Go Light a Fire by Karen CostelloSince we began homeschooling 32 years ago, we have witnessed numerous couples go through the break-up of their marriages. The specific stresses inherent to a homeschooling family coupled with the reality of a husband working the equivalent of two jobs to enable the wife to stay home to teach can make for a potentionally devastating outcome of isolation, misunderstanding, and loneliness.

Hearing that phrase “I’m done” so many times in our counseling led to us writing a marriage book specifically for homeschooling couples. This short ( you’re welcome :) ) yet profound and practical book will give you strategies for resolving conflict, frugal ideas for actually getting away from the never-ending demands of home education, and HOPE for the weary.

The last bonus chapter is written exclusively for husbands ( Tim says if your wife can read ten chapters, the least you can do is read ONE!). Worked out over 39 years of marriage and 32 years of homeschooling, it may be the most helpful advice anyone has ever given a homeschooling father and husband.

Buy it alone for $14 or combine it with Karen’s book Go Fly A Kite (highlighted in World Magazine) for $25.


Every morning when I use my L’Oreal Lasting Plum lipliner, I have to trace around a little scar on the right side of my top lip. I got that scar almost 50 years ago, when a 6-year-old boy in my neighborhood threw a rock at me and split my lip. As a result, my lips have been “off-kilter” most of my life — as has a lot of me, honestly. To continue my morning routine attempts at perfecting my imperfections, I also use a heavy-duty concealer to correct the dark circles under my eyes.

I have three choices for my morning beauty rituals:

  1. Ignore the imperfections…
  2. Spend a lot of money on plastic surgery… OR
  3. Just laugh it off, and bring on the makeup!

I choose L’Oreal (because “I’m worth it”). This daily  self-correction for me is a constant reminder of the things we do to repair life in a fallen world.

As homeschool moms, we deal daily with the aftermath of those constant attempts at repair. First, in committing to this lifestyle,we have to die to self and embrace the never-ending pace involved in the sacrificial devotion required in home education.Wow. In even reading that sentence, one can feel so intimidated. However, I do not want to minimize or water down the sacrifices that go along with this most important choice.

In the early, pre-legal days, I typically wanted to talk more people into homeschooling as if the quantity of homeschoolers in our area would validate our decision. Nowadays, my reaction to moms interested in homeschooling is more often “Are you certain? Because it is difficult!” I recently had a phone call from a young woman who said, “I’d really like to homeschool—where do I sign my child up for classes?” That’s not homeschooling!!!

To be successful, you must commit to staying home and doing the work necessary for success. That entails mighty self-discipline and surrendering to God who calls us to hard tasks and then empowers us. In much the same way as I realistically look at my facial flaws, I must acknowledge that I will be an imperfect mom who will skip or miss things sometimes. The things I need to do better at are the things I am actually capable of doing better at, and the things that are out of my control must be left to God. I must train my children to work hard, to maintain a good attitude toward all they come into contact with, and to serve.

This discipling will be continuous, go unappreciated, and take you to the end of yourself, which is really a beautiful place of surrender to find yourself in. Just as I have to laugh at my laugh-lines, you have to incorporate joy into every school day. You, too, must choose to see the positive, laugh a little, and attempt to be transparently authentic as you share life with your family. I want to encourage all those reading this that if you make the daily choices of self-correcting, discipling your kiddoes, and choosing to laugh, then you will have success.


Sacrificial Labor: Life’s Little Ironies

June 11, 2011
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Two days ago, I was privileged to attend the birth of the 4th son of a homeschooling friend. She had requested an epidural sometime midway through the morning, but the anesthesiologist was tied up in the operating room, so my friend was already 9 centimeters dilated before relief came. She did an amazing job of [...]

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Spring into Action… You’ve Been Remade!

April 16, 2011
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I saw a music video this morning from a local Christian group called Tenth Avenue North. As I sat down to write this post, I could not at first recall the name of the song because the cinematography in the video was so overwhelmingly powerful. The song is You Are More, and as the video [...]

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How to Have the Perfect Nap

March 7, 2011
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My son Luke was listening to an Apologia science lesson, and my granddaughter Maggie was dancing to a song playing from a show on the children’s TV channel Qubo. I was holding my newest grandson Wyatt watching him sleep so peacefully in my lap and thinking of my daughter, his mom, who was upstairs also [...]

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Lessons from Holland, Michigan: Frozen Waves, Heated Sidewalks, & a 15-year-old Pallbearer

February 7, 2011
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Recently I had the privilege of being invited to speak at the Mid-Winter Conference for Home Educators in Michigan.  Designed to encourage families in a place and during a season where most days are snowy and gray, the event drew homeschoolers from many counties around Lake Michigan. I had never seen this Great Lake before [...]

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Upcoming Event: Mid-Winter Conference for Home Educators

January 11, 2011
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The Mid-Winter Conference for Home Educators will be January 28-29, 2011, in Hudsonville, MI, and Karen will be speaking on Friday night, January 28. The Mid-Winter Conference for Home Educators is dedicated to building up and encouraging all home educating parents as they nurture, train, and disciple their children at home using the unique tools and [...]

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Go Fly A Kite! Suggested Reading from Kelly Hancock at Faithful Provisions

January 6, 2011
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Kelly Hancock with Faithful Provisions has created a list of suggested reading for 2011, and Karen Costello’s Go Fly a Kite is on her list! Here is an excerpt from Kelly’s post: I have always been an avid reader and love getting into a good book. When we decided to home educate our children, I [...]

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9000 Days of Homeschooling

January 5, 2011
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Our family just watched Invictus – a wonderfully inspiring true story of how, after apartheid, Nelson Mandela used the rugby World Cup to unite South Africa. The most poignant part to me is that Mandela chose to forgive his captors after being imprisoned for 27 years. There is a haunting soundtrack song entitled “9000 Days” [...]

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Go Fly a Kite: A Great Christmas Gift!

December 17, 2010
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Happy Holidays! As you think about what gifts to give to this Christmas, remember that giving Karen’s book, Go Fly A Kite: Ten Surprising Strategies for Success in Your Homeschool, is a great way to show someone you love them and support them on their homeschooling journey. Full of fun stories and great tips on [...]

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