Please stick around, I would love to learn more from you!!

  6. says

    Heather, glad I found your post on 1+1+1=1′s FB page. My husband is a non believer and this is a real issue as of late. We went to a The Art of Marriage workshop at my church a few weekends ago. He went to the first two sessions on Friday night and said he didn’t want to go back on Saturday. I noticed last week he has purchased Richard Dawkins’ book The Magic of Reality. At first I was very hurt and angry but I am realizing that perhaps God is working in him and he is seeking to ‘disprove’ God’s existence like Lee Stobel and CS Lewis. I pray regularly for him as does my prayer group. This was my first year with homeschooling- I did a pretty good job with “tot school” next year I will officially be homeschooling my daughter for her Kinder year and I will continue tot school with my little man. Wish us luck. My Hubby works from home but I am a Stay at home mom (for the past year and next year at least). I too recently sat (by myself) at the Homeschool convention wishing my husband was more like the husbands I saw there. God will do great things with you.

    • Heather Bowen says

      Amylynn- I am so glad you found me! I think we can definitely learn from and encourage one another. As I was reading your comment, my heart was breaking all over again, because I know just how you feel. I read your comment to my husband and he reminded me that just a few weeks ago, I was upset because he was reading a Richard Dawkins’ book. I will pray for your husband and your family. It’s definitely not an easy road to walk, but God is with us. He will equip us with the words we need, we just have to trust Him. I’ve stopped praying for God to change my husband. I now pray from him to change me. I just want my husband to see Christ in me. If he can’t see it in me, where else will he see it? Please keep in touch with me. My email is heathernbowen@gmail.com .

  7. Melissa N says

    Hi Heather,
    I am so glad I found your site today. Thank you for your encouragement. We are just starting our homeschool journey. I have one little girl. And I work in the home (childcare) and I have been praying for my husbands salvation for 12 yrs. You are not alone and neither am I. Thank you for sharing your heart!

    Melissa

    • Heather Bowen says

      Melissa- Congrats on beginning your homeschool journey. It is the greatest, most challenging thing you will ever do. Please let me know if I can help you with any questions. We just started our third year, so I am very much still a rookie too. I will pray for your husband’s salvation too. No one is too far from God. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. says

    Heather,

    I have to say that when I started homeschooling last year, that I thought I was the ONLY mom who wasn’t together, had unruly boys, an atheist for a husband, etc etc..
    I am so glad that you are working to help support your family , that you are a mom who is devoted to Christ, her husband and her children. We must remember that what looks pretty on the outside isn’t what is real.

    Thank you for being a blessing to me today.

    • Heather Bowen says

      Kelli- Thank you so much for stopping by. I really appreciate you reading and commenting. You are definitely not the only one. I know exactly where you are coming from. Thanks for the advice. You’re right what looks pretty usually isn’t real, which means I must be completely authentic because I am a hot mess right now! :)

    • Heather Bowen says

      Thank you so much Krista! I will definitely check out the blog and the book. Sounds like it would be a great resource for me too!!

  9. Colleen says

    So glad to read this! I too am a full time working mom of two, (teacher), who is thinking of homeschooling. I also recently started attending church and rediscovering a relationship with God but have a husband who has no desire to do the same. I would love to hear more about how you manage the planning and daily aspects of homeschooling and how you incorporate your faith into your homeschooling journey! Thanks for a perspective that is closer to my own!

    • Heather Bowen says

      Colleen- It sounds like we have a lot in common! :) I’m so glad you’ve stopped by the blog. I absolutely plan on blogging quite a bit about how we manage our days and about my faith. Please don’t hesitate to give me any suggestions/comments/advice/feedback you may have! We are all learning from each other.

  10. says

    Love it! And you are absolutely right – God WILL give you the words. He upholds that promise to me every time I ask for His help. Looking forward to reading more! Right now we are happy in our Montessori school, but homeschooling is definitely an option for us for the future!

  11. Paige Licklider says

    Thank you for this post and this blog!!! I am so excited about our homeschool adventure (my kids are 4 and 11 months, so we are the beginning of the journey), but lots of days, I am so scared that I don’t have what it takes, especially since a lot of days feel like chaos!!! Thank you again and I will definitely keep reading your blog.

    • Heather Bowen says

      Paige- Thank you so much for being here! Congratulations on beginning your journey. You will not regret your decision :). The truth is, none of us have what it takes to homeschool our children, but thankfully God gives us just what we need when we need it. Keep praying!! :)

  12. says

    Just found your blog from the “Hop” and I will be back, I’ve “pinned you!” :-)
    We aren’t your typical homeschool family either. I go to school full time and Grandma helps a bit, it takes three in our village, Mommy, Daddy and Grandma. We also “only” have one child and are older first time parents, and I will be working in a year. That being said I read one time, if you really want to homeschool, you make it work, and it does. Good luck and God Bless your home!

    God gives us all seasons in our life, don’t fear them. I think a lot of people appear more organized then they really are. I have recently came to this conclusion and the acceptances that our home isn’t their home. Satan can use their organizational skills and how well their homes are ran all he wants now (Not Satan using them really but making me judge my own lack thereof), I am trusting in God to not let me care and especially to not let it effect me.

    Also, just because someone grew up in a church has no bearing really on their walk. We all have bagage and demons to overcome. Sometimes those that seem to have it altogether for a couple days, are falling apart and need our prayers too. Don’t be hard on yourself, gentle friend.

    Blessings to you on your walk
    http://gardentenders.blogspot.com/

    • Heather Bowen says

      Kim- Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. I appreciate it more than you know! Good luck with school…and you’re completely right, if you really want to homeschool, you make it work. And, if God leads you to homeschool, then He’ll give you all you need! :)

  13. Bridget says

    I can definitely relate with you and others that have been commenting. I wouldn’t say my husband is an “unbeliever” but we are definitely on different pages when it comes to our lifestyles. He believes in God, but isn’t exactly leading the family…isn’t big on the bible reading or praying or really even talking about God. It’s a touchy subject w/ us. For quite awhile now I have not been bringing up anything about his relationship with God…trying to win him over with my actions instead of my words. We have been together for 10 years and I’m still holding onto the hope that he will come around. He doesn’t know what he’s missing out on.
    As for the homeschooling..I have 2 little girls. My oldest will be starting 3rd grade this year and my youngest kindergarten. We have been homeschooling for 4 years now…I was homeschooled myself so there was no question whether I would homeschool or not. My husband supports me and understands why I do it. So there’s no issue there and he will help out once in awhile.
    It does seem as though others have everything figured out and I’m just barely keeping my head above water. I have yet to figure out a schedule and routine that works for us. And it seems like things are changing all the time.
    I’m so glad I found your blog. I will definitely be returning often. It is nice to see that I am not alone on this journey.
    “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13

    • Heather Bowen says

      Hey Bridget! Thanks for reading and commenting! You are definitely not alone :) I’m glad you’re here and look forward to hearing more from you! :)

  14. says

    Great post!

    I applaud you for making it work for your family. Everyone’s life situation is so different. It’s easy to assume you have to stay home or you have to be a certain way to homeschool when in reality you just have to have a heart to teach your children.

    I had to laugh at the physical comparisons at the start of this post! We joined a big coop that meets once a week in our town last year and I was THE ONLY mom homeschooling one child! I kept getting asked where my other children were and if we were going to have more! SO FUNNY! We did end up adding one more (we are foster and adoptive parents) during the semester but I was still WAY below the average!

  15. JT says

    Beautifully written! Thank-you for being willing to share, to be used by Him, in order to reach people you may never have thought needed it. God so often uses the imperfect in our lives to help others. Blessings to you as you walk the path He’s called you to!
    JT

  16. says

    Hi! I found your link through Simple Homeschooling’s Weekend Links. I’m glad I took the time to read your introduction here. I am not a homeschooler. I’m not even sure I want to be a homeschooler frankly. We do have a 4 year old daughter and I look through homeschooling sites to find activities I can do at home with her “in my spare time”. (LOL Whatever that is.) I work fulltime outside the home and so does my husband. We don’t attend church but we are both Christians. But I wish my husband was the spiritual head of the household and I have found myself having those same feelings you described. I have also had the same feelings as to my daughter and her wellbeing since she spends her days at a daycare while I am working. Will this work against her in the future and will it be all my fault if she isn’t successful later in life? I don’t know. All I do know is that we have to eat, we have to have a roof over our heads, we don’t compete with anyone because we frankly can’t afford to. But we do strongly love each other and show it. But I think I’m getting off track. I simply wanted to say I understand your feelings and I applaud you in deciding to try and lead your family and I thank you for being willing to share it all with us. You now have a new blog follower.

    • Heather Bowen says

      Hey April! I’m glad you found me. I hope you’ll find some inspiration from Upside Down Homeschooling. There will be many posts on being the spiritual leader of the household and on balancing work and home life. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to homeschool ;). I understand where you are coming from and how difficult these aspects of life can be. Stay strong my friend and trust in Him!

  17. Mariko says

    Square peg in round hole? check. “Only” 1 child? check. Chaotic househould? check. Unusual hubby? check. (Have you been peeking throught my life?) Just found your blog…will be back!

    • Heather Bowen says

      Mariko- I’m so glad you found me! Sounds like we have a lot in common. I hope to hear more from you soon! :)

  18. Erin says

    My two sons that I homeschooled from kindergarten through graduation are both in college now! Some of the best years of my life :) You are right where you are suppose to be doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing. Blessings to you and your husband as you venture on together. And btw, you are a writer :)

  19. says

    Girl, do I understand you! We just started homeschooling our daughter, yep, just one, this past fall. My husband was injured at work and is on his 3rd year at home and I work part-time as a children’s pastor – the crazy thing is that I didn’t come to a saving faith until I was 21! We aren’t the “normal” family either, but are loving the journey God is taking us on and enjoying the time to just be a family without the school system pulling us in a different direction. The one thing I have learned is different is good – I don’t have to be a part of the co-op, or have more than one child, or use the same curriculum. Just rely on Him and it will turn out okay.

  20. Amy says

    Heather,

    Isn’t it great how God provides us with just what we need? I am going to begin homeschool this year for the 1st time. I also work full time outside of the home and have gotten a lot of looks when I said I was homeschooling this year. Most of the blogs that I have seen have been for stay at home moms. How exciting to see a blog of a mom that works! Satan continues to tell me I will be unable to balance it all – but I know this is what God has called our family to do. I look forward to reading your blog each week!!

    Amy

    • Heather Bowen says

      Amy,
      Thanks for stopping by! I’m so glad you found me. It’s been 3 years now and Satan still tells me daily that I can’t balance it all, but guess what, God sustains me EACH and EVERY day. If He has called us to it, He will see us through it. :)

  21. Charice L. says

    I am so happy I found your blog (thru a visit to Holy-Spirit Led Homeschooling)! God always meets our needs, just on his timing. We too are just starting our homeschooling adventure, we have 2 kids (5 yo daughter and 3 yo son), my husband is a stay-at-home dad and I work full -time. I didn’t think there was any other family or any other mom like us/me., and I am so thankful to be proven wrong. :)

    • Heather Bowen says

      Hi Charice! It’s so nice to find someone else who has a stay at home husband. It’s rare, that’s for sure, but if it works for your family, that’s all that matters.

  22. says

    Hi Heather! I love that you are so transparent. I’m encouraged by your love for homeschooling. We are schooling at home this year and I just started a new job. My husband is in school right now so we are schooling around our schedules. It’s tough but so worth it. Thanks for linking up at Matrimonial Monday last week. I’m featuring you because we just have so much in common and I loved your latest post. Praying that all works out exactly according to His plan!
    Kelly

    • Heather Bowen says

      Thank you, Kelly for featuring Upside Down Homeschooling.

      I pray that your homeschooling adventure will be blessed! It’s a tough road, but is SO worth it.

  23. says

    Glad I found your blog! Was looking at your top blogs from 2012. This one is really struck a cord with me. We only have three children ;) would have been two if God had’t Blessed us with twins, my husband is not a believer, and while he is in the Military, I am trying to get my business up and running, while taking care of home, homeschool, and children! It’s a grand old time! Can not wait to read more of your blog! So glad I found you!

    • Heather Bowen says

      Hi, Noey! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by today! I pray that you have a blessed New Year and I hope to get to know you better! Blessings! ;)

  24. says

    Thanks for being real, Heather! There are many uncertain mamas out there who believe that they can’t homeschool because they don’t fit “the profile” of a homeschooling family. The truth is that we are all following Jesus on our own paths and doing our best to raise our children in His ways along the way. The enemy wants to defeat us before we start – especially when we want to homeschool, I think. Praise God He is holding you and your family in His caring hands as you journey together.

    I look forward to sharing your blog so that other mamas can benefit from your point of view!
    Renée at NextGen Homeschool

  25. Holly says

    Thank you for being you. I am a single mother of 4 girls 1 is disabled. I work full time and home school i am always telling the girls that our lives are upside down compared to others. The girls and I always say we are upside down or backwards and that is what makes homeschooling and following god so much fun. God is always first and then everything else and if god gave us a “normal” lifestyle we would be bored :)

    • Heather Bowen says

      Oh, Holly. I love your sweet perspective. Your daughters are blessed to have you! Thank you so much for commenting! Blessings!

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