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When it Goes Wrong

We have all felt moments When it Goes Right.  Deep in our hearts things click- satisfaction, calm, rest, joy, peace all come together in a satisfying sigh of right-ness.  It is attainable.  It is what keeps us seeking the ideal by bettering ourselves and our children/families one day at a time through teaching at home, practicing what we learn, and mastering what we practice.  It is what causes people to comment on our children.  If you are like us, you get tired of hearing how ‘lucky’ you are and one day become bold enough to reply, “This is not luck, it is bloody hard work in action.”  With a sweet smile, of course!

What about the other moments, those that might dominate our days- When it Goes Wrong.  As homeschoolers we bravely and daily place ourselves to be confronted with the reality of our shortcomings.  Our need for growth.  One of my favorite realizations was that we are so eager to enter Heaven that we choose go through the fires of sanctification daily rather than baby step our way there during weekends/holiday (growth) moments scattering fire to get us through to a peace filled, quiet house Monday.  Who does this?!  Really!  If given the choice, using your brain rather than your soul, everyone would choose quiet days, clean homes, adult conversation.  But you did not- we do not….

…..and things go wrong constantly.  Well, not before the sweet little feet hit the floor each morning.  As I type I struggle with myself over waking the children or taking (stealing) another 30 minutes of quiet time to get my heart-thoughts on to paper.  In releasing myself from carrying guilt all day, I must simply make a clear and concrete decision rather than ‘just a few minutes more.’  They will remain in blessed Dream Land for 30 more minutes!  My timer is set.  My resolve is made.  My guilt laid down.  That, at least, is one thing that will not Go Wrong today.

Other things will go wrong- certainly.  I don’t expect them, prepare for them, nor look for them, but I am not surprised when they pop into our lives.  They have become just another welcomed moment in my day.   One that shows me where I can self improve as a wife, mother, teacher, friend.  Knowing that my days can Go Right places the times when it Goes Wrong in just the right light.  His Light that assures me that I can do better.  I can change.  I can try again to model the actions I desire to impart to my family/children through this journey of home education.  Things that Go Wrong are simply signs that we, ourselves, need to re-direct our thoughts, energies, and efforts.  The children will, most assuredly, eventually, follow.

Bad Habits vs. Thankful Habits

Lately I have recognized a bad habit of feeling sorry for myself when my husband or children do not recognize the hard work I put forth 24/7 which results in a lack of gratitude toward and agreement with Poor Little Me.  It was my husband who was brave enough to say, in the heat of the moment, “I don’t know where it is that you go in your mind, but it always gets us into this argument.”

No longer being newlyweds and knowing that his words are rarely meant to be hurtful, I had to back down and take inventory.  Sure enough, I go to this place of feeling sorry for myself when things are not going my way, the children are, well, acting like children, and my husband is not as supportive as I think he ought to be or in the ways I think he ought to be.  Yikes!  This describes someone that I would prefer not to be.

The beautiful thing is that I am not the Center of Truth, and with His help I can change who I am each moment of each day through the will power gifted by God.  That empty space that grows in my chest that longs for filling really has only one Puzzle Piece that can fit.  I just forget that and try to get quick fixes through my amazing husband and incredible children’s “Yes Mama, you are THE best!!”  “Yes, we can’t wait to do exactly what you say, exactly how you say, and with attitudes that please you.”

With this recognition came the need to figure out how to change this habit.  Habits can’t simply be stopped, dropped, or given up.  They can only be replaced with another habit.  AA works not because you stop drinking but because you shift from diving into your own sorrows with a bottle, into helping others with their sorrows and diving into a Higher Power (used to be called God, but that went out the window when PC flew in).  Note:  I am not an alcoholic….just in case you were wondering.  grin.

Being open to change left me Open to hear His voice which has been whispering through many friends, family, books, conversations of all that is in my life that is not usual.  All that allows me to serve deeply, love longer, live richly.  Substitute- Thankfulness!  Now when I begin to feel sorry for myself after working so diligently toward perfection only to find that my husband and/or children are not playing by the unspoken rules I set, I stop and begin to consider the many blessings that are laid in my lap as gift each day:

  1. Making promises to God to love, serve, honor, care for my better half and sticking to those promises, only to find that the hard times were the tilling of the soil for the sprouting of wonderful times.
  2. Staying at home to raise and teach our children in the way we believe will best serve their future selves.
  3. Having to skimp and save in order to make ends meet, realizing that the savings brought to our financial table was marked and allowed us to live on a single income, focus on family, find joy in living simply, find answers to specific and general prayers prayers (cloth diaper covers, size 4 underwear, girls winter clothing, healthier food), and then to be blessed during the recession.
  4. Bumbling into a home school leadership role that felt way beyond my abilities which has led me to all of you wondrous homeschooling families.
  5. Having a mother who forced the love of literature to discover that books take me beyond my small minded world.
  6. Having a father who specialized in PTSD while not in our lives as children but who brought me to wholeness (along with my other Father) as an adult.
  7. Children who force me to consider the importance of relationship over being right.
  8. Friends who challenge me to be the best version of myself. (love that Matthew Kelly!)
  9. Writer’s Circle and Lost Tools of Living camps that keep ideas fresh and teaching/learning exciting.
  10. My Better Half whose steady double type B anchors me, brings balance to our family, and sometimes painfully brings me to awareness of the side of myself that I would prefer to pretend did not exist.

 

The One Thing

There is not time each day for more than One Thing.  I know, we homeschooling mamas thrive on our super powers of accomplishing above and beyond.  That is not what I am talking about.  The One Thing is your most important objective for the day.  It is done well, completed well, and brings soul satisfaction.

There are many side jobs and yay-I-finally-got-to-that jobs and those that shove their way into our days, but the One Thing must be your focus from the moment you put your feet on the floor and, if you live life fully and freely, should be rather constant yet ever changing.  Organized chaos, if you will.

That sounds like something you would not wish to touch with a long stick, but if we honestly observe living fully in any manner the bookends are rigidity and bedlam.  Organized chaos is allowing life to flow while setting ‘shipping channel’ that guide you safely toward your destination while allowing the freedom of movement, shifting, living a full yet relaxed life.  Let me note that by ‘relaxed’ I do not mean that you will have time to sit around eating bon bons; simply that you will allow yourself to lay down your stress of being perfect.

Back to The One Thing.  It takes dedicated focus to discern and decide what that will be each day.  As homeschoolers most of us immediately conclude that it must be lessons.  What if it were not?  What if lessons were sometimes The One Thing and sometimes not?

Catch your breath.  I am not advocating anything less than the ideal home education that fits your family.  What I am suggesting is that lessons not reign supreme at the cost of all else.  Sometimes they can be the side job that is completed but not the one that you made certain was fully attended to and completed to full satisfaction.  Lessons were simply accomplished while you focused on a friend in need, a birthday girl, chores, a dedicated job, neighbors, adventure.

Remember the Bible story of Mary and Martha?  Who made the better choice?  It was so counter-intuitive.  So counter-cultural.  And yet, it was the proper One Thing for that moment.  Accomplishment, worksheet worship, textbook consumption often overshadow and rob our joys that proffer themselves along the way.  They gently nudge our hearts.  Do you trust that in choosing a non-traditional day of learning has value?   All of life should be learning.  All of learning has value.  Trust that your wisdom to discern between a wasted day and a different day when your One Thing does not leave that mentally satisfying paper trail and allow the joy of releasing your plan of what must be each day to what might be each day.

For our family, we homeschool year ’round which allows us to ebb and flow with our days.  Three days a week our One Thing is lessons leaving two days each week to shift our One Thing out of my controlling hands.  Boy, I do love controlling my universe, but it is not always good for marriage, children, family, personal stress, rest, joy, learning, etc.

  • Be open to adventure and opportunity as they knock.  Our children will learn so much about being flexible, laying down anxiety, embracing life in all it’s colors and glory.
  • Be open to not knowing or planning all of your days.  Begin talking about possible adventures with your spouse, children, friends and see what comes forth–and go with it.
  • Know that what needs to get done will get done.  You will no more allow your child’s education to fall by the wayside than you would allow them to swim in the deep end of a pool without knowing how to swim or being at their side.  It’s not the homeschool way- it would be that far side of the curve–bedlam.  Nobody signs on for that.
  • Be open to change from within.  End each day with praise and start each day with possibility releasing your day into His hands for His glory.
  • Rest and know that you are enough with no need to move mountains in a day.  They will move one shovel full at a time as you take pleasure in your days with focus on embracing fully that One Thing.

Home School Gone Main Stream

Home School being main stream seems counter intuitive and even counter cultural but it is true.  There are more homeschoolers across the nation than private schoolers!  There are so many choices in curriculum, co ops, programs, on line classes, dual enrollment, etc that beginning this journey has become mind boggling.  I am so thankful that it was laid upon my heart to create Faithful Scholars into a realized vision of educating, empowering, and encouraging home schoolers through workshops, newsletters, Face Book Live events, one on one support, and more rather than requiring that you fit into my perceived box of what schooling at home is and is not or simply beginning your legal paper trail.  That being said, I am not knocking those groups as they are the perfect fit for many who find comfort in being told what and how to navigate through the freedom of homeschool or must run their school on a very tight budget.  However, I am thankful that Faithful Scholars grooves to the beat of a different drummer that enables us (my amazing, supportive Better Half and children, incredible office staff, and a top notch IT Team) to serve you beyond the norm.

Becoming main stream has given pause for reflection and I realize that we are so richly woven with threads of integrated primary roles – spouse, parent, and teacher that onlookers are drawn to discover what it is that gives us our joy, edge, vitality.  Call it what you will, but it is appealing and noticed from a distance.  In our undertaking to educate at home, we have have laid ourselves down to be devastated by His grace and will, and found that in doing so, we unexpectedly discover that we are covered by that very same grace.  Becoming aware of this option of being rescued from another person’s schedules, expectations, deliberations, and demands we find that those seemingly secure interactions pale in comparison to our integrated life of family, learning, and play.

Each day is alive with the possibilities, the expectations, of revelation, new, challenges and joys.  Our beings respond with praise and rejoicing in our everyday comings and goings whether we know this or not.  Taking this organic movement into the main lanes of educational options.  Our lives are compelling and mysterious.  People see us coming from a long way off and wonder.  Stopping in their tracks to observe our exchanges with our spouse, children and others, contemplating what has caused us to laugh with pure delight!  Ultimately deciding that they too want the brilliant, kind, curious outlook that they witness….and they come to ask hoping discover a deep well of love, patience, expectation and are drawn one step closer.  You may be tired, lacking your normal patience, yearning for a few more minutes of sleep, feeling burdened by lessons left incomplete, but before all of this, and in spite of all of this, you embody the peace, contentment, and joy that others seek!

The Praise Habit

This is the time of year where I (try to) back down on office work and bettering and bettering and order those ‘real’ items in my life that are neglected during the wonderfully busy Helping Times that bookend my year with Faithful Scholars–  helping families get started, advising on curriculum options according to the unique goals of each family, paperwork for intake, building individual transcripts, creating diploma’s, and all that brings me joy in serving and helping our incredible members each year.  All that to say, I can’t believe that I am getting on here to blog on the sunny and beautiful November morning rather than feeling content with our every other Friday afternoon Face Book Live sessions!  –but am thrilled to find myself here with you all!

What has brought me here is one of my favorite books titles The Praise Habit by the quirky, out of the box theologian by the name of David Crowder.  No wonder he draws me deeply into wonder.  Refreshing!!  This morning I was in the midst of contemplating whether I allow myself to be “engulfed and covered by God’s embrace” by seeking ways of placing myself in the path of “this embrace.”  Of course I don’t—I was built to serve.  At any rate, that has been my motto, and if you are a homeschooling parent, I am pretty sure this is in your top three thoughts.  In fact, how would I even put myself in the path of God’s embrace without feeling like a whiny baby?  I’m not sure, but I am going to contemplate this and see what comes.  Would you join me?  Does it not sound amazing to be engulfed, embraced, and covered by His love?!

“The spiritual life is first of all a life.  It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived.”  – Thomas Merton

 

Summer Days that Count as School

Each summer Faithful Scholars answers questions as to which/whether days can count toward school– CC practicum/camp, music camp, mechanics camp, car trips, vacations based around historical stops, etc.  YES!!!  You can, and should, count them.  Value and give credit to all learning achieved toward the goal of raising lifelong learners.  To learn and have it discounted due to being officially on break is silly.  One more beauty of homeschool!

At preset we have a reading contest going on.  Toss in some math, look at the science gleaned through explore and discover, and have a discussion on current events at dinner.  Viola!  School without the typical pressure of school.  That being said, my children are older so while we count these days, we always go over our 180 in order to accomplish/complete all of the traditional knowledge that we wish to ingest during the year.  When they were younger we simply and joyfully counted the days and focused on 3.5 day weeks of school and lots of adventure, friend, service time.

Our best days are spent learning as we play and playing as we learn.  It gets to the point of thinking that we ought not count them because no blood, sweat, or tears were shed much less paper trail created.  For children under the age of 7, learning IS play.  When your sweet little one wants more school work it is because it is fun to ‘play school’.  Obviously it makes mama super happy, it is time together, and every child wants more of that sorta game.  My children used to play being a student while doing their schoolwork, being siblings, cleaning their rooms…..  Huh???!!  It is all a fun and games in their incredibly alive imaginations as long as we cultivate those precious ethereal ‘lands’ to remain intact.

The younger your child is, the easier it feels to count days.  Face it, everything experienced, discovered, practiced, and explored is learning.  Add in some formal math and daily reading and you are golden.   Math and reading comprehension are the pillars to all learning.  If your child can do these subjects well, they can self-teach all other subjects.

To feel comfy in counting your summer-learning, renew your association membership as soon as your year ends.  Perhaps you don’t feel that you are doing enough to count every day, but certainly some come along that make you think, “THIS is certainly school-worthy.”  Trust your instinct.  You are equipped with a brain to reason and a spirit of honor.

Middle and high school grades become a bit more formal with longer days as you present more complex concepts and spend the time digging, practicing, mastering.  However, those days of “THIS is certainly school-worthy.” still come about— and you can trust yourself!

Homeschooling parents are some of the most honest and honorable people that I have ever come across.  We would rather err on the side of fault than take something that we did not fully earn, deserve, or understand.  Continue to reason.  Continue to honor.  Continue to trust.

Going Slow is Sometimes Like Medicine

Ponder the last time you spent a day or an hour or a moment purposely going slow. A mom wrote the above title to me the other day after she had watched a box turtle meander along and fireflies dance. These are reasons to homeschool, right?

How is it that we get caught up in completing one more task, creating one more organized space, engineering one more functioning schedule, and then decide that now that we have a well oiled machine, er schedule, er family/school unit, we should add MORE!! We could achieve more if we put our children on a yellow bus, yet we chose a path less traveled. One with lots of lovely bends in the road bringing who knows what or who around the curve. Do we make and take the time to embrace those lovely surprises or do we groan as they come along knowing that they either must be ignored, avoided, or allowed to topple our proverbial apple cart?

A homeschool life is such a wonderful journey. Not always amazing in ways that warm the cockles of our hearts, but amazing the ways that life is amazing–BECAUSE of its continuous ups and downs. You may be one that makes every attempt to straighten out the road so as to avoid unexpected surprises or you may be one that zooms down the road so focused and fast that the unexpected surprises simply blur into the past. Or are you one to round the corner, see a slow turtle, and allow it to stop you in your tracks for many moments of goodness, beauty, and truth?

After all, you were probably NOT drawn to homeschool for the exacting nature and pace requiring drill sergeant-like attention to detail, pace, and accomplishment. Quite the opposite. We innately recognize that we are fully equipped to lead, guide, and teach our children towards Truth. In that we study Beauty. Through this we find Goodness.

How was your year? Can you remember the times that you watched the turtles plod and the fireflies dance? If you are like me, you know that you did take a few of those moments, but can’t recall doing it as much as you would like. For my part, my morning cuppa will be spent on my backyard deck or wandering about my yard or peeking at my sleeping children. Dishes can wait, the house will always need a tidy up, and business hours need not be done away with simply because a laptop can travel far too easily.

Grass is Greener

The grass is always greener when seen from a distance.  My fellow homeschoolers all have it together while I still flop and flounder.  Or am I just looking at things from the wrong angle?  My side view shows beautiful lush green.  Step into the middle of that ‘grass’ and suddenly, as you look directly down and about, you see the bare patches and realize that much of the green is made up of weeds.    Perspective is a grand thing, but can only be attained if we get outside of our own safe world of opinions and judgements.

Once we realize this phenomenon, do we give others grace?  Or do we continue to berate ourselves as not having it all together because of X, Y, Z which ‘they’ obviously have and you do not have?  Let’s lay down our defenses and focus on the work at hand.  Then, when you look up, you will find yourself shoulder to shoulder with a friend helping to decide how best to improve or utilize your bare spots and weeds.

Harmony- She is Illusive

Finding harmony based upon routine is one of a homeschoolers core daily struggles.  Even for those of us who are determined to maintain a fluid day, there must be some order.  When do the children wake, what lessons are the big slimy toads and need swallowing first, who needs what nutrition at what time in order to balance out minds and moods, do I answer the phone or pretend not to listen to the voice leaving a message, do I check emails or call it multi tasking as I take a potty break, and on and on.  So, fluid is wonderful, we strive for it, but what gives us the most harmony is doing as we ought to do based upon what routines we have put into place.  To let these go for a day, much less a week, means having to push start a solidly build iron caboose all over again.  Obviously we don’t relish that idea, so why not put it off for one more day, and one more day, and disharmony arrives without us even noticing.

Keeping motivated for our own chores, expectations, meaningful work etc. is only the beginning.  On top of this we must guide and encouargae our children in this same area- this same area that we so often stutter-start, falter, and fail in.  It is a constant seeking.  One that is most often just illusive enough to erringly convince us that it is unattainable.  —And then we grasp it; hold it for a few precious moments; become exhausted in the maintenance it requires; lighten our grasp– and out ‘she’ goes to be sought once again.  It is in the journey that we grow, not in the reaching of the destination.  That is the wonderful thing.  Enjoy the journey.

 

End of Year Fizzles

What leads to burn out at this time of year? How can we instead be encouraged, or at least enjoy a motivated push toward the finish line? We have had lovely Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, perhaps a Winter Break and a Spring Break, yet April and May are the times that, while life renews within and without, our home schooling days feel heavy. It did not used to be like this. We could complete our year focused on finishing well and spend the summer mulling over what worked, what we loved, and begin building our home school dreams & plans for the next year. April and May were times of wrapping up this year. It was a time of digging in and remaining attentive.

For those of you who know what next year will look like (and do not direct a program) you know what I am talking about. It is wonderful. For those who don’t it seems the final quarter of homeschooling becomes a burden rather than a joy and you begin wondering many less than positive things about yourself, your sanity, your children, their ability, and on and on. You must not go there. You must realize that it is the result of modern homeschooling. I love homeschooling in community, but it does come with a price. I feel the price is worth it, but would that I could discover a route that avoided springtime burnout.

My theory is that due to the many programs that require early registration our purpose of completing the current year well is derailed. Families are pressured to examine next year’s options while knowing that this year still needs tweaks. We spend hours mulling over the pros & cons, discussing the ifs & thens, we pray, we stress, we gnash, we groan, and, ultimately, we are driven mad to decide what is best for the future while the present is pending. — AND we recognize that our homeschool needs change day by day making it likely that a whole lifetime of change may occur between signing up now and beginning classes in the fall.

Handling these decisions while maintain the stamina of your current post-February-homeschool-groove that-probably-took-a-while-to-find-after-the-holidays is overwhelming. What is the solution? Perhaps we can approach our years two at a time. Plot a plan to include options we are drawn to, plot this year, and plot what might occur this year that would lead you toward another program for next year. Perhaps we could schedule it into our To-Discuss-During-Holiday-Travel time. By placing this decision making process into a time of rest and removing it from our time of work it may deflate the pressure that leads to spring quarter homeschool burn out.

With that decision out of the way and no suffocating feeling that we must make up lost time, we can take a Spring break or two focused on planting new seeds outside or new ideas within. We can close the history book early and decide that a road trip to a historic monument would better suit our euphoric sunny moods. We can observe the building of a nest rather than the ticking of a clock. We can focus on the present, on the season, on the beauty that is school at home.

Academic Worship vs. Child Centered Learning

The MAIN THING is not the main lesson nor the main book although we get caught up in ever progressing while within we innately understand that our books are simply springboards toward faith and character. Homeschooling is a phenomenon of immense beauty which ever teeters on the brink of going awry through one of two extremes. The over diligent-if-you-can-accomplish-that-in-15-minutes-then-we-should-do-more-lessons vs the easily distracted get-the-kids-started-while-I-begin-x,y,z-and-they-are-quiet-so-I’ll-squeeze-in-a,b,c-as-well. I totally know where I fall as I type to you all.

In step the Lovelies of homeschool: Faith and Character. This could be re-stated as the understanding/trusting that what is spoken by a parent will come to pass (diligence), or what is required by a parent will be asked for (fortitude). No matter how we term our main goals, they are faith and character. The child must have faith in the parent; in the parents modeling; in the parent’s consistency that his/her word is meant when spoken; in the parent’s ability to love strongly; in the parents commitment. You stand in for God at this time. If your child can trust you, who they can see, how much greater will they be able to trust God? And vice versa. When this comes to pass, character is one of the visible facets exhibited much like feeling a lovely breeze on your face is a visible facet of wind. It is how we know that what we are doing is working -however slowly. Be encouraged, it is working if you see even the smallest of indicators at home or in public.

You may be caught up in frantically completing your books at this time of year. Sstressed to the point of wishing you could just stay in bed. Leading the family in a stress-fest feeding (off the guilt you choose to carry in your heart) frenzy. Take heart, lay down the guild, and focus on ONE thing that you can change—Yourself. You will wonder at how quickly and one change will positively affect those around you.
You probably got caught up in feeling that completing the book is more important than the manner in which it is completed. Easily and often fallen for, and such a heady rush when achieved. Finding balance is key. Completing books is not bad as long as it is approached with the child’s well being and true education at the center. If you hear yourself giving reasons for your stress that include a lot of ‘I’ statements, you may be caught up in the vision the world has for your home school rather than what God has called you to (work in your children and family).

How to turn this bus around? You have stopped, taken heart, laid down the guilt, and focused on what you can change, right? Once that is set in order look at your child:
Are they slow because they process slower or are dyslexic? Then slow down your pace and complete what you can with mastery and enjoyment. Focus on their diligence. Check for completeness of work. Test (or discuss) for mastery of small amounts at a time. This will build with so much ‘righting’ itself (seemingly on it’s own) between the ages of 13-20. Sadly so many write the child off by that time. GREAT BOOK: The Gift of Dyslexia
Do they work slowly because they understand that their schooling is not that important to you as is seen through your lack of checking their work, following through on your threats, or even making sure they are doing their work at all? If so, create a plan that has you sitting at the table with them while they work, or move them to where you work, or move as your chores move you. It is very similar to the 24/7-attach-the-puppy-to-you-training that works so well. Just because they are older and can work independently, they need to know that your set boundaries mean something. If you want their Wordly Wise answers to be in complete sentences, you must check often enough to keep the lines clear. This is me right here that I am talking about, and let me tell you how well and how quickly this turn around works. I am amazed at how much love this speaks to my children. Between you and me, they become gushy and mushy little and big darlings. Additionally we all have more time to work and delve into afternoon projects. What lovely side effects! GREAT BOOK: Created for Work
Are their hearts hardened toward your teaching? Making you feel like that awful nagging gong? Try focusing on the child’s needs rather than the book’s pages. We are so quick to believe what the world tells us: (think nasally announcer voice) “The farther you go academically and the faster you get there the more of the world will be open to you.” It is true that more doors will be open to your child, but God has just one that they need walk through, and that is a given that it will be open to them- I am talking earthly doors here since we are talking present tense, in the ditches, working-day reality. They will need to have a soft heart to hear it’s Resident whisper, “That is the door.” Regain their heart, rebuild a trusting relationship based upon something other than one page after another. They can learn at any time. Once they leave your house character will come at a far greater price. Boys want respect. Girls want love. Are you able to respect your sons choice to ignore his schoolwork and sneak gaming time? If you put it in those words he may listen to the words that follow about how successful men are not those who shirk their duty. Then walk away. Can you love your daughters inner beauty even when she chooses coverings which to hide behind? Are you able to tell her how loveable her giggling with a friend is, and how that will make some lucky man joy-filled to wake to each day? Start small. It will grow. You may think you ave nothing to work with. It is there. God is way bigger than we give Him credit for when we are in a rut seeing no way out. GREAT BOOK: Mothers and Sons

If you have a situation that is crushing your joy of teaching reach out and let’s chat ideas and options. Homeschooling is an incredible gift-journey to be able to choose, but it is not the easy road. That being said, we should rarely find ourselves gnashing our teeth and wanting to throw out the baby with the bath water. You might be a homeschooling mama if you are resilient, introspective, and willing to grow regardless personal cost.

You all are doing something amazing. Changing the world one child at a time. It is unbelievable what solid jobs you are doing in building a nation of faith filled, character filled men and women. Oh, and, the nice side effect, they are educated beyond their peers and able to self govern which allows an outward focus for serving others. Thank you for the gift of serving your family!

…..You might be a homeschooling mama if it is 9:45 and you are just thinking about waking your children… (this is one of my ways of avoiding letting them see me distracted from my main goal of raising them. grins and giggles forever!

Summer School aka Year ‘Round Schooling aka Relaxing

With summer swiftly arriving and calling us out of doors it is a joyful release to know that the required 180 day academic year is (almost) over.  But, if you are like us and enjoy the ‘anchorage’ of daily worthwhile accomplishment, it is also a time of continuation and exploration.

We will continue our math and reading- Possibly some journaling, and we will take on an area of interest or weakness.   The groaning and gnashing of teeth will be short lived if you just take to heart that your home culture is one of real life which means that while our job requirements may change, they do not stop, and rarely take more than a short lived break.  It is who we are.  It is what we do.

Last summer we worked on Latin.  This summer we will focus on art and handwriting (a form of art in my way of thinking).  And don’t forget the math and reading.  You know that science will, literally, creep in, and history will be present in many of the books read as well as be a daily dinner (table) discussion.  Viola!  Year ‘Round Schooling.  Simpler than you thought?  Precept upon precept.  Our goal is the love of learning for the sake of understanding The Word as well as an accumulation of knowledge and ability.  Our accumulated work/textbooks no longer bring joy past their completion and blessed laying down.  Not that they are not valid stepping stones.  But, they are not the spark that ignites the spirit of joyful curiosity within.

Don’t Label Your Student ‘Smart’

So often in emails I can hear the sweet love of homeschooling and all that you get to do in a day. It tickles me to be even a tiny part of that! A common occurrence in the elementary years is well state by this mom- in the positive and well intention-ed manner of all the goodness that is a homeschooling mom. It is evident that these parents are doing a great job- and are loving doing it!

“We are “starting” 2nd grade this year, even though technically we “should” be starting 1st grade if we were following the public school birthday schedule. This upcoming year is our 3rd year homeschooling. We don’t plan to put our daughter in public or private school, but if we were to consider it, how would that work? If we show work that she completed 1st grade last year, would that count?”

Our opinion is that you should keep children in the grade their age states. This is NOT to say that you should teach her only at this level! The reasons we encourage this are: Going forward easy breezy is smooth sailing when they are little, but often a wall is hit and then the child has panic and confusion over ‘losing’ her smarts, not being able to over achieve as pleases their parent(s) –self mis giving over why it had been so easy and fun to thrill mom/dad with braininess and now the subject seems difficult. Who am I if I’m not super smart? How can mom/dad still be thrilled with me when I’m not smart? I’m gonna lose my pedestal!

Now, we know that is not how we approach or feel, but a child does not and these unspoken worries can eat a child up, cause them to freeze academically, turn away from enjoying learning, and so on. No matter what we say, it is what has been said and the reactions they have seen and conversations overheard that stick in their heart’s memory. Don’t feel terrible if this is you. We see this on a regular basis and we see these families make corrections and move forward happily. But, after much hard work toward changing everyone’s approach, views, and verbage.

So, stick to grade level, teach at academic level without acclaim or proclaim, tell you daughter what a ‘hard worker’ she is, avoid using terms like, ‘you are so smart’, ‘you are an artists’, etc. Expect that throughout her academic career she will zoom ahead and lag behind in any/all subjects. Just take today for what it is and approach tomorrow for what it will bring. No need to title, label, or proclaim.