As we come to the last week of 2016, we often find ourselves reflecting back on our year – and sometimes on even longer ago.  This past year has marked my 9th year of blogging, my 14th year of homeschooling, and my 18th year of marriage which are all pretty significant milestones.

I hope and pray that 2016 has been as wonderful of a year for your family as it has been for ours.  This past year has been pretty momentous for us.  One son went on an international mission’s trip.  One son got his driver’s license and the other went through driver’s training and got his permit. Each year seems to go by faster and leaves with it a nugget or two of hard-won wisdom.

Top 10 Posts of 2016

Each week, I try to share some of the lessons that I’m learning with you.  I hope you’ve benefitted from my posts and that you’ve been encouraged by them.  I value you, Reader, and I pray for you often.

Looking back at the past year, here are the 10 top posts written in 2016 that you have read the most.

10 Top Posts Written in 2016

#1 – 5 Ways Our Sons Will Be Different If We Homeschool Them

I recently heard from a mom who was concerned that if she homeschooled her son, she would be judged by other parents for it and that her son would likely be labeled as quirky.  I hated to break it to her… but she was right. Even though homeschooling is on the rise across the country, it is still not the cultural norm.  If we homeschool our sons they WILL be different than if we send them to school… More

5 Ways Our Sons Will Be Different If We Homeschool Them

#2 – Looking Back 14 Years – My Biggest Homeschool Regret

We’ve been a homeschooling family for a long time.  Before my oldest son turned 2 years old, my husband and I both felt called to check out this homeschooling lifestyle and see if there was any way we could make it work for our family.  I have to say that we’ve absolutely fallen in love with it over the years.  Being able to spend so much time with my boys and being able to watch them learn and mature has been an amazing blessing!  As I look back, however, there is one thing which has often crept in and stolen some of the joy out of our experience…More

Looking Back 14 Years: My Biggest Homeschool Regret

#3 – 10 Positive Parenting Tips for Teenage Boys

If you have a tween or teenage son, you probably feel a bit beaten up from time to time.  Raising children is a stretching task no matter what their ages – but parenting teenage boys is a whole different ballgame.  Parents and teens alike can struggle during this season of life.

When our sons get to the tween and teen ages, they often turn into different kids.  Suddenly, those sweet little boys who wanted to help us all of the time don’t want to keep their rooms clean or do chores.  Those compliant sons who did whatever we asked no longer want to be told what to do.  They can be surly, the have all sorts of raging hormones which make them overreact, they don’t like to stop what they’re doing, and they certainly don’t want to do their schoolwork… More

10 Positive Parenting Tips for Teenage Boys

#4 – 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me My First Year of Homeschooling

My boys and I are getting ready to start our 14th year of homeschooling and I’m happy to say that I’m not the same person that I was when I first started this adventure. The old me was much more uptight and rigid about my ideas of education.  The old me was filled with worry and concern.  The old me was very self-conscious and unsure of herself.

Fortunately, as I look back, there are so many lessons that I’ve learned along the way.  If I knew then what I know now, I could have saved myself a TON of grief.  Hopefully, the things I’ve learned will help you to be able to avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve fallen into during our homeschooling journey… More

10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me My First Year of Homeschooling

#5 – 5 Things No One Tells You About Homeschooling

When we’re getting ready to start a new adventure, people who have been there don’t always tell us the whole truth about what we’re about to experience.  I remember back when I was pregnant with our oldest son.  People oohed and aahed over how much my belly was growing.  They talked about how sweet babies are and how wonderful it is to hold them and love on them.  They didn’t focus in on the pain of childbirth or the difficulty of being a parent.

The same thing is true with homeschooling.  When current homeschoolers hear that you are considering homeschooling, there are certain things they don’t immediately offer up either… More

5 Things No One Tells You About Homeschooling

#6 – 7 Hard Truths About Homeschooling

If you’ve read even one of my blog posts before, then you know that homeschooling is one of my very favorite things ever.  I love the freedom that it affords my family.  I love being able to spend so much time with my boys.  I love seeing the spark in their eyes when they learn something new.  Homeschooling has been a wonderful educational option for our family.

Having said that, there are some aspects of homeschooling which are less positive.  Sometimes, my husband and I will be talking about a difficult situation we’re dealing with and we’ll admit that we wouldn’t have to deal with that if we weren’t homeschooling.  Sometimes homeschooling can be hard!  More

#7 – 9 Ways to Help Boys With Too Much Energy

Ever feel like your son has too much energy?  All healthy kids have lots of energy to burn… but boys are in a category all their own.  Boys will find ways to get their energy out if we let them.

But sometimes we won’t be very happy with the choices they make to let off some steam.  They quite often choose to do things such as tease their siblings, wrestle when they should be studying, jokes in the middle of you teaching a lesson, arguing, etc… More

9 Ways to Help Boys with Too Much Energy

#8 – 14 Benefits of Homeschooling Outdoors

We’re getting to that time of year when kids are tired of their lessons, moms are a bit weary of preparing them, and everyone seems to be counting the days until summer break.  When this happens, it’s a great time to shake things up a bit and get those boys outside.

We usually do our homeschool lessons indoors… but when the weather allows, did you know that your child might actually learn more if you take the lessons outside?  There are lots of learning benefits from being out in nature…  More

14 Benefits of Homeschooling Outdoors

#9 – Stealth Homeschooling: 10 Sneaky Learning Methods

It’s finally May and I have just one thing to say… Hooray!  I love this time of year.  If you loosely follow the regular school calendar the way our family does, that means you have one month OR LESS before summer break.  Wahoo!

This last month can either go by very quickly – or it can drag.  The weather is warmer, the sun is shining, the windows are open, and the birds are chirping.  The beauty of nature is extremely distracting this time of year.  And most of us would much rather be outside enjoying God’s creation than be indoors bent over our lessons… More

Stealth Homeschooling: 10 Sneaky Learning Methods

#10 – Our 10 Favorite Games for Family Night

Our family enjoys spending time together.  We love everything from watching movies, to reading books aloud, to listening to audio dramas, to having campfires in the backyard, to going on hikes in the woods, to exercising together.  We basically just enjoy being with each other. And summertime is usually when we have even more time to hang out together than ever.

One of our favorite things to do as a family, however, is to play games.  When we look at the calendar and find that we have a whole evening without anywhere to go, someone usually recommends picking a game for us to play… More

Our 10 Favorite Games for Family Night

Had you already read all of these posts?  Were there any that you previously missed?

I thought you might also like to know what my most popular posts were in 2016 that were written any time since I started blogging.  Here are my 10 top posts read in 2016 which were written BEFORE 2016.

10 Top Posts in 2016 – Written Anytime from 2007-2015:

#1 – Is Your Son’s Brain Starving?

Most of us are aware that boys and girls are different. They see things differently, they play differently and they think differently. I was surprised to find out recently that boys also have different nutritional needs than do girls. Is your son’s brain starving?  More

Is Your Son's Brain Starving?

#2 – Age Appropriate Chore Lists

Are looking for an age appropriate chore list because you’ve decided it’s time for your kids to start helping out around the house? Look no further! Here are lists of chores for kids in the following age groups… More

Age Appropriate Chore Lists

#3 – Smart Kids Who Hate to Write – Does your Child Have Dysgraphia?

I’ve always known that my boys were smart. They started talking before they were one year old. They started learning to read when they were three. They’ve always been able to come up with intricate stories in their heads, carry on wonderful conversations, think logically, and remember all sorts of facts. The one thing they have always struggled with in our homeschool was that they didn’t want to write anything down… More

Smart Kids Who Hate to Write

#4 – Increase the Attention Span of Boys With These Tips

As a general rule, the attention span of boys tends to be shorter than that of girls. Obviously, this varies with each child. There are more boys who suffer from ADHD. And even boys who have wonderful powers of focus still have a tendency to move, bounce, fiddle with objects, look around, and generally want to be on the move… More

Increase the Attention Span of Boys

#5 – 7 Ways to Make Your Sons HATE Homeschooling

Homeschooling our kids can be an AMAZING journey – or it can be an excruciatingly painful process.  When we first start homeschooling our kiddos, we have dreams of helping them to receive a world-class education.  We hope and pray that we will give them a love of learning and that they will discover their God-given passions and purpose in life.

Unfortunately, many of us model our homeschools after the type of education that we received when we were kids – meaning we are copying the local public schools.  This is a sure way to make our sons HATE homeschooling… More

#6 – My Super Simple Homeschool Planning Method

When I first started homeschooling my boys, I made lesson planning harder than it needed to be.  I remember sitting on the floor of our schoolroom pouring over their books for HOURS every weekend while trying to figure out what to teach them for the coming week.  It was back breaking (and mind blowing) and it didn’t need to be that difficult.  They were both preschool aged, for goodness sakes!  Flash forward twelve years and I do my homeschool planning very differently nowadays….  More

My Super Simple Homeschool Planning Method

#7 – Kids and Teenagers with Focusing, Attention, or Sensory issues

Does your child have focusing, attention, or sensory issues? Do you have a child who appears to have to work very hard to stay focused on a task? Does he instantly stop working as soon as you leave the room? Does it take him a long time to complete his work? Does he seem lazy and unmotivated? If these statements describe your child there is hope. Your son may be suffering from a low level of serotonin… More

Kids and Teenagers with Focusing, Attention, or Sensory Issues

#8 – Boys Have Many Physical and Mental Differences

I recently finished reading some eye-opening books by Dr. Leonard Sax:  Why Gender Matters and Boys Adrift. I was amazed to learn that boys have many physical and mental differences from girls.  These books include scientific evidence showing that boys not only behave differently than girls, they also hear differently, see differently, respond to stress differently, and think differently… More

Boys Have Many Physical and Mental Differences

#9 – Make Your Own Homeschool Preschool Curriculum

Need a homeschool preschool curriculum? Have you thought about homeschooling your child – but aren’t sure you have what it takes to persevere? Homeschooling during the preschool ages is a great way to try everything out and see if it’s going to work for your family.

Homeschooling preschool children also has many side benefits. It gives you something constructive to do during those long daytime hours while your husband is at work. And it will help you bond with your children in a way that nothing else will. Watching your preschooler learn and grow is a wonderful experience – and one that you and your child will both enjoy… More

Make Your Own Homeschool Preschool Curriculum

#10 – Do Hard Things – 11 Ways to Help Our Boys Become Responsible Men

No matter where you look today, the same battle cry seems to be sounding forth:  Where have all the good men gone? We can all readily see the difference between a good man and a perpetual adolescent.  There are too many males in our society who don’t want to do the hard things that we are relying on them to do.  Too many young men would rather play video games than get a job.  Too many of them would rather look out for their own interests rather than taking on the responsibilities of caring for a wife and children.

A Pew study done in 2013 showed that “36% of the nation’s young adults ages 18 to 31 — the so-called Millennial generation — were living in their parents’ home in 2012. This was the highest share in at least four decades.”  More

Do Hard Things – 11 Ways to Help Our Boys Become Responsible Men

As we reflect on the past year, I hope that reading my blog posts has been a good use of your time and that you’ve been able to glean some tips that have made things a little bit easier or a little bit better for you.  As we finish out 2016, let’s resolve to make 2017 one of our best homeschooling years yet!

Top 10 Posts of 2016

Which of my posts have been your favorite or have had the most impact on you?  I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave a comment below.

And please check out the other great Top 10 posts from other iHN bloggers at iHomeschool Network.