Convivial Homeschool: Gospel Encouragement for Living and Learning Alongside Your Kids (with Mystie Winckler)

convivial homeschool mystie winckler homeschool conversations

Homeschool mamas are often tired and discouraged. We long to hear an encouraging word. What does true, Gospel-centered encouragement look like? Mystie Winckler joins us today for this bonus Homeschool Conversations episode to discuss what true rest looks like for the homeschool mom, and how to find joy and peace in the midst of our ordinary lives. Like this episode? Check out my previous conversation with Mystie about attitude and expectations in homemaking. And be sure to read or listen until the end of today’s chat to hear about her upcoming new book, too!

Be sure to check out all the other interviews in our Homeschool Conversations series!

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Convivial Homeschool Gospel Encouragement for Living and Learning Alongside Your Kids Mystie Winckler Homeschool Conversations podcast interview

Who is Mystie Winckler?

Mystie Winckler is a 2nd -generation homeschooling mom of 5, married to her high school sweetheart. She helps homemakers organize their attitudes (and their lives) at She’s also a co-host for one of my favorite podcasts, Scholé Sisters.

Convivial Homeschool Gospel Encouragement for Living and Learning Alongside Your Kids Mystie Winckler Homeschool Conversations podcast interview

Watch my interview with Mystie Winckler

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Amy Sloan: Hello everyone. Today, I am joined by Mystie Winkler, who is a fellow second-generation homeschool mom of five. She is married to her high school sweetheart, and she teaches moms to organize their attitudes and their lives at She is also a podcast co-host on several of my favorite podcasts, including Scholé Sisters and a previous podcast guest here at Homeschool Conversations. I’m just delighted to have you back again today, Mystie. Could you just tell us a little bit about your family and who you are for anyone who doesn’t already know you?

Mystie Winkler: Thank you, Amy. My husband and I both were homeschooled from the beginning through– I was homeschooled through high school. His mom put him in high school for that math teacher [laghs], but we were homeschooled pretty much all the way through and got married at 19. We just celebrated 20 years of marriage and our oldest just turned 18. We’re kind of in transition, it feels like from one phase of life. We’re staring down change and sending kids off instead of adding kids in. My oldest is 18, then I have a 16-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter, an 11-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter.

Amy: It’s so much fun to talk to someone else in that same season, because what we did is definitely out of the norm, but fellow 19-year-old bride here. My oldest was born 10 months later. Definitely facing that same weird transition time, where my baby is now six. My oldest is 16 and doing dual enrollment and we’re really facing this different season of life, and it’s like I’m having an identity crisis. I was the young mom with little kids for so long. It’s like that’s not who I am anymore. It’s very weird.

Mystie: It is funny to be at church or whatever and it’s like, “Oh no, they are the young moms. They’re younger than me.”


Amy: My husband and I still like to be– We still claim that we’re the happy couple. That’s what people called us when we first got married, “Oh, you’re the happy couple.” We were so happy, so we’re still the happy couple.

Mystie: Nice. I like that.

What is needed for true encouragement for homeschool moms?

Amy: Wow. In the midst of, “wow, we are the happy couple” homeschooling can definitely be a challenge. It is a wonderful good gift, and I often just repeat this. It’s the best hard thing I do, and it is a hard thing. Homeschool moms including myself, we can often have days or seasons where we are weary and tired and discouraged. What we are called to do just seems like too much for us.

A lot of the encouragement we hear seems to fall short of actually transforming and being actually helpful encouragement. I wanted to talk to you about what is true encouragement, and why is that important? Why do we need it, and why do we get sucked up in these lies of things that maybe are called encouragement that maybe aren’t actually helpful?

Mystie: Homeschooling is hardand in a culture that wants things to be fast and easy, it’s extra hard because our expectations are that things ought to be fast and easy, or, “I should be able to figure things out. Basically, it boils down to, “They’ll go my way,” and things going our own way isn’t actually God’s plan. That’s not usually God’s way. He works in our lives through difficulty, through suffering, through hard work. He calls us to put forth effort.

Looking at solutions, or encouragement, or help, that will make things be easier. It isn’t always the right way. It depends on what kind of “easier” we’re looking for, but if easier means everyone does what I say every single time, we’re always going to be discouraged because that’s never going to happen. Our expectations for how life in general goes need to be in line with reality, in line with what God’s revealed in his word.

Anything that is not gospel is always going to fall short. The perfect planner, the– Any encouragement that boils down to “you are enough, you are good enough” that’s anti-gospel, because we aren’t. They’re always going to end up leaving us in a worse spot.

Amy: Do you think that in the current culture of homeschool encouragement that you’re seeing a lot– I see a lot of people really speaking to that first part of what you were saying, that this expectation of perfection is unachievable. Our children are not going to be perfect products. We are not going to be perfect homeschool parents. I think more and more people are coming to see that, so where do you see some of the dangerous, unhelpful attitudes of encouragement, or what would be some examples– I guess of not a person, but ideas, topics that would be like, “This is put forth as encouragement,” and maybe it’s actually not truly helpful?

Mystie: You probably saw this too, but growing up being homeschooled, homeschooling in the ’80s and ’90s was focused. It seemed a lot more than it is now on, “Do this and get this result. If you just do things this way, then you’ll have a happy, wonderful family.” In a pendulum swing, it seems now that the encouragement is more like it doesn’t matter, but you might not– It’s not worth pouring yourself out over this because you need to worry about yourself.

You need to take care of yourself, so you shouldn’t be working hard. It’s not your job to make things turn out. There’s always a degree of truth in either end of the spectrum. It’s just trying to find that balance of what is true and not go to either side of the ditch, where we think that our effort is all that matters. We work really hard to get things right, and then the other side is, “There really isn’t a right.” You just need to feel good. You need to help your kids feel good and take it easy [chuckles].

Rest is important, but then if your rest isn’t based in Christ and defined by scripture, then rest is not refreshing. It basically is being either apathetic or just superficial, and then it doesn’t end up being refreshing.

Amy: I think that what you just said is so important, because rest is such a constant refrain in scripture from the very beginning of creation. It’s part of the creation ordinance. It’s built into creation that we have this rest, and then we see all the way out through this fulfillment, it’s the sort of that already and the not yet. Already Christ has come and he brings rest to his people, and he speaks of that. In his accomplished work, we can rest in Christ’s work, but then in Hebrews it says, “There is yet a rest to come for the people of God.”

We know that there’s a sense in which we have rest now, there’s a sense in which there’s a rest to come. If we try to find rest and comfort and peace, and anything other than in the gospel of Christ, it’s ultimately going to fall short. I definitely see that a lot. In all of our lives, it’s that idolatry. We always are looking to other things, and I think it can be so hard because all of these things have bits of truth in them. I actually do need to prioritize taking showers and making sure I’m getting good sleep, and going for walks. You know what? Sometimes going and getting a pedicure actually is “self care”. I know that term is so loaded because people either love it or hate it, but there are things and we’re not gnostics. We see the value of taking care of even our own physical bodies. When we speak of laying our lives down, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t care about our own physical health or wellbeing either.

It’s like we’re always in these tensions and these pulls of all these different aspects that we’re trying to keep in mind. I think it’s way too easy, especially on the internet because people like to click on links. It’s way too easy for someone to be like, “This isn’t self care,” or, “This is how you care for yourself.” It’s just like this very black and white dichotomy, or I think the truth is a lot more nuanced than that. I don’t know, do you agree?

Mystie: Yes, speaking of someone who has some self-care blog posts out there [laughs]. Yes, I think that the real difficulty there is that the secular world today is entirely materialist. They don’t believe that the spiritual plane exists. Something like a pedicure, the physical outward things that we do are all that there is. You have to do them to take care of yourself. They’re the only option that you have. As Christians, we recognize the spiritual side of reality and ourselves, and if we don’t have spiritual rest first, then those other things aren’t really going to matter.

Without Christ, without having spiritual rest, those other things are never going to satisfy. If you’re based in your rest and security and confidence, being in your salvation, in trust that God is working out his will in the world, even if it’s different than what yours is. If you don’t have that firm foundation, I should say, when you do have that firm foundation, then the pedicure is a lovely blessing that you could totally enjoy as a gift.

It’s not something that you need to survive. It can be just a blessing that you enjoy. There was one time I had only little kids and– I don’t know. I remember being at the sink and just feeling like, “I have to get away.” Like, “I just can’t take it anymore,” the noise level, the fact that I feel like I’m busy all the time and never getting anywhere, “I’ve just got to leave. I’ve got–” [chuckles]

My husband came back from work or something, he let me leave. I went and I got a pedicure and it was nice to be gone, but the attitude that I left the house with didn’t go away by getting a pedicure, or a manicure. It felt nice and it felt like a break, but I came back and as soon as I came through the doors, I felt there was that slam of overwhelm and discouragement immediately again.

I didn’t do anything to deal with my attitude, with my heart about my job and responsibilities. If I had gone away, no matter what I got away to do, if there had been repentance, then I could have enjoyed that manicure. If my heart had been right, but without the heart being right, none of the other stuff really matters. We have to deal with our attitude, our heart, our perspective first before any of those other things are in order.

Amy: Yes, and how often even a spiritual thing, the same thing. If you don’t deal and repent with the heart attitude first, even if you had gone and read your Bible and done a Bible study for an hour, I don’t know, maybe I’m the only mom who has this happen, but you have a devotional time or you go to a ladies’ Bible study at church, and then you come home and you’re like, “Why did no one clean the kitchen while I was gone?” Even “spiritual” thing there, “Oh yes, that’s real soul care there.”

If it’s still done in the flesh, its every bit is unrestful. I think that’s where the incarnation– Again, resting in the work of Christ makes such a difference, because he is fully God and fully man. Both the spiritual and the physical there linked together perfectly, where he was able to perfectly do both or do both aspects … that’s probably heresy, I shouldn’t say it that way.


All of a sudden, it’s like, “Wait, as soon as you start talking about the person and work of Christ, you’re one step away from heresy all the time.


I got to make sure I’m not going against any of the church councils here, but what I’m trying to say is, He teaches us as we see Him. He teaches us that the soul and the body are both in Christ in the process of being redeemed in Him, and are covered by His work and His redemption.

Convivial Homeschool Gospel Encouragement for Living and Learning Alongside Your Kids Mystie Winckler Homeschool Conversations podcast interview

Mystie: We need that bodily rest too, because we’re creatures. We are humans and that’s a part of our being that God does provide for. Sometimes in refusing to rest physically, it can be a way of refusing the care that God offers us. We have the care and the spiritual care of the gospel and repentance and forgiveness, and then also a good night’s sleep. These are all good gifts that God gives us out of grace.

Finding Joy and Peace in the Ordinary Work of Homeschooling

Amy: There’s the flip side. On one hand, we want this rest and peace and this wonderful encouragement, and then at the same time– And maybe this isn’t true for everyone. I know in my own sinful heart, there’s this drive to do something awesome like, “I want to do something awesome for God and be the best homeschool parent. It’s not enough to just do a good job. I have to do the best job and do something great and amazing in this family.”

I have to repent of that honestly a lot, because that’s really bad. A lot of times what God is calling us to do is actually very simple, very ordinary, not flashy. Just very much not a great thing. How are we to reorient our perspective as homeschool moms, and then how can that change of attitude and perspective really bring joy and encouragement in those very ordinary days?

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Mystie: I think God does great things with our ordinary work. God is a lot more patient than we are, we see that throughout scripture and just history. God’s very patient, much more so than we are. His timeframe is on a different scale than the one that we measure our work by. We get disproportionately discouraged, I think over bad days and then lose sight over the long haul.

Now, with an 18-year-old doing college work all on his own, I didn’t do any of the enrollment thing or any– He’s independent and it’s a little scary. It’s different. It gives you those moments where you step back and you’re like, “Whoa, that happened.” I never saw it happening, really, it didn’t feel like. You could catch little glimpses of it. You get to that point, but then you step back and you see and realize, “It’s not something I did.”

He is his own person, and now it’s just obvious that it’s my duty now to step back. You see that God was at work this whole time, doing something more than you ever really pictured, or maybe you just didn’t have that. It’s different when it’s real than when it’s like, “And someday my children will show initiative and be productive in the world.” Then you’re like, “So that happens.” [laughs] Not exactly what I pictured it being, but that is what happened.

What I think all of it, whether we’re homeschooling or just parenting in general, whatever roles and responsibilities, whatever callings God gives us, He is using for His purposes, and that is great. We don’t need to figure out ourselves, what our success does or doesn’t mean or does, or doesn’t look like. Instead we just need to do whatever it is, the good work that God has put in front of our lives and trust that he will do what he wants with it. Anytime we try saying, “Okay, so this is what I’m going to do, and then it’s going to turn out this.”

I might say, it’s for God or intend it to be that way but when it’s my agenda or my imagination, or my definition of success. That’s all stemming from pride and pride goes before the fall. I’ve just found that true over and over in my own life for sure, and you definitely see it in scripture and history. Pride can look good for a time, but it will fall. It will collapse.

A part of God’s good work is to keep us humble, and to make sure that we recognize that anything good that comes is not from us. It’s all from God. It’s all grace. He is working sanctification in us. That’s His good purpose. That’s His will for us, so that might– He uses everything in our lives for that purpose and He uses us in our children’s life for them. It’s their sanctification as well that we are helping work on, but it’s God’s work ultimately.

It’s a little bit more vague if you will, than getting a good job and showing initiative and all that, but whatever personalities or callings or whatever combination each family gets, God’s working sanctification in each individual and that’s His good purpose. Knowing that, then we know that it’s our job to repent [chuckles] in order to move forward.

When we’re walking in repentance and humility, then we are led to rejoicing because we are experiencing forgiveness and then we can give that forgiveness, and be in fellowship with God and with our family. It’s a different compass point to aim at than jobs or college, or any particular outcome.

Amy: That repentance and then rejoicing and our forgiveness is very similar to wondering at the work that God has done, and then that leads to worship which– Again, it’s like humility and doxology. [laughs] Yes, that’s what all of life ultimately comes down to, and I think that just changes our perspective on what we’re doing so much, instead of us being the center of the world, building something, like the tower of Babel, reaching up to God.

That’s the quintessential thing that we can often do as homeschool moms, like we’re building this amazing tower and trying to reach God on our own. That’s in contrast to Jerusalem, God’s holy city is redeemed. It’s the bride bought by him and built up. Then the amazing part, I’m literally getting goosebumps thinking about it. The missing part Is, we are those living stones that God is using to build up His own city. In contrast to Babel, we are being built into a city, not because we’re doing it ourselves, but because Christ has redeemed us and it’s going to be way more glorious and all for Christ. Really exciting.

Mystie: It is, and it’s realizing that leads us to worship, and worship is rejoicing, and rejoicing is worship. Sometimes we are looking for that– We want to feel better. The world tells us that all material things will help us feel better, but it is fulfilling our ultimate purpose that gives us joy and peace. We don’t just want superficial feel good, what we really want is what we were created for, which is peace and joy.

We get that by walking as God’s people and God promises His peace and His joy regardless of circumstances. The world tells us that our circumstances determine how we feel, and instead the physical things can be good gifts from God that are enjoyed in him. The chocolate, the pedicures, these different things are great, but in and of themselves, they offer no peace or joy. We can’t look to them for more than they are able to offer.

Amy: They’re not going to be able to ultimately save.

Mystie: [chuckles]

Convivial Homeschool Gospel Encouragement for Living and Learning Alongside Your Kids Mystie Winckler Homeschool Conversations podcast interview

How do we nurture a happy home in the midst of the every day?

Amy: We’ve been talking about these big ideas, and let’s bring this down to the day of homeschooling, like this day. This day when the mom is listening to this, because she’s like, “This is all great and everything, but right now, I’m just really struggling.” Hey, this is the daily grind we all face and it’s really hard sometimes to find that joy. We want to have joy in the Lord, I’m working on– Thankful for this salvation and this eternal hope. This is great, and right now people are crying about fractions or whatever.

Mystie: Yes.

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Amy: How do we nurture a happy home and joy in the midst of this day right now?

Mystie: I think, no matter what’s happening in the day, we can bring it back to repentance and we can know that the point is sanctification not having a beautiful day. Sometimes we put on a pedestal the ultimate homeschool day. We think that we have to achieve a certain calm and equilibrium for it to be a good day, but any day that I am convicted of sin and repent, or that I have to convict a child of his sin, and he repents, that’s a good day. That was just another step in sanctification, which is the point.

Having those problems and hiccups and conflicts, and all the things are all means that God is using to build us up, and chisel those stones into the city. It’s not happening when everything is all smooth and easy, because when we think that it’s only a good day, if everything is smooth, then that often leads us to avoid sin and conflict. The heart issues that are messy to deal with, but that’s actually our calling, is to discipline and disciple and that means dealing with the messy.

It’s not ignoring the mess, or avoiding the mess, or throwing a rug over the mess and trying to pretend it’s not there, it’s really in picking it up. We’re in our fourth week of school, so we have already dealt with math tears, with comparisons, with checklists being lost, with [laughs]–

Amy: It’s not just my kids.

Mystie: -some deceit. I have an 11-year-old boy, so we’ve done all the things. It’s that season, where a lot of discipleship and accountability is required, and a lot of parenting energy but that is the good work that we are being called to. We’re actually being successful good homeschoolers when we are working through the hard struggles with our kids. It’s worth it. It’s hard work and it is exhausting, but it’s worthwhile. It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad homeschooler. If I was a good homeschooler independently, there would never be math tears. I would start the day on time. I wouldn’t need three cups of coffee [laughs]. I wouldn’t end the day exhausted and ready for a nap, but that’s just not true. A good homeschool day is the day that you walk your kids and yourself through the cycle of conviction and repentance, and forgiveness, and then rejoicing and moving forward in doing the good work before us.

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Amy: That is such an encouragement and such a mindset shift I think. As homeschoolers, we like to talk about not having measurable goals in the same way. Our education, we measure it differently than the public schools or whatever, but how often do we actually create a different measurable set of goals for ourselves? We don’t hit those, and so we can’t measure what happens in the day if we are repenting and discipling, and repenting again. You have to repent a lot. Stopping to pray with our children. My husband is really good at this.

I’m like, “All right, guys. Let’s get past this. Yes, that was wrong. Let’s move on.” John’s like, “No, we’re going to stop everything right now. Everybody’s just going to stop and pray.” I’m like, “We’ve got stuff to do.” [crosstalk] The most important thing that we can do right now is prayer, and that is so often true. Again, that takes the time. You can’t check off the boxes. Sometimes you don’t get to check off boxes, because you’ve spent the time really dealing with something else, but what a gift that we have to do that.

Mystie: That we can, we can take that time and prioritize that in our day. That’s important.

Amy: It really is

Mystie: I was not a math person myself. My relationship with math has definitely grown and improved over the years of homeschooling. One thing that I never expected to strike me, but now it does just again and again is, that really life is like math, so all these new things [laughs]– It’s like, “This is just a metaphor for life right here.” The child’s crying because they don’t understand, so because they don’t understand, they say it doesn’t make sense. You’re like, “It does make sense. You’re just having an issue right now. If you would take a drink of water and take a deep breath, and not assume that this is all terrible. You might be able to see that this does make sense.” Or they’re sad and crying because it’s actually challenging. We do that, and sometimes it’s– Math start off easy especially at the beginning of the year, at the beginning of a book. You think, “Okay, I’ve got this.” As soon as you think, “Okay, I’ve got this,” new concepts, time for a new something, then you’re like, “No.” Then the kids think, “I’m bad at math.”

It’s like, “No. You just encountered a new concept, and we’re going to work through it and learn.” Homeschooling is right with the metaphors, and as is parenting. I think the more I just watch my kids and just disciple them, and parent them, the more I see myself as being just like that.

Amy: Our friend Lynna often says that homeschooling is just parenting intensified, and I think about that quote all the time, and that it’s so true-

Mystie: It is.

Amy: -and how often– What is really revealed more of in my children’s finiteness, weakness, sin as my own, and I’m so thankful that God loves me enough to show me how sinful I am.

Mystie: Yes, exactly.

Mystie: Well, that’s where I think we ought to actually be encouraged when we’re convicted, because that is the Holy Spirit working in us, so it’s a good thing. It’s a part of God working in our lives, so it will be a terrible thing if we weren’t feeling conviction of our own sin. If you’re feeling convicted, that’s actually good because you know what the right next thing to do is after you’re convicted. It isn’t just feeling guilt and feeling bad. The point of conviction is to drive you to repentance, and turning to God, and receiving forgiveness for it. Then you experience that freedom from the guilt after you’ve repented.

Convivial Homeschool Gospel Encouragement for Living and Learning Alongside Your Kids Mystie Winckler homeschool podcast

Mystie Winckler’s New Book: Convivial Homeschool: Gospel Encouragement for Living and Learning Alongside Your Kids

Amy: This has been a very encouraging conversation for me, but for the mom who can’t just start a podcast so they have an excuse to talk to, you have a book coming out at the beginning of November all about true encouragement for homeschool moms. Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Mystie: Yes. It is called The Convivial Homeschool: Gospel Encouragement for Living and Learning Alongside Your Kids. It is a set of 30 readings. 30 chapters that each kind of stand alone. They each have a story from– Not just my homeschool, but also some from being homeschooled. Each one then points homeschool moms to the beauty of repenting and rejoicing on repeat just over and over again in different angles.

The book follows an outline of guilt, grace, gratitude, which is one way to summarize the gospel and the message of scripture. You start with the bad news that we are sinful, we do mess up, and then we get grace. God freely gives it to us through no merit of our own. Then because of that, we live lives of gratitude in obedience. In a way, you could think of it like a devotional that’s not a substitute for– It’s not a devotional where it’s scripture or any of that.

Amy: Read your bible moms. [laughs]

Mystie: Yes, [laughs] read your bible. Study scripture, but this is meant to be well five-minute short encouragement readings for mom to just pick up, read one, and be ready to head back into the fray knowing that it’s worth it.

Amy: It sounds like it would be a really fun thing to do with a friend. Have a box of friends that you could both read the same little short reading every day, and then check in with each other at lunch time, and encourage one other in that.

Mystie: Yes. I will have a reading guide that goes with it where you can read it with a friend and study questions, or thought provoking questions, reading it in 30 days, or a school year. One chapter a week because it’s 30 weeks, and give or take it’s good to plan for 30 weeks even if 36 are on your calendar.


Amy: I love that. As an extrovert, I think everything is more fun when you do it with somebody else.


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What Mystie is reading lately

I am very excited and looking forward to reading this. I know that today’s conversation will be an encouragement to many moms, so thank you for coming and chatting with us. Here at the end, I’m going to ask you the questions I’ve been asking everyone this season. The first one is just, what have you been reading lately?

Mystie: I just finished Brothers Karamazov which I started a year ago, and so I finally finished it. There were a few times where I put it on the shelf for a while. I didn’t pick it like–

Amy: Those Russian novels are a commitment.

Mystie: They’re a depressing commitment, but I finished it. Now, I am ready to go and read the introduction because I think there’s stuff going on there that I’m– There’s more there than meets the eye, so I need to figure it out. The questions, I don’t understand. I’m trying to understand and I don’t. [laughs]

Amy: I feel like with the Russian novels, it’s like you read it the first time and then you’re just like, “Okay. I need to read that again now that I know what’s happening.” But you’re like, “That took so long. I’m a little worried to commit.”

Mystie: This was my second time through Brothers Karamazov. I actually listened to it on audio book six or seven years ago, and I got to the end and thought, “I missed something. That was the end? I don’t get it.” I was like, “I’m going to just read it, the paper back because I spaced something here.” There was some missing piece because the story didn’t make sense at the end. I got to the end and I’m like, “No, I didn’t miss anything.”

[laughter] I need to go read the introduction to the book now, and figure out what just happened.

Amy: Actually two of my favorite books are Russian novels but they’re really more like novellas, I guess. The very first thing that ever grabbed my imagination was One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. In high school, I read that and I just loved it. I have read it several times. I think it’s fantastic and it’s also great because it’s really short. On January 1st, 2020 for book club, we read The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy.

Mystie: Oh, I haven’t read that one.

Amy: Oh, Mystie, you have to get this one. It’s also so short. I’m telling you, then you can say you’ve read another Tolstoy novel but it’s a lot shorter than Anna Karenina, which we read this summer. The Death of Ivan Ilyich, New Year’s Day, 2020 I was like, “You all, I’m calling right now, this is my favorite book of 2020.” Everyone’s like, “Amy, 2020 is a whole year. There’s so much wonderful that is yet before you in this year.” No, end of 2020 I was like, “No, actually that was the best thing to start 2020 with.” Highly recommend it. Sorry, I didn’t mean to get on a tangent about Russian books, but it’s short and it’s so good.

Mystie: I will add it. Yes, because I have a novel section for my Scholé Sisters five-by-five challenge, where you read five books in five different categories. Novels is one of my categories. Now that it’s taken me this long to get through Brothers Karamazov. I need a short one.

Amy: Well, this one would be perfect. I read it in one day. You could totally do it.


Mystie Winckler Homemaking Homeschooling Interview

Mystie’s tip for helping the homeschool day run smoothly

Well, moving on from Russian literature, the other question that I’m asking everyone this season is just what is your best tip for helping the homeschool day run smoothly?

Mystie: Well, the tip that I have needed to remember myself the most these last few weeks has been to look at the children’s checklists every day and look at their work. [chuckles] Trust but verify, and knowing that you will verify helps with that trust bit.

Amy: “I’m homeschooling five. I guess you’re not homeschooling five currently, but you were at one point. I know that the reality is, I can’t necessarily verify every single thing for every single subject, for every single child, every single day or week, so what I do is I just make sure I’m verifying some random things for each child every week. It rotates through, so they never quite know what I’m going to check in them.

Mystie: That’s a good trick too. Yes. Something where they know that they will be accountable for it.

Amy: That’s right.

Mystie: At this point it’s just, “Okay, I need to see your checklist so that I know that you didn’t lose it.” It turns out that losing it does not mean that you don’t have to do it.

Amy: This year I’m trying something different, I laminated–

Mystie: Print another one of those.

Amy: This year I laminated their weekly checklist because I do a week-at-a-glance, and I’ve been writing just a few things with wipe-off marker but then they can wipe it off with the wipe-off marker. It’s like, “Don’t lose this, I had to pay for this. I can’t reprint this, so unless you want to pay for it.”

Mystie: There you go.

Find Mystie Winckler Online

Amy: Mystie, thank you so much for chatting today. Where can people find you all around the internet?

Mystie: I blog at and I also have a podcast called Simply Convivial. I’m on the Scholé Sisters podcast. I also have a subscription site, a membership site that is called Simply Convivial Continuing Education, where as a community we work together to make progress in our homemaking habits, in our personal discipline, in our attitudes, and just organize life and manage life better, while keeping sanctification and our attitudes and our hearts always the place where we start.

Amy: We will have links to all of those things in the show notes for this episode over at I’ll chat with you later, Mystie.

Mystie: Thanks, Amy.

Check out all the other interviews in my Homeschool Conversations series!

Homeschool Conversations Video Interviews Podcast Amy Sloan
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