Q&A Wednesday: Dealing with Sibling Rivalry in the Homeschool

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

If you homeschool more than one child, as most of us do, then sibling rivalry is a daily part of your homeschooling reality.

I’ve been in the thick of this recently, since my three children have only 22 months separating them in age.

That’s why I recently asked the following question on my Facebook page:

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The most important thing you’ll ever do for the success of your homeschool.

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Today’s post finishes up the series I’ve been writing over the past month: Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom.

Throughout the past four weeks we’ve talked about school vs. home, curriculum vs. atmosphere, a mom’s education, and burnout. But wouldn’t it be great if we could see our role as homeschooling parents boiled down to one main goal–one idea that would ensure the development of a successful homeschooling foundation?

Knowing this one tip would mean that when everything starts to crumble around us, we’d know exactly what to do to get back on track.

Well, there is such a tip! It’s magical, it’s natural, and above all it’s simple.

The most important thing you’ll ever do for the success of your homeschool is this:
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Waldorf Homeschooling: Learning to Let Go

Written by Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys and Moon Child

A note from Jamie: This post from Sarah is such a great reminder around this time of year, as sometimes we all need to let go of our expectations and go with our guts. It first published August 23, 2010. Enjoy!

While my two boys, Harper and Will, spent most of their schooling years in a Waldorf school, we spent two years homeschooling. I am a trained Waldorf teacher and prior to this I had been teaching at the Waldorf school that my boys attended.

I spent years in graduate school studying education and had many years of teaching experience, but I learned more about how children learn during those two years than I did from all my teacher training and the plethora of books I’d read on the subject.

The Challenge

Being devoted to Waldorf education, I was determined to give my children a true Waldorf experience at home, so when we started, I did what I knew. I created a mini-Waldorf school at home, complete with lazured walls, wooden desks, and a large blackboard. It was beautiful!

Since I had also agreed to homeschool my niece, I was committed to offering the curriculum to three different grades, as it would be taught in a Waldorf school.

During the first couple of months, I would routinely stay up until midnight, sometimes later, preparing three different lesson plans and drawings that I would expect my students to copy into their “main lesson books” the next day. I had a curriculum and a daily schedule and I was determined to stick to it.
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Seeking a Professional: Our Speech Therapy Journey

Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home

We really thought he would outgrow it. Eventually he’d start saying “right” instead of “wight” and “guitar” instead of “guitah.” He’d eventually master his sister’s name — Laurel—which is a nightmare for kids who struggle with the L and R sounds.

Both of our boys were born with ankyloglossia, a condition in which the frenulum (that little band of tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth) is too short and tight, thus restricting the movement of the tongue. In other words, they were tongue-tied.

A generation or more ago, it was a common procedure for a doctor to clip a newborn’s anchored tongue.  But for various reasons, frenectomies fell out of favor in recent decades, including the years during which my boys were born.  My sons were born seven years apart in two different states, and both pediatricians maintained that tongue-clipping wasn’t done anymore and that “they’ll grow out of it.”

Our older son had trouble with his L and R sounds, but by age seven, he mastered the sounds completely.  Most likely, his frenulum stretched out on its own. But our younger son continued to struggle.  We regularly modeled correct speech for him in our home, but he just couldn’t seem to imitate our sounds.
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Burnout is inevitable, so plan for it.

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

I know I may shock some of you by mentioning this, but not every homeschool day looks like Little House on the Prairie.

Some days look more like Nightmare on Elm Street.

Instead of hardworking kids listening to Mom, it could be that you reach a season where your days consist more of policing sibling squabbles and just trying to have everyone make it through until bedtime. I speak from personal experience!
 
I do not believe that homeschooling is the right choice for every family in every season. But it does make me feel saddened when I see a mom stop purely because of burnout. Equally sad is when families continue on, but without any of the joy they once had.
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