Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Suddenly Schooling at Home

Suddenly you have found yourself schooling at home. Oh my goodness! Now what? This could be a complete headache – but it just might be a golden opportunity instead!

As millions of parents before you have proven, homeschooling can be done successfully. So let’s view this as an opportunity. Following are some points that will hopefully free you from some fear and frustration.

Take a deep breath and relax. I assure you that you are not going to ruin your children and their education. Honest! So, as much as you can, step back and allow you and your family to decompress from the abrupt change. Your children are still growing and learning even though right now life at home might be a little confusing.

Schooling at home is different
Schooling at home is not going to work the same way as a school classroom, nor should it. You are now simply tutoring a few students in your home. You don’t need the trappings of a classroom full of students. Homeschooling is flexible and there is no one-best-way-to-homeschool.  You are now free to create the routine that works best for your family!

Academics shouldn’t take as long
Realize that academics in your new home-teaching lifestyle are not going to take as long as institutional schooling. A lot of the time in traditional classrooms is spent on logistics and crowd control. At home most of this activity is unnecessary and, therefore, eliminated. Your formal academic teaching time is only going to be a few hours a day, depending on the needs of your children. Each day may even vary, depending on the pace your children learn. You are now free to customize.

People learn all the time
Realize that humans are wired to learn, and there are generally two types of learning that take place – formal academics and informal activity. Each type of learning is legitimate. Just because your children are no longer in a classroom setting does not mean that their brains have turned off and they are no longer learning anything. Academics have their place, but informal hands-on activities are just as important and can be part of your school day. Translation – free play and fun projects are good learning times for your kids.  If your school materials are a bit sketchy at first as you are transitioning, hands-on projects and play are legitimate options while you are finding resource materials. (I would suggest setting particular times for any electronic devices and refraining from using those as babysitters, however.)

You are free to flex
If you do not already have all of your materials, for whatever reason, and need to do your own planning, now is a good time for a practical approach. Simply start by slimming down your academic core to cover only some of the basics for now. For example, English, History, Math, Science (and Reading if you have very young children) are plenty for now. Put other subjects on hold until you pull together your basics and get a daily routine going. Again, don’t worry—you won’t ruin your children if you don’t resume all of the subjects all at once.

Also, it is perfectly acceptable if you don’t cover every subject every day. Traditional schools don’t do it and you don’t have to either. For example, perhaps consider assignments for English, and Reading for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; then do Math and Science on Tuesday and Thursday. Work with what makes sense for your daily routine.

Each child is different
As a parent, you know this. What this can mean academically is that what works for one child may not work for another. That is perfectly normal. You don’t have to cram them all into one academic mold. They also may not learn at the same pace. One may be more interested and academically ready than another. Developmentally some children are simply at a different place from their siblings and that’s just fine. In homeschooling, everyone can learn at their own pace. Adjust to their needs. By going with their developmental pace, there is no such thing as being “behind.” So feel free to slow down or speed up. There is no reason to stick to something that is too hard or too boring.

So what does your day look like?
Much of what your day looks like will be dictated by your family’s lifestyle. You are free to construct your own routine! Notice that I used the word “routine.” I highly recommend coming up with a daily routine as opposed to a rigid schedule. Strict schedules usually don’t hold up and they become tyrants as you unsuccessfully try to serve the almighty schedule. Instead, aim at a predicable routine that can flex when disruptions occur. Set a general flow for the day so that everyone knows what to expect.

For example, in our homeschool, our day started with breakfast and household chores. This took a couple of hours. Once that took place, I had the daily assignments laid out and it was time for academics. This also only took a couple of hours, depending on the age of the child and the subjects. We usually finished up around lunch. After lunch it was free time and we used this for unstructured play, projects, field trips, and errands. After supper was very flexible, but we often worked on crafts and had a family read-aloud time. But - that was our homeschool. Your homeschool routine might be completely different and that is perfectly OK. You might even have to try several routines before you figure out the one that works the best and that’s OK too.

Where do I find resources?
The amount of resources for homeschooling is staggering! Websites abound. There are sites to buy materials; there are sites for free materials; there are support group forums. One only needs to start googling. For example, for free materials, just search with words like ‘free homeschool materials.’ You can find support groups on facebook by searching ‘homeschool support’ or for more local help search  ‘homeschool support’ with your state entered in.  The options are seemingly limitless.

If you are confused about how to begin searching for materials, consider making a basic list of what you think you need. As you begin your online search for materials, don’t feel badly if it takes several days, or even a week or two, of looking around. If you are nervous about choosing materials, join some of the facebook support groups and ask for recommendations. These groups are full of homeschoolers who are using a wide variety of materials and can give you suggestions and insights. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you are new and have questions.

Remember – there’s no need to freak out. You have plenty of time and help is just a few clicks away. Choosing to view this time as a new adventure for your family will help lighten the load for everyone.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Ten Things to Do at Home Through a Coronavirus Shutdown

Right now, there are approximately 250 million children in China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who are homebound for an undetermined time while the coronavirus runs its course.

We hope the current coronavirus (COVID19) does not spread widely through the United States.  But if it does, it is possible that your local school system will shut down for a period until the spread of the disease is under control.  When that happens, parents may find themselves caring for their children at home rather than attending school.

The first thing to realize is that this is not a time to panic or worry that your children will be falling behind.  Kids can learn in many different ways and this is the time to focus on practical application and life skill learning rather than memorizing geography maps or multiplication tables.

This can actually be a time to accelerate your children’s learning and development. Don’t let the time devolve into endless hours of television or video games. Rather, plan out your day with some fun activities that help your children put to use their knowledge and build closer family relationships.
There are some very practical applications from the homeschooling world that can assist parents who are faced with the unexpected task of teaching their children from home for a few days, weeks, or months.

Here are the Top Ten ideas to get you started:

1. Plan your day. Put together a rough schedule and follow it.  This doesn’t mean a schedule that is regulated to the minute with a bell going off telling you to change to a new topic.  Rather set aside time for various activities and follow that routine.  It will help to keep your children from getting bored and you won’t feel that you are a victim reacting to circumstances. Instead you are in control of the circumstances.

2. Read with your kids.  With younger children, read to them. With older children, have them pick a book or story that they read to you.  Our family did this when our children were in the elementary grades.  Everyone had a book and during family time everyone would take turns reading a chapter from their book aloud.  This helped to develop their reading and speaking skills and we often had lively discussion about the story that was being read.

3. Do some craft projects.  Have the children paint pictures, make Lego forts, put together the train set, assemble models, create a doll dress, string together beaded jewelry, or any other crafty, creative projects you can think of.  This helps them with their motor skills and planning skills, and often provides an outlet for creativity.

4. Create a scrapbook. This can be a physical book or a virtual book.  Pull out the old family photos (or download them from your phone).  Let your children organize them into a scrap book or a powerpoint presentation.  Again, this encourages their creativity and development of motor skills or computer skills.  It also is a wonderful time of family fun and fellowship as everyone remembers what was happening at the time of the pictures.

5. Create a movie or video for the grandparents or other relatives.  Let your children decide on their story line for the script.  They can create their costumes.  Then go about filming it.  You might then edit it and add music.  This can occupy them for several days and, once again, it helps them develop creativity and apply many of the skills they have been learning.

6. Play board games or do puzzles. This is a more sedate activity and helps with pattern recognition and teamwork.  Once again, it is a great way to create some family time and relationship building.

7. Create your family tree.  Do genealogical research online and find stories about your ancestors.  Your younger children can draw out the tree while the older children are doing the research.  As you find that Grandfather Robert served in the Navy during WWII, you can look up the history of his ship.  And when you see that Great-Aunt Lucy came to America through Ellis Island in the late 1890s, you can look at emigration at that time and watch YouTube videos of Ellis Island.

8. Binge study a favorite subject. If your child has a favorite subject from school you can set aside time every day to help them do in-depth study.  For example, maybe they like castles. There are some great YouTube videos that talk about old castles, how they were built, and how people lived back then.  This is a time where you let your child decide what topic they want to learn in more depth and then help them to find the material to watch or study.

9. Cook something new. This can also be a time to pull out grandmother’s cookbook and the children and parents working together can make one of her specialty dishes.  Cooking is a good time to bring many of the lessons from school to a practical application.  There is a little bit of science in the chemistry of cooking.  There is math in the mixing of the recipes and measuring out ingredients.  Since it is grandmother’s recipe, we can bring in a bit of history as you talk about the world when grandmother was growing up.  And of course, the best part is you get to eat the results!

10. Do chores! I saved for last one of the best things you can do for passing the time in a productive way and that is chores! Take the time to clean out the toy area, or their room, or vacuum the house, or straighten the garage.  This is work, but it is helpful for the family and builds the idea of planning and working together.

All of these activities and many more can be used to pass the time productively.  But even more important, they give you the opportunity to interact directly with your children, building memories and relationships.  They also give you a chance to help them develop their character and morals as they work together with you and their siblings.

Rather than a season of frustration and boredom, this time at home can become one of the greatest blessings that your family has experienced!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

How Long Does It Take to Homeschool?

Mention homeschooling and many people immediately picture a classroom at home with parents handing out assignments at a chalk board and their children working busily at a desk. The idea of keeping up this scenario all day, every day, seems very daunting. “HOW do you DO it?” these people admiringly ask.

The answer is simple: We don’t do it that way.

When you stop to think about it, many of the trappings of institutional schooling are simply there for crowd control. Desks keep children stationary in their places so the teacher can keep track of them. Chalk boards make it easy to instruct 40 people at one time. Requiring a student to raise his hand to talk is a way to keep a crowded classroom quiet.

So many of these trappings are completely non-essential time-wasters as far as education is concerned. Standing in line. Moving from classroom to classroom. Waiting for the bell to ring. Passing out papers to the whole class. Taking test after test, with the purpose of helping the teacher keep track of what each student actually learned. NONE of this is necessary in homeschooling.

There’s a difference between “schooling at home” and “home schooling.” There is no reason to bring school home. School is crowd control, dumbed down to the slowest person in the class. Home education, on the other hand, is a parent customizing the learning process to their child’s needs.
No child needs formal education for 8 straight hours a day! Even institutional schools aren’t actually giving 8 straight hours of education. For every 3 hours of actual instruction, they’re giving about 5 hours of crowd control, mindless crowd activities, and unnecessary tests.

How Does Homeschooling Work? - Elementary Level
A typical day of elementary education in our family was something like this. We got up, had breakfast and then spent an hour on chores - doing “home ec” by helping Mom make beds, clean the kitchen, and tidy the house. Then we had school time until lunch. If we needed to write things, we sat at the kitchen table. If we needed to read things, we sat on the couch, laid on the floor, sprawled in the grass outside or flopped on our beds. If we needed to interact with Mom on a subject, we sat together wherever was convenient. “Manipulatives” and science experiments were with simple things like blocks, beans, or other household supplies. Our curriculum was basic and inexpensive and Mom supplemented with her own little worksheets if we were confused or needed more practice. (Nowadays a homeschool mom can easily download free printables online.)

After lunch, we were on our own to use our creativity and energy in playing outside, doing crafts, reading fun books, or playing instruments. Though there were rules about good behavior, this time was largely unstructured. Yes, we sometimes got bored. But you never told Mom you were bored because she gave you chores! Instead, you used your brain to come up with something interesting to entertain yourself until supper. No electronics - we didn’t have a TV or VCR and computers were still in their infancy. After supper, we had read-aloud time with Mom or Dad and then went to bed.

How Does Homeschooling Work? - Junior-High School Level
When we hit our junior high and high school years, school time was longer as the workload was heavier. Academics time might last another hour or two after lunch. But often the time it took was up to us. I can remember days when I moaned and groaned over a math assignment or reading I didn’t want to do. I managed to drag the process out till nearly supper time. But that was my own fault. On days when I was motivated to finish on time so I could do my own projects, I was usually done by 1 or 2 pm.

Yes – even with a heavy course load of physics, calculus, biology, history, economics, literature, political science, and music. Mom worked out a doable plan where subjects we went through quickly were on the schedule once or twice a week, while subjects that took us longer were on the schedule every day, in small doses. This way we could finish all our books within the year.

Homeschooling Is Flexible 
Each homeschooling family can choose a schedule that works for them. Many homeschoolers keep their homeschool going year-round. This gives them the opportunity to take longer breaks at Christmas or other family holidays, while still finishing the necessary school work. Though we didn’t go year-round, our family always took a month off a Christmas, for instance, and used the time to focus on extra crafts, holiday baking, and making special gifts for people.

Homeschoolers have the advantage of being able to plan their field trips and vacations around times that work best for their family, instead of being tied to an institution’s schedule. For instance, we did a lot of our sight-seeing when public school was in session, thus cutting down on the crowds and sometimes saving money on admission prices too.

Homeschooling allows you to take time off for illness or work around family problems. It allows you to take two weeks off to go visit an ailing grandma or spend a few weeks on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe. You can homeschool on the road, at your doctor’s office, or even at your own office if your workplace allows children.

Homeschooling lets a parent slow down on a subject their child is struggling with, or speed up on a subject they have easily grasped. I remember every year Mom bought literature books from two curriculum providers because we were voracious readers and always managed to get through two year’s work in one year! Now math, on the other hand, was a subject we often spent doing through the summer even when other topics were done, because it just didn’t come as easily. Homeschooling gave us that flexibility. We learned our academics far more thoroughly this way, instead of being forced to go at a generic classroom pace.

How Much Time? What Works For You!
To answer the opening question, how long does it take to homeschool? It’s simple: It takes just as long as your family needs. You can customize it to fit into your lifestyle. Education is not limited to a classroom. In fact, a classroom often limits education!

So put away those out-dated paradigms of hours of classroom work. Take all the time you need for your children’s academics – and you will find that it needs far less than we’ve been led to believe!

Written by Heather Sheen
Originally published in the Times Examiner, Greenville, SC

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Homeschooling: Yes, YOU Can Do It!

Government-run public schooling is a recent, weird experiment. Up until the late 1800s, it wasn’t even mandatory in most of the United States. For centuries before, in America and Europe, schooling was generally done at home by the parents or a tutor. If a young adult wanted a college education, they typically were ready for it by age 12-14. By their late teens, they had finished their education (including college or apprenticeship to a trade) and had started their career.

This education system turned out some amazing results. The American founders (many in their 20s and 30s), who created an entire government from scratch and won a war against the mightiest nation on earth, went through this system. Some of these founders wrote newspaper articles (the equivalent of today’s Facebook posts) explaining to everyday Americans their philosophy of government. We now call those newspaper articles The Federalist Papers – and most of today’s college students can’t read or comprehend them. Yet everyday American farmers and traders who went through homeschooling in the 1700s could easily understand them.

“Well, that’s great for them,” you might say. “But what about parents today? I sure can’t teach my kids. I was a lousy student myself and have forgotten most of what I learned in school anyway!”

Yes You Can!
You, yes YOU, can teach your kids. That’s not just my opinion, it’s backed up by data from the last four decades of the modern homeschooling movement.*

Study after study has shown that homeschooled students out-perform institutionally schooled students – by a LOT. Public schooled students’ average score is in the 50th percentile. Homeschooled students average scores are 15-30 points higher. That’s an average, meaning some score even higher than that. This high performance also applies to the SAT and ACT. Most colleges love homeschoolers and actively recruit them.

Study after study shows that parents’ income and education levels have no effect on how well their children do in homeschooling. No college degree? Making low wages? Doesn’t make a difference.

Study after study shows that homeschooled students are better socialized, more emotionally and psychologically developed, and have better community participation than public schooled students.

All of this sounds like a strange miracle to our modern sensibilities. HOW do homeschoolers achieve all of these amazing results without EXPERTS teaching their children? The answer is both philosophical and practical.

Philosophically speaking, a system works best when you operate it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. God is the “manufacturer” of children. His “instructions” tell parents to be the primary teachers in their children’s lives. When you follow God’s model, you receive God’s blessing.

Practically speaking, all studies of educational systems have shown that one-on-one tutorship is the best educational model, period. Homeschooling is a perfect example of this type of teaching. You as the parent become the “expert” on your child, something you’ve been doing anyway since he or she was born. You use your expertise to customize the curriculum to your child’s needs. This isn’t something hard or mysterious. It’s as simple as saying, “Johnny had trouble with decimals this week. I think we’re going to slow down and repeat a few lessons until he understands them better.” Or maybe saying, “Sally loves history so much that I think we’ll do a more in-depth unit study approach to history this year and give her a chance to read some extra biographies and go to some historical reenactments.”

Every parent, whether “highly educated” or not, is capable of using common sense and love for their child to choose what’s best for them. “But what if my child has GAPS in his education?” you might ask. Do you have gaps? Did you learn all of your school subjects perfectly? Did your teachers always finish every school textbook within the school year and do all the extra experiments and assignments with you? Of course not! And yet, you are a functioning, capable adult. You filled in your own gaps where the gap needed to be filled.

A good teacher is not someone who tells the student everything he needs to know. A good teacher teaches the student how to learn. How to look things up. How to think things through. How to weight evidence and reach a conclusion. How to find knowledgeable sources from which to learn more. When you have these skills, you can learn anything, any time, all your life long. Homeschooling is a perfect way to create a lifelong learner who grows in wisdom and knowledge all his or her life.

With the recent rise in school shootings, many parents are considering homeschooling for the first time. It can be scary for folks who don’t know the history of homeschooling, and don’t know that it has a centuries-old track record of great results. So let this be encouragement – homeschooling is the best option for every child. And you CAN be the parent who gives your child that option!

*For studies and statistics on homeschooling, a good place to start is the National Home Education Research Institute at

Written by Heather Sheen

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Serving the System?

Recently a friend and I were lamenting that children have their innocence invaded at younger and younger ages due to the methodical efforts of the left to promote immorality as something normal. I think that parents should take overt steps to protect their young children in this regard by turning off the TV, carefully supervising their reading material and Internet activity, and keeping them from harmful peer influences. “Yes,” sighed my friend, “But unfortunately, you have to prepare them for public school so they’ve gotta know about this stuff.”

Excuse me?

Since when are parents supposed to be preparing their children for the public school system? Isn’t the whole point that the system is supposed to be preparing the child? Just who should be serving whom? If the system is so corrupt that little children are being routinely exposed to sexual deviancy, whether from the curriculum or from the other kids, why in the world do we accept that? Why are we so tied to our paradigms that we simply try to “prepare” kids for the worst, rather than remove kids from the corruption?

There is, of course, a time and place to prepare children to encounter immorality. Thanks to the perversity of our culture, this preparation may have to take place at younger ages than we’d prefer. However, if you as the parent are the one in control, you have much more flexibility as to when the conversations take place.

Even if the timing wasn’t one of your choice—say, your young child encounters a transgendered person in a public restroom—the content of the conversation is completely within your control. You can give your child an age-appropriate explanation. You can give them the biblical perspective and leave them with no doubt that sexually deviant behavior is wrong.

Your flexibility is much more limited if your child is in public school. The teacher, the curriculum, and the other students can decide at any time what your child should know about sexuality and can influence what they should think about sexuality. Is this what you want? Deep down in your heart, do you think this is best for your child? If your gut is telling you that there is something wrong with the current system, that’s because there is something wrong. Trust your judgment.

Again, the purpose of an education is to prepare a child to be a successful adult in the real world. That is, what a person should be at age eighteen is not what he needs to be at age eight. The purpose of an education is not to thrust a child into the so-called real world (or what the left would like you to think is the real world) at an age when the child is very impressionable.

In this regard, the left is smarter than we are. They know that if you capture a child when he is young, you are much more likely to have him for life. Why do you think there are preschooler books like Heather has Two Mommies? While conservatives talk about “preparing” a child, the left is aggressively working to convert a child. The left believes (correctly) that children are much more open to influence than we sometimes give them credit for. Just because your child can agree with you that same-sex people shouldn’t marry doesn’t mean they aren’t being impacted in subtle ways by the constant bombardment of sexual deviancy that is encountered in public schools.

You can protect your child. You can remove harmful influences. You can let your child enjoy their innocence. You can be in charge of the conversations. You can choose to stop serving a system that isn’t serving you.

You don’t owe the system anything. You owe your child everything.

Written by Raquelle Sheen

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Given Over To A Lie

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. ~Romans 8:28-32

Pick up a newspaper today and you can find the above behavior described in article after article. Our culture is becoming progressively more wicked the further we get from God, isn’t it? Romans 1 offers some key insight into this process. It starts when people know about God but don’t thank or glorify Him (vs 21), when they exchange the truth of God for a lie (vs 25) and when they don’t think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God (vs 28).

God’s corresponding judgment isn’t what we might expect. We tend to expect a dramatic outpouring of wrath, such as fire from heaven. Instead, God often simply gives people over to what they want—they want a lie and God gives them over to one. They want to believe their own way is better and He lets them believe it and try it. He gives them over to sexual immorality (vs 24, 26), which is the lie that physical lusts will satisfy you. He gives them over to a depraved mind (vs 28), which is a mind corrupted by sin and unwilling to accept or obey the truth. If you see a person sold out for evil and wonder why God doesn’t judge them, you’ve missed it—God already has judged them by letting them continue unchecked in their wickedness, believing lies about God and lies about themselves.

Being given over to a lie is no joke and no light punishment. It can literally send you to hell.
Sadly, many Christians will acknowledge the horror of being given over to a lie and then turn right around and give their own children over to a lie, willingly, cheerfully, and unapologetically. Five days a week they put their kids on a yellow bus and send them straight to a government-sponsored institution that is dedicated to teaching the antithesis of God’s truths.

I am not criticizing the many dedicated, caring (and often even Christian) teachers that are in the government school system. I think they need to be there. But the children of Christians do not need to be there. The government schools teach children a systematic series of lies, either directly through the teachers and curriculum or indirectly through peer socialization with other foolish children. The children are taught the lie that God does not exist. They are taught the lie that we evolved from amoebas. They are taught the worldview that man is basically good and is only brought down by society, not by the evil in his own heart. They are taught the lie that gender is a social construct. They are taught the lie that sexual immorality in both its ordinary and deviant forms is a fun thing to do as long as you do it safely. They are taught the lie that killing an unborn infant is a woman’s right. They are taught the lie that true femininity means beating the guys, not rejoicing in your uniqueness as a woman. They are taught the lie that being true to yourself is more important than being true to your duty. They are taught the lie that there is no such thing as objective truth.

These lies are having a measurable effect on the church. According to a variety of Barna research studies, two-thirds of young adults in their twenties who regularly attended church as a teen do not currently actively pray, read their Bible or attend church. Are we to attribute this to an epidemic of astonishingly boring pastors? Could it not be because these young people are daily bombarded by lies about God and His principles from ages five to eighteen? In that environment, is it at all surprising that more than half of children raised in church walk away from it as an adult?

Many Christians argue that they send their children to government schools to prepare them for the real world. Friends, handing someone over to lies is not preparation. It is punishment. Every time Scripture talks about someone being given over to a lie, it is a judgment on that person. It is a sentence—sometimes a death sentence. Dwelling with lies is not a nice little training tool meant to prepare Christians for godly living. If you want to prepare your children for life, steep them in the truth. Proverbs 23:23 tells us, Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding. Truth, wisdom, discipline and understanding are not found in the halls of pagan, humanistic teachings. They are found in the Word of God.

One other lie deserves mention. Many of us often believe the lie that our actions will not have consequences. We pretend to ourselves that we can sow one thing and reap another. God warns us explicitly not to be fooled in this manner: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. (Galatians 6:7). You cannot send your child to a godless institution for his whole life and assume that nothing will happen. While it is true that by God’s grace some Christian graduates from government schools do stay in the faith, you cannot count on that. Two-thirds of them do not. Scripture also tells us that when a prudent man sees danger, he takes refuge. (Proverbs 3). Be that prudent man! Don’t risk your kids! Prioritize the truth and determine that they will grow up steeped in and surrounded by the truth. Don’t give them over to a lie.

Written by Raquelle Sheen

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

School Shootings: What Can You Do?

There have been many suggestions offered in the last few days about how to stop school shootings. Some make sense, some are just plain stupid. The fact remains that since 1990 our government schools are federally-mandated gun-free zones, perfect for maniacal shooters.

When considering this problem, most people's focus seems to be on getting "them" to "do something" about it. But waiting on "them" could take years for a helpful solution. What about you? What can you do about school shootings? 

Here are some ideas for parents, grandparents, kids, people without children and bystanders.

Parents: Homeschool your children. This is the ideal for every family. In the beginning, God created a father and a mother and children. There were no school teachers, social workers, coaches, or pastors involved. God gave parents the job.

We can see the fallout today from ignoring God's design – herding children together in schools (even "good" schools) is simply pooling ignorance. "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools will come to harm." (Proverbs 13:20) All kinds of harm happens, from simple foolishness to cheating, bullying, abuse, sexual misconduct, and yes – school shootings.

There are many people in today's society who will try to convince you that homeschooling is second class or even impossible for your family. But God is smarter than they are, and He is the one who created the family. Statistics show us that God's design really does work best. Homeschoolers consistently out-perform institutionally schooled children in literally every area of life from academics to civic responsibility to finding satisfaction in life.

Many entities exist to help beginning homeschoolers if you feel you need guidance. There are websites with free curriculum, blogs with helpful suggestions, videos, tutorials, co-ops, support groups, conventions, and more. If you're not sure where to start, the website is a good way to get connected with organizations in your state.

Grandparents: Be involved in your grandchildren's lives. Work with their parents to find ways to spend quality time with them. It's easy to give kids ice cream or take them fun places, but take the time to invest in their minds and hearts as well. Talk with them about God's love, about God's principles, about how to live wisely. Listen to their questions, their fears and their dreams and offer a godly response. Particularly if your children are unable to provide your grandchildren with a stable, loving home, make sure you are the constant in their life: the one who is always there to love them and hold them to a higher standard.

Grandparents, it's possible you may even be able to homeschool your grandchildren if your children are unable to. Check your state law at to see what guidelines they have regarding grandparents homeschooling.

Kids: There may be some older children reading this article. As schools continue to be hunting grounds for maniacs, you may feel like adults have let you down. Some have. But many adults are out there desperately wanting to help you and your classmates. Get to know those adults. Become friends with teachers, security officers, and responsible adults around your school. When you see something, say something to these adults. If one adult doesn't respond to the problem, move on to the next adult until you get a solution.

Be a friend to lonely kids. Don't bully. Don't let others bully. Report bullying.

Learn how to handle an active shooter situation in your school. Find out things you can do to stop him or slow him down. Learn how to give first aid to a victim. Learn how to be a leader and help in a crisis. Pray for wisdom to know what to do if a bad situation ever happens in your school.

Singles, Childless and Empty Nesters: Look for kids that need a friend, a role model, a mentor – an adult to love them. Seek out the quiet kid in the church youth group who seems to be neglected at home. Spend time with the kid next door whose parents are never around. Become a foster family. Counsel at a crisis pregnancy center. Offer to babysit for the working single mom whose kids live at daycare all week. Find the lonely, neglected kids that are everywhere crying out for adult attention. Pour love into their lives. Pray for wisdom, pray for opportunities.

Every Adult: Learn the skills to respond to a crisis. Do you have a gun? Get a concealed carry permit and learn how to respond to an active shooter. Learn how to give medical aid to wounded people. Learn how to spot potential terrorists and get help as fast as possible. Learn how to lead people during a crisis.

Too many tragic events have happened where bystanders were either unable or unwilling to step in and help. Don't be like them. Be a person who can help. If you are literally physically unable to do anything, be the person who prays through the crisis. Our society needs prayer even more than we need guns, medical aid or leadership.

It's time for us to stop waiting on "them" to "do something" about the problems in our society. We need to step in with the Lord's help and do it ourselves. That's the American spirit that has always accomplished incredible goals.

By Heather Sheen
Originally published in the Times Examiner, Greenville, SC