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4 Moms Answer Reader Questions



The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids [2] are answering reader questions this week. Here are some questions that were submitted to me on the Smockity Frocks Facebook page [3].

Congratulations on the college scholarship! How did you prepare her? How did she come to be a finalist for the scholarship? How do you keep good transcripts?

First, thank you to everyone for the congratulations and the kind words! We just found out yesterday that our 17yo was awarded a full academic scholarship to the university she plans to attend.

Second, we are thrilled that our girl was awarded this awesome opportunity! She has always been exceptionally bright, and I'm positive that even if I had tried to prevent her from learning, she would have managed to do it anyway.

She has never been to a formal school, not even preschool, except for her 11th grade year when she attended a 3 day per week homeschool co-op.

I think the best preparation she had was the love of words and stories and books we instilled from the beginning. We have spent thousands of hours reading aloud, and she has spent at least as much time reading independently. (No, seriously. See where I petitioned the library board to lift check out limits [4].) In fact, here's a very interesting article [5] about how reading and taking in vocabulary increases intelligence and produces a high SAT score.

She scored in the top 5% of all test takers on her first attempt at the SAT test, and for that reason was chosen as a finalist for the scholarship. She wrote an essay, outlining her community service, love of learning, and hopes for her future, and was called in for an interview to complete the scholarship process.


Here I explain, step by step how I prepared her official high school transcript [6], which was requested by the university.

Now, I would like to issue a special disclaimer: We in no way expect that each one of our children will repeat this pattern. Each has his or her own strengths, talents, and desires. We are perfectly fine if one or more decides against college altogether, decides to delay college, or decides to take only a few classes each year, paying as they go.

How do you manage to stay home with them all in today's economy?

I am very determined to be a stay at home, homeschooling mom because I feel that is where God has called me to be [7].

We have often scrimped and made painful cutbacks in our spending so that I am able to continue to stay at home, teaching the children.

Even when my husband was suddenly laid off with no warning, we made a plan of action [8] that we stuck to that kept me at home while my husband spent several months out of work and looking for a job.

If you are determined to stay at home, and willing to make sacrifices, it can be done! You can even make an income blogging [9], if you are good at networking and don't mind working at the computer.

When are you ever home? I only have 4 kids, and two of them aren't old enough to be involved in anything. Between church, co-op, and a lesson each, we have no "normal" days. I feel like I"m always on the run, and it's impossible to have a schedule, or even routine!

It is easy to fall into the trap of going, going, going. Saying yes to every good thing that comes along is so tempting, but it's not always best.

There was a time when I signed up for every homeschool field trip, activity, and event, and I started to notice like you, that I was always on the run and we were short-changing the academic lessons.

After that, I resolved to drop all activities and become strictly a home-schooler, which I did for a couple of years. Then, my older children started to complain that they wanted more activities outside the home, more chances to interact with friends. I could see that they were craving community, and that it was a real desire for them, so I began signing them up for activities again.

And now we are once again caught in the effort to try to balance too much, not enough, and just right.

These days, I allow each child over 6 to be involved in only 1 outside activity, like soccer or piano. We pick and choose field trips as they come along, saying no to some, not because they aren't worthy, but because we need balance.

If you feel like you are too busy, it's okay to cut back. You are not devaluing an activity, as much as you are declaring that it isn't for your family at this time. You can always pick it up again later if you like.

Now, be sure to check out what questions the rest of my 4 Moms team are answering today: