My biggest homeschooling mistake

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher

When I think about homeschooling I usually focus on my children. What are their needs? What makes them tick? What peeks their interest?

What would support their growth and build skills and confidence?

I usually don’t spend much time thinking about myself, my relationship to homeschooling and the emotions that homeschooling brings up for me. And that’s a mistake.
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Designing big plans to work with your every day

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher

We homeschool and take breaks year round, but there’s something about starting fresh in the fall. Using fall to jump start new learning experiences is woven into the fabric of our culture and experience. It’s the perfect time to do some big picture planning.

I love planning. It’s exciting to map out a way to live and learn in ways that inspire us and to work out the logistics to help make it happen.

But I must admit, in the past, big picture planning has often hurt more than helped.  When I plan, I am acting for the well-being of my family, but it can set us up for frustration, disappointment and even a sense of failure.

Why? In the past, my plans focused too heavily on the big picture and not enough on our current everyday reality.

Often, our everyday life fell short of the color coded map that made more sense on paper than it did on the average Tuesday. I had been trying to force my family’s everyday life into my big picture plans, but turns out it’s more helpful to match the big picture plan to our everyday life and learning.

There are two simple exercises I’ve implemented over the past year that have helped me create more realistic plans and avoid the potential frustrations that can creep up when the plan and reality don’t match up.
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Uncomfortable unfoldings (0n patiently waiting for milestones)

Written by Hillary Boucher of infinitely learning

When you look back on your life it is easy to pick out milestone moments. It’s different for everyone, but learning to ride your bike or learning to drive are probably easy memories to recall.

Milestones are peak experiences that define a journey. You have to go deeper to remember the hours and days leading up to milestones and the frustrations and grumps that sometimes come along with them.

You may notice this in younger children and toddlers: right before they hit a major milestone, like sitting up or walking, they become restless, difficult to soothe and generally uncomfortable.

I notice this in myself, even as an adult: when life is asking me to change, to grow and stretch beyond my comfort zone, there is a certain discomfort that precedes my impending growth.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin
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Always a novice: Homeschooling my first born

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of infinitely learning

When I was pregnant with my first born I thought I had a pretty clear idea of what it meant to be a parent.

After he was born I learned quickly that he came with his own personality and needs that didn’t necessarily fit into my philosophies or chosen approaches.

And thus, was the beginning of a seven year long journey of learning that parenting philosophies don’t necessarily translate well into every day practical applications.

If I were to give a new mom some advice I would say:

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Piecing Together a First Grade Education (2012 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of infinite learners

Ages of my children: 7, 4, & 1
Educational philosophies I pull from: Unschooling, Literature-based, Enki, Montessori

We are a young homeschooling family and have only recently started to explore formal curriculum. In the early years we find that focusing on a healthy and enriching home environment along with the patience to let little ones explore at their own pace is more than optimal.

However, a few things changed this past fall:

  • my son turned seven and was actively seeking out more stimulation,
  • New York State Laws require that we begin turning in our plans and reporting on progress, and
  • I started a new job working from home.

The combination of of these changes led us to seek out curriculum tools to help us cover the basics. We started out simple: math and reading.
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