Haunted by the Ghost of Public School Past?

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Written by Caitlin Curley of My Little Poppies

One of the most challenging parts of homeschooling, at least for me, is remembering to keep school and education separate.

I know this, but I also spent many years in school both as a student and an educator.

It can be tough to shake that public school mindset.

When we first started homeschooling, we attempted to recreate a school at home. That didn’t last long.

When things are going well, when I’m trusting my gut and my children, our homeschooling looks nothing like school.

It is only when the doubt creeps in that we struggle and start to second-guess… well… everything.

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Coffee and Books: An unexpected homeschool game-changer

Coffee & Books: A unexpected homeschool game-changer

Written by Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies

September is here.

Armed with fresh notebooks and colorful pens, we feel renewed and inspired. We are determined to make this homeschool year a memorable one.

We have a plan for how we want the year to go, a vision.

And yet, sometimes, the best homeschool ideas are unplanned.

Coffee and Books, read aloud, reading aloud, reading, homeschool, homeschooler, homeschooling, stealth learning, slow learning, morning time, homeschool routine, homeschool schedule, language arts,

Take, for example, last winter.

A lifelong morning person, I suddenly found myself unable to wake up before my children. I can see now, in retrospect, that it was the result of saying yes to far too many people plus a case of the winter doldrums.

My motivation was at an all-time low.

By not waking before my children, I lost my planning time. Rather than enjoying an hour to myself, drinking my coffee in silence and setting us up for a peaceful morning, I woke up to rambunctious, hungry children.

When my feet hit the floor on those cold wintry mornings, I already felt behind. I was overwhelmed by a sense of urgency, a need to accomplish all the things … and fast!

Coffee and Books, read aloud, reading aloud, reading, homeschool, homeschooler, homeschooling, stealth learning, slow learning, morning time, homeschool routine, homeschool schedule, language arts,

I’d rush through breakfast so that we could tackle math. (Because don’t we all worry a little bit about math in our weakest moments?)

This resulted in colossal power struggles. And tears. And general chaos.

Needless to say, we didn’t accomplish much.

One morning, as I was laying in my warm bed, silently berating myself for not getting up and accomplishing all the things, I had a revelation:

What if I start our mornings with what we love? What if I tackle the one area I never worry about?

And so I got out of bed, poured a cup of coffee, and grabbed a book.

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How brain dumps can help little worriers

how brain dumps can help little worriers

Written by Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curely of My Little Poppies

My oldest son is a compassionate, funny, creative, wonderful little human.

He’s also a World Class Worrier.

At 8-years-old, he should be spending his summer running through sprinklers and climbing trees and eating his weight in watermelon. He should be making mud pies and catching fireflies and having cannonball contests.

And he is doing all of those things, but he’s also worrying.

Worry is tricky like that. It can pop up, out of nowhere, on a beautiful day.

Worry can derail a summer.

No one is immune to worry. It is a natural part of the human experience, a crucial part of the fight-or-flight response. Worry protects us.

But it certainly doesn’t feel that way for some of us. Some of us worry more.

I am one of those people. I can remember being his age and laying awake on a hot summer night, scared out of my mind, unable to fall asleep.

So is it any wonder that now, thirty years later, I have a child who does the same? That apple does not fall far.

I wish I could make his worries magically disappear. I wish I could erase them from his mind so that he can get back to being eight and awesome.

BRAIN DUMP

Unfortunately, worry doesn’t work that way. You cannot snap your fingers and make it go away, but you can learn to manage it.

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On the quest for homeschool mindfulness

On the quest for homeschool mindfulness
Written by Caitlin Curley of My Little Poppies

So there is this thing that happens when you homeschool, but it doesn’t happen right away.

At least, it didn’t for me.

You see, I’m one of the unexpected homeschoolers. I landed here swiftly and without warning and it took a good long while for me to adjust to our new normal.

But, eventually, it starts to happen.

At first, it’s subtle.

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Maybe you ease up on your planning or your record keeping.

Maybe you stop relentlessly crossing off all those to-dos in your mind.

Maybe you even lighten up on yourself and concede that you’re doing a pretty good job at this homeschooling thing, most of the time.

After a little while, during a moment of clarity, you see that you have relaxed into homeschooling. You have, for the most part, shaken off the public school mindset. You’ve learned firsthand that school and learning are two entirely different things and one can exist without the other.

You’ve realized that learning happens all the time when you relax and let it.

And, boy, does that feel good. Because it gives you permission to take everything down a notch or two and just breathe.

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How my 6-year-old taught me to love cooking

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Written by Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies.

I used to hate cooking.

I made sure my family had access to healthy foods and tried my best to prepare balanced meals..but I didn’t enjoy it.

wanted to, but I didn’t.

Over the years, I’ve tried to force it and I’ve tried to fake it, but it just never clicked. There was always something else I’d rather be doing.

My quest to love cooking reached an all-time high when we first stumbled into homeschooling, because it was then that I discovered the homesteaders.

You know the ones. Somehow, these amazing women are able to educate a passel of children and bake fresh bread and hang laundry on the line and care for chickens and prepare from-scratch meals that make your belly rumble… not to mention the quilts, jams, candles, and soaps.

And their children get to watch and learn from it all.

There is a huge part of me that wants to be able to do that, to live out my girlhood Laura Ingalls dreams.

But the reality is, I can’t figure out the balance piece of it.

So maybe, if we’re being honest here, I just want an amazing homesteader to adopt me.

(Because you can’t be a homesteader if you don’t enjoy cooking.) 

This realization caused me to, once again, hang up my wannabe-homesteader apron and stick with what I know. Instead of acting like the Ingalls family, we read about the Ingalls family.

And then something amazing happened.

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