Five Things To Say (Or Do) For Your Homeschool Partner



My wife and I are home schoolers. We have been for what seems like forever at this point. In reality it’s only been about 12 years (since around 2004) that we’ve been doing it. It’s tiring. It’s expensive. There are days when you don’t think you are good enough to do it. There are days you think you’ve got many of the answers. It’s a challenge for both parents and students, but it can be one of the most rewarding decisions you ever make.

There are things she’s really good at, and there are things that I’m good at. We use those strengths and weaknesses to balance each other and make the experience the best it can possibly be for our children. In reality my wife does the bulk of the work. She’s at home with the kids all day. I’m off at work. She does most of the schooling, if I’m being completely honest. I come in at the end of the day with the one or two subjects that I know really well and try to sneak in a few fun things to do with the kids here and there.

That having been said there are things your homeschooling wife (or husband, if they do the bulk of the job) like to hear. There are things you can do as the supporter that can make the days, the weeks and the years so much easier. Here are a few things I try to keep in mind and a few things your homeschooling partner likes to hear or do.

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Her Birthday


Happy Birthday

It’s her birthday today. She turns 35. I didn’t tell her Happy Birthday before I left for work this morning, despite being with her for almost half an hour from the time I woke up until I walked out the door. I realized it when I got to work and almost immediately sent her a message telling her Happy Birthday. I blame it on the allergy pills I took the night before.

So yes. Today is her birthday. I’m taking her out later for a nice quiet dinner and a walk around the park to take pictures of flowers. It’s her day and she gets to decide what we do, but I’d accompany her almost anywhere because I love her and want her to feel special.

This is the 16th birthday of hers that I get to celebrate with her. We don’t generally make a big deal out of birthdays around our house, at least for the adults. Even so I like to do something special for her. Sometimes it’s letting her sleep in late or get a very long nap in if it’s a weekend. I’ll grab a small flower to bring to her on my way home, or we’ll go out and have a simple, quiet dinner.

Me and HerWe started out together when we were still so young. I was four days into my 21st year and she was 19 when we got married. We were kids, barely knew what we were doing, but we knew we were going to make it work. I’d say in these 15 years we’ve been together we’ve grown a lot.

She’s closing in on as many birthdays with me as she had before I came along. I still look at her every time I see her with that feeling my chest could burst at any minute. I still find myself casting sideways glances and checking her out. I still smile every time I see her. I still want nothing more when I get home than to wrap my arms around her and pull her close. I still get excited at the prospect of a few minutes alone with her. She’s more beautiful to me now than she was back then, and even then I thought she was way out of my league. Someone that beautiful couldn’t have possibly been interested in me, but she was.

She’s my wife and I love her so very much. I may never be able to throw huge galas and invite all our friends, relatives and church family over to celebrate, but I won’t let an opportunity go by to show her how much I truly love her.

It’s her birthday today. She turns 35, and she means everything to me.

Trey Pearson Was Incorrectly Brave


Trey Pearson

The lead singer for the Christian band Everyday Sunday has come out as gay. Everyone shout for joy and tell him how brave he is! You know what? You should. What he did was brave, but not for the reasons you probably think.

See, here’s the thing. Homosexuality is wrong. It just is. Plain and simple. It’s in black and white, spelled out in the Bible. Even Jesus himself commented on who should be in a marriage relationship. Don’t believe me? Look it up. (Matthew 19:5)  It’s written right there in black and white (or red and white if your Bible highlights Jesus’ words). It’s reaffirmed multiple times that homosexuality is a sin.

So yes. What he did was brave, but for the wrong reasons. See, in this day and age we’re being taught that doing whatever you want to do is okay, as long as it feels right to you. We’re all about moral relativism. There is not absolute right and wrong any more. It’s all shades of gray, and that’s sad really.

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15 Years


Wedding Cake

15 years ago we started down the biggest, scariest, most exciting journey of our lives. We were making that commitment to love, honor, cherish, and obey through sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. In reality it started before that. I can remember walking up her drive way late one night and telling her I love her. She said, “I’ll believe it when you say it like you mean it.” The thing was I did mean it, but me being the idiot I am tried to make a joke out of it. I knew pretty early on that I was in love with this woman.

Heather looking at flowersI can remember (and it’s a story I’ve told hundreds of times) sitting at the front of the church and seeing her with her family in the pews off to my left. I remember my Aladdin moment. I was struck by the beauty of the woman in that church that day. I can remember her saying, “You know I have a kid,” and it not phasing me one bit. I can remember, “Don’t ask me that,” when I asked her out for the first time. I can remember the teasing of the kids behind us in church because they knew I liked her. I can remember funnel cakes at the fair, singing during the intermission of a play, taking her to meet my parents (completely by surprise) for the first time, meeting her parents at their house for the first time. It’s all there. Some of it may be a little fuzzy now and I may not remember every little detail, but I remember the big moments. I remember all the firsts. I remember long nights with a pregnant woman who couldn’t sleep.

I remember all the good. I remember all the bad. I remember despair at the thought of losing her. I remember going to the pawn shop to re-buy the rings I had bought a few years earlier. Marriage isn’t always easy. It’s not always fun. There will be trouble. There will be trials, but it’s those moments that define relationships, that define you as a person and you as a couple. Those rough patches, those low points, serve to strengthen the bond you forged the day you decided to get married.

UsIt’s been 15 years since we made that leap, since we decided we would spend our lives together working with and for each other for the rest of our lives. It’s been rocky, it’s been bumpy, but God’s blessed every moment we’ve traveled down that Broken Road. I wouldn’t change any high or any low. All the moments, all the memories of the last 15 years have shaped who we are as a couple, who we are as parents, who we are as friends, who we are as partners.

I want to be able to say when our children look back on our lives that their parents were the perfect example of a successful marriage. I want them to remember all the hand holding in the car or on the couch. I want them to remember all the long kisses in the kitchen. I want them to remember us struggling to figure out how a bill was going to be paid, or gas was going to be put in the car. I want them to remember seeing us work together to solve any problem. I want them to remember the stress of redoing a house, but how in the end it was worth every ounce of stress, sweat, and effort. I want them to say, “my parents have been married for 30, 40 or 50 years and they still love each other as much, if not more than the day they got married.”

I garden now. Who would have thought I’d ever want to do that? I want chickens. What has this woman done to me? Oh yeah. She’s made me interested in things that really matter. She’s made me a better person just by being around her.

Us in CarShe makes me smile. She makes me laugh. When she walks into a room I can’t help, but feel the room warm up. She’s beautiful. She’s intelligent. She can back up all her arguments with solid facts. She can correct my grammar.

This woman means the world to me.  I’d go anywhere and everywhere to be with her.  I didn’t know it when I moved to Oklahoma, but it wouldn’t be long before I found the one God had sent just for me.  It’s been 15 years. We’ve got at least 50 more left in us, but I think, so far, we’re off to a good start.

When I Look At Her


Heather and Tony PorchThe other day my wife wrote a piece called When He Looks at Me. If you haven’t read it you can find it here.  It was more or less her interpretation of what I see when I look at her. She hit it pretty spot on too. I see absolute beauty, safety, strength, intelligence. I don’t see the imperfections. I see what those “imperfections” mean. I thought, “what better way to accompany that than to hear from me exactly what I think when I see her.” So here it is.

The first thing I see is beauty. I can’t deny it. My wife is a beautiful woman. From the moment I first laid eyes on her sitting in the pew at church more than 15 years ago I couldn’t take my eyes off of her; her blonde hair, her fair skin, her shape. I was drawn to her. Her mom noticed it, too. I’ve been told that she told Heather she thought I was staring at her. I was. I don’t deny it.

As she’s aged she’s only gotten more beautiful in my eyes.

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2016 Reading Challenge Update


Bloodfire Quest

So my quest to read a book a week has not gotten off to a great start. It took me just over two weeks to finish my first book. I’ll have to pick up the pace if I want to get back on track for reading a book a week. Still, if I finish a book every two weeks I’ll have 26 books for the year, which is more than I’ve ever read in a year in the past. I don’t really have anything to attribute it to other than there were a couple nights I could have been reading, but took a trip to Victorian London to play Assassin’s Creed (I’m weak).

I finished the first book in the Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy (Wards of Faerie). It was definitely the first book in a trilogy. The best comparison I can make is to the Fellowship of the Ring. It definitely set the plot in motion. It introduced the major characters to the story and set up their history a little bit. You got to see how people react to the Druid’s around the world. You were introduced to the next set of Ohmsfords (major players in the history of Shannara) and their connection to each other and the magic of the Wishsong.

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The Meltdown and the Pizza


MeltdownSome events from the last few days showed me some of the ways that my wife and I are different from each other, but work so well to help educate and entertain our children.

A few days ago Andrew was having a meltdown. He wanted so badly to go to Walmart to buy a crane. (He’s obsessed with construction equipment.) We told him we couldn’t go and get one because we didn’t have any money, and I just don’t know if Walmart has cranes. I got a brilliant idea. I told Heather I need a box, a stick and some duct tape. She gave me the weirdest look as I gathered up all the materials I needed; a shipping box, one of the bamboo sticks from our garden, duct tape, some twine and a chip clip. I put the box together, duct taped the stick so that it was secure inside the box but sticking out long enough to be the arm of the crane. Attached some of the twine to the end of the stick and tied a chip clip to the end of the twine. It wasn’t the prettiest thing, and didn’t exactly function like a crane, but I had built a crude crane that pleased the upset child. I then had to duplicate said crane for his little sister who now wanted one. They played with them for hours picking up things with their chip clips, pushing the boxes around the house. It didn’t matter that it didn’t looked exactly like the crane you would see at a construction site. They had to use their imaginations a little bit, but it served the basic function and they had a ton of fun with their cardboard cranes. Heather looked at me and said, “I never would have thought of that.”

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