its author: Barb
Before and After"
article within an article by
How to NOT Be Overwhelmed
ANOTHER article within an article by
I made the following statement on the Senior
High Form+U+la List in response to one mom's comment that she thought this
would put her on overload...
"one more thing to do";
it frees you to HEAR GOD
for your own family!
made that statement in an extra-large font because it is the
main point on this whole page. If you get nothing else out of this
article, THAT is what you need to walk (or click) away with.
In response to that statement, here is what another homeschool mom
above, opening statement]
is the re-education in my thinking that had to take root to
relieve the pressure of "doing it all." Even though it took
several years (I'm a
slow learner... it didn't have anything to do with the way Barb
communicated it), realizing that Form+U+la is not
"one more thing to do" made all the difference in my attitude
towards high school and what we were trying to accomplish
in these last years of homeschooling. It was freeing for us, and
I pray that those who read Barb's material will see that up front!
~ Jody; Homeschooling mom of 5 for 18 years;
Some take one look at
Form+U+la and get overwhelmed. And once overwhelmed, many won't even
read it! It will just sit on their shelf for years, sadly watching
the family slowly burn out, not to mention miss out on much of what God had in
store for them.
understandable that the book seems overwhelming; it is 425 pages!
But it grieves my heart to hear that people let this stop them from
reading it, because I wrote it to FREE God's
precious homeschool moms!!! And to equip them! I did NOT write it to overwhelm them!!!
I hope you will hear and GET what
Jody got, as you will have a LOT
more fun during these precious years with your high schooler! In
fact, it may even make it possible for you to actually even experience these
years with your high schooler, because many who get overwhelmed
just give up and put their kids in school!!!
THIS IS SOOOOOOOO SAD, AND SO
over and over that if moms get overwhelmed, it's only because they aren't looking at
Form+U+la correctly! They are seeing it as a list ~ a pile
~ of "to do's" rather than as a buffet or smorgasbord from which they are free to pick and choose as they so desire
and feel led! Actually, even more than a smorgasbord, it is an
equipper, a refresher, and a re-focuser!
Because of how typical I think the
following mom and her situation are, I want share some of the
correspondence between the two of us. She did such a good job of putting words to the
feelings that MANY have, but you will also get to see how her heart changed.
In a word, it was by being teachable, but here's how that looks in real
life! (She is yet another
mom who had a wrong impression of the book ~ which came from just looking
I enjoyed your
Homeschool Jumpstart Navigator
so much, and saw myself over and over in it, but I am
feeling a lot of anxiousness; I'm overwhelmed, and confused
as to where to start in my situation. I have 4 children:
9th and 10th grade boys, a 6th grade girl and a 2-3rd grade
boy who has a progressive hearing loss. He needs a bit more
work with me as he has been losing his hearing since 4 years
old. He is a great kid to work with. My girl has been a
pretty self motivated student with minimal help. BUT my
teen boys are really challenging me. For the past two years
they have slowly fallen behind. They "fit the bill" in your
book about the hate for school. This year I peaked and said
"I cannot do them anymore ~ this way of homeschooling."
Is it too late? I do not want to put them in public
school. They would like to go for the social part. Little
do they know how much harder it would be. They want to be
outside (we farm), and doing other things. (I can't blame
them.) They are so disruptive at home, screwing around, not
getting anything constructive done.
I am totally confused about meeting credits. I have
prayed and prayed for direction, and here I am. I just was
wondering where to start without getting even further
behind. I have the Sr. High: A Home-Designed
Form+U+la, but keep looking at the size of the book, the
little amount of time I have to read, and am afraid of
getting overwhelmed like I did for the Jumpstart book.
Please don't misunderstand that your book is confusing; the
problem is me and the "I don't know where to start" issue.
Yes, I know the beginning would be good, but do I have time?
A little bit of what I told her
might also apply to you) was this:
You need to see the book differently!!!!!!!
hug!!!!!) Please read "Overwhelmed by Form+U+la" (the article
you are now reading, and to which I am adding Bonnie's part)
which is LONG but RICH and very very releasing, refreshing, and
relaxing!!!!!! But not unless you READ it!!!!!!
Regarding Bonnie's concern about shortness of time, which MANY share the
same concern for, I wrote: "You don't have time to NOT have ~ and MAKE ~
time. Clear your schedule as much as you possibly can, and just start
reading, praying, processing, reading, praying, processing... THERE IS
NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS. (I'm not
yelling; just wanting to make sure you hear me.
) There's a Jumpstarter
right in the front of Form+U+la; that will "buy" you some time.
I wrote quite a few other things as well,
and so did my list shepherdesses,
Teresa and Patti,
and here is Bonnie's response...
(or maybe we should say "During"
because much more is yet to come!!!)
Last night I took a deep breath, got
cozy after all had gone to sleep and started reading Formula, and
found it so different than I had expected. It was like the book
was anointed or something. I couldn't put it down and did not get
I was amazed, excited and felt God's grace. I just can't really
explain. I went to sleep feeling like I can't wait to get started!
I shared some of it with my 16-year-old and he saw my excitement.
He sat down by me while I talked about it a bit, and, before he
went to bed, he said, "Thanks mom for being so excited about
homeschooling us," adding "You are really cool." This was my
son who had argued and rebelled because he has wanted to go to
public school for the last couple years!
I don't understand it all, but am
feeling like I have to figure this all out for their sake and my
sanity. So I am going forward with enthusiasm and just trusting
that somehow God will get me through, and past the feelings of
being overwhelmed. No I don't understand some of the file
and notebook ideas, but that will come with more reading and
absorbing. I think the enemy just plain had to give me one good
jab of fear and feelings of inadequacies.
Anyway, my next step, from what I understand, is reading the
Form+U+a book. I am truly looking forward to re-education
and renewing. It is overdue for me. I am just so excited to have
finally found a different way and trust I can pull it all together
for a very positive outcome. Nothing would make me happier than to
see my children passionate for the Lord. Right now they are very
much into themselves, but you are right, God can do it.
Again, I thank you. It is difficult to put into writing all I
really want to say. I appreciate all you have done, all of you.
(She was also speaking to my two wonderful list shepherdesses,
Teresa and Patti, as well.)
I love your humor in your writings.
You seem very down to earth and relatable, not intimidating and
proud. I know God has led you for people like me.
~ Bonnie S.; Homeschooling mom
When I went to ask Bonnie for permission to use "all
the above," she added some MORE good stuff, and I
just had to include excerpts from that too!
want to share something. I have been carrying your
book around wherever I go and read whenever I get
the chance. A blue highlighter (or any color, blue
just calms me), is a definite must for me while
reading. It is like seeing one of God's miracles in
action leading me on, motivating and encouraging
me. It is so fun! Anyway, I know the renewing is
already taking place, the burden is lifting because
of the new calmness I am carrying.
Yesterday, I was driving my in-laws to a doctor
appointment, about an hour away. I had their van so
it was just a little strange to me. Traveling 60
miles an hour, a huge semi-truck came through a stop
sign right in front of me. "OH MY LORD!" All
I could do was speed up and gear to the right to
swerve around the front of him. I couldn't even
take the ditch because it was an intersection, and I
was traveling too fast down the highway. I got
around him by inches, took the ditch a little and
got the car under control and drove on. Yes, my
legs and hands shook, but I had such a controlled
peace about me. I know that the Lord was there and
gently guided me around the semi. He would have hit
my side and who knows what.
pondered all this and I know my peace came from the
renewing time from your book. It is just something
you know. I didn't fall apart, I didn't get angry,
I just praised the Lord. We continued on to the
clinic and I had a wonderful 1-1/2 hours to soak up
more of your book, with my highlighter.
book does more than you can know. The "freedom" you
mention in your "overwhelm" section begins at an
early part of the book. Then last night at Wed.
night church, I shared your book with a friend who
just started homeschooling this year. Her son is
6th grade. I encouraged her to not waste time like
I have. I told her I don't understand it all yet,
but I know it is a "God thing" that I am
experiencing. So she got excited and is ordering
your book. Oh, how many moms are out there tearing
their hair out because of lack of knowledge!?!
thank you, I am grateful. I hope to someday hear
you speak at a convention. I listened to your
cassette from you and your husband a couple weeks
ago. (sixth item down on
this page) How wonderful for redemption!
To get the benefits, you have
to actually READ the book, of course!
Not just skim or glance through it! In fact, you really shouldn't even
look at the forms until you've read everything that comes before them!
when you do look at them, please read everything I say about each
1) you will see the
form entirely differently; the "heart 'n'
soul" behind it is very important to getting the point of the form!
even if you don't actually use a form, what I have to say about it
will probably be helpful to you in some way anyway!
And the BEST way it will be
helpful is that it will give you a "lighter" impression of it, thus
helping to "de-overwhelm" you!
Form+U+la is about a hundred workshops all rolled into ONE book,
because I couldn't make a hundred books! So you have to take it one step
at a time, "line upon line," starting at the beginning and
moving through it. Most importantly, allow the Lord to speak to you
between the lines (literally) what HE wants you to take from it!
If you can
not read it this way, you will never get out of it what God wants you
to. And I so want
you to get the most out of it! If you already have it, I don't want it
just collecting dust on your bookshelf! I want you to read and be blessed
and freed up by it!!!
One mom who "got
it" said this to me: "I bought Form+U+la before my son started
high school and
I love it this
year. I do not use everything exact, but it gives me ideas. Good ones."
this I say, "YAY!!! You have the exact idea! And this
mindset is the very best antidote to coming down with a severe case
of "overwhelmitis" upon reading ~ or even just taking one look
at ~ this book! The whole point is not that
anyone must follow my ideas and use them exactly as they are presented in the
book. I just give my ideas (good ones! )
for you to use as bouncing-off points! And then you edit them (the ones ~ and only the ones ~ that will be
helpful to you) to fit your and your student's needs.
is something from another homeschool mom, Wendy Fulton, that will give
some very practical ideas for keeping Form+U+la from being
overwhelming... (She wrote it as a letter to me, but it ended up
being an article!)
I Cut Form+U+la
Literally and Figuratively!
An article within an article ~
First of all, thank you so much for writing your book and for the
Form+U+la List. I think I might have put my 14-year-old
daughter in Christian school had the Lord not led me to read your book. And I have been sooooo blessed by the women on
I was very overwhelmed at the thought of having to begin high school with my
children. My heart was racing and I could not sleep. The Lord was so good
and led me out of my self-induced panic.
After reading your book, I found I needed to "digest" it. Once I realized
that your book was divided into four categories (in my mind), everything
became much clearer to me:
1. Encouragement (very enjoyable conversation!)
2. Record-Keeping Sheets
3. Assignment Check-off Sheets (or Completed Class Plans) and Task Analysis
4. Learning Guides (Curriculum Supplements)
I took your book apart and put it in a three-ring binder. I made one copy
of every record-keeping sheet, ACS & TAS, and Learning Guide.
I bought a square storage box at Staples that holds Pendaflex hanging files.
I labeled three Pendaflex files the same as #2, #3, and #4 (above).
In the Record Keeping Pendaflex, I put manila file folders labeled with all
the record keeping sheets and put one copy in each folder.
In the ACS & TAS Pendaflex, I put manila file folders labeled with subject
headings (Bible, English, Math, Social Studies, Science, Foreign Language,
Health/Phys Ed, Fine Arts, Life Skills, Home Economics, and Occupational
Education). In each of these folders, I put one copy of the corresponding
ACS's and TAS's.
In the Learning Guides Pendaflex, I put file folders labeled for each
learning guide and put one copy in each folder.
Now I could *see* everything you did in a condensed, outline-type form. I wonder if everyone who reads the book can *see* that the TAS's are a
sub-category of the ACS's (at least, I *think* they are!), and that you
could have several TAS's under one ACS.
Of course, I don't try to follow your plan, but I love seeing what you did
and finding myself inspired and excited about how God is developing our
children's high school years. Thank you for publishing your examples!
Another thought on why some people may feel overwhelmed reading your book:
I think that just as Christians are in different places in their walk with
the Lord, so are homeschooling moms in different places. Perhaps for some
moms the idea of abandoning textbooks and prepared curriculum all at once is
too much to do. Maybe at your website or in your next book(!), you could
explain how to *ease* into this idea, for those not quite ready to *dive*
[RESPONSE FROM BARB:
The best advice I can give for this is to ask the Lord what idea
HE wants you to implement first, and then next, and then next...
There's no one way to do it. God alone knows what will be
the easiest process for you. He is FOR you; not AGAINST
you!!! As you take on a new thing, it will be easier to let
go of the "old"! God WILL show you if you will just ASK, and
then BELIEVE that He wants to lead you, CAN lead you, and actually
IS leading you!!! That's why you're in the place you are now
Fulton is the
mother of three
and has been homeschooling for eight years.
and her family live in Jackson,
has graciously allowed anyone to
her via email if you have
questions for her!
But WAIT!!! There's MORE...
NOT Be Overwhelmed!
SHF-L ~ the
High Form+U+la List
Form+U+la cover above
go to the page that explains
list in detail, and
I deeply sympathize ~ and empathize ~ with your "Information
I'm so sorry to hear of your frustration. I, too, can get way too deep into
the *reading* and not enough of the *doing,* and my husband notices that, too!
Long ago, on the shf-l list, I wrote my 3-step, foolproof plan for getting
organized and getting more done:
1) Put down the book.
2) Get off the sofa.
3) Get to work.
It sounds as though we have some things in common, so I thought you
might get a chuckle over my "plan"!
There are so many wonderful ideas
in so many wonderful books. But when we get overloaded, it's time to put
them down more often. Can you schedule for yourself just, say, 30 minutes
of reading (I'm talking about "outside" reading, like the Messies
Manual) a day? During lunch time perhaps? Then you'd have more time to move through your
day in peace, with prayer in your heart, trying to simply "do the next
thing" as the Lord gives it to you, not to implement ALL the ideas you've
been reading about organizing etc. It can't all be done at once. Here is a
wonderful quote I read last night:
"Godly things move along slowly and imperceptibly, but steadfastly.
Pray and wait with patience, looking to see whether a door will open. The
Lord will arrange things in such a way as you cannot guess."
Make small steady steps to new habits... and pray. Don't be downcast at what
is left to be done ~ in the house or with the children. Keep patiently,
prayerfully working! Your commitment comes through very
clearly... I'm so
glad you have that urge to press on.
If you are really worried about a Weekly Plan for your son, have HIM plan one.
During a long drive, your son can look through the Jumpstart Plan
(at the very beginning of Form+U+la) and
write down some ideas that he can work on... and HE can put them on a
Weekly Plan for
himself (with your input, too). And those drives might be a wonderful
time for him to read aloud to you, from Form+U+la or from another good book you
two can pick out. It is SO great that you two are reading Barb's book
May God give
rest and peace to your heart. Keep pressing on and up!
Beckel is the
mother of three children,
two sons and a daughter,
and has been homeschooling for 10 years,
and her family live in Vancouver,
Washington, and, for a couple of years,
was one of the list shepherdesses of the Sr.
High Form+U+la List,
without whom this
list would have ceased to exist during the
time she so faithfully served!
has graciously allowed anyone to contact
with any questions
might have for her!
to Barb again. ]
(if not MOST) homeschoolers just don't feel they are "qualified" to make
decisions about their children's educations. In fact, this is one of
the MAIN reasons they are overwhelmed by my book. A big part of my ministry is releasing
"prisoners" ~ homeschoolers who are "prisoners" to the system ~ into freedom that they can make
such decisions just because "God said so" and wants to help them
DO it. He's the Master Curriculum Consultant! Once you realize the
full weight of this task is NOT on YOU, the feelings of "overwhelmedness"
will greatly diminish.
alone overwhelm. One way to ease into "less text/workbooks" is to continue
using them in as many classes as you feel you need them ~ or rather as few
classes as possible. There will probably be a class or two that
you have some ideas for ~ that's where to start! Start weaning
yourself (your kids) by coming up with creative alternatives for a class
(or subject area) your child is interested in. Then build from
there. There's not really any certain way to do this; it's just a
matter of interest and how you feel led. But you have to be FREE
first, or you will not be able to feel led! You'll just be BOUND!
dear sister-in-Jesus shared something several years ago that deeply
impacted me... She said that we often view as a burden something
that God is actually giving us to refresh us and lighten our load! If that
is happening with you and Form+U+la, please ask God to transform
your view of it. Jesus said:
"My yoke is easy;
my burden is
if anything feels heavy, it's not of or from God! And taking any and
all such burdens to Him needs to be a way of LIFE for any homeschooling
will close with the words of a homeschooling mom who was talking about
Form+U+la with friends on a message board. She said:
a lot to say. Take it
in a bit at a time, and
you will get it."
great big hug,
Click on each of the smaller book covers throughout the article to
go to comments on or reviews of Form+U+la and the Sr. High
Form+U+la List. Clicking
on the one at the very top of this page will take you to the catalog
write-up of the book on the Sr./Jr. High Resources page.