Monthly Archives: April 2016

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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