Shawna’s homeschool day in the life (with an 11- & 14-year-old)

Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things

The title of this post cannot be accurate.

An 11-year-old and a 14-year-old??? How on earth is it possible that I am still homeschooling these kids?

The truth is, when I first started homeschooling, I could barely picture the elementary years.  I went to school to be an elementary special education teacher – I felt like I should have an idea of what to expect.

But middle school and even worse….high school?

A homeschool day in the life

No idea.

I have no idea what it is “supposed” to look like.

Maybe this is a good thing – if I did, I might never allow this day in the life to be published.

Because the longer we homeschool, the more our days look less and less like the school I grew up in.

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Homeschool lessons learned at public school

schoolpicmo

Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

In what can only be described as a surreal moment, I found myself signing documents to enroll my son in public school last month.

I love homeschooling.

My sons love homeschooling.

I write all about how much homeschooling has made a tremendous impact on my sons’ education, despite their learning differences. The longer we homeschool, the more I can imagine us continuing to do it all the way through high school.

So it took a lot to sign those documents. But it was worth it.

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Homeschool is not the boss of me

Homeschool is not the boss of me

Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

I love this season.

Getting ready for the start of a new school year means I get to do all the things I naturally love.

Planning our homeschool calendar.

Typing up our daily schedule.

Researching and (even better) ordering and unpacking new books and curriculum options.

Buying new pens and pencils that we don’t need, but look how pretty they are. (Really, this applies to any office supply – I texted my friends from the store the other day asking if they would help me justify buying a golden stapler. I have issues.)

It all feels so refreshing to me – a new year, a fresh start, a lovely golden stapler.

Then the actual learning begins.

It takes a few weeks, but eventually, I know the newness will fade. The crisp, new books will have coffee spilled on them. A few of the darling pencils will be broken by my ten-year-old in frustration during his phonics lessons. The schedule will mock me. And the curriculum will move too fast for either of my boys, and their learning differences.

It is just part of homeschooling these children.

So this year, I am committed to one goal, and only one:

Homeschooling will not be the boss of me

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When summer break isn’t a break

When summer break isn't a break
Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things

I remember summer vacations so well.

When I was a child, summer break meant eating way too many popsicles, not having to get up in the morning, swimming for as long as I wanted, impromptu trips to the lake, and absolutely no real plans.

The summer break of my youth was glorious.

The summer break of my children? Not so much.

When we first began homeschooling, I had big plans for the last day of school. We had a party. We took pictures. We discussed all that we had learned that year. It was a great day.

Then the next day came.

The first day of our summer break.

I was looking forward to doing nothing. I was looking forward to sleeping in. I was looking forward to less structure, less requirements, and less planning.

My children, however?

They were grumpy, out of sorts, and fighting constantly.

They were like different children, and not in a good way.

And then the next day came, and the next, and the next.

Our first summer break as a homeschooling family was our worst.

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Homeschooling to my child’s strengths

Homeschooling to my child's strengths
Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

Too often, I spend a ton of time, energy and effort focused on what my children can’t do.

I am ashamed to admit it, but it’s true.

Will he ever really learn to read fluently?

Why is it so hard to memorize the times tables when he can complete complex math problems in his head?

When do I need to employ yet another tutor or educational therapist to help “fix” all the things my children cannot yet do?

Before I had my boys, I worked in corporate training and development. As part of my work, I was invited to attend a session at Gallup, as they introduced the concept of “Strengths Based Training.” It was based on the book, StrengthFinders, and the basic premise was this:

Managing and teaching to an individual’s strengths, exponentially increases productivity and learner satisfaction.

Moreover, the research showed that a learner, when allowed to progress in a ‘strengths based’ fashion, increased their overall capabilities, even in the areas that are weaknesses.

The weak areas actually improve significantly, when a strengths-based approach is taken, than when remediation and focus is centered on poor performing topics.

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