About Lora

Lora Lynn Fanning blogged for 11 years about her family life with seven kids at Vitafamiliae. These days, she homeschools her growing brood, teaches writing both in person for co-ops and online for Brave Writer, and writes at her new site, LoraLynnFanning.com.

Homeschool sidekicks: 6 ways to creatively outsource your life


Written by Lora Lynn Fanning

I heard it in her voice over the phone. My friend was exhausted and sad to her core after a particularly epic meltdown over language arts. She mumbled sadly, “Something has got to give. I can’t … I just can’t anymore.”

She’d hit The Wall.

There’s a brick wall somewhere on this road of homeschooling that most families run into at some point. It’s the one that says, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m not doing anything well. They’d be better off in *insert anything else but home.*”

And what I reassured my friend, in between discussions of international boarding schools, is that The Wall is totally normal. It’s also totally survivable.

But you might need a buddy to help you get over it.

We make the schooling choices we make as parents because we want what’s best for our kids. But those choices come with consequences: sometimes it means we can’t do it all.

Moms and dads get overwhelmed and struggle to juggle all the important responsibilities of homeschooling and keeping a family running. Or perhaps we realize that because of our own weakness in a subject (for me, it’s math), our children are beginning to demonstrate that same weakness.

But we want better for them! We want them to succeed where we have not!

Lucky for us, there are lots of options and lots of ways to help share the burden (and the blessing) of schooling at home!

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Lora’s homeschool day in the life (with a 3-, 6-, 7-, 9-, 10-, & twin 11-year-olds)

loramain
Written by Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae.

To understand why this year looks different, I need to take you back in time.

In November of 2014, I was suffering from the infamous Homeschool Burnout. School was taking longer and longer and there was no separation between the teaching hours and the mommy hours. I was either grading papers or chasing my kids around to get them to correct their work.

My kids were forced to live with their spiral-eyed teacher 24 hours a day. “Mom” was the nice lady who only came out on weekends.

Before I could get all seven kids enrolled in boarding school, we hit upon a solution: A Mother’s Helper.

A homeschool day in the life 2016

I still believed in the IDEA of homeschooling, but the implementation wasn’t sustainable or healthy for the relationships in our home.

There was simply so much volume, I couldn’t focus on the things I actually wanted to do with my kids.

In addition, my daughter was slated for major surgery later in 2015 and we knew I’d need some back-up to keep school going while we helped her through the long recovery.

mirawheel

I put a plea out on Facebook and found the perfect tutor to join our motley crew. It took time to get her trained and up to speed. But the effort we spent was definitely worth it.

Nowadays …

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Kissing the frog: Our Latin curriculum hunt and what I learned

lora1picmo
Written by Lora Lynn Fanning of VitaFamiliae.

Professor Gerberding stalked into my Latin 101 class in college and slammed a brand new copy of Wheelock’s Latin onto my desk.

“Welcome to Latin! Learn it before you die!”

And I did.

Later, when I had kids, I wanted them to study Latin – and sooner than their poor Mama began to learn it.

The problem is, you can’t just throw a copy of Wheelock’s onto a 9-year-old’s desk and insist that they keep up.

I had no idea how to go about teaching Latin to younger kids. Hence, we kissed A LOT of frogs to find our Latin curriculum prince.

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Stress to the test

testpicmo

Written by Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

Before we left for this year’s homeschool convention, I thought it would be the “smart” thing to test my fourth-graders to make sure I wasn’t missing some major piece in their learning puzzle. If I was, I could research it at the convention.

I paid for an online test and followed all the rules. The results weren’t exactly surprising, but they weren’t encouraging, either. I had two fourth-graders who were burned out on math and we were struggling to motivate them to care about their work.

My husband and I arrived at convention with crazy eyes and worried brows.
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To test or not to test?

To test or not to test?
Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

When I was just starting out with homeschooling, I sneered at the idea of tests. “Why should I teach to a test?” I wondered. We were going to simply soak up information with good literature and activities and I would just KNOW that my kids knew everything they were supposed to.

But then my kids began reading independently. Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure what they knew any more. So I ate my helping of crow and added the evaluations (or tests) that can be purchased with my curriculum.

As I began to use tests, I discovered some of the holes in their information, mostly where their reading comprehension hadn’t completely caught up to their reading ability.
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