When something breaks your homeschool heart

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Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

It happened so quickly.

Just eight weeks ago we were part of a homeschool group we loved. A group that had been home for more than four years. A group that had become like family.

I write this post from a place a deep sadness, because we found ourselves stepping away from that group last week.

It had just become too much. I call it poison, although some disagreed with that analysis.

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that when we took some time away, just the four of us in our little family, it became crystal clear what we needed to do.

What isn’t as clear is how to deal with the resulting heartbreak, and what to do next.

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Pressing through the middle years of homeschooling

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Written by Hannah Vanderpool of Praying With One Eye Open

I’m a writer who likes fresh beginnings and well-timed endings.  Middles?  Not so much.

When I think about the middle of, say, a novel manuscript, I imagine a hammock creaking under the weight of a couple of lemonade-sipping kids or a dad who really ought to be mowing the lawn.

Creative writing instructors refer to these in-between pages as the dreaded “saggy middle.”

They teach rookies and published authors alike how to push through their own saggy middles with enough energy and forward momentum to keep readers engaged until the end.

This is important because it’s easier to start a story, and even to finish it, than it is to keep putting one foot in front of the other when you’re in the middle of a thing and can’t see your way to an ending yet.

As it turns out, writing is not my day job–homeschooling is.  I’ve been on this particular journey for nine years now.

Our family started strong when my three kids were barely out of Pull-ups (yes, I was over eager).  I hope to finish well, too, when my youngest daughter is finally ready to fly my little coop.

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The gift of resentment

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Written by Heather Caliri of  A Little Yes

I looked at my monthly calendar and sighed.

It was the 25th, and that meant it was time to write down what had gone well—and not so well—that month for homeschooling.

Except I didn’t want to.

I knew I was supposed to. I was supposed to be tracking how my children were doing, taking notes each day about their interests to better help guide them towards things they were passionate about. I was supposed to be tracking academic progress and being intentional and clued in and—

I needed to be the homeschooling mom my kids deserved.

I sighed and opened up the document with the questions I asked myself every month:  “What has she made that she’s passionate about? What does she want to pretend or play? Are there questions, activities, projects, or materials she wants to explore? Any trouble spots?”

A few months back I had simplified the list from eight questions to four, because I didn’t like answering them back then, either.

The truth was, I had been answering questions for more than a year, and so far, I’d never enjoyed them. I didn’t like spending my time on them, I didn’t like the feeling of inadequacy that plagued me as I wrote, I didn’t like feeling like a better mom would gain more insight out of answering them.

I looked at the questions and the blinking cursor, and I tried to swallow down my resentment again.

But a subversive thought occurred to me.

If I hated doing this so much, why did I keep trying?

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Working with doctors when your homeschooler has special needs

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Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things

“You’re probably going to have to put him back in public school,” my son’s pediatrician said as she referred us for testing. “Then the experts can help him.”

My son went to public school through the end of second grade. After three years, it was clear that although he was in the top one percent of second graders in the school district and had perfect grades, he was miserable every single day.

It was also clear that, because he was so advanced academically, he was not learning anything new at all.

It took seeing him painfully try to fit in, hearing kids tease him about his advanced reading level, watching him have meltdowns every morning over having to put on shoes and socks, his teacher telling me that she didn’t need my input, the constant threat of bells ringing, crowded cafeterias, PE on the prickly grass … it took all of this for me to finally take a step back and say, maybe this isn’t working.

Two years later, my son was medically evaluated and we received his diagnoses – High Functioning Autism, Acute Sensory Processing Disorder, and Anxiety Disorder all coupled with a genius level IQ.

All the struggles he had in school finally made sense … and now the doctor was telling us we needed to put him back in?

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Self-care for the highly sensitive parent

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Written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

I‘ve known for a decade or three that I’m an introvert, but it’s only recently — after reading Susan Cain’s excellent book Quiet — that I discovered I’m also a “highly sensitive person.”

Whether or not you’ve heard the term before, that description should ring true for about 1 in 5 of you.
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