10 Things I Want You To Know About Instagram (a letter to my teenage daughter)

You are fourteen now. 

Social media is one of those things that we need to teach you about, protect you from, and also pray about as you navigate these new waters. 

Social media is a form of communication that is here to stay, but social media also has many flaws.  We also know that YOU need to know about social media - how it works and how to use it appropriately and WISELY. 

You've been asking your dad and me about an Instagram account, and we have decided this a good place for you to start.  I know you see Instagram as a harmless site for sharing fun photos, but it can be so much more than that - good AND bad.  

Here are 10 things I want you to know about Instagram:

10 Things I Want You To Know About Instagram

1. What you post will ALWAYS be there.

A simple photo or comment may seem harmless and fun today, but be sure it is something that can stand the test of time.

Anything you post on Instagram (or anywhere online, for that matter) is there FOREVER. 

Did you know that employers look at your social media profiles?  

Oh, and 86% of colleges look at your profile, too?  


If you want to post a picture, think about it -- maybe even for a few few hours - before you do it. 

"The Internet is Forever."

2. Don't fall victim to comparisons

It's very easy to scroll through your Instagram feed and think that people have perfect lives. 

You need to know that people generally post the BEST things on Instagram. 

Don't fall victim to comparisons. 

Please know that what you are seeing is just a brief SNAPSHOT of someone's life. Pictures can be enhanced and cropped - teeth can be whitened, and wrinkles removed. 

You are beautiful as you are, and I would hate for you to feel bad about yourself because you spend too much time on Instagram comparing yourself to others. 

3. MORE is not better.

More followers.

More likes.

These do not determine your self worth. 

Your mood can and WILL be affected if you spend too much time checking Instagram and tallying up how many people "liked" your post. 

Those kids you see with hundreds of followers?  I wonder about that... putting yourself out there for the world to see is NOT safe, and it's just not wise.  

Guard your heart. Guard your privacy. 

Less is more. 

4. NEVER share your location.

 Never, EVER, put your location on an Instagram post. 

Turn off your location settings on your device.  (The latest Instagram update makes it SO easy for you to share your location, and we've gone over your settings so you are clear about this.)

I have shown you this video (while I don't approve of the tactics used) and hope it's enough to convince you your dad and I are serious about this one.  

5. Share what you love and find beautiful.

I think if you follow this rule, you can never go wrong. 

I was so proud of you when this was your very first Instagram post. 

Your brother and your dog :-) 

First Instagram Post -- 10 Things I want you to know about Instagram

You have wonderful interests and so much that is worth sharing.  An Instagram profile can be a beautiful snapshot of your life, and in some cases, very artistic.

Just remember... choose wisely. 

6. If you don't know someone personally, do NOT let them follow you.

You may see teens with hundreds and hundreds of followers. 

(Remember what I said in #3)

You and I have also noticed that A LOT of creepy, middle-aged men request to be friends with teenage girls on Instagram. This is the sad reality of the world we live in, and I hope this supervised use of Instagram is preparing you for "real" life. 

Your account is PRIVATE for a very good reason. 

Choose your friends wisely, just like in real life. 

7. When posting something, ask yourself "Do people really want to see this?"

My sweet daughter, this is something YOU taught me. 

In a world of so much noise and visual clutter, our words, pictures,  and actions become meaningless if we sling them around without thought. 

THINK before you post something... then think some more. 

If you are posting something to IMPRESS people, your motivations are wrong. 

We live in a world where so many teens (and adults for that matter) are crying out for attention - and the easiest way to get that attention is through social media.  

Please, please think before you post. 

And remember, we strive to be God-honoring in all we do.  Yes, that even includes social media (ESPECIALLY social media!). 

8. Bikini and Boyfriend Shots are Tacky.

Girls have no business showing so much of their bodies to the world.  (I'm so thankful you have a father that has said NO to bikinis for his teenage daughter.)

You may think just your "followers" see the pictures, but that is not necessarily true.  (Refer to #1)

Your worth does NOT come from your body, and it certainly does not come from having a "boyfriend". 

We've had  conversations about this one... so I don't think I need to say more.

9. Be genuine.

This one is so, so hard. 

Most people put their best foot forward on Instagram. 

YOU are beautiful. God created you in HIS image with special talents and gifts. 

Don't ever try to be someone you are NOT - in real life and on social media. 

If you have just a few wonderful friends who love you for YOU, that is worth so much more than 125 hollow Instagram likes on a post, or 1,500 Instagram followers. 

10. Instagram DOES have benefits!

Instagram is such a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. 

I love that you can follow your cousins who live far away, and that you can share your favorite photos with friends. 

And, admittedly, I use Instagram A LOT. It's such a good tool for my blog and ministry in the homeschool world.  

As with anything, you need to educate yourself, stay smart, and use this tool for the RIGHT reasons - not the wrong ones. 

I am here to guide you and help you along the way.


Tell me YOUR thoughts about teens and Instagram.  

Please keep the conversation civil and respectful. This is my "home" on the web and I reserve the right to delete offensive comments. 

10 Things I Want You to Know About Instagram (a letter to my teenage daughter)

The Diligent Homeschool - Collage Friday 1.2

I have spent the past couple of years feeling  guilty about leaving our interest led, whimsical schooling behind us. The deeply creative part of me has been mourning the learning "tangents" that so often captured our focus. 

The Diligent Homeschool - Collage Friday 1.2

This year, however, - even though we are only three weeks into the school year - those feelings of guilt and mourning are beginning to fade. I am seeing so clearly what a beautiful, solid Classical education my children are receiving, and it brings me great joy and PEACE.

As I watch my ninth grader so competently schedule and complete her own work, it shows me the disciplined approach of our schooling in the past two years is WORTH IT. 

When I see my fifth grader flourish with large amounts of memory work, and thirst for yet ANOTHER book, it affirms my choice to educate him in this way. 

In short, we now have a DILIGENT homeschool, and I am taking great joy and rest in that fact. 

The Diligent Homeschool

In Teaching From Rest (my new favorite book!), Sarah Mackenzie tells us, 

I spent some of my early homeschooling years parked in an overly relaxed mode of teaching. It wasn’t laziness, exactly — I went in quite intentionally and thought it to be a great gift to my students to allow them to bloom on their own terms. What I found, however, was that the nature of my children was not nurtured by my best intentions. My neglect in their formation repaed exactly what one might expect — laziness, carelessness, and a self-centered view of learning. I thought I was meeting my kids where they were. I wrongly figured that if wisdom began with wonder, than I as a teacher outght to step out of the way completely. In an effort not to stand between my student and his learning, I failed to build a bridge at all between the child in front of me and the man God intended him to become.

Friends, these words hit me - HARD.

Hopefully this year I will continue to up my teaching game and offer my children a rigorous education that creates diligence and a love of God's people and His Word.  

Increasing Independence in Challenge I

Anna's week now requires consultation from me - along with suggestions here and there about scheduling, editing papers, and general encouragement.

Each week she schedules all of her assignments and is very diligent about completing them. (That's not to say we don't have some bumps in the road, but for the most part I have been so pleased.)

I remember being in high school - we simply followed a schedule and did what the teachers told us. There was  little room for true OWNERSHIP and DECISION MAKING. 

Increased Independence in Challenge I

A typical week in Challenge I...

Anna does much of her work on her Google Chromebook (I need to write a post about what a great machine this is for a high schooler). She has a dedicated work area in her bedroom and it's quite pleasant. Many times during the day I will pop in, sit on her bed, and just get a status update. 

She had her Henle I Latin Open House - through Memoria Press - and will begin that class after Labor Day. The teacher has lived in several countries and is a Latin scholar - just listening to her chat with the students today was quite exciting. 

American Government is a lot of work right now - the students annotate original American documents and share with the class. 

She has already read The Call of the Wild, The Sign of the Beaver, and Johnny Tremain

She has completed the first chapter in her physical science text and has taken the first test.

In Challenge I, the workload is intense, but these young people are so CAPABLE and are meeting the challenge! 

It's not all academics, though -- we are still taking music lessons, playing tennis, and doing other things she enjoys. 

She made a Ham, Broccoli, Cheese Quiche for us this week.. so yummy! 

I love that school and home blend together. We can talk about the novel she is reading while cooking - I can watch her online class while I'm folding laundry. We can share a read aloud together at lunchtime. 

My husband works from home, and I love the atmosphere in our house: we are ALL working hard during the day. Each person has their own "job" to do, but we are all interested in each other and support each other's work. I love that we aren't separated all day into separate classrooms and workplaces. 

I think back on the days when everyone scattered at 7:30 a.m. to different schools and workplaces and don't miss it one bit! 

Myths, Maps, Memory Work (& More!)

My fifth grader was a hard worker this week, too. It was our first official Classical Conversations community day, and he was so excited to see friends, learn new memory work, and even review the sentence patterns in Essentials! 

Myths, Maps, Memory Work & More

A few things pictured above:

  • Copying Essentials grammar charts is done daily. I would have thought this would be boring, but I never hear a complaint - in fact I think he LIKES it. 
  • Map Tracing (of course!) - this week it was the Fertile Crescent - which led to some scientific discoveries about the Mediterranean Sea - FUN! 
  • Writing a rough draft and then typing his IEW paragraph - I am a firm believer in teaching kids to type!
  •  D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths has completely captured his attention. Add this to his ongoing obsession with the Percy Jackson series (he started The Mark of Athena this week), and he's learning so much about mythology. 

Grant also started fall baseball this week and is THRILLED about that! 

Community Day - Classical Conversations

It was back to Classical Conversations this week... my two students are both looking so grown up, don't you agree? 

Grant's Foundations class is ALL BOYS. His tutor is wonderful and she had the boys out on the field doing memory work DRILLS, complete with a bullhorn and pushups!  It was GREAT! 

First CC Community Day

Our Essentials tutor is also a man, so it's nice to have that influence this year... another guy who thinks grammar is cool?  Awesome! 

Grant's favorite part of Essentials is the math game that is played at the end. This week it was Board Slam.  I just sit back and watch him come up with the math problems, because he's faster than I am! 

Oh, and I had to sneak in a picture of my SunButter. We have a nut-free community, so I decided to try SunButter in lieu of Peanut Butter. It is VERY good.  In fact, today at home I made myself a SunButter and Honey Sandwich for lunch.   MMMMMM......  

Join Collage Friday!

Collage Friday at Homegrown Learners

How was YOUR homeschool week? Do you have any thoughts on what it means to have a DILIGENT homeschool?

Join me each Friday for a wrap up of the week - or just to share pertinent thoughts that have been rambling in your head during the past week.

Be sure to include your photo collages!

Then, visit other bloggers that have linked and leave them a supportive comment.  I love the Collage Friday community!

Add your link using the widget below. Additionally, if you'd like to join further, use the hashtag #collagefriday on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. 

Keep a Few Beautiful Things Consistent - Collage Friday 1.1

Welcome back to Collage Friday!

Keep a Few Beautiful Things Consistent - Collage Friday 1.1

For those of you not familiar with the Collage Friday link up, it is simply a weekly meme where homeschool bloggers (and anyone else for that matter), can share photo collages of their week.

It is also a time each week where I share about the events of our week - favorite resources, fun ideas, and anything else I'd like to document.  Collage Friday is my homeschool scrapbook!

This year I am trying to be much more INTENTIONAL about keeping track of each Collage Friday post. While I have been running this link up for FIVE YEARS, this year I will start numbering each Collage Friday post and housing them all on the Collage Friday page. 

Each week will have a theme and number. 

So here goes -- the very first edition of the 2015-16 school year, and the very first edition where I am the parent of a HIGH SCHOOL student! 

Ninth Grade Homeschool

We've had a less than perfect start to the year. 

Since I had surgery last week, I have been moving slowly.  I've been very proud of the way Anna has started her classes and work pretty much on her own (with a little input from her dad and me). 

The core of Anna's work is Challenge I (Classical Conversations). Her first class was Tuesday, and from all reports it was wonderful! She has a class of five students - and one tutor - who meet one day a week. 

Starting 9th Grade - Collage Friday

We aren't following the Challenge I curriculum to the letter. Changes are being made in math and Latin. 

One of the largest benefits of the Challenge program is that the PARENT is the final authority and teacher. Yes, we try to follow the program as strictly as we can, but when adjustments need to be made for my child, I feel it is quite possible to do so. 

Anna is taking Algebra I online from Mr. D Math. The first class was this week and I was most impressed with the ease of technical setup, the content of the class, and the online environment that Anna completes her math lessons in throughout the week. 

Henle I Latin will begin after Labor Day, and this is done through Memoria Press Online Academy. Technical setups were done this week and all went smoothly there, too. 

Between the two online classes, Challenge I seminars, and Anna's interest in music, I think it's going to be a busy and productive first year of high school. 

A Consistent Start to Our Homeschool Day

Last year became a bit disjointed for my children. It seemed that Anna was working on her Challenge curriculum and Grant was working with me on Foundations and Essentials, and we didn't meet much in between.

This year I am really trying to change that. We start each day together with our simple morning basket

A Consistent Beautiful Start to Our Homeschool Days

Even though I wasn't feeling 100% (or even 50% most days!), I did try to get up, shower, and meet the kids downstairs for breakfast by 8:30. 

We would have our devotion, talk about a piece of art, and go over memory work. 

(I detail all of this in my Simple Morning Basket post.)

Next week we will do the same, but have a SQUILT Music Appreciation lesson instead of art. The plan is to alternate art and music each week. 

I must say that reading Sarah Mackenzie's Teaching From Rest has given me a lot of inspiration to start the school year well. The section "When Your Daily Grind is Holy Ground" hit me between the eyes. Why can't our daily homeschool grind be full of beauty and holiness?  

Percy, Piano & More

I love God's timing.

Grant has never been a huge chapter book reader. This summer, however, Anna suggested to him that he might want to give the Percy Jackson series a try (considering we will be in Cycle 1 this year).

Six books later, Grant is HOOKED!  He spent much of the last week READING. 

That made this mom very happy, and lessened a little of my guilt for being not available much of the time. 

Grant was either reading, building with his Minecraft Crafting Box, making rubber band bracelets, practicing baseball, or playing piano. 

Percy Jackson, Piano & More - Collage Friday at Homegrown Learners

We did manage to get back on track with a little bit of "school", also.

Saxon Math lessons continued (as they did all summer). 

Grant also began his Veritas Press self paced history course. I'm especially excited about this, and so is Grant. He loves that it's all done online, and I love the content and that it builds up more independence in his day. 

All in all, it was a good week. 

The kids were helpful to me and each other, and we managed to "wade" into the school year slowly. 

There were no "back to school" pictures or celebratory breakfasts.  I'll have to do that once I'm feeling a bit better, which I anticipate will be very soon. 

Join Collage Friday!

Collage Friday at Homegrown Learners

How was YOUR homeschool week?

Join me each Friday for a wrap up of the week - or just to share pertinent thoughts that have been rambling in your head during the past week.

Be sure to include your photo collages!

Then, visit other bloggers that have linked and leave them a supportive comment.  I love the Collage Friday community!

Add your link using the widget below. Additionally, if you'd like to join further, use the hashtag #collagefriday on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.