On homeschooling an anxious child


Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things

When I was in the sixth grade, I ran for student council president.

One of the requirements was getting up on stage, in front of the entire school, and giving a speech about why you should be elected.

I bombed. For reals.

I couldn’t remember the lines I had prepared. I stuttered and started sweating. I ran off the stage as fast as I could and burst into tears.

It was pretty awful.

But what I remember most about that day is what happened next. I went back to class.

I remember trying to take a math test and the page seemingly swimming before me. I remember not being able to focus on verbal directions and wondering what was wrong with me. I remember my anxiety increasing, not decreasing as the day went on.

I didn’t learn a thing that day at school.
[Read more…]

How an introverted mom became an angry one

Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool

The glass left my hand and slammed into the wall on the far side of the bedroom, shattering into hundreds of shards on the carpet. As I turned to the side, I caught a glimpse of the reflection in the mirror before sinking to the ground in sobs.

I didn’t recognize myself.

That outburst happened almost ten years ago–thankfully without anyone else present–but I’ll never forget it.

Not only did I make a challenging day harder (cleaning glass out of carpet, anyone?), but I also recognized the warning sign I could no longer ignore.

And now that I understand more about my personality as an introvert, it all makes perfect sense.

I had never, ever thought of myself as an angry person before having kids. Ever. I don’t think anyone else would have used that adjective to describe me either.

But when Trishna joined our family from India at the age of four, the shock of suddenly having three little kids less than two years apart in age–two of them dealing with trauma of their own–brought me to the end of myself.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love my kids. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to care for them. I had been called to and completely wanted to do both of those things–they had been my dreams.


Photo taken weeks after I became a mom of three–with a 4-, 3-, & 2-year-old. I was already mucho-tired, ya’ll.

It was that as an introverted, highly sensitive mama, the sudden volume and chaos levels literally kept my nervous system in overdrive–nearly all day, every day.
[Read more…]

Our summer learning plans: travel, literature, math, rest

Written by Kara Fleck

Our summer break is coming up and I am looking forward to it. It has been one of our best school years ever, but it took real effort and hard work from all of us.

We’re ready for some time off.

But first, before we mark the break between grades and school years, I want to squeeze in a summer session. I have plans for travel, a family literature study, and a mini math (not so intense) intensive.

I love our summer school sessions. We sleep in, move many of our lessons outdoors, and the pace is slower. I narrow the focus of our learning, keeping things simple, for them and for me.

Summer is a good time for review, for travel, and for exploring topics that we might not have had a chance to get to during the rest of the year.

[Read more…]

Homeschool burnout: 10 [easy] things to try when everything is hard


Written by Caitlin Curley of My Little Poppies

Sometimes you can feel the burnout coming on, just as you can tell your body is fighting a cold.

“Uh-oh,” you think to yourself, and then you quickly snap into prep mode.

With this type of burnout, you have a little wiggle room. You can try to fight it off … and also prepare in case you lose the battle.

Other times, burnout stops you in your tracks. More like the flu, it sneaks up on you on a clear blue day and knocks you to your knees without any warning.

Out of nowhere, you suddenly feel horrible. Physically and emotionally exhausted, you are left wondering what on earth just happened.

Burnout is always tricky, but sneaky burnout is the trickiest. 

This homeschool mama gig did not come with sick days, or vacation days, or a substitute teacher. And that’s the worst part of burnout. You’re on your own. You must put one foot in front of the other, don a smile, and muddle through until the fog lifts.

Unfortunately sometimes, for whatever reason, burnout is harder to shake. All of the usual strategies don’t work and you just feel … stuck.

If you are feeling this way, please know that you are not alone. Some homeschool seasons are harder than others. 

In fact, I am right there with you.

Last week, I finally emerged from the throes of sneaky burnout. I’m still scratching my head, wondering what happened. We had a great winter and we made it through February with nary a hiccup.

Then March hit and the kids bounced random illnesses back and forth and the world was gray and cold and wet. The month felt like an eternity and yet I cannot tell you what we did. When the kids were finally feeling better, I was utterly exhausted.

Everything felt harder, even the simple things. Even the things that should be fun.

[Read more…]

How therapy dogs helped me relax about reading


Written by Kara S. Anderson

“It tastes just like cheesecake,” she said laughing.

She was, of course, referring to dog frosting – the dog frosting she had whipped up from scratch to decorate her homemade banana pupcakes.

Frosting them was the last step in a process that had taken most of the day. She had also made applesauce treats and pumpkin bones.

She was getting ready for the last week of her read-to-a-dog program until the summer session.

It’s always hard to say good-bye to Gus and Mimi, Ozzie, Odie, Grace, Finn, Cocoa, Love, Koda and the other dogs who have become such good friends.

I adore every dog who has ever taken part in Books and Barks – their humans too, and the caring librarian who facilitates this program that I have no doubt, helped my daughter learn to read, and has built her confidence and fluency in a way that has never been stressful or hard.
[Read more…]