Lost & Found

So often life gets crazy. Routines interrupted. The unexpected happens (all the time). School gets set on the back burner. It happens to all of us, and if you say it doesn’t, you’re a liar! But seriously. I am currently in this position where life took over and school got set aside. Want to see how much I “failed” as a homeschooling mom? Go ahead, keep reading, it is sure to make you feel a lot better about your recent “fails” in your homeschool.  Continue reading

Homeschooling is a Privilege

Homeschooling takes so much:

Time.

Energy.

Commitment.

Preparation.

Devotion.

Worry

Praying.

Doubt.

Forgiveness.

Patience.

Dedication.

Love.

Confidence.

Trial and error.

Planning.

Organization.

Coffee.

Ink and laminating sheets (Seriously, I can’t be the only one, right?!)

Sometimes it is easy to feel overwhelmed and bogged down and defeated from all of the stuff that homeschooling TAKES. No matter how prepared, organized, and energized you are, we all have moments where we question if we are doing enough. If what we are doing is even good enough. We even questions what we are actually doing!!! That’s ok! The worry, confusion, and lack of confidence, it is all normal.

In a society where homeschooling isn’t necessarily the “norm” there is added pressure on the homeschool mama to appear to have all her shit together. If you’re a homeschooling mom all of the sudden people think you’re this amazing being that not only keeps house, cleans, and does all her motherly duties, but she HOMESCHOOLS TOO! This isn’t a bad stereotype to fall under, but I feel it does make it hard for many of us moms to feel accepted or for other moms to feel they relate to us. Let’s be honest, I’m home all day. Sometimes I don’t make dinner from scratch. Sometimes my laundry doesn’t get put away the same day… or week. My windows are filthy. Pretty sure there is usually a bag of garbage sitting on the back porch for me to take to the dumpster most days. Is my house always a disaster? No, it isn’t more than it is. BUT I still struggle to do my housewife duties in addition to my homeschool ones. I get discouraged, I beat myself up, I question everything I’m doing.

When my husband and I decided that homeschooling was the only option for us, I began my preparation, organization, planning, etc. I began to feel defeated and incapable of “doing it all”. As I sat in tears, my husband said to me, “To be able to homeschool our children is such a great privilege.” He said that and it was like a ton fo bricks hit me. My entire perspective shifted. I was feeling drained from everything that homeschooling was taking, I forgot what an absolute privilege it is to do it.

In that moment, my mind was set. I was going to embrace this amazing privilege that I was given, and I was going to run with it.

I have the PRIVILEGE to teach my children at home.

I have the PRIVILEGE to watch my children learn.

I have the PRIVILEGE to observe my children grow a love of learning.

I have the PRIVILEGE to be involved in every facet of their education.

I have the PRIVILEGE to be there through the success and failures that my children experience in their education.

I have the PRIVILEGE to be there to lift them up when they’re down and to watch as they soar.

I have the PRIVILEGE to literally be there for my children’s childhood.

I have the PRIVILEGE to promote creativity in my children’s lives.

I have the PRIVILEGE to foster my children’s interests into real learning opportunities.

So to you self doubting, worrying, trying to keep it all together homeschooling mama, don’t forget; homeschooling is a privilege. You got this.

 

The Yount Academy For Boys

The Yount Academy for Boys.

Yup, we named our homeschool. This may seem a bit silly or even unnecessary. I won’t argue that. However, when you really think about it, our homeschool is as worthy of a name and recognition as much as any other traditional school. Why not name it? 

I first got this idea when I was was reading Called Home, a quick and easy read about a woman who felt “called home” to homeschool. (What a great title for the book, right?) In this book, she discussed naming your homeschool, creating it a mission statement, and setting goals for your homeschool, not just for the school year. After first reading it I couldn’t believe what a great idea it was. I had never considered naming our school or giving it a mission statement. But in retrospect, our homeschool is not any less “official” in comparison to a traditional school. We are educating our children and creating an atmosphere of learning, love, and independent thinking. It almost seems silly NOT to give your homeschool a name. 

We decided on Yount Academy for Boys. I chose this name for some obvious reasons. I liked the name academy better than school, institute, etc. And since we have been blessed with only boys, having it be a boy’s only school tickled my funny bone. It sounds so elite and professional and I just imagine what pride the kids will have when people ask them where they go to school and they say, “The Yount Academy for Boys”.

There is more than just pride that comes with naming your homeschool. There is that small sense of “normalcy”. With the reputation of homeschoolers and their kids, having a name of a school to give instead of just saying “we homeschool” up front deters the immediate negative reactions and responses. I am not saying not to own homeschooling. But when you give the name of your homeschool and they ask where it is, or what it is and you drop the homeschool bomb on them, they tend to be slightly more receptive.  

Also, it is just plain fun! We put a ton of work, thought, and love into our homeschools! They deserve to have a name! I get a little smile on my face whenever I say the name or talk about it. I just stinking love it! Share your homeschool name and how you chose it!

Morning Bucket

I take pride in being my individual self. I like to do things on my own. I like to do them my own way. I like when I have organic and unique ideas for homeschooling that other people find interesting or deem a great idea. I struggle with criticism. I don’t like using other people’s ideas because I want it “to be my own”. When I read or see something that is a good idea I feel a twinge of jealousy and resentment that I didn’t think of it first or that I didn’t think of it on my own. Such is the story with “morning time”.

Morning time. It seems so self explanatory and natural, but it is so much more than that. Pam Barnhill wrote the book, Better Together: Strengthen Your Family, Simplify Your Homeschool, and Savor the Subjects that Matter Most. I bought this book months ago based on the title alone and having no idea what the subject matter really was. It sounded perfect. Who doesn’t want a stronger family, a simpler way to homeschool, and to spend more time with the subjects we love? I couldn’t wait to read this life changing book and anticipated its arrival.

It arrived.

I read it.

I hated it.

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The “S” Word

The “S” word… It’s a doozy… SOCIALIZING.

Yup, I said it.

Parents often tell me they “can’t” homeschool. When I discuss this with them often times their defense for sending their kids to public school is because little Johnny is so social he needs to be around other kids.

Hmmm. Interesting. Let’s talk about this idea of socializing and what it really means.

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Here is the definition of socialize from dictionary.com. I think all of us can agree on this definition, however, it’s how we interpret it, or are taught to interpret it that is the gray area of misunderstanding.

Many parents of public school kids use socializing as one of the main reasons they are sending their kids to school or as one of the main reasons they can’t homeschool. This is a natural thinking process of many people in our society because it is what we were taught to believe. Most of us attended a traditional style school. What was the result? Classrooms filled with other kids similar in our age that we had to spend most of our time with. You become friends with some of the other kids, because they’re the only kids you really see since you spend more time with them in a classroom than you do at home. This is the natural progression of socialization. However, as. former public school teacher, “socializing” wasn’t on my curriculum. There was listening and speaking, yes. I would observe children in social settings and draw conclusions on their social abilities to an extent, yes. But socializing isn’t something that is a focus on at school.

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This image above brings about so many truths. Teachers and parents often tell their children, “School is not for socializing, it is for learning.” Then just as fast they are quick to defend that socializing is why the kids are at school. Yes, I understand that the kids get to talk and play and interact at school. But is that socializing?

In my personal opinion, socializing is when someone is able to talk, interact, or engage in an activity with someone appropriately, regardless of age, gender, etc. Putting children in classrooms with others like them and wanting them to learn how to socialize is more of a detriment. These parameters of who they are allowed to see and talk to (mostly those in their class or their grade level), controlling when they can talk, controlling how they interact, etc is not socializing. I refer to this as forced association. Now, we all have moments or times in our lives where this happens, yes. But forced association is not socialization.

Socialization is the ability to interact with any other person appropriately. Sometimes this may mean children the same age, sometimes this means adults, sometimes this means older or younger kids. In homeschooling, children are able to learn at their own speed in an educational setting. There is no need to “socialize” during a math lesson or a history lesson. But opportunities to learn how to socialize are abundant. Libraries, museums, sports, 4h, camp, church, other families, parks, etc. This natural opportunities allow children to learn how to socialize in different settings appropriately with people who may or may not be in the same grade as them or may or may not sit close to them in class.

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I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to keep my kids home with me and pursue a homeschool education. My children have shown that they are socially diverse and able to interact with others similar to them and different from them in a variety of settings. It is important to be able to have this necessary skill of being around and interacting with others different from you for this thing called life. Once you get into college and the work field, you will have to be able to adapt and interact and even talk to people who are not like you. I ask you this, is a traditional school setting fostering an environment for children to learn how to appropriately interact with people different than them?

I’ll end with this.

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Slow & Steady

People choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons; one of the most influential reasons to homeschool for my family is to allow my children to learn and grow at a pace that is right for them. We’ve discussed the benefits of homeschooling multiple age/ability level children at home (and in school) in The Multi-Age Dilemma. Having multiple ages in my home is a great asset to my children’s education. But the biggest benefit is the opportunity for my kids to learn as slow or as fast they need while utilizing subjects of interest to them as opposed to a “one size fits all” curriculum in public schools.

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Curriculum… What Do You REALLY Need?

Oh curriculum… This is one of those hot topics that is discussed constantly amongst homeschooling families and families considering homeschooling. When we meet someone that finds out that we are a homeschooling family, the first question is always, “What curriculum do you use?” My answer, my own. Shocker, right? Those that know me personally would maybe blame it on my alleged “stubborn” personality or my desire to do things my own way. Meh, that might be part of it.

If you are just beginning your homeschool journey or considering it and looking into curriculum options you probably have done your research and have learned all the different styles of education and all the different curriculums available that support certain styles. You may have also noticed how incredibly expensive many of these curriculums are. Being a family of 6 on one income, spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a curriculum per school year didn’t seem like something I was interested in. Especially since so much of the curriculum is workbooks and a script for parents. (No thanks!)

So I got this wild idea… What if I DIDN’T spend a ton of money on a curriculum and just made my own? Gasp – is that even an option? Yup! Once I share that I make my own curriculum I’m often met with the typical, “Oh, I could never make my own curriculum!” Guess what? Yes, you can.

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