Homeschooling…when we don’t want to.

“But I hate this!”

“This is so boring!”

“This book is too hard.”

“What a dry book. I don’t want to read this anymore.”



You hear complaints from your kids like that? I am sure some moms do. For me, I have heard these complaints from homeschool moms so many times lately.

“We hate such and such assigned book. It is boring, not interesting, and we didn’t want to read it, so we moved on to something we liked better.”

In theory, that sounds good. We should enjoy reading, find enjoyment in our schoolwork and all that. But when you dig a little deeper, it gets a root of a severe problem in the homeschool community.

School is still school. If we use living books to teach it, there will be books we do not like or enjoy. If you are reading a book for pleasure, and hate it, set it aside. There are plenty of other great books out there. But when it comes to school, it is different.

In displaying the attitudes that I list in the comments above, we pass those on to our children, our students. We teach them that if the textbook is too dry, too hard, too boring, it is okay to not do it. While there can be reasons to set aside a book that is a struggle to learn from, the other lesson we are teaching is a very bad one.

When someone is difficult or hard, it is okay to not persevere.

The biggest lesson I have had to learn as a homeschool parent is perseverance. I don’t always feel like teaching school. I don’t feel like reading a book that I don’t like as well as the next one.

I have had to get creative. I use Audible a lot. It really helps me and I find the boys do not complain about a book when they get to listen to the book while doing something else they enjoy. It ends up giving the feelings of enjoyment, and they are learning at the same time.

I would love to encourage mothers or fathers that are teaching, don’t teach your children to not challenge themselves. I have seen those students as they grow up, that were not challenged to read books that they did not enjoy. It is not a pretty picture. It is the generation of homeschool mothers and fathers that are encouraging stimulation at every turn.

When we seek to make everything “fun”, “Hands on” and “exciting” which are all good things, we can end up taking away valuable lessons for them as well. Patience, perseverance, endurance and most importantly, the lesson of pushing through when life is hard.

I have met people that when life is hard, they give up. Physically, mentally or emotionally. There are times when our bodies cannot handle the stress that is placed on it, but I am more talking about small stressors.

I learned something about our bodies, that if our mothers were stressed while we are pregnant, our placenta gives them the hormones and levels they need to function in a higher  stress lifestyle once they are born as well. If we never push our children or ourselves outside our comfort zone, our bodies never will be pushed to give us the supplies we need to deal with real stress when it comes. Everyone will have stress at one time.

An important lesson in school, that we can teach our children is pushing through when we don’t want to. This might mean reading that Dicken’s novel you hate, (Great Expectations was my nemesis). Or it might mean that you approach it with a lateral decision.

“Kids, this is not my favorite book. What do you think? Should we push through and see what we can get out of it or should we find another one that teaches the same thing?”

I remember a book assigned for the year that I totally disliked. I felt it was poorly written and just a dud. I pushed through and read it all and wouldn’t you know, that was their favorite book we read all year.

Your attitude about a book rubs off on your children. If you complain about reading a book, they will likely not enjoy it. If you get into it and make the boring book interesting, they will enjoy it.

Just to close, as an example, I had a young woman that taught us a couple days a week growing up. Schoolbooks were scarce and she had to use what we had. She had one of the worst science textbooks I have ever seen. It was the top level of boring. Wouldn’t you know, that somehow, through her enthusiasm and joy about the topics, made that science year the most fascinating of my elementary years. Your attitude will make a difference.

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Step by Step by Candace Calvert

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the book:

Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even gives her hope for the last point—“fall in love again.” At least until crisis chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.

While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is backing away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again . . . and sees her moving on with another man.

When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?

My Review:

I have read several of Ms. Calvert’s novels before. They are lighthearted, with a touch of suspense in them, with threads of heartbreak, similar to the old TV show ER.

I was not expecting to be as challenged by this novel as I was today. Through a novel, Ms. Calvert takes you through the steps of grieving, dealing with unexpected loss, how to deal with well meaning, but offensive outsiders in your grief, and before you know you are facing your own grief in a way you didn’t realize you could.

I loved the idea of a crisis unit, but some of the parts of the training spoken of throughout the book spoke very deeply. As a doula, I learn how to sit silently and support. There are times when this is so difficult as you wish you could fix, or do, but you just have to have patience and let the body do it’s job. I saw the crisis support team idea as sort of a “doula” team for emergencies.

The story had the hints of suspense like her others did, but I have to say this was one of the best books I have ever read by this author. Well done. I for one, couldn’t put it down.

This book was given to me for review by NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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Room for Hope By Kim Vogel Sawyer

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the book:

Neva Shilling has a heavy load of responsibility while her husband travels to neighboring communities and sells items from his wagon. In his absence, she faithfully runs the Shilling Mercantile, working to keep their business strong as the Depression takes its toll, and caring for their twins.

When a wagon pulls up after supper, Neva and her children rush out—and into the presence of the deputy driving a wagon carrying three young children.

Who are these children and will their secret shatter her life or make her stronger?

My Review:

Do you ever think that all books written have to have romance to make them a good read? This one breaks those molds.

While there are hints of real love throughout the story, the twists and turns that this story takes are more real life than fictional. Neva, facing betrayal, deals with it the way most humans do. It is a struggle, a fight to regain face and standing, both in the community and before her own children.

I found the hints of life in the 1930’s fascinating such as references to orphan homes, Jello,  Frigidaire, Bisquick and other name brands that were on the scene in those days. The fragility of life is spoken of when two character die of botulism poisoning, something that we generally don’t think of as much anymore as a threat.

I found this story real, but also an easy read, without heaviness. It was a nice book to read on a sunshiny day!


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The Newsmakers by Lis Wiehl


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko



About the Book:

Television reporter Erica Sparks has just landed her dream job at Global News Network. Beautiful, talented, and ambitious, Erica grew up dirt poor, worked her way through Yale, and is carrying a terrible secret. She moves to Manhattan to join GNN, leaving Jenny, her adored 7-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband.

But she’s troubled. What a strange coincidence that both events should happen on her watch. It’s almost as if they were engineered. Is that possible?

Erica’s relentless pursuit of the truth puts her life and that of her daughter in danger. Her investigation leads her into the heart of darkness—where the future of our democracy is at stake.

My Review:

Lis Wiehl is a great suspense writer. Her writing holds your attention, yet is not creepy, but just on the edge enough to give you the willies.
I enjoyed this book, and didn’t want to put it down. I am still a bit uncertain that so many bad things would happen to one person, but it was a book.

There were two kinda/sorta swear words in this book, if you are someone that never reads that sort of thing, but really, there are only the two and they are not really written out, but you could almost miss them.
The redemption message was very clear in the story which was nice. It was not a book I rated very high, just because of the way the realism was portrayed, but I did enjoy the suspense of the story.

This book was provided for me for review by BookLook bloggers. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna White

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


A Riveting Edwardian Series Set among Britain’s High Society

Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she has never felt good enough–not for her father, not for the man she thought she’d marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she’s willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping Loch Morar.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has found himself in possession of a rare treasure his enemies are prepared to kill for. While Brice has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, the last thing he needs is the distraction of Lady Rowena, who finds herself in a desperate situation. But when Rowena’s father tries to trap Brice into marrying his daughter, Brice makes a surprising decision.

Rowena wanted to escape the Highlands, but she’s reluctant to marry a notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she’s about to end up directly in the path of everything she was trying to avoid.

My Review:

A historical marriage of convenience story never grows old. When it is set in this type of a setting, it is totally believable as well.

I loved this story. While the romance is sweet, it is also realistic with the issues that would face a couple in these circumstances. I thought Ms. White does an excellent job of entwining a mystery with the romance of a knight in shining armor.

I would recommend you read the previous book in the series before reading this one, as secrets would be given away if you had not read it. They would not really be considered stand alone books.

The topic of rape is touched on, as well as mild mention of physical abuse without too much detailed description. I mention this in case you are looking at it for teens.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House and NetGalley. The opinions expressed herein are my own.


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Sister Dear by Laura McNeil


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the Book:

All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?

Convicted of a crime she didn t commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.

As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret one that holds the key to Allie s freedom.”

My Review:

I have not had many reads that I feel like I don’t want to put down this year so far. But, this book surprised me.
This was a book with three main characters, and four different points of view. But instead of feeling choppy or broken, you felt engaged and drawn in by each one. As you read, trying to discover the “bad guy”, my heart started racing with anticipation.
It drew you into the story, living out what each character felt, saw, thought and did. You suspect, but don’t confirm who did what. Also, unlike complaints about Ms. McNeil’s previous book, this book did not contain any words that people would find offensive.

In the end, forgiveness is the key part of the story. Throughout the story, the story of forgiveness when falsely accused and mistreated by others is spoken again and again. I really enjoyed this story!

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Pulling towards the end..

We are pulling towards the end of the school year and I do not want this blog to only be book reviews.

I have done a rotten job of being on the computer and being production at all with my blog. Or I can say that I am spending so much time on other things, my snippets of time on the computer are too short to blog appropriately.


There is a whole bunch of my last couple weeks smashed together in pictures.

We do school with a lot of other people, as you can see. Homeschooling is totally a life dedicated to isolation. We spend all our days locked in our homes, with our noses in books and never see another human soul. =)

Hope your school days are going as well as ours!

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter



Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

She only remembers loving him. But he can’t forget the way she left.

Following a concussion, Lucy Lovett can’t remember the last seven months of her life. She doesn’t remember leaving her fiancé Zac Callahan weeks before their wedding or moving to Portland, Maine. And she sure doesn’t remember getting engaged to another man. All she remembers is loving Zac more than life itself.

It’s taken Zac months to move on after Lucy left him with no explanation. He’s thrown himself into his family’s farm and his restaurant business in Summer Harbor. Now Lucy’s back, vulnerable, homeless, and still in love with him. She needs his help putting the pieces together, but letting her back into his life is a risk—and the stakes are high. If he follows his heart he’ll win back the love of his life. But if her memory returns he’ll lose her all over again.

My Review:

I am a fan of Denise Hunter’s books, and like her others, this one was enjoyable. There were several avenues that I thought the storyline could have gone, and since it was an unusual storyline, I was a little surprised at the direction it did go.

It was more a 3.5 star for me, but I didn’t really have that option to choose here. It may have been my mood at the time, but I just wanted a few more things resolved. I really liked that counseling was mentioned and encouraged, without putting the person down.
I really thought the whole dealing with her past was handled really well, and I found that like with her other books, this was not just a romance, but a book that dealt with the hard things without being a downer.

I love this author’s books and will be always looking for more.

You can find this book for purchase here. “Goodbye Bride” for only $7.39 in paperback right now.


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Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette



A Story of Love, Desperation, and Hope During a Great Biblical Epoch

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

My Review:

Another lovely beautiful fiction read from today. This one is told through the eyes of an Egyptian slave,  to whom a Hebrew girl befriends.

I throughly enjoyed this story although the hero of the story was a bit irritating to me. Kiya was flawed and throughly human as was her hero, which made the story all that more appealing. You could imagine it happening as they experienced the plagues, the escape, the uncertainty and lack of faith in an unseen, all knowing God.

The author, in this debut novel, really brings you into Egypt and helps you to experience what life would have been for all those in the situation. I look forward to reading more by this author.

This book was provided for review by NetGalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.

This book releases April 5th and is available for preorder. Counted with the Stars 

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Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar



Before Christ called her daughter . . .

Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .

Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father’s textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left.

No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul?


My Review:

A beautiful tale of biblical fiction about a woman mentioned in one story of the bible. The woman that Jesus called daughter and healed of a very personal malady.

If the lovely cover does not draw you in, the story will. While the story does contain some harsh elements of the time period, including assault, death, and other issues, it is not a depressing story. This is for sure a more adult level read or for mature teens.

I really liked the small tidbits thrown in about weaving, dyeing cloth and the young Lydia that visits in the story. I also really found that the author wove the love and graciousness that the menfolk in the book had, despite the few harsh men characters. Since the authors background is what it is, I loved that especially.

This book was given for me for review by NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

It is available for preorder to be release May 1st. Land of Silence


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