Focus on this first in the new school year

Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

August may be a good school planning month (though I’ll tell you secretly, I like January better), but what I’m planning right now is dorm supplies and dining hall meal plans and one million important conversations, because in a few VERY SHORT WEEKS, my oldest daughter leaves for college.

Regular life—and regular homeschooling—will continue for my husband and I and our five younger kids, but our family will look a little bit different. I don’t know yet how our days will shift and how everyone will feel and what will need adjusting.

So what will our new school year look like? Well, it will be the same as always, and also I have no idea.
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5 ways social media helps me homeschool

Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things

Social media is a big topic, especially for parents.

Most of the time, when we read something about it, it’s about the drawbacks.

It’s a distraction: “Put the phone down and enjoy your kids!”

Social media invites comparisons: “Pinterest isn’t real life; never compare your life to a perfect picture on a screen.”

It’s replacing real life interactions with virtual ones: “Find a community that you can actually meet with in person!”

The truth is, I agree 100% with all of these statements. I am not going to dispute any of the potential pitfalls of social media. I have experienced them myself and continue to be as intentional as possible with my social media engagement in an effort to avoid the negatives.

What is also true, however, is that social media has been one of the most helpful and successful tools I have found in homeschooling.

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3 things I’m quitting and one to start: The 2018 edition

Written by Kara Fleck

Last year I wrote about some things I wanted to quit doing in our homeschool. Declaring publicly that I wanted to be a quitter was good for me and those were some positive changes.

So I’m back with three more things I want to quit doing as a homeschooling parent and one thing I want to start:

3 Things I’m Going to Quit Doing in Our Homeschool This Year

1. Ignoring my instincts

Last fall I was interested in using a certain curriculum. However, I ended up sticking with something we had used before, partly because the price was right and partly because it was familiar.

Even though this new curriculum ticked off many of the boxes on my list of a dream education, and I knew it would be a good fit for us, I ignored my gut instinct.

However, by the holiday break it was obvious I had made the wrong decision. I just couldn’t continue with something I knew we were all lukewarm about.

We switched mid-year and ended up having one of our best semesters of homeschool ever!

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4 quick ways to reduce your heavy mental load

Written by Purva Brown of The Classical Unschooler

My children are an optimistic bunch. The other day, I caught one of them staring at the computer screen. And the look on his face was pure anguish.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I can’t do this!” He pointed to the online math he was working on.

It was two grades below his current level of expertise, but he was sitting there with no pen, no paper, and crying.

“Why aren’t you using scratch paper?” I asked.

“Because I can do it!” he proclaimed, only to repeat through sobs a few minutes later, “I can’t do it.”

I think I often indulge in this kind of thinking, too. Throughout my day, I have so many mental boxes to check off that I walk around with an endless list in my head. And some days, I’ll admit, that list looks more like a flow chart made by a three year old.

I jump in, no scratch paper, no aids, dependent on serendipity to carry me through the day. Sure, I am extremely grateful when it shows up, but being at the mercy of chance is not a good way to get through homeschooling.

I find myself in my son’s position with no scratch paper, very sure I can make it, yet, exhausted, irritated and frustrated.

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5 of the best-kept secrets for new homeschoolers

Written by Kara S. Anderson

There are many things that I wish had known when I started homeschooling.

I was so excited, but so confused. I felt like I had to pick a philosophy and stick with it, even if parts of it didn’t work. I felt like I had to start in pre-school, and I put a ton of pressure on myself to recreate a school-like environment at home, even though I also had a tiny baby to care for.

So today, I wanted to share some of the things that I have learned. These are some of the homeschooling “secrets” that I wish people would have shared with me.

I hope this post gives you a bit of a head-start, and maybe helps you feel a little less pressure. Deep breath! You’ve got this, homeschool mama!
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